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Phallometric assessments of single-victim sexual offenders against children have suggested that only about 50% of these men are more attracted to children than they are to adults. This has raised the question of what motivates the other 50% of men to approach young girls for sex. Freund et al. showed that gynephilic men (i.e., men preferentially attracted to adult women) evidenced greater arousal to images of prepubescent girls than to images of males of any age or to nonerotic images, arguing that gynephilic men may approach prepubescent girls as a "surrogate" for their preferred erotic targets (i.e., adult women). One might argue that these phallometric results are artifactual, given that they were obtained in a time period during which images of nudity were far less common than they are today (thus any female nudity might have elicited arousal). To address this issue, the authors examined the sexual arousal patterns of 214 contemporary men who, based on self-report, offense history, and phallometric responses, were purely gynephilic. Results showed the "classical control profile": the greatest arousal to adult women, systematically decreasing arousal as the female stimuli became younger, and essentially no arousal to any age categories of males or to neutral (nonerotic) stimuli. Arousal to both pubescent and prepubescent girls was significantly greater than to neutral stimuli (p < .001 for both). Thus, Freund et al.'s results still appear to be valid, and the explanation for child molesting that they suggest still seems to be feasible.
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... Despite the findings for non-exclusivity, the sexual response gradient for females suggested similar sexual interest ratings to individuals across the lifespan, except for those under the age of five. The relatively flat line for attraction to different age categories reported by females clearly contrasts with the pattern demonstrated for males who have a relatively steep sexual response gradient suggesting a preference for children over adults, which has been reported in previous studies of males (e.g., Bailey et al., 2016;Lykins et al., 2010). ...
Article
There are few empirical studies examining sexological features of sexual interest in children among females. A non-representative sample of 20 females and 208 males who self-identified as having a sexual interest in children completed an anonymous survey. The primary purpose of the present study was to examine sexological features of sexual interest in children among females. Most females reported interest in prepubescent and pubescent children and rated their interest in different age categories similarly. Most females reported an interest in boys. Females first experienced sexual attractions during childhood, but awareness of sexual interest in children occurred later in their adolescence.
... It is unclear whether exclusivity in online sexual preferences expressed through possession of CSEM is the same as exclusivity of sexual interest and in both national and supranational legislation "child" is defined as someone under the age of 18, meaning CSEM will include children who have reached sexual maturity. Lykins et al. 2010 used self-report, offence history and phallometric assessment with gynephilic men exposed to slides and audiotaped narratives of interactions with prepubescent, pubescent adult males and females (as well as neutral activities). The highest levels of sexual arousal was showed to adult women with systematically decreasing arousal as female stimuli became younger and virtually no arousal to any male stimuli. ...
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Definitions of sexual deviance have changed over time and the more recent use of paraphilia and paraphilic disorder in the development of DSM‑5 has been met with criticism. The larger context of this discussion lies in the use of sexually explicit media (SEM), whether this can be seen as normative rather than deviant, and its relationship with sexual violence. The use of sexual media depicting children (CSEM) has been seen as a good diagnostic indicator of paedophilia, but clearly not all people who possess CSEM can be classified as paedophiles. However, possession and trading of CSEM may provide evidence of specific sexual interests and there is some evidence to suggest that there may be a potential homology between CSEM possession, victim selection and offending behaviour. The article explores how sexual interest in children is evidenced and the challenges in understanding the prevalence of these activities both in the community as well as forensic and clinical samples.
... adult women and prepubescent males), many also have a capacity for sexual arousal and attraction to persons of other categories. Evidence for this erotic cross-responsiveness includes patterns of sexual offending (Seto, 2008), phallometric responses to erotic stimuli (Blanchard et al., 2012;Lykins et al., 2010), and self-reported attraction (Bailey et al., 2016b). Cross-category sexual responding is neither indiscriminate nor random, however. ...
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Background Men sexually interested in children of a specific combination of maturity and sex tend to show some lesser interest in other categories of persons. Patterns of men's sexual interest across erotic targets' categories of maturity and sex have both clinical and basic scientific implications. Method We examined the structure of men's sexual interest in adult, pubescent, and prepubescent males and females using multidimensional scaling (MDS) across four datasets, using three large samples and three indicators of sexual interest: phallometric response to erotic stimuli, sexual offense history, and self-reported sexual attraction. The samples were highly enriched for men sexually interested in children and men accused of sexual offenses. Results Results supported a two-dimensional MDS solution, with one dimension representing erotic targets' biological sex and the other dimension representing their sexual maturity. The dimension of sexual maturity placed adults and prepubescent children on opposite ends, and pubescent children intermediate. Differences between men's sexual interest in adults and prepubescent children of the same sex were similar in magnitude to the differences between their sexual interest in adult men and women. Sexual interest in adult men was no more associated with sexual interest in boys than sexual interest in adult women was associated with sexual interest in girls. Conclusions Erotic targets' sexual maturity and biological sex play important roles in men's preferences, which are predictive of sexual offending. The magnitude of men's preferences for prepubescent children v. adults of their preferred sex is large.
