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Scientists trace aberrant sexuality.
New York Times, Jan 23, 1990 v139 n48, 124 pB5, B8 (2K)
MDX Health Digest

by Brody JE

The aberrant sexuality of child molesters, exhibitionists, rapists, and others with peculiar but less repugnant erotic interest has its roots in early childhood--between ages 5 and 8--when the first links between love and sex are forged, says Dr. John Money, a pioneering researcher into aberrant sexuality. He has found the aberrancy is often fostered by traumatic family and social experiences, and that it becomes solidified in fantasy, dreams, and sometimes sex acts during adolescence, when a floodtide of sexual feelings naturally emerges. Most patients interviewed by Dr. Money had a strict antisexual upbringing. The distortions that result, long called sexual perversions, are now known medically as paraphilias. While paraphilias are presumed to be more far more common among men than women, Dr. Money suggests that they may simply be less violent and better hidden in women. There is no evidence that paraphilias are biologically determined, although hormonal factors may influence a child's susceptibility to developing a paraphilia. Dr. Money and other sex researchers say that too little is being done to help parents, counselors, or physicians detect or redirect abnormal psychosexual development before it reaches a destructive level. Most adult child molesters knew during adolescence that they were sexually interested in young children, but none felt that they could discuss the matter with anyone. As a result, the paraphilia festered until they were caught as criminals. Dr. Money believes that minor paraphilias are much more common than is generally realized, and may just be playful fantasies or fetishes that can easily fit into a normal sexual relationship between consenting adults. But other paraphilias can be personally and socially devastating. Most people with severe paraphilias describe themselves as periodically overcome by an irresistible compulsion to perform their aberrant sexual acts. Thus, try as he might, a family man with a responsible job may be unable to control his attraction to young girls.

Psychiatric disorders; Sex behavior

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