Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] pp916-sebu-469142 July 15, 2003 15:49 Style ﬁle version Nov 28th, 2002
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 15, No. 4, October 2003 (
Considerations on Fantasy Use by Child
Molesters and Exhibitionists
and Roger Wolfe
In many sex offender treatment programs, the examination and replacement of
deviantfantasy use withappropriatefantasy use is a well-established practice. This
practice is based on the assumption that sexual offenders use deviant masturbatory
fantasies prior and after committing sexual offenses, but the data available to
support this assumption is fairly limited. This study attempted to test the validity of
this assumption by ﬁnding out whether a majority of exhibitionistic offenders and
child molesters used deviant masturbatory fantasies prior and/or after their ﬁrst
offense. Data analysis from 57 child molesters and 25 exhibitionistic offenders
indicate that a majority of these offenders used masturbatory deviant fantasies
before and after their ﬁrst offenses,butthey tended to use signiﬁcantly more deviant
fantasies after they engage in their ﬁrst actual offense. Content of deviant fantasies
was examined in relation to victim speciﬁcity. There were no signiﬁcant differences
between the number of deviant fantasies reported about a speciﬁc victim versus the
number of fantasies reported about a nonspeciﬁc victim. We found a signiﬁcant
positive correlation between the number of deviant fantasies reported and the
number of months spent in treatment by child molesters, but not by exhibitionistic
offenders. Some tentative explanations for these ﬁndings are offered, but further
elucidation is necessary.
KEY WORDS: fantasy; offender; child molestation; exhibitionism.
Examining the use of deviant fantasies by sexual offenders and encouraging
the gradual replacement of these fantasies with appropriate ones seem to be com-
mon, well-established practices in the treatment of sexual offenders. These prac-
tices are based on the assumption that sexual offenders use deviant masturbatory
Twin Rivers Sex Offender Treatment Program, Monroe, Washington.
Northwest Treatment Associates, Seattle, Washington.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at 315 West Galer, Seattle, Washington 98119; e-mail:
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation