Popular Books on Forensic Science and Forensic Medicine: Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine, Vol. 8, No. 1, January - June 2007
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Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology

Anil Aggrawal's Internet Journal of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology

Volume 8, Number 1, January - June 2007

Book Reviews: Popular Books Section

(Page 4)


A PATH BREAKING ENCYCLOPEDIA

quote start...On the face of it, the work appears to be primarily meant for specialists - especially when you look at the detailed references section at the end of each chapter. However I found the writing style fairly simple and devoid of unnecessary technical terms - to the extent that I came to believe that the encyclopedia could easily be understood by an educated layman....Highly recommended for one and all...quote end


 Sex and Sexuality [Three Volumes] edited by Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette - [Volume 1 - Sexuality Today: Trends and Controversies. Volume 2 - Sexual Function and Dysfunction. Volume 3 - Sexual Deviation and Sexual Offenses]. Hardcover, 6" x 9".
Praeger Publishers, (An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.), 88 Post Road West, Westport CT 06881. Tel, (203) 226-3571. (Series: Praeger Perspectives). Publication Date May 30, 2006. Pages Vol 1, [xii+377] + Vol 2, [xii+277] + Vol 3, [xii+287]. ISBN: 0-275-98581-4. ISBN-13: 978-0-275-98581-3. Shipping Weight: 4.15 pounds. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 2006001233. Book Code: C8581. DOI: 10.1336/0275985814. LCC Class: HQ21. Dewey Class: 306. Price: $275.00 (UK Sterling Price: £155.00)

Official site: Click here to visit.

Praeger Perspectives: Click here to visit.

Amazon Link: Click here to visit

Sex and Sexuality [Three Volumes] edited by Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette
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 Modern world faces several wide ranging key issues ranging from global warming and the death penalty to sex and sexuality. The only publisher in this reviewer's knowledge who has tried to address all these issues is Praeger under their key series "Praeger Perspectives". Books published under this series are multivolume sets (usually 3 to 4 volumes) that tackle each of these headline issues. For these sets, the publishers commission top experts from around the world to cover the issue from every perspective, providing a mini-library of up-to-date, authoritative information. The encyclopedia under review addresses one such issue - sex and sexuality.

The encyclopedia includes three volumes, each addressing one key issue related to sexuality today. Volume 1 discusses the current trends and controversies in sexuality (examples - Childhood and adolescent sexuality, Later life sexuality, Commercial sex and pornography, Sexuality, race and ethnicity). There are a total of 14 essays in this volume. Volume 2, containing 11 essays, focuses on sexual function and dysfunction (examples - Sexual arousal disorders, orgasmic problems and disorders, chronic disease, disability and sexuality). Finally, volume 3 - perhaps the most interesting of all volumes - in another 11 essays, delves on sexual deviation and sexual offenses (examples - Violent sex crimes, Exhibitionism, Sadomasochism, Pedophilia, Sexual assault and Treatment of Sex Offenders).

In Association with Amazon.com

Together, the 36 essays (14+11+11) attempt to cover trends and controversies in sexuality today, including research, theories, behavior in the US, later life, orientation and identity, gender, the social construction of sexuality, race and ethnicity, pornography, the sex trade, risk-taking and erotic plasticity; sexual function and dysfunction, including anatomy, arousal and response, evolutionary perspectives on relationships, love, desire, disorders, therapy, compulsivity and chronic disease.