... genital responses of both androphilic (i.e., sexually attracted to men) and gynephilic (i.e., sexually attracted to women) men tend to be elicited by gender/sex cues that correspond with stated sexual preferences and interests (e.g., Blanchard, Klassen, Dickey, Kuban, & Blak, 2001 ;Freund, Watson, & Rienzo, 1989 ;Lykins et al., 2010 ;Rieger, Chivers, & Bailey, 2005;Rosenthal, Sylva, Safron, & Bailey, 2012 ;Sakheim, Barlow, Beck, & Abrahamson, 1985 ). Relative to men, the genital responses of androphilic women demonstrate much lower gender/sex cue-specifi city (e.g., Chivers et al., 2004 ;Chivers, Seto, & Blanchard, 2007 ;Laan, Sonderman, & Janssen, 1996;Peterson, Janssen, & Laan, 2010 ;Suschinsky et al., 2009 ; reviewed by Chivers, 2017 ;Lalumière, Sawatsky, Dawson, & Suschinsky, 2020). In fact, androphilic women consistently show comparable genital response magnitudes to depictions of sexual activity involving men or women (e.g., Chivers et al., 2004Chivers et al., , 2007Suschinsky et al., 2009 ) and this is despite variation in self-reported sexual arousal to male versus female sexual cues (e.g., Bossio, Suschinsky, Puts, & Chivers, 2014 ;Chivers et al., 2004Chivers et al., , 2007Chivers et al., , 2014Chivers & Timmers, 2012 ;Suschinsky et al., 2009 ). ...
Article
Women’s genital responses measured with a vaginal photoplethysmograph (VPP) demonstrate relatively low cue-specificity for gender/sex cues—the difference in genital responses between sexual stimuli with male or female content is relatively small compared to that of men. Cue-specificity for gender/sex cues is particularly low for androphilic women. It is common practice to compare responses to sexual stimuli (typically 60–120 s film clips) using a mean or peak (highest) value. This approach overlooks the continuous and dynamic nature of sexual responding during a stimulus. Recent results suggest that cue-specificity of genital response may increase throughout the duration of a sexual stimulus. We tested this possibility in a sample of 18 androphilic women. Sexual stimuli consisted of 240 s audiovisual film clips depicting male and/or female partnered sex or solitary masturbation. Gender/sex cue-specificity, assessed using VPP, did not vary across time: The degree of cue-specificity and the magnitude of genital response were established by approximately 60–90 s and were consistent throughout the stimulus duration. Low cue-specificity for genital response was observed despite variation in self-reported sexual arousal across stimulus categories. The findings are discussed within the context of initial- and later-occurring aspects of the sexual response, according to the information processing model of sexual arousal. The results also suggest that 90–120 s stimuli are of sufficient duration to capture vaginal photoplethysmographic responses to audiovisual stimuli in sexual psychophysiological research.
... Women's genital responses have low cue-specificity (e.g., Chivers & Bailey, 2005;Chivers, Rieger, Latty, & Bailey, 2004;Chivers, Seto, & Blanchard, 2007;Peterson, Janssen, & Laan, 2010;Suschinsky, Lalumière, & Chivers, 2009), especially relative to men, whose genital responses consistently demonstrate high cue-specificity for gender, age, and sexual activity (e.g., Blanchard, Klassen, Dickey, Kuban, & Blak, 2001;Freund, Watson, & Rienzo, 1989;Lykins et al., 2010;Rosenthal, Sylva, Safron, & Bailey, 2012;Sakheim, Barlow, Beck, & Abrahamson, 1985). One explanation for low cue-specificity in women is the preparation hypothesis (Suschinsky & Lalumière, 2011), which proposes that women's indiscriminate and seemingly automatic genital responses to any sexual cue functions to prepare the relevant organs for impending sexual activities, thereby preventing injury (also see Chivers, 2005;Laan, 1994;Laan & Janssen, 2007;Suschinsky et al., 2009). ...
