Background and aims: Based on the concept of “cuckolding” and “troilism”, it was hypothesized that underlying this paraphilia is a counterphobic attitude that positively reinforced produces the establishment of behavioural addiction. The purpose of this study is to confirm this hypothesis. Materials and methods: Clinical interview, based on narrative-anamnestic and documentary evidence and the basis of the Perrotta Human Emotions Model (PHEM) concerning their emotional and perceptual-reactive experience, and administration of the battery of psychometric tests published in international scientific journals by the author of this work: 1) Perrotta Integrative Clinical Interviews (PICI-2), to investigate functional and dysfunctional personality traits; 2) Perrotta Individual Sexual Matrix Questionnaire (PSM-Q), to investigate the individual sexual matrix; 3) Perrotta Affective Dependence Questionnaire (PAD-Q), to investigate the profiles of affective and relational dependence; 4) Perrotta Human Defense Mechanisms Questionnaire (PDM-Q), to investigate the defence mechanisms of the Ego. Results: In a population sample of 108 subjects (98 males and 10 females), the totality was found to exhibit at least 5 dysfunctional personality traits of the manic, borderline, narcissistic covert, masochistic, and dependent types, with secondary traits of the neurotic, bipolar, histrionic, and paranoid types. Always the totality of the sample shows the marked dysfunctionality of a sexual nature (especially in relational profiles) and the activation of defense mechanisms typical of psychopathological processes; in particular, at the PSM-Q the totality of the sample stated that the basis of their paraphilia is the establishment of a traumatic event of an affective, sentimental or sexual nature related to adolescence and adulthood that has generated in the person distrust in the relationship. Conclusions: At the origin of cuckolding and troilism, it is reasonable to deduce that there is a traumatic event of an affective, sentimental or sexual nature, occurring mainly in youth or early adulthood, which has negatively impacted the subject’s perception of the relational sphere. Such an event, capable of generating negative feelings of distressing origin, was then reworked and sublimated by the subject using a counterphobic attitude (the fear of being betrayed is replaced by the idea that granting the partner sexual freedom, after sharing, is sufficient to avoid the reoccurrence of the primary traumatizing event); the repetition of avoidant experiences of the danger of the primary phobia (betrayal) then generates in the subject the belief in the functioning of the mechanism, which therefore is repeated according to a cognitive-behavioural pattern of positive reinforcement, capable of establishing over time the behavioural dependence that underlies the paraphiliac disorder. Such a fear-prone psychopathological pattern, moreover, could be the same one that favours polygamous relational choice (at the expense of monogamous relational choice), net of environmental and social conditioning (e.g., Islamic contexts) that might naturally favour such choice. This counterphobic mechanism reinforced by positive reinforcement may underlie the onset of paraphilias and deserves further investigation.

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