Volume 1 deals with current trends and controversies in sexuality as they exist today. In Chapter 1 entitled "Sex Research" has been written by Michael Wiederman, an associate professor of psychology at Columbia college. In this chapter he explores not only methods but also motives for conducting sex research. Challenges include the stigma attached to sex re­search, possible volunteer bias, and the potential inaccuracies of sex surveys. In Chapter 2 entitled "Theories of Human Sexuality" has been written by Roy F. Baumeister (the Eppes Eminent Professor of psychology at Florida State University) and colleagues. They offer a concise and informative over­view of the leading theories of sexuality. They argue that the two leading theoretical camps-social constructionism and evolutionary psychology­ approach the status of cults with their respective dogmatic doctrines and dedicated followers. The historical significance of Freudian theory and, more recently, of social exchange theory is addressed. Kilmer and Shahinfar, in Chapter 3, lament the lack of research on sexuality in childhood, which is truly one of the last frontiers in sex research because of enduring taboos. The limited research has been mostly concerned with abnormal sexual development. The authors favor an ecological systems approach, which considers the contribution of such influences as peer culture, family factors, and community structure to sexual development. Adolescent sexuality has been the subject of much dis­cussion and debate. As Rapsey and Murachver note in Chapter 4, adolescence has invariably been viewed as a problematic phase in human development, including sexual development. This flawed depiction of adolescence has hindered research on normal sexual expression during this phase. Although unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases first become evident in this age-group, these problems do not affect most teens, nor should they define adolescent sexuality. Drawing from the General Social Surveys (GSS), Smith, in Chapter 5, offers a succinct summary of important social trends in sexual behavior in the United States. The summary traces changes in sexual activity over the past few decades, including changing rates of cohabitation, extra­marital relations, gender of sexual partners, frequency of sexual intercourse and of sexual inactivity, and the impact of HIV. Few topics make people more uncomfortable than sexuality in later life. Sharpe criticizes these prejudiced attitudes and their detrimental impact on mature adults in Chapter 6. The limited research confirms that older adults can, and generally do, enjoy sexual intimacy into late life, even as they redefine the meanings of sex and intimacy.

Sex and Sexuality [Three Volumes] edited by Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette
quote start...The encyclopedia includes three volumes, each addressing one key issue related to sexuality today. Volume 1 discusses the current trends and controversies in sexuality (examples - Childhood and adolescent sexuality, Later life sexuality, Commercial sex and pornography, Sexuality, race and ethnicity). There are a total of 14 essays in this volume. Volume 2, containing 11 essays, focuses on sexual function and dysfunction (examples - Sexual arousal disorders, orgasmic problems and disorders, chronic disease, disability and sexuality). Finally, volume 3 - perhaps the most interesting of all volumes - in another 11 essays, delves on sexual deviation and sexual offenses (examples - Violent sex crimes, Exhibitionism, Sadomasochism, Pedophilia, Sexual assault and Treatment of Sex Offenders)...quote end

Sexual orientation remains a fascinating if controversial aspect of human sexuality. In Chapter 7, Kauth reviews the growing amount of research on sexual orientation and identity. His comprehensive and objective review fo­cuses on the relevant findings in America and in other cultures, the current sexuality theories, and recent events involving sexual orientation. In Chapter 8, Burnette examines the relevant research on sex and gender, concluding that men and women are more similar than different. Although popular stereotypes about gender are resistant to change, the findings on transgenderism challenge these simplistic notions. Our views about sexuality are highly influenced by such major sociocultural institutions as the family, medicine, religion, and the media. Bay-Cheng's critical examination in Chapter 9 of these influences dissects or "deconstructs" the various messages, thereby highlighting the comparative and arbitrary nature of these "truths" relating to sex and sexuality.

Her analysis challenges many dominant views of sex in the United States, such as the idea that sexual intercourse alone qualifies as "real" sex. In the same vein, Lewis demonstrates in Chapter 10 that our views of race and ethnicity are determined by culture rather than nature. In other words, categories of race are socially created rather than absolute and biologically determined. Here, too, we find racial stereotypes are oversimplifications. For example, contrary to the stereotype of higher levels of sexual activity among African Americans, Lewis finds this group to be more sexually conservative than others.

The sex trade, in all of its forms, remains a highly visible and controversial aspect of sexuality. Chapter 11 by Brown reviews the extensive and conflicting research on pornography, concluding that it is not as innocuous as some have argued. Brown proposes that even nonviolent pornography promotes callous attitudes toward women. Bullough and McAnulty offer an overview of the research on the "world's oldest profession" in Chapter 12. Despite the stigma, the sex trade thrives in most parts of the world. The authors also discuss a group that has largely been ignored in sex research, namely exotic dancers. Gil-Rivas and Kooyman discuss sexual risk-taking in Chapter 13. Efforts to understand and prevent sexual risk-taking require an examination of the social context, which in turn is influenced by a variety of individual and contextual factors such as characteristics of the individual, aspects of close interpersonal rela­tionships, attitudes, beliefs, cultural norms, and social and economic condi­tions. Finally, in a thought-provoking thesis, Roy F. Baumeister and Tyler Stillman offer what will be one of the most controversial chapters in the set. Their discussion of erotic plasticity in Chapter 14 proposes that women's sexual responses and feelings are more affected by social, cultural, and situational factors, whereas male sexuality is relatively more shaped by genetic, hormonal, and other bi­ological factors. For example, the authors point out that women are more likely than men to alter the frequency of sexual activity based on situational factors, and they are also more likely to explore sexual variations, such as same­ sex experimentation, than men. Although this chapter is unlikely to resolve this debate, it should inspire lively discussion and productive research.

