Coercive Sexual Sadism: a Systematic Qualitative Review

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Coercive sexual sadism can be distinguished from consensual BDSM (bondage discipline/dominance submission/sadism masochism) role-play and from everyday sadism, a personality trait. The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic qualitative review of the pertinent literature on coercive sexual sadism from the last three years.

Recent Findings

Clinical assessment of sexual sadism can be made more objective through behavioral checklists based on crime scene actions. The latent structure of sexual sadism is likely dimensional, placing the disorder at the upper end of a continuum of sexually aggressive behavior. Sexual sadism does not seem to increase the risk of violent offense recidivism (including sexual contact offenses) above and beyond the risk implied by established risk factors of delinquency.

Summary

Coercive sexual sadism denotes a disposition for sexually aggressive behavior. Whether this disposition is put into practice is likely due to other trait and state variables. Treatment studies are completely lacking in the recent literature.

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Correspondence to Andreas Mokros.

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Conflict of Interest

Julien Wessels and Miriam Hofmann each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Andreas Mokros is one of the co-authors of the Sexual Sadism Scale (SeSaS; Mokros et al., 2014, Psychol Assessment; doi:10.1037/a0034861). Furthermore, he is a co-editor of the Routledge International Handbook of Sexual Homicide Studies (Proulx et al., 2018) that is highlighted in the “References” section as recommended reading. Joachim Nitschke is one of the co-authors of the Sexual Sadism Scale (SeSaS; Mokros et al., 2014, Psychol Assessment; doi:10.1037/a0034861).

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Mokros, A., Wessels, J., Hofmann, M. et al. Coercive Sexual Sadism: a Systematic Qualitative Review. Curr Psychiatry Rep 21, 135 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-019-1118-9

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Keywords

  • Sadism
  • Aggression
  • Sexual
  • Offense recidivism
  • Treatment
  • SeSaS