Sexology 1: ‘One Bad Day and Boom, Pedophilia’; Or ‘Dong Data’
I had some free time today and decided, ‘hey why not, I’ll go read some journal articles’.
Because, you know, everyone goes and grabs a science journal when they want to blow off some steam. I decided that I would choose a topic, and learn all I could without needing to put my butt in a classroom. Which turned out to be harder than I thought. Without first getting back into the online library of my university, most information was deep behind paywalls that made a vacation across the country look cheap.
But I got what I wanted. One article so far, ‘Biological factors in the development of sexual deviance and aggression in males’, written by Cantor, Robichaud, and Blanchard.
I’m a man who loves him some Law & Order. I don’t even consider the pleasure all that guilty. I love seeing cops chasing down bad guys, and figuring out the crime before some big twist makes the previous 50 minutes a moot point.
Except one part of Law & Order has always disturbed me, the criminology. I guess that is a big part, since it is central to everything they do. Whatever, the point is, whenever the cops start talking about the psychology of criminals, things get a little wonky.
Let me paint the scene for you. Gruff man-cop is told by sassy fem-cop that the perp already served time for child molestation. Gruff man-cop looks at his partner and says, over a steaming cup of coffee, ‘He was abused as a child, he’ll always be a sex offender’.
Then they go back to busting heads, and solving their personal issues by occasionally choking a criminal.
So when I pulled up this article, the title made me wonder what it could possibly say. Sex offenders were made, not born, right? I mean, if people are out there being born as child molesters, rapists, and pedophiles, why aren’t we doing something? Shouldn’t we be tracking down the genes that make someone a pedophile and watching those people like a Chris Hansen shaped hawk?
Well, turns out it isn’t that easy, and it never is. I mean, they have been researching ideas like this for a while, but as the researchers point out, most research doesn’t touch on the idea of it being genetic. Their hope was to see if there was a genetic link to paraphilia (that is when you get aroused by abnormal stimuli), and what further research could be developed from there. They wanted to look at pathogenics, but not at evolutionary adaptation.
First thing they looked at was a study that gauged the IQ of sex offenders. Turns out (bad news pedophiles), sex offenders have lower IQs. Usually low 90s compared to the 100 average.
They split it into three groups, pedophiles, hebephiles (those who are attracted to the pubescent), and teleiophiles (a word I never thought I would need, that means attracted to adults), and found the information still held true. Pedophiles were around 89 IQ, hebephiles 93, and teleiophiles 97.
But hey Marshall, you may be saying to yourself, couldn’t that just be one of them there correlations that ain’t in no ways related to them factoids and junk? Well internal caricature of anyone who would read this, that could be the case. Which is why they pulled out more data.
Seems pedophiles are also more often left-handed as well. So while it could just be ascertainment bias (aka, a bias of what data could be collected) that only the low IQ pedophiles get caught, there is no good reason why more left-handed pedophiles would get caught.
My favorite part at this point is how they start collecting data on pedophiles. I mean, you might imagine that calling a man a pedophile might cut down on how much information he would give you. Like, “Hey you, terrible child rapist, tell me about your childhood,” probably doesn’t go over well.
So they verify that someone is a pedophile using the best available to modern science. Phallometrics. Yeah, you read that right, dick data, manhood medians, boner books, phallometrics. You hook up junk to their junk, and then show them pictures, then measure the blood flow to the crotchal region. If they get a semi when you show them pedo trash, they are confirmed pedophile.
So while they were doing all of this research to see if regional brain damage might be directly related to becoming a pedophile (results were inconclusive), they were taking in dong digits for their erection equations.
In the end, pedophiles didn’t perfectly match up with other ideas for violent sex offenders. They had lower testosterone, and they didn’t always have damage to their frontal lobe. They had low IQs usually, but other sex offenders didn’t always have that. So, maybe pedophiles are a different brand of sex offender from the whole bunch.
One area that seemed to hit, where I didn’t expect it to, is physical brain injury. That is, those who were marked as pedophiles by phallometrics (wang worksheets) also had a high rate of having been knocked unconscious from head injuries when they were younger than 13. Over 13? Not so much. But seemingly, taking a hard enough blow to the head at a young developmental age could lead to a disturbance in your sexual development.
This makes me think about young boys playing sports like football. I was a young boy playing sports like football, that could have been me if I ever took a blow hard enough.
The researchers, Cantor and friends, didn’t get exactly what they wanted. The research is too thin, and there doesn’t seem to be a strong genetic link just yet. But even what they did find was intriguing, the idea that developmental perturbations could lead to such a terrifying change in your life patterns, and you wouldn’t even know your development is off until much later. One bad day, and you go from normal healthy man, to a scourge in your society.
But hey, this is just one article. Maybe I’ll find something to contradict this as I dig further. You never know with science. Plus this means that many more men will get strapped in tight for more dong data.