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Karpman, B. (1925). The Sexual Offender. II. Psychoanal. Rev., 12(1):67-87.

(1925). Psychoanalytic Review, 12(1):67-87

The Sexual Offender. II

Ben Karpman, A.M., M.D.

A Contribution to the Study of the Psychogenesis of Sexual Crimes

The manner and means by which the neurotic attempts to solve, disguise or escape his difficulties are never of sporadic or incidental nature, nor do they come about suddenly; on the contrary, they develop rather slowly and insidiously, a painful product of years of unceasing struggle to effect an acceptable social adjustment. If, therefore, the surging and ever increasing tension, unable for lack of proper outlet to discharge itself, often breaks through in some form of antisocial activity that at times assumes even a marked criminalistic aspect, it would be a gross mistake to regard the particular criminal act as an isolated or incidental phenomenon quite unrelated to the individual's total behavior. On the contrary, it should be viewed as a type of human behavior that has its logical place in the individual's entire mental economy and as having the same psychological significance as any neurotic complex which in whatever form it may escape into the conscious, be it a physical symptom, obsession, morbid fear, or criminal act, merely signifies a displaced psychic activity and the presence of unresolved psychogenic difficulties. Viewed in this light, crime appears as a more primitive type of adaptation, a reaction of a lower psychobiological order. Indeed, a careful study of the individual criminal frequently reveals the presence of psychogenically conditioned regressive fixations and immature or primitive modes of mentation that clearly brings him into direct genetic relationship with the neurotic and psychotic. In such an individual, crime is merely symptomatic, and a derivative of incompletely reacted-to emotional experiences that have later been repressed into the unconscious; it symbolizes, therefore, the material that has been repressed.

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