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Not to be confused with frot or frottage.
A sign outside of a bicycle parking lot in Chiba, Japan, warns "Beware of Chikan"

Frotteurism is a paraphilic interest in rubbing, usually one's pelvic area or erect penis, against a non-consenting person for sexual pleasure. It may involve touching any part of the body, including the genital area. A person who practices frotteurism is known as a frotteur.


The term frotteurism derives from the French verb frotter meaning "to rub". The term frotteur is the French noun literally meaning "rubber" or "one who rubs" and was coined by sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his book Psychopathia sexualis (1886).[1]

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders used to call this sexual disorder by the name frottage until the third edition (DSM III-R), and now uses frotteurism exclusively.[2] Nevertheless, the term frottage still remains in some law codes where it is synonymous with the term frotteurism.

Symptoms and classification[edit]

The professional handbook of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM IV-TR), lists the following diagnostic criteria for frotteurism.

According to DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, IV edition), where all psychiatric illnesses are represented as numerals to avoid confusion, frotteurism is classified as 302.89.

Prevalence and legality[edit]

The majority of frotteurs are male and the majority of victims are female,[4] although female on male, female on female, and male on male frotteurs exist. This activity is often done in circumstances where the victim cannot easily respond, in a public place such as a crowded train or concert.

Usually, such nonconsensual sexual contact is viewed as a criminal offense: a form of sexual assault albeit often classified as a misdemeanor with minor legal penalties. Conviction may result in a sentence or psychiatric treatment.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mark Forsyth. The etymologicon // Icon Books Ltd 2011, page 49.
  2. ^ Laws, D. Richard; O'Donohue, William T. (2012-04-16). Sexual Deviance, Second Edition: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment (2nd ed.). Guilford Press. ISBN 9781462506699. Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ DSM-IV-TR
  4. ^ UCSB's SexInfo
  5. ^ frottophilia at SEX ED 601 Advanced Topics in Human Sexuality.

External links[edit]