The perversion of youth

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Sexual fantasies about rape scenarios are not as rare as one might assume. A review of the research on sexual fantasies found that on the average, across seven studies, about a third of males in the general population reported fantasies of forced sexual contact (Leitenberg and Henning 1995). In one study 35% of the male undergraduates reported that they would commit rape if they could get away with it (Malamuth 1986). A later study found that many men who do not report a history of sexual aggression exhibit arousal to rape scenarios, particularly when the victim is portrayed as initially resisting and then surrendering (Malamuth and Check 1983). Sexual fantasies about children are not rare either. A study of male undergraduates found that 21% admit that "little children sometimes attract me sexually" and that 9% report having sexual fantasies regarding children (Briere and Runtz 1989). [...] Still another found that 17% of their sample of male undergraduates indicated that they had recently had a fantasy of having sex with a girl under the age of 15, with 5% indicating that the girl was under the age of 12 (Templeman and Stinnett 1991). Finally, in a study of nonoffender controls, nearly 20% demonstrated arousal to prepubescent children on the PPG (Barbaree and Marshall 1989; Fedora, Reddon, Morrison et al. 1992). [...] Given the taboos against coercive sexual relations and sex with children, the percentages are probably much higher than reported in these research studies (Leitenberg and Henning 1995). [...]

One recent study compared the childhood sexual experiences of a sample of university students with the original Kinsey data (Reynolds, Herbenick, and Bancroft 2003). The researchers asked the sample of participants to recall prior childhood sexual experiences and found an overall increase in such experiences with peers compared to the rates reported by Kinsey and his research team. The rate change was most pronounced for female subjects, who had doubled their rate of involvement in childhood sexual experiences, from 42% to 84%. The male participants reported a more modest increase, from 68% to 87%. The most prevalent reason they gave for their sexual behavior sounded very adolescent - simple curiosity and the thrill of doing something illicit. They reported differences for the sexes for the first appearance of sexual attraction, with boys estimating their first awareness of a sexual attraction at age 11 and girls being conscious of it at age 13. These estimates must be regarded with some caution since they are based on retrospective recall, a notoriously fallible measuring method. They also found that males reported an earlier onset of sexual fantasies than females, with 55% of boys beginning prior to puberty compared to only 38% of girls. However, these rates may also be distorted by a reporting bias whereby women participants presumed it was socially unacceptable to have sexual fantasies as a child.

source: From the book 'The Perversion of Youth - Controversies in the Assessment and Treatment of Juvenile Sex Offenders' by Frank C. Dicataldo; New York University Press, New York and London; 2009