Article
Women's genital responses are sensitive to the presence and intensity of sexual cues, yet some stimulus features (e.g., male vs. female actors, consensual vs. non-consensual interactions) have little influence on the magnitude of response–a phenomenon called low cue-specificity. Genital responses are typically assessed using vaginal photoplethysmography, a measure of vaginal vasocongestion, itself a precursor to lubrication. One explanation for low cue-specificity is the preparation hypothesis: Women genitally respond to almost all sexual cues because lubrication functions to protect genital organs from potential injury should vaginal penetration occur. In order to test the preparation hypothesis, both vaginal vasocongestion and introital lubrication were assessed in a sample of 20 women in response to sexually explicit films. While patterns of vasocongestion were consistent with low cue-specificity for gender cues and type of sexual activity, lubrication was specific to women's most preferred sexual stimulus categories. These results are inconsistent with the preparation hypothesis.
... One factor which may be contributing to low arousal in phallometric testing, as suggested by Lykins et al. is the advancement of technology such that the average person's access to virtually every form of explicit pornography via the Internet is relatively unhindered [34]. As these authors note, "The Internet provides access to a virtual smorgasbord of pornographic material, both professional and amateur, making available nearly anything a person might find sexually appealing (both legal and illegal) at the click of a mouse." ...
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Though phallometric assessment is no stranger to controversy it is still a procedure which is widely recognized as having considerable value. Researchers have cited it as a reliable means to assess age and gender preferences and to assess a preference for coercive versus consenting sexual activities. It is also the only method which allows a determination of an offender’s ability to inhibit deviant sexual arousal, a factor of principal importance is assessing risk of reoffending. This procedure is weakened, however, by the problem of low arousal, and often results are deemed too low to be interpreted. A factor contributing to low arousal may be the widespread availability of pornographic material on the internet, for this may desensitize participants to weaker stimuli used in some labs. In response to ethical concerns some labs have adopted the use of audio stimuli alone, and this may compromise the procedure. This study compares arousal to consenting adult heterosexual, adult female rape, and heterosexual pedophilia themes in response to audio versus slide versus video stimuli. Results from 142 incarcerated inmates reveal that visual stimuli are most effective and that the use of audio stimuli alone often yields sexual arousal profiles which are too low to be interpretable.
... Historically, the presence of girl victims is associated with less sexual deviancy in this population (Schmidt, Gykiere, Vanhoeck, Mann, & Banse, 2014). Furthermore, among men with a history of sex offending and/or sexual dysfunction who are primarily attracted to adult women, many report some attraction to prepubescent girls at a rate higher than their attraction to males of any age (Lykins et al., 2010). Taken together, findings suggest there may be overlap between community men sexually attracted to prepubescent girls and women, and that this overlap may be greater than it is for individuals attracted to prepubescent boys and men. ...
Article
Sexual attraction to children occurs in roughly 3 to 9 percent of the population. However, most knowledge about such desires comes from forensic samples, and most studies fail to assess preferred sexual activity and sexual partner. A new multimodal assessment of sexual desire was used to investigate interest in consensual and nonconsensual sex with adults and children in an online sample of men sexually attracted to children (n = 101). Desires were compared across history of sex offending behavior and preferred gender of child victim. Men who have and have not acted on their sexual attractions to children reported similar levels of sexual desire. Men primarily attracted to girls reported greater desire for sex with adults than did men primarily attracted to boys. Results highlight the heterogeneity of men sexually attracted to children as well as possible distinctions across gender of children to whom they are primarily attracted.
... Another limitation was that we did not assess sexual interests on a continuous scale and therefore, cannot make statements regarding the intensity of these sexual interests relative to others. This is problematic, as many men predominantly attracted to adult women also experience some attraction to pubescent or prepubescent body schemes that steadily decreases when female stimuli become more childlike (Lykins et al., 2010). While we find it unlikely that a man with only a minor sexual interest in, for instance, prepubescent or early pubescent children would report these interests as seemingly on par with his teleiophilic interests, we cannot rule it out. ...
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This study attempts to measure cognitions about adult-child sex by approaching the issue from a perspective of moral attitudes. We assessed ratings regarding direct and indirect harmfulness, nonconsent, exploitation, and differences in adults’ and children’s sexualities based on a description of adult-child sex without apparent child discomfort among an online sample of 120 pedohebephilic and 89 nonpedohebephilic German-speaking men. The results show that only 7.5% among pedohebephilic men had equal or less permissive attitudes than the average control, while 4.5% of nonpedohebephilic men had equal or more permissive attitudes than the average pedohebephilic man. Both groups did not, however, differ in their appraisal that children may suffer indirect harm via stigmatization. The findings also indicate that the moral perception of adult-child sex shows little differentiation among German-speaking lay people. We discuss the relevance of these findings for clinical practice and propose ideas for subsequent research.
