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Men Presenting With Sexual Thoughts of Children or Coercion: Flights of Fancy or Plans for Crime?

25 January 2017

Publication Date
30 November 2016

Original Abstract
There is limited evaluation of clinical and theoretical claims that sexual thoughts of children and coercing others facilitate sexual offending. The nature of these thoughts (what they contain) also is unknown.

To examine the relation between child or coercive sexual thoughts and sexual offending and to determine the nature of these thoughts and any differences among sexual offending (SO), non-sexual offending (NSO), and non-offending (NO) men.

In a cross-sectional computerized survey, anonymous qualitative and quantitative self-reported sexual thought and experience data were collected from 279 adult volunteers composing equal numbers of SO, NSO, and NO men recruited from a medium-security UK prison and a community sample of 6,081 men.

Computerized Interview for Sexual Thoughts and Computerized Inventory of Sexual Experiences.

Three analytical approaches found child sexual thoughts were related to sexual offending; sexual thoughts with coercive themes were not. Latent class analyses identified three types of child sexual thought (primarily differentiated by interpersonal context: the reporting of own emotions, emotions of others, or both) and four types of sexual thoughts of coercing others (chiefly discriminated by the other person's response: no emotional states reported, consent, non-consent, or mixed).

Type of child sexual thought and participant group were not significantly related. Type of coercive sexual thought and group were marginally related; the consensual type was more common for the NO group and the non-consensual type was more common for the SO group than expected statistically.

Child sexual thoughts are a risk factor for sexual offending and should be assessed by clinicians. In general, sexual thoughts with coercive themes are not a risk factor, although thought type could be important (ie, thoughts in which the other person expresses an enduring lack of consent). Exploring the dynamic risk factors associated with each type of child and coercive thought could lead to more targeted treatment.

Turner-Moore, T., and Waterman, M. (2016). Hommes présentant des pensées sexuelles envers les enfants ou des pensées sexuelles coercitives : fantasmes ou orientation vers le crime? Journal of Sexual Medicine, 14(1). DOI: 10. 1016/j.jsxm.2016.11.003.

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