Why Sex (Offending) Is Different

Criminal Justice Ethics 30 (2), 151-172, July 2011

41 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2012 Last revised: 30 Sep 2013

Date Written: 2011


The central premise of this paper is that a significant amount of sex offending stems from unusual or inappropriate sexual preferences that appear in early adolescence, are relatively stable, and immutable. In other words, they are like the more ordinary sexual preferences with which we are familiar. As such, they generate sexual impulses that are insistent. Individuals will be strongly tempted to act on them, alternatives to satisfying them will be unfulfilling, and complete long-term control of such impulses is unlikely. Yet since individuals with sexual preferences for inappropriate objects or activities are neither morally nor legally permitted to act on them, they find themselves in a terrific bind. The public is, to some extent, correct in not trusting the individuals with such preferences and thus in attempting to monitor or control them. However, most efforts to do so appear ineffective and counterproductive. Recidivist sex offenders are particularly worrisome. The possibility of voluntary castration for such offenders, in lieu of preventive detention or other more restrictive measures, is explored.

Keywords: sex offenders, recidivism, paraphilias, preventive detention, castration, self-control

Suggested Citation

Lippke, Richard, Why Sex (Offending) Is Different (2011). Criminal Justice Ethics 30 (2), 151-172, July 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2189437

Richard Lippke (Contact Author)

Indiana University ( email )

Department of Criminal Justice
Bloomington, IN
United States
812-856-6049 (Phone)

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