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Introduction: The Revised Screening Scale for Pedophilic Interests (SSPI-2) was developed as a screening measure for pedophilia (sexual interest in prepubescent children), but the SSPI-2 items reflect offending against both prepubescent and pubescent children, roughly corresponding to victims under age 15. Aim: We examined whether the SSPI-2 is better interpreted as a measure of pedohebephilia (sexual interest in both prepubescent and pubescent children) by reanalyzing the original SSPI-2 data and reporting its new psychometric properties. Methods: The sample was comprised of 1,900 men whose clinical assessment data were entered into an archival database. All men in the sample had at least 1 child victim. Phallometric indices based on sexual responses to children relative to adults were used to classify individuals as having pedophilia only, hebephilia only (sexual interest in pubescent children), or pedohebephilia. Main outcome measure: The 5 SSPI-2 items were scored based on official file information sent by the referral source and self-disclosures about offending history made during the assessment. Results: The phallometric indices revealed that pedohebephilia was most frequently observed (22%), followed by hebephilia only (17%) and pedophilia only (3%). Classification accuracy analyses suggest that the SSPI-2 may be more appropriately interpreted as a measure of pedohebephilia than hebephilia only; there were too few cases of pedophilia only for classification analysis. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values are presented to assist users in selecting appropriate SSPI-2 cut-offs. Clinical implications: The SSPI-2 should be interpreted as a measure of pedohebephilia when used in clinical practice or research, and test users should select the most appropriate cut-off score based on their assessment context. Classification accuracy results are modest, and the scale may be most appropriately used in research or as a screening measure. Strengths & limitations: The study used a comprehensive clinical database with well-validated measures. A limitation is that the dataset did not contain other assessment measures of sexual interest in children, and we were unable to examine if the SSPI-2 could detect pedophilia only due to its low base rate. Conclusion: The SSPI-2 may be best conceptualized as a measure of pedohebephilia. Further, there was significant overlap between pedophilia and hebephilia; pedophilia only was rarely observed. Stephens S, Seto MC, Cantor JM, et al. The Revised Screening Scale for Pedophilic Interests (SSPI-2) May Be a Measure of Pedohebephilia. J Sex Med 2019;16:1655-1663.
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There are at least two different criteria for assessing pedophilia in men: absolute ascertainment (their sexual interest in children is intense) and relative ascertainment (their sexual interest in children is greater than their interest in adults). The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd edition (DSM-III) used relative ascertainment in its diagnostic criteria for pedophilia; this was abandoned and replaced by absolute ascertainment in the DSM-III-R and all subsequent editions. The present study was conducted to demonstrate the continuing need for relative ascertainment, particularly in the laboratory assessment of pedophilia. A total of 402 heterosexual men were selected from a database of patients referred to a specialty clinic. These had undergone phallometric testing, a psychophysiological procedure in which their penile blood volume was monitored while they were presented with a standardized set of laboratory stimuli depicting male and female children, pubescents, and adults.The 130 men selected for the Teleiophilic Profile group responded substantially to prepubescent girls but even more to adult women; the 272 men selected for the Pedophilic Profile group responded weakly to prepubescent girls but even less to adult women. In terms of absolute magnitude, every patient in the Pedophilic Profile group had a lesser penile response to prepubescent girls than every patient in the Teleiophilic Profile group. Nevertheless, the Pedophilic Profile group had a significantly greater number of known sexual offenses against prepubescent girls, indicating that they contained a higher proportion of true pedophiles. These results dramatically demonstrate the utility-or perhaps necessity-of relative ascertainment in the laboratory assessment of erotic age-preference.
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Phallometric testing is widely considered the best psychophysiological procedure for assessing erotic preferences in men. Researchers have differed, however, on the necessity of setting some minimum criterion of penile response for ascertaining the interpretability of a phallometric test result. Proponents of a minimum criterion have generally based their view on the intuitive notion that "more is better" rather than any formal demonstration of this. The present study was conducted to investigate whether there is any empirical evidence for this intuitive notion, by examining the relation between magnitude of penile response and the agreement in diagnoses obtained in two test sessions using different laboratory stimuli. The results showed that examinees with inconsistent diagnoses responded less on both tests and that examinees with inconsistent diagnoses responded less on the second test after controlling for their response on the first test. Results also indicated that at response levels less than 1 cm(3), diagnostic consistency was no better than chance, supporting the establishment of a minimum response level criterion.