Sex and Sexuality [Three Volumes] edited by Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette
quote start...Volume 2 of this encyclopedia deals with normal sexual function and dysfunction. It opens with an overview of our remarkable reproductive anatomy. Chapter 1, by M. Michele Burnette, covers the structure and function of all the major reproductive organs of the male and female. This chapter, combined with Chapter 2 by George J. Demakis on the role of the brain and the endocrine system, enhances our understanding of how multiple body systems interact to produce sexual arousal and response. This complex picture becomes even clearer with the addition of Rowland's chapter on the psychobiology of sex...quote end

Volume 2 of this encyclopedia deals with normal sexual function and dysfunction. It opens with an overview of our remarkable reproductive anatomy. Chapter 1, by M. Michele Burnette, covers the structure and function of all the major reproductive organs of the male and female. This chapter, combined with Chapter 2 by George J. Demakis on the role of the brain and the endocrine system, enhances our understanding of how multiple body systems interact to produce sexual arousal and response. This complex picture becomes even clearer with the addition of Rowland's chapter, Chapter 3, on the psychobiology of sex, in which he discusses models of sexual arousal and response as well as physiological mechanisms (e.g., the senses) and psycholo­gical processes (e.g., thoughts, feelings) that play a part in human sexual be­havior.

Next, this volume addresses perspectives on sex and intimate relationships. In Chapter 4, David C. Geary, a professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia, offers an interesting discussion of how male and female differences in sexual preferences and behavior may have evolved through time to improve the chances of species survival. The research on evolution and sexual behavior has largely involved nonhuman species and has been extra­polated to humans. A discussion of sex and interpersonal relationships would be incomplete without a discourse on love. Pamela Regan, a professor of psychology and director of the Social Relations Laboratory at California State University, points out in Chapter 5 that a majority of adolescents and adults in the United States believe that sexual interactions should generally occur within the context of a love relationship. Regan discusses types and theories of love with an emphasis on the two types most linked to sexual expression, passionate and companionate love.

Most research aimed at understanding sexual response and function has focused on understanding what has caused inhibition or disruption in the process of sexual arousal and response. The next several chapters address this topic. As we learn from the models of sexual arousal and response, this process is arbitrarily divided into phases, including sexual desire, excitement, orgasm, and resolution. Dysfunction can occur in any of the first three phases. In Chapter 6, Anthony Bogaert (professor of community health sciences and psychology at Brock University in St. Catharine's Ontario) and Catherine Fawcett talk about factors that increase, maintain, and decrease a person's desire to engage in sex. In Chapter 7, Greg Febbraro, an assistant professor of psychology at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, addresses sexual problems that occur during the excitement phase of the sexual response related to difficulties either with feelings of sexual pleasure or with the phy­siological changes associated with sexual excitement (e.g., failure of a female to adequately lubricate, or premature ejaculation in a male). In Chapter 8, Vaughn Millner, an assistant professor of counselor education at the university of South Alabama, discusses orgasmic problems and disorders, in which she raises and addresses the issue of what constitutes a true orgasmic disorder-for example, if a woman can successfully achieve an orgasm while masturbating but not while having intercourse, does she have an orgasmic disorder? This situational inorgasmia might be considered a problem if, for example, it caused discord between the couple, but it is not necessarily a dysfunction or disorder.

Sex and Sexuality [Three Volumes] edited by Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette
quote start...Past research has focused mostly on sexual inhibition when addressing disorders of the desire and arousal phases of sexual response. More recently, hypersexuality, also called sexual compulsivity, has become a focus of research. Sexual compulsivity has become especially popularized by reports of in­dividuals who access pornographic Internet sites uncontrollably. Reece, Dodge, and McBride provide a stimulating discussion of this popular topic and urge caution in making value judgments about what is and is not an appro­priate level of sexual interest or activity in Chapter 10...quote end

In light of the various sexual dysfunctions that individuals sometimes experience, research and clinical work over the years have focused on finding effective ways to resolve these problems for individuals and couples. Chapter 9 by Kleinplatz provides an overview of interventions for sexual problems and again touches on some of the controversies inherent in determining what constitutes an actual disorder, given the subjective nature of the human sexual experience.

