Title: Sexual Arousal and Arousability to Pedophilic Stimuli in a Community Sample of Normal Men
Author(s): Gordon C. Nagayama Hall, Richard Hirschman, and Lori L. Oliver
Affiliation: Kent State University, Ohio
Citation: Hall, G.C.N., Hirschman, R., & Oliver, L.L., “Sexual Arousal and Arousability to Pedophilic Stimuli in a Community Sample of Normal Men,” Behavior Therapy, Vol. 26, 1995, pp. 681-694.
Self-reported and physiological sexual arousal to adult and pedophilic stimuli were examined among 80 men drawn from a sample of volunteers. Over 1/4 of the current subjects self-reported pedophilic interest or exhibited penile arousal to pedophilic stimuli that equaled or exceeded arousal to adult stimuli. The hypothesis that arousal to pedophilic stimuli is a function of general sexual arousability factors was supported in that pedophilic and adult heterosexual arousal were positively correlated, particularly in the physiological data. Subjects who were highly arousable, insofar as they were unable to voluntarily and completely inhibit their sexual arousal, were more sexually aroused by all stimuli than were subjects who were able to inhibit their sexual arousal. Thus, arousal to pedophilic stimuli does not necessarily correspond with pedophilic behavior.
This study examined men’s heterosexual attraction to adult women and prepubescent girls. The 80 men were recruited through newspaper advertisements, and therefore were not necessarily representative of the general population. Their average age was 38, and their average IQ was 110. Fifty-two were Caucasian and 25 were African American. Twenty-eight were never married, 26 were married, and 26 were separated, divorced, or widowed.
The researchers administered questionnaires to determine the men’s sexual orientation and sexual behavior. Seventy-nine of the 80 subjects indicated at least some sexual interest in adult women, and all 80 subjects reported that they had engaged in sexual acts with adult women. Sixteen of the 80 subjects (20%) admitted at least some interest in prepubescent girls, and 3 subjects (4%) admitted to engaging in sexual behavior with them.
The researchers also presented visual and audio sexual stimuli to the subjects, and measured their response using the penile plethysmograph. Visual stimuli consisted of slides of nude prepubescent girls, nude adult women, and clothed prepubescent girls. Audio stimuli consisted of audio-taped descriptions of consenting sexual intercourse with a woman, consenting sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl, the rape of an unwilling girl, and nonsexual physical violence against an unwilling girl.
Twenty-six subjects (33%) exhibited sexual arousal to the child slides that equaled or exceeded their arousal to the adult slides. Twenty-one subjects (26%) exhibited sexual arousal to the child consenting tapes that equaled or exceeded their arousal to the adult consenting tapes.
Neither female pedophilic interest nor female pedophilic activity was significantly associated with subject age or IQ. The subjects who admitted to engaging in pedophilic behavior were not outliers in terms of their physiological sexual arousal patterns.
Situations in which the partner consented to sexual activity, even when the partner was a child, were more sexually arousing to the men than situations which involved force. Those who were more intensely aroused by adult stimuli tended also to be more intensely aroused by pedophilic stimuli.