Frotteuristic disorder: Rubbing others for sexual gratification

What is frotteuristic disorder?

The word frotteurism comes from the French word “frotter” which means, “to rub”. An individual with frotteuristic disorder derives immense sexual gratification from rubbing their genitals against an unsuspecting victim, usually in crowded settings such as buses, trains, shopping malls, bazaars, etc.

Frotteuristic disorder

The culprits usually choose a public place where the chances of body contact are higher and overcrowded places.

It is a paraphilia disorder marked with sexual interest towards an object, children or animals. If it is persistent and severe enough, it can be distressful and harmful to self or others.

More males between the age group of 15-25 years are reported to be involved in such incidents while females are the most common victims of frotteurism.


There is no definite answer to the factors that cause frotteurism behaviour in people. Some theories state that a random or accidental incident of frotteurism and subsequent sexual excitement may lead to repetitive acts. An initial successive episode of frotteurism gives way to its conversion into disorder.

Risk factors

It is difficult to determine the risk factors that may lead to this disorder. Some of the factors that may pose a risk are:

  • A history of antisocial behaviour
  • Abnormal interest in sex
  • Being hypersexual with frequent and extreme sexual urges

Symptoms and signs

The symptoms of frotteurism disorder (based on DSM 5) include:

  • Repeated acts of rubbing or touching a non-consenting person that is done intentionally with the sole purpose of sexual gratification
  • The behaviour has been causing problems with an individual’s social, professional and personal life.


Frotteuristic disorder

Based on the presence of above symptoms, a psychiatrist would be able to diagnose this disorder. Further, the individual must be at the risk of harming oneself or others.


Most of the individuals deny that the act has been intentional to avoid the punishment, which complicates the treatment measures.

Individual who seek medical help willingly are treated via behaviour therapy, psychotherapy and medication.

The treatment is aimed at changing the behaviour of such individuals through positive and negative reinforcement, restructuring the thought process and teaching coping skills to overcome sudden impulsive sexual urges.


Experts believe that there are no means to prevent frotteuristic disorder in an individual.


Some individuals with the this disorder can develop other paraphilia disorders. Repeated acts of frotteurism can lead to legal issues, especially when the victim identifies the culprit and reports the matter.

Next steps

Most of the individual do not seek medical help for their obsession. If you know someone or yourself wish to overcome the embarrassment of frotteuristic disorder, consult a psychiatrist before you land up in legal hassles.

Consult a top Psychiatrist

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  • Frotteurism: Assessment and Treatment–Paraphilia’s—Accessed on 15 March 2017– http://www.paraphilias.nyc/publications/frotteurism-assessment-and-treatment/
  • Prevalence and Treatment of Frotteurism in the Community: A Systematic Review—JAAPL—Accessed on 15 March 2017– http://jaapl.org/content/42/4/478
  • Frotteurism—sex info online—Accessed on 15 March 2017– http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/frotteurism
  • Frotteuristic Disorder DSM-5 302.89 (F65.81)– American Psychiatric Association, The (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). – Accessed on 15 March 2017– American Psychiatric Association, The (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.( http://www.theravive.com/therapedia/Frotteuristic-Disorder-DSM–5-302.89-(F65.81)) (it’s a cross reference)
  • Frotteuristic Disorder—PVMHMR—Accessed on 15 March 2017 — http://www.pvmhmr.org/98-sexual-disorders/article/542-frotteuristic-disorder


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