Sexual deviants


Sexual deviants refer to people who exhibit sexual deviation such that they do not conform to the sexual norms stipulated by the society. In the past a number of sexual behaviors were considered as sexual deviance while currently this may not be so.

A case in point is homosexuality which was regarded as a form of sexual deviant however it is not since a number of states in the world accept homosexuals and they even legalize same sex marriages. The presence of sexual deviants in the society could be as a result of the environment they have grown in which they are socialized to become sexual deviants (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001).

There are various types of sexual deviants who range from rapists, pedophiles, prostitutes and exhibitionists. Different explanations have come up on the causes of sexual deviants and they range from psychological explanations and social explanations. Several theories have been advanced to explain the presence of sexual deviants. The aim of this study is to establish the reason as to why there are sexual deviants in the society with an aim of treating the sexual deviants (Munroe and Gauvain, 2001).

Types of sexual deviants

There are various types of sexual deviants namely: pedophiles, prostitutes, exhibitionists, masochists, rapists and fetishists. Pedophiles refer to people who engage in sex with a child (Everything, 2011). In most cases the pedophiles victims are either relatives or friends. If the perpetrator is an extreme pedophile he or she may resort to killing the victim to avoid exposure. Prostitutes refer to men or women who have sex for financial gains.

Exhibitionists on the other hand refer to people, who expose their genitals in public in order to obtain sexual gratification. Masochists refer to people who engage in sexual activity with objects (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001). Fetishisms use items like bra’s and women’s underwear and shoes for sexual gratification. The type of sexual deviance in frotteurism includes touching and applying friction against people who have not given any consent (Everything, 2011).

Sexual deviants like voyeurs observe unsuspecting individuals as they undress or as they engage in sexual activity (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001). Rapists refer to people who utilize force to sexually assault their victim. In this case they obtain pleasure by forcefully assaulting their victims sexually. The perpetrators seem to hate women or suffer from certain sexual problems (Everything, 2011).

Causes of sexual deviance

Differential- association theory

Edwin Sutherland was credited for coming up with this theory in order to tackle the issue of how people learn deviance. This theory stipulates that one’s surrounding has a great impact on the way people behave in reference to the laid down norms such that people may decide to violate certain norms according to the laid down norms. According to this theory individuals learn about the existing norms in society from the various socializing agent who include; family, peers, co- workers, leader as well as the media.

In reality this is to say people acquire behaviors from the people they interact with because they are their intimate groups (Burgess & Ronald, 1996).

This theory can be used to explain some forms of sexual deviance like prostitution. A case in point is a group of prostitutes who provide an environment for other people to learn how to become prostitutes (Burgess & Ronald, 1996). The prostitutes define themselves as a subculture and praise prostitution as a way of achieving their goal, namely material wealth.

A group of people who are not deviants could become deviant through association of sexual deviants like exhibitionists. A group of prostitutes learn to be deviant as they accept and practice the prostitutes’ norms. On the other hand exhibitionists learn to be deviant through acceptance and practice of the exhibitionist norms (Burgess & Ronald, 1996) .

This theory is beneficial in the study of sexual deviance as it is the focal point in the process that takes place for sexual deviance to occur. According to this theory, people become sexual deviants on account of people they associate with. Nevertheless, this theory has been criticized as it is vague in terms of its terminology. Moreover, it cannot be validated empirically (Gijs and Gooren, 1996).

Anomie theory

According to this theory, anomie takes place when an individual becomes confused about the existing norms as well as norms that do not exist. Robert Merton created this theory to refer to the dissimilarity existing between objectives that are acknowledged by the society and the methods obtainable to accomplish those objectives (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001).

A case in point is the American society whose main objective is to attain riches, nevertheless majority of the American society do not have the ability acquire riches, and the most affected being the marginalized. As a result, those people who find they have no way to acquire wealth due to the obstacles present as they pursue the socially approved goal may resort to deviant behavior (Bartush, et al, 1997).

In such instances, individuals may opt to engage in deviant activities in order to achieve their objectives, they may go against the laid down rules by the society in order to prove a point (Bartush, et al, 1997). This theory is important in explaining the causes of the presence of the different types of sexual deviants such as prostitutes. Also people can practice exhibitionism through filming in pornographic movies.

