Where Does Sexual Deviance Fall on the Continuum of Sexuality?
As our education regarding human sexuality increases, and our collective experiences lead to a better understanding and acceptance of sexual behavior, it is important to discuss the concept of sexual deviance and the characteristics of deviant behavior. Most agree that sexual behavior that is non-consensual is deviant, but there is often discrepancy about what can be considered “non-consensual” and about whether or not things that are “consensual” are actually deviant. As a sex offender evaluator and therapist, I have seen virtually every permutation of deviant sexual behavior, and have heard the distorted beliefs of those who engage in extreme forms of sexual deviance. Obviously, an adult having a sexual relationship with a pre-pubescent child is easily put into the “deviant” category, but what about the 13 year-old girl who goes to a college party, gets black-out drunk, and tells the 19 year-old college boy that she’s 18 before engaging in sexual intercourse with him? (By the way, that 19 year-old was a client of mine and was convicted of Rape). Recently, technology has become a platform to further explore one’s sexuality. Sexting, sending nude pictures back and forth, and social networking/dating/hook-up sites have become a primary way of establishing sexual relationships and can cross over into the deviant and illegal category quite easily. This discussion will focus on the role of the therapist when the lines between healthy and unhealthy are blurred, and what direction a therapist can take when confronted with deviant behaviors that may be illegal.