Articles

THE SEXUAL PSYCHOPATH: SUMMARY

It is obvious on logical grounds that we were destined to find significant differences between sexual psychopaths and other offenders. It would be strange indeed if several screening operations which included sexual criteria resulted in two groups with essentially identical sexual characteristics. Assuming that the clinicians did not change their criteria when examining persons in different offense types, we were also bound to find some uniformities existing among the sexual psychopaths, giving an impression of some homogeneity.

The sexual psychopaths may be described as a relatively intelligent, better educated, younger group of males who had difficulty in adjusting emotionally and socially with their parents and peers. Not unexpectedly they had even greater difficulty in working out sexual adjustments with adult females. This trouble was associated with greater inhibitions, especially moral inhibitions, concerning heterosexual activity. Despite these inhibitions the sexual psychopaths were more inclined toward socially unacceptable sexual behavior: homosexuality, cunnilingus, and contact with animals. Lastly, they did not avail themselves of the common escape mechanisms of gambling, alcohol, and drugs.

Refining this description still further, the sexual psychopaths must appear to the clinicians as a reasonably bright, well-educated group of younger men tied up with inhibitions and emotional and sexual problems giving rise to socially unacceptable sexual behavior, some of which resulted in their imprisonment. Note that this abbreviated description contains three vital elements:

The sexual psychopaths are amenable to treatment because of their intelligence, youth, and education.

The sexual psychopaths are more like the private patients with whom the clinician has worked than are the other offenders.

The sexual psychopaths are in many respects like the upper socioeconomic level male (including the clinician) in their greater education, inhibition, morality, and conservative heterosexual life.

This description partially answers the basic question: does the division of sex offenders into two sexually differing groups—sexual psychopaths and others—serve any useful purpose? If the sexual psychopathy procedure winnows out those men with whom the clinicians can work most effectively and comfortably, and with a higher probability of alleviating their problems or at least ameliorating their behavior, then its existence' is justified. This procedure would also redefine the sexual psychopath simply as a sex offender more amenable to treatment than others.

But such a definition and procedure bring us to a deep confusion in the sexual psychopathy laws. If the primary function of these laws is to segregate the dangerous, their objective is not being achieved, for some of the most dangerous men are those rejected as sexual psychopaths merely because they are not amenable to treatment, while some of the least dangerous (e.g., homosexual offenders vs. adults) are retained. If, conversely, the primary purpose is to select those more amenable lo treatment, we must then ask, "treatment to what end?" The judge and the public at large would answer that the aim of treatment is to pro

vent the repetition of socially unacceptable sexual behavior. If we accept this definition, then the sexual psychopathy laws should exclude most of the confirmed homosexuals as untreatable. However, on the whole, clinicians define the aim of treatment as simply making at possible for the person to return to society and function without serious trouble. From this point of view, the confirmed homosexual need not be "cured," as the judge or layman would probably desire, but instead can be taught how to live without offending others and how to avoid undue risks. If we now restate the question and ask whether the sexual psychopathy laws are useful in sifting out persons who can best be treated and returned to society, we can answer that this appears to be true in California and could be true in other jurisdictions.

In summary, the concept of sexual psychopathy is vague and probably invalid from a psychiatric and scientific viewpoint, but has a certain practical utility in sorting out those patients who are more likely to benefit from treatment.

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Men’s Health Erective Dysfunction