Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 16, No. 4, October 2004 (
The Content of Sexual Fantasies for Sexual Offenders
Dion G. Gee,
Grant J. Devilly,
and Tony Ward
Although the phenomenon of sexual fantasy has been extensively researched, lit-
tle contemporary inquiry has investigated the content of sexual fantasy within the
context of sexual offending. In this study, a qualitative analysis was used to develop
a descriptive model of the phenomena of sexual fantasy during the offence process.
Twenty-four adult males convicted of sexual offences provided detailed retrospec-
tive descriptions of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors before, during, and
after their offences. Using Grounded Theory, a model was developed to elucidate
the content and themes of sexual fantasy for sexual offenders, as well as the way
fantasy content was used in the process of sexual offending. The Sexual Fantasy
Content Model (SFCM) comprises of three higher-order (level 1) and ﬁve second-
order (level 2) categories that describe the content of sexual fantasy across the
offence process. The level 1 categories are general sexual fantasy, nonspeciﬁc of-
fence fantasy, and offence-speciﬁc fantasy, whereas the level 2 categories included
demographic, behavioral, relational, situational, and self-perceptual considera-
tions. The strengths of the SFCM are discussed and its clinical implications are
KEY WORDS: sexual fantasy; content; sexual offender; Grounded Theory.
Extensive research has demonstrated that people who have never partici-
pated in sexually aberrant behavior entertain sexual fantasies that involve de-
viant sexual imagery (Arndt, Foehl, & Good, 1985; McCollaum & Lester, 1994;
Person, Terestman, Myers, Goldberg, & Salvadori, 1989; Sue, 1979; Templeman
Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Centre for Neuropsychology, Swinburne University, Victoria, Australia.
School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Thornford Park-Blenheim, Crookham Common,
Thatcham, Berkshire RG19 8ET, England; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2004 Plenum Publishing Corporation