Saturday, July 28, 2007

Question: Can you name a female serial killer who murdered people because it gave her sexual pleasure? I just watched the movie "Mr. Brooks" where a man kills because he gets off on it, and he later learns that his daughter has inherited the same disorder. While I'm glad to see Hollywood showing the importance of genes for behavior (my students NEVER raise genes as a possible cause of crime), I couldn't buy the idea of a girl as a lust killer. I'll admit I'm no expert, but the few female serial killers we know of kill for money, or in the case of Aileen Wuornos, perhaps revenge as well.

Evidently, serial killers reveal the sex differences of normal people. Men are motivated by sex, and women are motivated by money and status. Men get status in order to get laid (Bill Clinton is a classic case) while women use sex to get status. I'm not absolutely sure this is true, but I say it in the hope that it will offend someone.


  1. Related to the serial killer question:

    What are the respective rates of sociopathy for men and women?

    Your point about sex vs. status would seem to be an explanation of how sociopathic tendencies in men and women express themselves?

  2. Marc Z10:35 AM

    Karla Faye Tucker, an ax murderer from Texas (though not a serial killer) reported having multiple orgasms while killing her victims, but later rescinded the statement as "big talk to impress her friends."

  3. Are many male serial killers actually motivated by sexual pleasure? Serial rapists seldom if ever seek sexual pleasure. I can't imagine that serial killers are different.

  4. peter: I'm skeptical of feminist conventional wisdom that sexual violence is not sexual. When a man gets an erection and ejaculates as a part of violent activities, it seems to me safe to say that sexual pleasure is part of what it's about. These sicko men are aroused by violence, domination, humiliation, etc., but much of the fuel and gratification is sexual. A great deal of male sexual deviance is a sex drive that has become attached for some reason to unusual things (e.g., exhibitionism, children, force, mutilation, torture). Only a feminist would say that a man doing something sexual has nothing to do with sex.

  5. Agreed. Seems to me rape is the robbery of sex; a man cannot obtain sex voluntarily so he takes it by force.

  6. Anonymous6:43 AM

    "sexual violence is not sexual"

    I've heard things said like this before. Most commonly, you hear people say that "Rape is not about sex"

    Anyway, how would you even test this claim? What experiment could you do to see if rape is "about" sex or not?

    I suppose one could see if persons who are more sexually attractive are more likely to get raped.

    I would be willing to bet money that women between the ages of 18 and 35 are more likely to be raped than women between the ages of 48 and 65.

    If that's true, doesn't it mean that rape is "about" sex?

  7. Anon: According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, females face the highest risk of rate or sexual assault when they are teenagers and college-age. Of course, this is the age when they are most attractive.

    If rape is about power, why not rape a middle-aged executive?

  8. "Chemical castration" does not take away the physical ability to rape, but it does decrease sexual desire (that's why ex-cons on it ask to be taken off when they get engaged or something). Rape goes down dramatically, which would not be the case if it were about power.


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