In earlier investigations, clinical researchers have been concerned with the age of onset of sexual problems of adult offenders.
Using the term sexual problems is problematic because it encompasses behaviors such as the onset of deviant sexual arousal, the onset of deviant sexual fantasizing, the onset of deviant sexual behaviors, as well as the onset of sexual offending.
This is not an overlooking but illustrates the fact that most theoretical views of sex offending is based on the assumptions that there is a stable propensity to commit sex crime and theoretical models should only be concerned by the description and the explanation of this propensity.
These models, therefore, do not recognize the importance of distinguishing such aspects as prevalence, age of onset, persistence, frequency, seriousness, and desistence.
Early theoretical models put much great emphasis on the role of deviant sexual fantasies as a precursor to sexual offending.
Clinical research, however, has shown that only a small proportion of adult offenders report deviant sexual fantasies and/or a paraphilia, and an even fewer proportion of them report having experienced such deviant fantasies prior their offending (Marshall et al. This reinforces the importance of distinguishing deviant fantasies, deviant sexual behaviors, and sex offending.Over the past five or six decades, no other offender type has been under more scrutiny from researchers than sex offenders have been.One striking observation that can be made is that while sex offenders have been described in so many ways along so many dimensions and factors, comparatively speaking, the very behavior that clinical researchers aimed to explain, sexual offending, has been largely neglected.These differences may be explained by opportunity structure of the offense as one needs to have a biological child to offend against him or her.These studies used retrospective data to estimate the age at which adult sex offenders started their offending behavior.Although there is a long history of criminal career research with the publication of Criminal Careers and Career Criminals in 1986 by Dr.Al Blumstein and colleagues, such a framework was introduced to the field of criminal justice and criminology.The interest for the criminal career is not new and several commentaries and observations about sex offenders’ criminal activity have been made for quite some time.Most of these commentaries and observations were focused on the same underlying questions, that is, sex offenders’ dangerousness.From these self-report studies (see, e.g., Abel et al.1993), however, it is not always clear whether the onset refers specifically to sex offending or to some other behavior such as the onset of deviant sexual interests, the onset of deviant sexual fantasizing, and the onset of deviant sexual arousal. When looking at the official age of onset, results clearly indicate that it significantly varies across sex offender types.