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Dysmorphophilia is a fetish or sexual preference for people with physical or mental impairments. People with dysmorphophilia, known as dysmorphophiles, may become sexually aroused when fantasizing about these individuals, or have recurring and persistent erotic thoughts about them. They may also seek out sexual partners who are physically or mentally impaired.
Dysmorphophilia comes from the Greek words dysmorphos, meaning disformed, and philia, meaning love.
People with dysmorphophilia are often most attracted to one group of individuals who have similar impairments or deformities. For example, one dysmorphophile may find they have a preference for people with scoliosis or other spine deformities, and another dysmorphophile may be attracted to people with a limp. Some people with dysmorphophilia are only interested in people with permanent deformities, while others find themselves aroused by people with temporary impairments like wearing a cast or a leg brace.
It can be difficult for some dysmorphophiles to find partners, as understandably many people with disabilities worry that dysmorphophiles see their disability, rather than their personality or who they are inside.
Most dysmorphophiles simply learn to accept their condition as a part of their sexual identity and learn to achieve sexual gratification in a socially acceptable way. However, if dysmorphophilia becomes problematic for a person, treatments such as psychoanalysis, hypnosis, and cognitive therapy may be helpful.