What is the role of fantasy in sex offending?
AuthorHowitt, Dennis /Farrington, D. P.
SourceCriminal Behaviour And Mental Health: CBMH
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Background: Forensic practitioners conventionally accept that sexual fantasy plays a crucial role in the more serious forms of sexual offending. Fantasy is believed to escalate as part of an increasing cycle of offending severity.Aim: This paper explores the various possible roles of sexual fantasy in sex offending.Method: The research literature on the role of sexual fantasy in the sexual behaviours of offender and non-offender groups is surveyed. Using research evidence, the strengths of the different models that emerge are assessed.Results: Fantasy in non-offenders has been shown to be a separate domain of experience that serves to arouse sexually but does not guide behaviour. A number of different models of fantasy in offending are considered: (a) fantasy as a blueprint for offending(b) fantasy as a rehearsal for offending(c) fantasy as a means of sexual arousal(d) fantasy and offending having common originsand (e) fantasy enhancement/renewal as a cause of offending.Conclusions: It is argued that the study of sexual fantasy in non-contact sex offenders may have theoretical and practical benefits for research and practice with sex offenders in general.