Past research has focused mostly on sexual inhibition when addressing disorders of the desire and arousal phases of sexual response. More recently, hypersexuality, also called sexual compulsivity, has become a focus of research. Sexual compulsivity has become especially popularized by reports of in­dividuals who access pornographic Internet sites uncontrollably. Reece, Dodge, and McBride provide a stimulating discussion of this popular topic and urge caution in making value judgments about what is and is not an appro­priate level of sexual interest or activity in Chapter 10. Finally, this volume would be incomplete if we did not include a chapter addressing a long-ignored issue-sexuality in people affected in various degrees by chronic disease, physical disabilities, and the treatments of these conditions. Too often we discount individuals with significant disease process or physical limitations as asexual, not capable of or interested in sexual activity. This view is damaging to those who long to be complete human beings within the context of some real physical limitations. Fisher, Graham, and Duffecy, in Chapter 11, discuss the importance of this topic and review the impact of "major conditions" on sexual function as well as interventions aimed at reducing their impact on sexual function. Perhaps most importantly, they emphasize that quality of life and psychological well-being are improved when individuals can maintain Satisfying sexual interactions.

I have always been interested in the unusual, and this includes unusual in sex as well. Vol 3 interested me most as it deals with paraphilias or unusual sex. In fact, few topics inspire more curiosity than sexual practices deemed unusual, deviant, or deplorable. It is, however, very challenging to define deviance with respect to sexual preferences. Norms regarding sexual behavior vary over time and across cultures. Consider, for example, the changing perspective on ho­mosexuality. Although we currently view homosexuality as a normal variation or alternative lifestyle, it was officially classified as a sexual deviation until fairly recently. It was not until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association elected to drop homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.

Sex and Sexuality [Three Volumes] edited by Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette
quote start...Modern culture has brought many previously taboo and forbidden topics out of the bedroom into the living room. Many sexual practices that were previously considered obscure and uncommon are discussed openly on the Internet. Bondage, domination, and fetishism, for example, are terms that are familiar to many people. The extent to which these represent deviant sexual practices is the subject of debate. There is little disagreement, however, that they qualify as atypical; these sexual practices are not considered mainstream in any culture...quote end

Modern culture has brought many previously taboo and forbidden topics out of the bedroom into the living room. Many sexual practices that were previously considered obscure and uncommon are discussed openly on the Internet. Bondage, domination, and fetishism, for example, are terms that are familiar to many people. The extent to which these represent deviant sexual practices is the subject of debate. There is little disagreement, however, that they qualify as atypical; these sexual practices are not considered mainstream in any culture.

Some sexual practices are unquestionably maladaptive and deviant, often even criminal. Sexual activity that involves force and coercion is deviant in every sense of the word. Rape is a legal term that can be applied to any form of sexual assault. Sexual activity with persons below the age of consent, such as children, is illicit and criminal. Child molestation therefore is another form of sexual coercion since children are incapable of providing consent. This volume offers an overview of research on the various forms of nonconsenting sexual practices, including findings of the causes, characteristics of perpetrators and victims, and interventions for addressing these problems. There is also dis­cussion of some sexual practices that are deemed atypical although not nec­essarily maladaptive, such as sadomasochism.

In Chapter 1, Murphy and Page offer an overview of exhibitionism, better known as indecent exposure. They address the prevalence of this problem and such questions as whether these men are dangerous and if there are ef­fective treatments. In Chapter 2, Santtila, Sandnabba, and Nordling explore the phenomenon of consensual sadomasochism. Flagellation and bondage are preferred activities in the sexual scripts of practitioners. However, their sexual practices are so diverse as to defy any simple description. In Chapter 3, Vandiver examines a problem that was ignored until recently: female sexual offending. The typical offender is a young adult who has psychological problems and was herself the victim of childhood sexual abuse. The sexual offense often involves an adult male co-offender. The recent disclosure of pedophilia in the clergy has drawn much attention to the problem. In Chap­ter 4, McAnulty offers an overview of the characteristics of pedophile, challeng­ing popular stereotypes about the perpetrators. For example, not all pedophiles were themselves the victims of childhood sexual abuse. In Chapter 5, Cal­houn, McCauley, and Crawfold explore the scope of the problem of sexual assault and the effects on victims. Sexual assault is an enormous problem that drastically impacts the lives of countless individuals. The consequences include emotional distress, short and long-term disruption in functioning, psycho­logical and physical health problems, increase in suicide risk, increased vul­nerability to additional forms of sexual and physical violence, and more. Not only are survivors affected, but others in their lives also suffer serious conse­quences. Kenyon-Jump's chapter (Chapter 6) on incest victims and offenders covers the effects of incest on male and female survivors at various develop­mental stages and in different victim-perpetrator relationships, such as mother­-son incest. Incest is often unreported; early interventions have been shown to reduce the likelihood of long-term problems in victims.