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The term pedophilia denotes the erotic preference for prepubescent children. The term hebephilia has been proposed to denote the erotic preference for pubescent children (roughly, ages 11 or 12-14), but it has not become widely used. The present study sought to validate the concept of hebephilia by examining the agreement between self-reported sexual interests and objectively recorded penile responses in the laboratory. The participants were 881 men who were referred for clinical assessment because of paraphilic, criminal, or otherwise problematic sexual behavior. Within-group comparisons showed that men who verbally reported maximum sexual attraction to pubescent children had greater penile responses to depictions of pubescent children than to depictions of younger or older persons. Between-groups comparisons showed that penile responding distinguished such men from those who reported maximum attraction to prepubescent children and from those who reported maximum attraction to fully grown persons. These results indicated that hebephilia exists as a discriminable erotic age-preference. The authors recommend various ways in which the DSM might be altered to accommodate the present findings. One possibility would be to replace the diagnosis of Pedophilia with Pedohebephilia and allow the clinician to specify one of three subtypes: Sexually Attracted to Children Younger than 11 (Pedophilic Type), Sexually Attracted to Children Age 11-14 (Hebephilic Type), or Sexually Attracted to Both (Pedohebephilic Type). We further recommend that the DSM-V encourage users to record the typical age of children who most attract the patient sexually as well as the gender of children who most attract the patient sexually.
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In Reply. —Drs Haverkos and Drotman assert in their second paragraph that our conclusion regarding the negligible likelihood of an epidemic spread of HIV in the heterosexual population rests on a simple network model that relies exclusively on our survey findings that 80% of adults reported no or one sexual partner in the past year and the very low percentages of men and women reporting homosexual or bisexual activity during the same period. This is a gross simplification of the argument and its empirical support in chapters 6 and 7 devoted to the characterization of sexual networks in the United States and its implications for the epidemic, and chapter 11's extended discussion of the correlations of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) with numbers of sexual partners and sexual practices.1
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Twenty-seven erotic and sexually neutral movie clips were shown to 191 men, consisting of 62 heterosexual intrafamilial child sexual abusers, 57 heterosexual and 25 homosexual extrafamilial child sexual abusers and 47 community controls. The stimuli depicted males and females from ages 6 to 25 years. Maximum penile volume changes were recorded during the 30 second stimulus presentations. Analyses showed that the phallometric test had high internal consistency (alpha=0.93) and revealed the expected erotic preference profiles for controls and extrafamilial offender groups. The homosexual group reacted most to 13–15 year old boys which made them more easily discriminated from the other groups. The intrafamilial offenders, however, overlapped considerably with controls and only 10% showed a pattern of penile responses expected for the classical pedophile, i.e., largest responses to female children. The pattern of results supported the accumulating evidence that child sexual abusers are heterogeneous in terms of their sexual preference profiles.
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Penile volume reactions of homosexual and heterosexual males were compared, using slides of nudes of both sexes at various ages and slides of bland sexually neutral pictures. With the exception of the larger responses of the heterosexual controls to children of their preferred sex, the responses of the two groups to the various sex-age categories were comparable (no significant differences). With both groups, the responses to the various age categories of the non-preferred sex were indiscriminable from those to the neutral pictures. In a further experiment, six stimulus categories of slides were exposed: (1) pictures of skin afflictions from a dermatological textbook, (2 and 3) two categories of neutral slides, (4) nude pubescents, and (5) nude adults of the non-preferred sex. Before exposure of these slides, subjects were prearoused with slides of adult nudes of their preferred sex. With both groups the pictures of skin afflictions produced significantly more penile detumescence than the remaining stimulus categories. Pictures of persons of the non-preferred sex and the neutral slides were not significantly different. The heterosexual controls rated the pictures of skin conditions as more disgusting than those of males, and the latter in turn as more disgusting than neutral pictures. The homosexual males rated the skin afflictions as more disgusting than all the other pictures, but there was no significant difference in their verbal rating of female pictures and neutral slides. The studies did not support the hypothesis that homosexuality is a neurotic symptom.
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Because most heterosexual pedophilic offenses are committed by males who in fact erotically prefer adult females, the hypothesis was tested that males with nondeviant erotic preferences are generally prone to react in a sexual way to female children. With nondeviant subjects, penile volume changes (PVCs) were measured to stimulus slides and movie pictures of males and females, varying in age. There were significant differerences in PVCs to each of the female age groups shown, and responses were greater to all female age groups than to the male ones. PVCs to the youngest female age group (6 to 8 years) were clearly different not only from those to pictures of males but also from those to neutral slides. Reactions to certain parts of the female and male bodies at various stages of development were also assessed. Of female children, only the pubic region, and to some degree the buttocks, elicited clearly distinctive reactions.