Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 133-139

First online:

The courtship disorders: A further investigation

  • Kurt FreundAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Clarke Institute of PsychiatryOntario Correctional Institute
  • , Hal ScherAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry
  • , Stephen HuckerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry

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The senior author had put forward the hypothesis that voyeurism, exhibitionism, obscene telephone calling, toucheurism-frotteurism, and at least some cases of the preferential rape pattern all distort normal courtship behavior in basically the same manner. An earlier study (Freund et al.,1983) tested part of this hypothesis, namely that voyeurism, exhibitionism, and frotteurism-toucheurism, are closely related. However, the outcome of one of the experiments by which this test was performed could be interpreted as indicating that the relationship between these anomalous erotic inclinations consists simply in that they may be expressions of a disinclination toward intercourse. The present study was conducted to test this interpretation. It compared 16 exhibitionists with 16 sexually normal controls on penile responses to auditorily presented descriptions of the four phases of normal sexual interaction (location of a suitable partner; pretactile erotic interaction; tactile interaction short of intercourse; the situation of intercourse) and sexually neutral situations. These descriptions were narratives about the examined subject's involvement in such interaction. No differences in responding between exhibitionists and normal controls were observed. Both groups responded most to descriptions of intercourse. The second largest response was to tactile interaction (short of intercourse). The third was to situations of partner location and pretactile interaction, which were not differentiated from each other. Responses to sexually neutral situations were smaller than those to descriptions of any category of sexual interaction. This result refutes the hypothesis that exhibitionism develops on the basis of a disinclination toward intercourse. The close relationship between exhibitionism, and voyeurism and toucheurism (or frotteurism), had been demonstrated earlier. Therefore, it is also unlikely that these latter anomalies develop from a disinclination toward intercourse.

Key words

courtship disorders exhibitionism penile responses normal sexual intercourse