Sex and Sexuality [Three Volumes] edited by Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette
quote start...In Chapter 7 [of Volume 3], Wright and Hatcher review the state of the art therapies for sex offenders. Contrary to popular belief, they find that treatment actually reduces rates of recidivism in this challenging population. In Chapter R, Collie, Ward, and Gannon offer an innovative perspective on the treatment needs of sex offenders. They argue that the traditional approach to risk management is missing an important component: teaching offenders "to lead a better kind of life." Their Good Lives model intends to help an individual meet his needs in socially acceptable and personally satisfying ways...quote end

In Chapter 7, Wright and Hatcher review the state of the art therapies for sex offenders. Contrary to popular belief, they find that treatment actually reduces rates of recidivism in this challenging population. In Chapter R, Collie, Ward, and Gannon offer an innovative perspective on the treatment needs of sex offenders. They argue that the traditional approach to risk management is missing an important component: teaching offenders "to lead a better kind of life." Their Good Lives model intends to help an individual meet his needs in socially acceptable and personally satisfying ways. In Chapter 9, Alison and Ogan conclude that traditional approaches to offender profiling, in which offender attributes are directly inferred from crime scene evidence, are flawed. The media, however, perpetuate the public's fascination with the notion that behavioral experts or "profilers" have special insights into the minds of killers, allowing them to draw conclusions from the crime scene alone. A more sensible approach to profiling involves spelling out which claims are purely speculation and intuition and which are based on sound research. This ap­proach discourages investigators from relying too heavily on information that may not be very accurate; it also recognizes that not all information generated by profilers is equally useful.

In Chapter 10, Marshall and Hucker address the various definitions of severe sexual sadism. Their review concludes that some features that are con­sidered classic signs, such as torture, cruelty, and humiliation of victims, are not seen in every case. In Chapter 11, on sexual homicide, Wright, Hatcher, and Willerick explore this disturbing phenomenon. Sensational depictions in the media have fueled the public's fascination with murders that occur in the context of lust, power, and brutality. Interestingly, the authors conclude that there may be as many as 200 serial killers at large at any point in time.

On the face of it, the work appears to be primarily meant for specialists - especially when you look at the detailed references section at the end of each chapter. However I found the writing style fairly simple and devoid of unnecessary technical terms - to the extent that I came to believe that the encyclopedia could easily be understood by an educated layman. Later when I was idly going through the preface of the book, I realized the book was indeed aimed at a "general audience". This encyclopedia however should also be an essential reading for several categories of specialists such as psychologists, sociologists, medical doctors, public health officials, and forensic physicians. In addition, the work should adorn the personal libraries of all governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), especially those which are involved in sex related issues (e.g. organizations engaged in curbing child prostitution, child trafficking etc). As stated earlier, an educated layman would also enjoy and benefit from this work greatly. Highly recommended for one and all.

Some excerpts from this encyclopedia:

This is such a path breaking encyclopedia on such a rarely talked about subject, that the editorial board of this journal thought a true glimpse of this encyclopedia could only be given to the readers by rendering some excerpts from it. These excerpts are intended to give an idea to the readers of the remarkable variety of entries and the depth with which each entry is treated.

Female sex offenders is a topic which is not very commonly discussed even in academic texts. This encyclopedia devotes a full chapter on this rare topic. A little background may serve as a backgrounder before we go on to read some interesting excerpts from this chapter.

There has been a spate of female sex offenders in recent times. Mostly males are accused of abusing children, but of all sex offendes against children, about 4% are females. There are a variety of motives; some women prefer younger partners because they feel like they are more in control and less vulnerable to criticism and rejection. Some do it as a way to prove their own desirability.