From this theory one learns that some individuals choose to be prostitutes or exhibitionists in order to achieve their goals of attaining wealth (Bartush, et al, 1997). This theory puts a lot of emphasis on the function played by social forces in creation of deviance. In this case, prostitution and exhibitionism as sexual deviance comes about due to the search for wealth. Nevertheless, this theory has been criticized for a number of reasons.

First, it lacks in account of the progression that takes place for one to become a deviant. Secondly, there is no inclusion of internal factors that could lead to deviance. Lastly, just like the differential association theory, it cannot be verified empirically (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001).

The labeling theory

The main concern of this theory is the denotation that people get from the public through the signs, tags, the way they act as well as how they react. The theory postulates that various ways of behaving can only be deemed as deviant in instances where they are labeled as deviant by the society (Bartush, et al, 1997).

In this case members of the society deduce the constitution of deviant behavior and link this deviant behavior to a certain individual as they determine what constitutes deviant or non- deviant behavior. Members of the society with immense power tend to make an imposition of the most important labels (Bartush, et al, 1997). Labels given to individuals includes: retards, psychiatric patients, criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, delinquents as well as prostitutes (Bartush, et al, 1997).

According to research, individuals who have been labeled negatively, tend to have low self image hence they resort to rejecting themselves and act in a deviant manner due to the label they have been given. It is unfortunate that people, who accept the labelling of others whether true or false, find it difficult to transform their opinions of the labeled person (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001).

In case of labeling as a sexual deviant, one may become a sexual deviant to the acceptance of the label given. For example, if one’s dressing leads to one being regarded as a sexual deviant, one may actually become a sexual deviant as one already perceives himself to be a sexual deviant. The major criticism of this theory comes from the fact that, the concept used is not clear plus the assumptions made cannot be tested empirically (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001).

Biological account

According to the argument presented by the biological account, the cause of sexual deviance has a close relationship with the hormones in the body. Nevertheless, the majority of the studies fail to show the association between the level of hormones and the typical sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors (Cohen & Galynker, 2002).

Further studies into the relationship between hormones and sexual deviance have put a focus on other biological explanations which include alteration of the brain functions in sexual deviants, which could be as a result of trauma experienced early in one’s life during the process of development (Cohen & Galynker, 2002). Nevertheless, a lot has not been accomplished on the study of the effect of the mental processes that could lead to sexual deviancy in a person (Cohen & Galynker, 2002).

Psychoanalytic theory

This theory was put forth by Sigmund Freud and it has been used to explain the causes of several social problems. This theory is important in explaining the causes of sexual deviation. This theory is best in explaining the causes of fetishes. According to this theory the item of fetish is viewed as an insensible replacement for the mother’s missing penis that the boy discovered in the mother (Steele, 1996).

As a result, one becomes fixated on the fetish object, which then requires that sexual partners wear or associate themselves with the object. The individual with the fetish will maintain the insensible dream that his female partner has a penis, thereby not stirring his fear of castration (Steele, 1996).

According to this theory fetish of a particular object is related to the final instant prior to the boy learning of his mother’s state of castration. It follows that the items noticed lastly at the moment the boy viewed his mothers’ genitals. As a result, the fetish of fur could be as a result of linking it with pubic hair while the fetish for stocking could be linked with the mother’s shaved legs (Steele, 1996).

Modern explanations of fetish in a psychoanalytic view have argued that sexual abuse that may have happened early in life, under the caregivers becomes manifested later in life as a problem, such that one is incapable of forming as well as maintaining healthy and close associations.

The individual forms an alternative to the formation of close relations through satisfaction of sexual urges by use of objects or by use of behavior, which includes voyeurism, froutteurism and exhibitionism. Moreover, they may form associations with associates whose relationship are based on unequal power (Steele, 1996).

Cognitive- behavioral and learning explanations

According to this theory some form of sexual deviation could be as a result of previous experience in sex (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001). In this case it follows that a person who has peeped during childhood and witnessed nudity, or any form of sexual action, could be sexually aroused. As a result, if the individual carries on with this behavior, and masturbates as well as replay this in his mind and masturbates, it can result to voyeurism.

In this case, voyeurism has been linked to an individual becoming aroused sexually and experiencing pleasure (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001). Once one experiences orgasm, voyeurism may be reinforced in the future. As a result, each time an individual becomes aroused and has an orgasm, the individual may turn back to voyeuristic behavior and the connection between sexual arousal, orgasm and voyeurism becomes reinforced through classical conditioning.

