Background: Studies have found an elevated incidence of violent sexual offences in males with schizophrenia. The relationship between sexual offending and psychiatric illness is, however, complex and poorly defined.
Aims: The aim of the present article is to delineate possible mechanisms that underlie offensive sexual behaviour in schizophrenia that can be used as a framework for assessing and treating these behaviours. A review of research pertaining to the aetiology of sexual deviance in schizophrenia was conducted, focusing in particular on the role of early childhood experiences, deviant sexual preferences, antisocial personality traits, psychiatric symptomatology and associated treatment effects, the impact of mental illness on sexual and social functioning, and other potential contributory factors.
Towards a typology: It is proposed that schizophrenic patients who engage in sexually offensive activities fall into four broad groups: (1) those with a pre-existing paraphilia; (2) those whose deviant sexuality arises in the context of illness and/or its treatment; (3) those whose deviant sexuality is one manifestation of more generalized antisocial behaviour, and (4) factors other than the above. This classification provides a useful framework for evaluating and treating sexually offensive behaviours in schizophrenic patients.