In January 2007, Michelle Perruzzi, 34-year-old married mother, of Melvindale, Michigan faced charges of having sexually abused a 14-year-old student (whose identity is being kept confidential), who had been her son's best friend. The molestation allegedly occurred on four occasions in 2005, spanning four months, and only became known recently when the boy told his current girlfriend.

Perruzzi confessed but changed her story several times claiming she wasn't at fault. She waived a preliminary hearing on Monday, January 29, 2007, before Judge Richard Page at the 24th District Court and opted to go straight to trial. She remains free on bond. A trial date has not been disclosed.

In January 2007 too, another woman, Jami Lee Knox, 41, of Farmington Hills was sentenced to three to 15 years in prison after being convicted of having sex repeatedly with a 15-year-old boy in 2006. In another similar incidence occurring in the same month, a 26-year-old Lake Havasu City woman, Norma Mae Evans, ( licensed professional nurse!) was sent behind bars. She was charged with three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor under the age of 15, a class 2 felony, and two counts of sexual abuse, a class 3 felony. She not only had sex with underage children, but even videotaped her sexual encounters with them! Her sexual encounter with a 13 year old boy was videotaped by another 15 year old boy, who also was her victim.

In May 2006, 26-year-old former English teacher at Carver High School, Shanikka Campbell, was accused of engaging in sex with a 16-year-old male student. Subsequently, she resigned her position at the high school. Campbell admitted to having sex with the boy and pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual abuse of a child. Defense attorney George Parnham stated that the boy was at least partially responsible since he wrote mature and seductive poems and letters to Campbell.

Here are some excerpts from this encyclopedia. The chapter on Female Sex Offenders appears in volume 3 (chapter 3)

TYPOLOGIES OF FEMALE SEX OFFENDERS (Vol 3, pages 54-61)

While the typologies for male sex offenders are well developed, the ty¨pologies created for female sex offenders have only recently emerged. Unfor¨tunately, most of the typologies of female sex offenders are based on small sample sizes; thus, the information yielded from these data are not likely to be exhaustive. With the exception of one study, the typologies were based on samples of less than thirty.

Many of the researchers who have proposed classification systems of fe¨male sex offenders included overlapping categories. The majority of the pro¨posed typologies can be classified into seven categories: nurturer, co-offender, incestuous, adult on adult, criminal offenders, psychologically impaired, and homosexual molester.

Nurturer

Nurturing abuse typically involves an inappropriate relationship between a woman and someone she knows. Several researchers have described different types of female sex offenders who fit into this category; they are summarized as heterosexual nurturer, teacher/lover, and babysitter abuse . Each involves a woman in a position of authority who engages in a sexual relationship with (usually) a young boy, often a teenager, whom she is responsible for in some way. This type of sex offender is not "predatory" in terms of the woman specifically going to certain locations (i.e., school, parks, etc.), yet there does appear to be a grooming process where the woman becomes "friends" with the youth. Thus, there may be a grooming process where boundaries are slowly redefined over the period the relationship exists.

Heterosexual Nurturer

Vandiver and Kercher (2004) reported a broad category of inappropriate relationships, including any woman in a caretaking or nurturing role. For example, Vandiver (2003) described a woman who worked at a youth facility and "fell in love" with a young teenage boy; thus a mentor-mentee relationship existed. The woman had no history of sexual abuse. She was divorced with two children. She indicated the victim was a 14-year-old male whom she met through her work. She described the sexual act between her and the teenager as consensual, but followed up by stating that she knew it was wrong and did not want to make an excuse for what she had done. She indicated that the teenager came from a "bad family." He did not know his father and had been sexually abused by his grandfather.

The relationship began at the youth facility and the boy began to come over to her residence to talk and get something to eat. The relationship progressed into a sexual one after he kissed her once. She had sex with him approximately seven times over a six-month period. She stated, "When it happened it seemed natural-but I shouldn't say natural because it's not natural to have sex with a teenage boy. He kissed me and I didn't stop it."

The woman was with the boy when she had a car accident, which led to her arrest when law enforcement suspected the abuse. After she was arrested, she still tried to contact the young boy and was "taken in [by law enforcement] several times." At the time of the interview she had not seen the boy in several years.

