SEXUAL FANTASIES OF THE RAPISTS.

AuthorBaic, Valentina
  1. Introduction

    Every sexual act, whether considered to be normal or deviant, comes from fantasies, which are regarded as a central aspect of human sexuality. The only significant difference between those who are sexual offenders and the ones who are not, is not in the presence of deviant sexual fantasies, but in the fact that offenders have fewer general (normal) sexual fantasies (Daleiden, Kaufman, Hilliker, and O'Neil 1998:195). General sexual fantasies reflect healthy sexuality and represent a form of normal sexual stimulation, which is used to promote sexual arousal and enjoyment (Singer 1966 according to Leitenberg and Heening 1995:470). Unlike general sexual fantasies, deviant sexual fantasies contain sexual themes that can be considered pathological or deviant, as they encourage a deviant pattern of sexual arousal (McCollaum and Lester 1994 according to Geoff and Belofastov 2007:51; Templeman, Stinnett 1991 Gee and Belofastov 2007:51). Deviant sexual fantasies are also defined as the sexual fantasies which are statistically the least represented in the general population or those that are associated with socially unacceptable behaviour (Leitenberg and Heening 1995; Gee and Belofastov 2007:51). The widely accepted view is that deviant sexual fantasies, dominated by the aggressive potential of the rapists, are present in the most serious sex crimes. The mentioned aggressiveness is mostly aimed at sexual desire (Novakovic, Kulic, Despotovic, Maric-Burmazevic, Medenica, and Jovanovic 2014:6), and it is actualized through the criminal act itself, that is, through the act of rape, which arises from aggressive pulsion more often than from the sexual instinct (Gajic, Misic-Pavkov, Ivanovic-Kovaevic, and Cvijanovic 2005:65).

    The psycho-sexual component of the sexual instinct varies from individual to individual and integrates specific cognitive and sensory stimuli that cause sexual arousal (Hazelwood and Warren 2001:84). Sexual arousal stems from sexual fantasy and vice versa (Holmes and Holmes 2002a:80), which implies that a deviant form of sexual arousal encourages and reinforces deviant sexual fantasies and vice versa. Thus, the basic assumption is that deviant excitement increases the likelihood of deviant fantasy, which ultimately increases the likelihood of deviant sexual behaviour. In most cases, an individual's fantasy is sufficient to satisfy the rapist's psycho-sexual desires. It is only at the point when sexual fantasies can no longer be satisfied that aggressive desire occurs (Hazelwood and Warren 2001:86; Hickey 2006:47), which leads to behaviour that involves the most diverse practices, including physical assault, hostility, verbal abuse, etc. Bearing in mind the above, it should be noted that different models of sexual reactions can be found in the rapists, which implies that all rapists will not be excited by the same details or motives (Knight and Prentki 1990, according to Barbaree and Marshall 1991:622). Variations in models of sexual reactions are almost unlimited in any rape sequence, which is why they can demonstrate characteristic patterns of behaviour (Wet 2008:73).

    Most of the research that dealt with general sexual fantasy issues were focused on two areas and covered the following questions: How often do people fantasize and when and what is the incidence or frequency of their fantasies? The second area concerned the study of contents of sexual fantasies. Regarding the problem of criminal sexual behaviour, the emphasis is placed on studying the role and contribution that sexual fantasy can have in the behaviour of sexual offenders (Leitenberg and Heening 1995:471).

    Some of the leading researchers, such as Abel and Blanchard (1974 according to Leitenberg and Heening 1995:486), supported the theory of deviant sexual arousal or the hypothesis of the so-called sexual preferences. According to this theory, sexual offenders are more excited by the stimuli which are related to sexual assault or rape than by the stimuli related to a voluntary sexual act. The hypothesis that deviant excitement increases the likelihood of deviant fantasy was tested in laboratory conditions by means of the plethysmograph, which measured changes in the penis size during arousal (Becker, Kaplan, and Tenke 1992, according to Fanniff and Becker 2013:522; Hall, Proctor, and Nelson 1988; Simon and Schouten 1991 according to Farrall 1992:218). The results of these studies failed to yield the expected results, most likely due to the significant limitations of experimental research, in which it is impossible to achieve what the rapists fantasize about in realistic conditions and in everyday life (Marshall, Barbaree, and Eccles 1991 according to Leitenberg and Heening 1995:490). Better results have been achieved with the population of convicted juveniles, since it has been found that between 35% and 40% of minors are more likely to experience more intense sexual arousal than adult offenders (Barbaree and Marshall 1989 according to Leitenberg and Heening 1995:487).

    In the studies where perpetrators of rape were respondents, the results showed that there was an equal level of excitement during rape and voluntary sexual act (Barbaree, Marshall, and Lanthier 1979 according to Leitenberg and Heening 1995:487). The hypothesis that sex offenders have deviant sexual fantasies more often (than non-offenders), which is causally related to sex offences has not been confirmed, although there are studies in which significant results have been obtained (Leitenberg and Heening 1995:487). Research studies in which sex offenders denied the presence of deviant fantasies nevertheless indicated the frequency of sexual fantasies, which is best illustrated by the research conducted by McGuire, Carlisle and Young (1965:185), in which a sample of 52 (75 percent) paraphiliacs admitted that their behaviour had to do with sexual fantasies. In the studies where respondents were those who had committed sexual homicide, as many as 80% said they had masturbatory fantasies during rape (Burgess, Hartman, and Ressler 1986:251). Masturbatory fantasies were also recorded in a study conducted by Evans (1968:17) with exhibitionists, who declared in 50% of the cases that they regularly masturbated when exposing their genitals.

    Regarding the content of sexual fantasies, research shows that sex offenders reported on two kinds of fantasies: general sexual fantasy and fantasy that involved rape (Gee, Devilly, and Ward 2004 according to Geoff and Belofastov 2007:51). From the point of view of criminalistics, the fantasies characteristic of attacks and especially sexual behaviour towards the victim are more significant. In the research conducted by Baic and Lajic (2017:33), it was found that the exact information about the sexual behaviour of a sexual offender towards the victim can be considered a characteristic pattern of behaviour, which indirectly can indicate the significance of sexual fantasy.

    On the basis of the above, we can assume that--due to its uniqueness--sexual fantasy can be considered as one of the important sources of information about the rapist (Holmes and Holmes 2002b:16), especially because of the connection with the motivation and steps that the rapist must follow, in order to achieve sexual arousal and 'resulting' behaviour. Bearing in mind the importance of this issue, we have also conducted a survey in order to systematically compare the content and frequency of general sexual fantasies, as well as sexual fantasies related to rape.

  2. Method

    2.1. Sample and procedure

    The survey included 40 male convicts aged 24 to 69 (AS = 41.5), who were serving a sentence of imprisonment for committing the criminal offence of rape under Article 178 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia. Detailed data on the age structure of the...

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