Frotteurism is a sexual paraphilia where an individual achieves sexual arousal by rubbing or touching others without their consent. For example, a person with this problem may use taking public transportation to their advantage to rub up against or touch strangers on a crowded bus or train. It usually does not matter what part of the body the individual rubs against or touches. The behavior typically develops through improper sexual fantasies or prolonged daydreams of molesting others. 

Overview of Frotteuristic Disorder:

  • Paraphilias are the umbrella term in which frotteurism is categorized. It is the immoral act of non consented groping or sexual touching by rubbing someone’s body part to achieve sexual arousal and pleasure. Sometimes it may produce a psychological orgasmic euphoric state or physical orgasm. 
  • The disorder is more prevalent among shy teenagers or young adults, but it can occur within any age group. The most common age range is 15 to 25. With older adults, the condition is at high risk to develop if the person is shy and does not have relationships. The condition is more common in men and rarely seen in women. Overall, approximately 10 to 14% of males are affected by this disorder. 

Symptoms of Frotteuristic Disorder:

According to the DSM-%, the criteria for the disorder is: 

  1. This act of molestation occurs for a minimum of 6 months
  2.  Presence of high anxiety levels associated with the behavior  
  3. Social withdrawal or lack of social interactions
  4.  The person has rubbed or touched one or more individuals in the past and this occurred at least 3 times over a short period of time
  5.  Signs in teenagers occur in stages and mostly appear around closed ones like family members, friends, inmates, or peers

Known causes of Frotteuristic Disorder?

  • Childhood sexual motivations: According to many behavior specialists, the events of childhood or teenage ages may stimulate by touching someone and lead to future development of these kinds of behaviors. It is not easily diagnosed and is more commonly discovered later in life during later adolescence or young adulthood. 
  •  Antisocial behavior and hypersexuality: The lack of social skills, being shy and timid, having trust issues, anxieties, bad influences, or lack of relationships are thought to be contributing factors for the development of Frotteuristic Disorder.
  • Addictions or drug abuse: Illicit drug use or prescription medications that can lead to a high sex drive or sexual arousal such as cocaine or amphetamines. 

Treatment options for Frotteuristic Disorder

When these behaviors become significantly dangerous for not only the future of the individual but for others in society and also cause distress in daily life,  it is necessary to be assessed and start treatment as soon as possible. Psychotherapy will help the individual discover the root causes, triggers, and help them to manage sexual urges and control daydreaming of molesting others. 


It is important to find a therapist who specializes in paraphilias in order to be able to discuss and explore the disorder openly without judgment. It is important to openly examine the onset of the behavior and its progression. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT can help the individual control impulsive behavior and urges. It can train the person through appropriate strategies to manage sexual desires and vivid fantasies. Common techniques include aversion therapy and guided imagery techniques.


The use of SSRIs (e.g., Prozac) may be useful in helping to balance mood disorders and other psychological issues such as depression and/or anxiety. Prozac also is known to decrease sexual drive. 


Classes of medications that can decrease high testosterone levels are prescribed along with behavior therapy (e.g. Medroxyprogesterone acetate and cyproterone acetate).

Group Therapy

In order to improve social anxiety or withdrawal,  group therapy helps improve self-esteem and confidence while engaging in direct social contact 

Early intervention is a key to a more positive prognosis. If this disorder is ignored, it can easily progress to resulting in severe legal consequences.