One of the interesting points to note about this situation is that the woman described the young boy as having nowhere else to go and no one else for support. In other words, he was "social junk." She could not do anything to harm him - he was already damaged goods, so to speak. Similarly, Mary Kay LeTourneau also took a young boy under her wing who was in a similar situation.

The heterosexual nurturer category identified by Vandiver and Kercher (2004) was the most common category of female sex offenders. The largest percentage (31 percent, n = 146) of 471 adult women were classified in this category. This category of offenders would also include teachers who fall in love with their male students.

Teacher/Lover

As portrayed in the media, women in a position of authority (i.e., teacher) have engaged in a sexual relationship with a younger male, often a teenager (i.e., student). Mathews, Matthews, and Speltz (1989) found a case that fits the teacher/lover category. A teacher who "fell in love" with her adolescent student reported that she saw nothing wrong with the relationship. The teacher was not the victim of sexual abuse as a child; however, she was forced into prostitution as an adolescent. Turning to an adolescent male was described by Mathews et al. (1989) as the result of feeling fearful toward men.

Babysitter Abuse

Mathews et al. (1989) defined exploration /exploitation abusers who typically abuse in a babysitting situation. Sarrel and Masters (1982) also defined babysitter abuse as a category of female sex offense. Two cases of babysitter abuse were described by Sarrel and Masters (1982). In one case, a 25-year-old man reported he was sexually abused by his babysitter when he was only 10 years old. The young man described the event as pleasurable and reported it had occurred for approximately one year. The young man reported "she frequently manipulated his penis and that sometimes there was an erection, but he had no ejaculatory experience". The boy later told his family about the experience. His father whipped him severely. He then took his son to a priest and a psychiatrist. The father often referred to his son's "shameful conduct" and told his son that he should have reported the sexual activity sooner. He did not know what happened to the babysitter. The young boy reported that afterward he never masturbated and had overwhelming feelings of guilt. He did not date regularly and was not receptive to sexual advances made by women. The man, after establishing a platonic relationship with a young woman at the age of 24, discussed his fears regarding sex and the incidents that occurred with the babysitter. He then began psychiatric treatment.

In another case, an 11-year-old boy was sexually molested by his 16-year old babysitter. The babysitter undressed the boy and put his penis inside her vagina. He was confused about the incident. Later, he did not masturbate and did not have sexual contact with anyone else. When he was 19, he married a young woman, but was not able to perform sexually on their wedding night. He had been in therapy for two years before he was married, but never mentioned the abuse to either his therapist or his future wife (Sarrel & Masters, 1982).

Both of these case studies indicate that the effects of such abuse are long term and profound. Many may think that babysitter abuse is not serious. In fact, it may even be interpreted (wrongly) as a pleasurable experience where a young boy is allowed to explore sex at an early age with someone who is more experienced than himself.

Co-offender

Several of the typologies include a distinction between women who act alone (i.e., solo offenders) and those who act with another person (i.e., co-offenders). The number of co-offenders in a given population is high, meaning it is not uncommon for women who have sexually offended to have a partner, usually male. In a recent study including a cross-national sample of 227 women arrested for a sexual offense, approximately half acted with another person. This is indicative of high rates of coercion among this population of females who sexually offend.

Researchers reported co-offenders were significantly different than those who act alone. Co-offenders had more victims per incident. They were more likely to abuse a relative and to have both male and female victims. The type of behavior the women exhibit, however, includes a broad continuum from passive to active, with more cases of passive participation cited in the research.

Characteristics that vary among co-offenders are the woman's relationship to the victim and the co-offender, her motivation (i.e., revengeful), whether she was coerced, and level of contact with the victim during abuse (i.e., hands off or hands-on). Researchers have relied more on the relationship between the woman and the victim (related or not related) and her motivation for engaging in the sexual abuse (i.e., feeling of rejection and revenge) in developing classifications of co-offending women. For the purpose of this discussion, the following subcategories under male-accompanied are discussed: (1) male-accompanied, familial, (2) male-accompanied, nonfamilial, and (3) male-accompanied, rejected/revengeful.

The encyclopedia then goes on to discuss other typologies, i.e. male-accompanied, incestuous, homosexual molester and so on.

The encylopedia throws much light on the a subject as complex as sex. I am sure our readers would enjoy the book as much as we at the journal office did.



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 Sex and Sexuality [Three Volumes] edited by Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette

 

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