Gavin, Helen (2009) The Psychology of Sexual Deviance. In: The [British Psychological Society] North East of England Branch 2nd Annual Conference, 26-27 June 2009, Sheffield Park Hotel. (Unpublished)

There is one topic that is guaranteed to polarise any group that discusses it, and that is sex. The perception of what is sexually perverted shifts dependent on who is talking about it. A person’s profession, gender, age, race, proclivities, education and even which century they live in, have all effected the viewpoint on sex and sexual perversions. For example, homosexuality has long been stigmatised as sexually perverted, (and remains so among some portions of society), but psychological and medical professionals no longer consider it pathological. Even the term perversion is controversial. Psychologists generally refer to non-traditional sexual behaviour as sexual deviation or, in cases where the specific object of arousal is unusual, as paraphilia. There are a number of clinically recognised disorders of sexual or paraphiliac function, including fetishism (the object of sexual desire is either an inanimate object or a non-genital part of the human anatomy), voyeurism (the covert viewing of other individuals who are naked, undressing, or engaged in sexual activity) and chronophilia (the primary sexual attraction is to a particular age group). Many of these behaviours are punishable by law. Although rape is not classified as a paraphilia, it is a serious sexual deviance, and perhaps the most highly reviled form of sexual gratification.
This lecture will explore forms of sexual deviance and sexual violence that come to the attention of forensic psychology, and outline the psychological theories that attempt to explain why some people find sexual gratification in unusual and illegal ways. You may be surprised at the ways in which the law impinges upon sex.

Conference programme
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