The concept of courtship disorder

J Sex Marital Ther. 1986 Summer;12(2):79-92. doi: 10.1080/00926238608415397.


Four phases of normal human male courtship behavior may be differentiated: location and initial appraisal of a potential partner; pretactile interaction (e.g., smiling at, posturing for, or talking to a prospective partner); tactile interaction (e.g., embracing, petting); and effecting genital union. A particular class of erotic anomalies may be seen as distorted counterparts of the four normal phases: voyeurism; exhibitionism and obscene telephoning; toucheurism and frotteurism; and the preferential rape pattern. Data from male samples are presented that show that two or more of these anomalies are often found in the same individual. These data suggest the existence of a discrete syndrome which may be described as a courtship disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Courtship*
  • Exhibitionism / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paraphilic Disorders / psychology*
  • Pedophilia / psychology
  • Rape
  • Sadism / psychology
  • Syndrome
  • Telephone
  • Touch
  • Voyeurism / psychology