Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] pp1085-sebu-478695 April 6, 2004 19:9 Style ﬁle version Nov 28th, 2002
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 16, No. 2, April 2004 (
An Exploration of Developmental Factors Related to
Deviant Sexual Preferences Among Adult Rapists
and Jean Proulx
The aim of this study was to investigate developmental factors related to deviant
sexual preferences in a sample of 118 sexual aggressors against women. For each
subject, developmental factors were collected through a semistructured interview,
whereas sexual preferences were assessed phallometrically using French trans-
lations of audiotaped stimuli developed by G. G. Abel, E. B. Blanchard, J. V.
Becker, and A. Djenderedjian (1978). Using multiple regression analyses, our re-
sults showed that a sexually inappropriate family environment, use of pornography
during childhood and adolescence, and deviant sexual fantasies during childhood
and adolescence are related to the development of deviant sexual preferences.
These results are in agreement with Knight and Sims-Knight’s model of sexual
aggression (R. A. Knight & J. E. Sims-Knight, in press).
KEY WORDS: rapists; phallometry; deviant sexual preferences; developmental factors.
Regarding the etiology of sexual deviance, Quinsey and Marshall (1983)
observed that “With respect to the concept of inappropriate arousal itself, there
are no theories of etiology which have other than laboratory demonstration of
plausibility or anecdotal support. We simply do not know how to account for
individual differences in sexual arousal patterns. Clearly, developmental studies
of the acquisition of sexual preferences should receive high priority” (p. 30).
Phallometry, that is, the recording of penile responses during the presentation
of deviant and nondeviant sexual stimuli, is the most valid method of determining
School of Criminology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Institut Philippe Pinel de Montr´eal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at School of Criminology, University of Montreal,
C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 3J7; e-mail: eric.beauregard@
2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation