The eroticized violent crime: A psychiatric perspective with six clinical examples

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6 Scopus citations


Rape and a variety of other sexual offenses are defined by statute as criminal acts. Understandably, from the victim’s perspective, such acts, especially sexual assault, are experienced as aggressive and hostile traumas. Descriptions of the perpetrator’s actions, and of their consequences, do not necessarily help to elucidate motivation. Sexual offenses can be enacted out of a variety of motivations. In some cases, the behaviors in question may be a manifestation of a psychiatric disorder with accompanying severe impairment. This paper reviews the clinical cases of six convicted sexual offenders in an attempt to explore motivational factors. The cases presented include 1) a sociopathic opportunistic rapist; 2) an angry rapist; 3) a developmentally-impaired offender; 4) a psychotic rapist; 5) a paraphiliac, or sexually-driven rapist; and 6) a rare case of sexual assault associated with voyeurism. Substance abuse as an additional contributory factor is discussed as well. The behaviors of some sexual offenders are driven by pathological erotic cravings in a compulsive fashion analogous to an addiction. It is essential that professionals evaluate the motivation and not just the behaviors. Proper treatment may depend upon making the appropriate diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-31
Number of pages23
JournalSexual Addiction and Compulsivity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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