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Paraphila is an umbrella term used to cover the family of philias. In sexology, it is sometimes more widely used to cover atypical sexual interests or deviances. While the word paraphilia may seem alien, the philias it encompasses may seem slightly familiar. Think fetishes and unusual desires and you're on the right track!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Who can resist a man with a beard?

Beards are like Marmite... you either love them or you hate them. Perhaps that's why the gossip magazines go crazy when celebs like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp take the natural approach to facial hair.

For some beard afficianados, however, the love of beards goes one step further. Gay men and straight women alike with beard fetish, or pogonophilia, think there's nothing more sexually attractive than a man with at least a five o'clock shadow. 

Sex blogger Trini can't get enough of them, saying: "Some are just down right sexy. They do turn me on so much. MMMMM. They are just wonderful and tasty."

So, what's the deal?

Perhaps Kris Saknussem has some insight. He recalls interviewing a woman with a beard fetish and checking just far this obsession can go. He says: "I showed her four pictures of naked men: a well-endowed eighteen-year-old model, an extremely thin bearded man in his early thirties, a heavily muscled former professional athlete in his late forties, and Peter North, the porn star.

"Asked to choose the most 'virile and masculine' of the group, she selected the bearded man instantly. What I didn't tell her was that the bearded man had terminal cancer and was quite seriously ill. Her selection directly defies the view that our choices of 'attractiveness' are driven by an instinctual appraisal of health and reproductive capacity. When I presented a Photoshop-modified picture of the man without his beard, she no longer recognized him. In fact, she was repelled."

Thankfully, there will always be men and women who sway one way or another.. but for the time being, I think I'll keep looking for a clean, close shave!

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