Criminal Sexuality and Psychopathology: Pornography as a Contributory Risk Factor in the Psycho-Social Development of Violent Sex Offenders

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dennis J. Stevens

Advisor Department

Criminal Justice


The researcher conducted interviews with 25 adult, male sex offenders convicted of felony offenses and incarcerated in a 500-man detention facility located in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Those interviewed were selected by the institution's senior administrators on the basis of a criminal-offense profile prepared and submitted by the researcher, and all parties interviewed participated voluntarily. The crimes of the subjects interviewed included not only those for which they were currently incarcerated but also those for which they had been convicted earlier in their lives, and the crimes of the subjects interviewed included a wide range of sex offenses with varying degrees of concurrent violence. The comprehensive psycho-social histories and mental status evaluations of those interviewed were consulted by the researcher, and interviews also considered professionally-recognized phenomena associated with individual sex-related psychopathology: psychopathy, violence, sexual fantasy, paraphilias (sexual fetishes and perversions), alcohol abuse and other types of substance abuse/dependency, behavioral addictions, childhood sexual abuse/trauma, and negative gender-based attitudes. The purpose of the study was to measure the extent to which exposure to pornography generally, and to Internet or cyber-pornography more particularly, was a contributory risk factor in the psychopathologies of those interviewed, and the degree, if any, said exposure had contributed to the psycho-social development of those interviewed. Research findings disclosed that among those interviewed (a) the link between pornography, criminal sexuality, and psychopathology differed; (b) early developmental exposure to violent pornography exacerbated other forms of psychopathology; (c) regular use of pornography as an adult did not precipitate a behavioral sex addiction; (d) the use of alcohol and/or other drugs increased the violence demonstrated by sex offenders; and (e) the utilization of psychological defense mechanisms was more pronounced among older offenders.