When our Research team was established, there were many child molester patients who presented a serious puzzle to the clinical staff. Because of the nature of their offenses, continued good behavior in hospital could not be taken as proof they were good candidates for release. No one knew why they committed their offenses, or what assessments and treatments should be provided.
We established a phallometric laboratory because the scientific evidence indicated that child molesters' offenses were related to sexual attraction for children. This seems clear now, but was not the clinical consensus then. Since, studies demonstrated the sexual deviance of child molesters, showed that some men could fake sexual preferences, and then showed how faking could be prevented. Other studies explored technical aspects of sexual preference assessment. Others showed that sexual attraction to children did not decrease even when pain and suffering of victims was depicted. Still other results showed that sexual preferences predicted recidivism.
More recent results suggest a prenatal basis for deviant sexual preferences. As well, the work was extended to rapists where the same questions were explored. All this research leads away from attitudes, low self esteem, and lack of insight as explanations and treatment targets for sex offenders. All the results point to sexual preferences as central to explaining sexual aggression.
Our book, The Causes of Rape: Understanding Individual Differences in Male Propensity for Sexual Aggression was published by the American Psychological Association. The authors are Martin Lalumière, Grant Harris, Vern Quinsey, and Marnie Rice. Click here to see a review.