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Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment [saj] PP165-339972 July 20, 2001 11:13 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2001 (
Olfactory Aversion: Notes on Procedure, With
Speculations on Its Mechanism of Effect
D. R. Laws
The use of a self-administered noxious agent to suppress deviant sexual arousal is
the focus of this paper. A recommended procedure for the use of olfactory aversion
is described. Data from two publications by the author, wherein different noxious
agents had been used, are presented and discussed. Several explanations for the
mechanismof effect in olfactory aversion have been offered.Two of these, one using
procedure using the pain-producing agent is the simplest to implement, the least
ambiguous, and offers the least cumbersome explanation for the behavioral effect
observed in olfactory aversion. However, a conditioning explanation is probably
too simple. Several examples of cognitive mediation in conditioning procedures
are presented and discussed.
KEY WORDS: sexual offenders; sexual deviation; deviant sexual arousal; behavior therapy; aversive
therapy; punishment; cognitive mediation in conditioning.
The use of aversive techniques to alter undesirable behavior, particularly
deviant sexual behavior, interest, and arousal, has been widely reported for over
30years(Marshall,Anderson,&Fernandez,1999;Quinsey& Earls, 1990; Quinsey
& Marshall, 1983; Rachman & Teasdale, 1969).
One variety of aversive conditioning is olfactory aversion. Olfaction is de-
ﬁned as the ability to perceive and distinguish odors (Dorland’s Illustrated Medical
Dictionary, 1994). Olfactory aversion involves the temporal pairing of extremely
noxious but generally harmless odors with either the fantasized or actual perfor-
mance of a behavior, which typically results in the suppression of that behavior.
Olfactory aversion has a history in the behavior therapy literature. It was used
ﬁrst to suppress desire for food in obese persons (Kennedy & Foreyt, 1968; Wolpe,
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2001 Plenum Publishing Corporation