What is Frotteurism?

Frotteurism is a mental disorder in which the patient tries to derive sexual pleasure by rubbing oneself, especially genitals, against body parts of other people. This is commonly found in a crowded place like a bus or a tube. This happens because the patient gets frequent sexual arousal and fantasies.


This act of rubbing one’s genitals against the body of a nonconsenting person, in a place where the crowd is common, and escaping such act is easy. Such places include malls, sidewalks, public transportation, elevators, etc.

People suffering from this order not only rub their genitals but also derive pleasure by rubbing hands against other’s thighs, buttocks or breasts. However, it gets very difficult for such people to control their desires when present in a crowded place.

Is this a Disorder?

This might be very common in public places. However, this should not be confused with people’s common desire to touch other people by taking advantage of crowded locations. Frotteurs suffer from a mental disorder, wherein they believe that there is a relation between them and the victim, and love to fantasize that both are involved in intimate sexual activities while rubbing their parts. And this is no more than an illusion.

Causes of Frotteurism

There are no proven causes of this disorder. However, most researchers believe that frotteurism might be a mental syndrome or addiction caused by intentionally repeating the rubbing act frequently.


Symptoms of this disorder a commonly found in people, however in low intensity. Frotteurs generally feel aroused as soon as they notice a potential victim in a crowded location. Other symptoms include regularly fantasizing, rubbing body parts like genitals against objects, intense sexual urges, etc.

When such desires of rubbing against other person are not met, the patient might get significantly distressed.


A study conducted by researchers mentions that males are likely to involve in frotteurism more than females. Males who are generally noticed involving in such acts are found to be between the age of 16 to 26 years. Females tend to be the common victim of frotteurism. However, many males might also derive satisfaction by rubbing against males.


Before treating such disorder in individuals, frotteurs must have diagnosed this disorder, which can be done through consulting a psychologist. However, most frotteurs do not seek such help and continue to indulge in such activity.

There are, however, ways to treat this disorder without any professional help as well. One of the common ways is to modify this behavior against others and to realize that conducting such activity is a crime. It is quite difficult to control the urges initially. With time, however, this urge will fade away and one can be free from frotteurism.

Other Disorders

Genophobia can be loosely termed as the opposite of this order, in which one fears from indulging in any sexual activity. Non-sexual mental disorder include impostor syndromehypnophobiacapgras delusion, reduplicative paramnesia, etc.

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