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Czech Study Shows That 31% of Men and 14% of Women Have Extraordinary Sex Preferences

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A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NUDZ) involving over 10,000 participants has revealed that 31% of men and 14% of women have unusual sexual preferences. Surprisingly, only a small fraction of them seek professional assistance. However, those who do seek help can benefit from crisis hotlines and therapy, which can alleviate the negative impact on their mental well-being and reduce the risk of engaging in problematic sexual behaviors. This information was presented at the final conference of the Parafilik project, funded by the European Union.

Kateřina Klapilova, the head of the NUDZ Sexual Health and Intervention Center, explained in a press release that “paraphilia” refers to individuals with strong preferences for unconventional sexual objects or behaviors that often involve non-consensual elements or even violence during sexual activities.

While the exact causes of paraphilias remain largely unknown, experts suggest that individuals may have an innate predisposition to these preferences. Previous information from NUDZ indicates that approximately 0.3% of the Czech population experiences pedophilia, an attraction to prepubescent individuals, while about 1.9% exhibit hebephilia, an attraction to pubescent individuals. Furthermore, around 3.6% of individuals have a preference for restraining their partner, and 1% have a preference for engaging in pathological sexual aggression. However, paraphilias can also manifest as exhibitionism or sexual sadism. While men are more commonly affected, paraphilias can also occur in women.

Experts emphasize that a significant proportion of individuals with paraphilias never commit criminal acts. Most of them try to navigate their sexuality independently without seeking professional help. However, a survey conducted at the start of the project among members of self-help and support groups revealed that over 60% of respondents were dissatisfied with the existing support system in the country. Moreover, more than 68% expressed fear in sharing their concerns and emotions, even with professionals.

To address these challenges, the website was launched as part of the project in 2019. Since its inception, it has received nearly 68,000 visitors. The platform offers an anonymous online counseling room where therapists have addressed over 370 questions and concerns, and a crisis hotline that has received over 190 calls. Additionally, dozens of individuals and their loved ones have received individual, group, or couples therapy. The project has involved twenty-five doctors and therapists, along with numerous social service workers and over 100 police officers who have received intensive training.

In May of the previous year, the project authors also began actively engaging with the online platform PornHub. They created a page directing individuals with problematic online behavior to the Parafilik project site, resulting in over 3,400 clicks. Furthermore, the project collaborates with the platform and the Czech domain operator CZ.NIC.

Experts are also concerned about the mental health of individuals with paraphilia, as they are more prone to anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies. These individuals often encounter challenges in their daily lives and struggle with familial and partner relationships. Marek Navratil of NUDZ emphasizes that early intervention can significantly improve their quality of life, their perception of their own sexuality, and self-acceptance. Therapy, in many cases, reduces the risk of problematic sexual behaviors or repeat offenses.

Navratil further argues that risk reduction is beneficial for the state as well. It can help prevent crime, including incarceration and therapy for offenders, as well as the need to support victims. “If we consider only the cost of incarceration, which is just a part of the overall economic burden, we estimate that for every crown invested in a therapy program, an additional 30 crowns are returned to society. Realistically, we anticipate that the returns in the form of public benefit will exceed double the costs,” added Navratil.

Following the conclusion of the four-year European project funding, the website and online counseling service will continue to operate. Therapy services will be covered by state health insurance, meaning they will no longer be anonymous, which experts acknowledge might discourage some individuals. Additionally, NUDZ plans to launch a follow-up sexual health crisis hotline during the summer months as part of the supraregional social services system, which will also incorporate the Parafilik hotline, according to Klapilova.


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