This theory has been criticized as it does not answer the question as to why some people who have had early sexual experience have interests in sexual deviance while others do not. Moreover, it gives no elaboration of the process one undergoes in order to for one to become a sexual deviant (Munroe & Gauvain, 2001).

Treatment for sexual deviants

For one to properly treat the sexual deviants, it is important that a proper finding is made, where the type of sexual deviance is carefully interpreted as well as assessed clinically (Everything, 2011).

While doing this, the psychiatrist should look at the history of a patient and carry out a physical examination. In most cases a proper finding is made through a recommendation from the criminal justice system. (Everything, 2011) Experts, who deal with sexual deviants, should not be judgmental and if feasible they should avoid close contact with the sexual deviants.

Moreover, they should steer away from any behavior that reinforces deviant behavior. The environment should also be safe, where practical objectives for treatment are positioned. Due to the fact that some sexual deviants may susceptible to psychiatric problems, the form of treatment utilized should be appropriate (Everything, 2011).

There are various ways that have been proposed to treat sexual deviants. One such example is the psychoanalytic theory which is used in analyzing the cause for the presence of sexual deviants. In this case it defines sexual deviation to come about through the process of development.

As a result psychoanalysis can be used to treat the unresolved issues so as to ensure that one does not resort to sexual deviation due to unresolved issues while growing up (Wincze, 2000). On the other hand, the biological theories postulates that varying levels of hormones in the body could lead to sexual deviation, where this is mainly the case in individuals who have high levels of testosterone, the levels of testosterone could be reduced through administration of drugs ( Wincze, 2000).

The biological treatment can be used in preventing sexual deviation could be borrowed from the treatment given to sexual offenders (Rosler and Witztum, 2000). In this case, sex offenders are treated with anti androgenic substances like Depo provera which diminishes the sex drive in men in instances where it is administered by a professional (Cohen and Galynker, 2002).

The treatment of sexual deviants can accomplished using the behavioral approach. According to this approach a sexual deviant is taught how to stay away from anything that influences the individual into any form of sexual deviation (Cohen & Galynker, 2002).

Treatment for sexual deviation could include treatment where one monitors the behavior of the sexual deviant and keeps record of the causes of sexual deviation. Once the individual is aware of the causes of the sexual deviation he or she may scream “stop” in actual sense or internally in order to deter the individual from thoughts that would lead to sexual deviation (Cohen & Galynker, 2002).

Lastly, appropriate sexual relationships should be formed and as established to deter one from engaging in any forms of sexual deviation. In the process of doing this issues to do with sexual dysfunction should be dealt with and more emphasis put on the development of social skills, assertiveness and communication. Once this is dealt with an individual who is a sexual deviant due to poor relationship will not find the need to become a sexual deviant (Krueger & Kaplan, 2002).

Psychotherapy is a form of treatment for sexual deviants which involves conversing of the sexual deviant with a therapist for a certain period of time. This type of treatment involves the identification of the forces leading to sexual deviance by the sexual deviant an in turn the therapist helps the sexual deviant overcome his sexual deviance through molding his thoughts (MedIndia, 2011).

While this method has been successful in some cases it has however proved to be ineffective in some cases. The main reason for this is the fact that most sexual deviants consider that the troubles stemming from sexual acts considered as deviant have their roots from the prejudice by the society due to the variation in sexual behavior (MedIndia, 2011).


From the above study one learns that sexual deviance refers to forms of sexual behaviors that are not accepted by the society. It is noteworthy that while some forms of sexual behaviors like homosexuality was regarded as deviant traditionally, it is presently not referred to as a form of sexual deviance as it is acceptable in several areas of the world.

This is whereby homosexuals are accepted as normal people in the society who do not from the social norm and as a result same sex marriages are legalized in a number of countries like America. The various existing forms of sexual deviants originate from the environment where one becomes a social deviant due to the socialization one gets from the environment.

Prior experience in sex is also known to be a cause of sexual deviation. In other instance sexual deviance can be explained by the body make up whereby the varying levels of certain hormones like testosterone is believed to be a cause of sexual deviation. There are several methods that are proposed to treat sexual deviants hence it is up to the psychologists to know the best method to treat a sexual deviant.


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