Paul Okami

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Paul Okami (birth-date unknown; PhD, University of California at Los Angeles), is Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Widener University, and a member of the Association for Psychological Science. As a graduate student, Okami published frequently in the areas of sexuality, evolutionary psychology, and child development (including youth sexuality). Some of this work gained wide recognition by top experts in related fields, and were published in top journals such as the Journal of Sex Research and Archives of Sexual Behavior. This page links to many of Okami's relevant publications in chronological order.

UCLA psychologist Paul Okami describes biased research methods which inhibit an understanding of adult-minor sexual interaction. These methods include starting from assumptions that contradict known research findings, using terminology that confounds attempts to understand such interactions, and biasing methods toward their expected results. He writes that much literature appears intended to enforce social norms rather than promote scientific inquiry, and that it resembles demonology more than sexology.

Abstract: An exploratory, descriptive study of 37 male and 26 female subjects reporting childhood or adolescent intergenerational sexual contacts about which subjects maintained, at least in part, "positive" feelings is reported.

Results of this study are consistent with Haugaard and Emery's (1989) observation that persons reporting "positive" childhood or adolescent intergenerational sexual contacts appear to have had "a different experience from the others." In the present investigation, positive responders' descriptions of affect and assessment of long-term effects are in sharp contrast to those of negative responders. In place of the sense of helplessness, rage, guilt, or "numbness" that typically emerge from accounts of negative experiences, one finds in many of the positive reports - particularly as expressed in the more detailed, open-ended replies and interviews - expression of warmth, pleasure, affection, humor, and even lustiness. Positive responders did not label their experiences sexual abuse, did not describe experiences that would warrant application of the term abuse, if the term were used in the sense of maltreatment, and generally reported no harm as a result of their experiences. In fact, they frequently claimed positive benefit. (p. 453).

This article critically reviews the literature related to personality correlates of pedophilia. It is noted that the slippage of legal and moral constructs into operational criteria and research methodology in this field have created impediments to sound professional consensus and the accumulation of a coherent database. When the construct pedophile was separated from the construct sex offender against a minor, there were no reliable findings regarding pedophiles. [...] little clinically significant pathology was found among either pedophiles or sex offenders against minors. Recommendations are made for more productive approaches for future research.

This article critically examines the emergence in the professional literature of a new category of criminal deviant: the very young juvenile "sexual offender" ("child perpetrator"). It is argued that current research and writings on "child perpetrators" 1) fail to adhere to established tenets of scientific inquiry; 2) attempt to pathologize species-typical behaviors; and 3) reflect symbolic opposition to widespread sexual license perceived to have resulted from the "sex positive" interpretive changes regarding sexuality that occurred during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Kilpatrick book represents the final report of a retrospective study of the childhood and adolescent sexual experiences of a community sample of 501 adult women. [...] [T]he results of her investigation may be encapsulated in what might be thought a common sense proposition: Women's childhood and adolescent sexual experiences are variable in characteristics and correlates from unpleasant to pleasurable, harmful to beneficial, dependent less upon the identity of the partner than upon the interaction of relevant contextual variables. That these findings will come as a surprise to many may itself represent a phenomenon worthy of study.

On the other hand, lack of sex play has been indicted for delaying normal development (Gadpaille, 1981), causing sexual pathology in adulthood (Currier, 1981), or indirectly resulting in social violence, as some have concluded from the work of Prescott (1975, 1979).

This study, using a longitudinal design, is the first to examine long-term correlates of early childhood exposure to parental nudity and primal scenes. Consistent with the cross-sectional retrospective literature (and with our expectations), no harmful main effects of these experiences were found at age 17-18.

In 2002, Dr. Richard Green initiated a debate in a special issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior regarding the extent to which preferential attraction to people before puberty (i.e. pedophilia) should be classified as a mental disorder / mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association.[5] His article inspired a large number of replies from many of the most famous figures in sexual science: Robert Spitzer (the father of the modern DSM), Fred Berlin, Michael Seto, Bruce Rind, Vern Bullough, and Okami himself. Their responses were collected and published in a single article entitled Peer Commentaries on Green (2002) and Schmidt (2002), and we at Newgon strongly recommend Okami and Rind's contributions.[6] On the power imbalance argument, Okami argued:

The problem with the "balance of power" argument is that dyadic power can be in constant flux within a relationship and, in any event, is always multidimensional. Who has the greater power in a relationship? A black man or his white wife? A smart, beautiful, well-heeled female medical student or her somewhat dim-witted, cab-driver boyfriend (who is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger)? A teacher who is desperately in love with her 15-year-old former student or the 15-year-old who doesn't much care one way or the other and could imprison the teacher for a hefty stretch with a few words? One simply cannot say which type of power is more significant socially or more important to the partners themselves - race versus sex, physical strength versus intelligence and wealth, age versus degree of "wanting" the relationship (being in love), social versus dyadic. ... Moreover, there is nothing logically intrinsic in power discrepancy that violates principles of justice or fairness in sexual relationships or that is necessarily harmful to the "less powerful" participant, unless one views sexual relationships as similar to hand-to-hand combat (e.g., heavyweight vs. flyweight contestant). The instability and multidimensionality of dyadic power and the fact that a "power-balanced" relationship is clearly mythological (in the sense that it can never be logically ascertained) lay to rest as useless the "power imbalance" argument. At best, this argument is a fine example of late twentieth century cultural-feminist silliness.

See also

  • Okami, P., "'Slippage' in Research on Child Sexual Abuse: Science as Social Advocacy," in The Handbook of Forensic Sexology: Biomedical and Criminological Perspectives, ed. by James J. Krivacska and John Money (New York: Prometheus Books, 1994), pp. 559-575.


  1. Online summary. Also cited in our Nonsexual aspects page.
  2. Okami, P., Child Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse": The Emergence of a Problematic Deviant Category, in Journal of Sex Research, 29:1 (1992), 109-130. <>
  3. Long-Range Effects of Child and Adolescent Sexual Experiences: Myths, Mores, and Menaces. By Allie C. Kilpatrick; The Sexual Abuse of Children, Volume 1 (Theory and Research), 419 pages, and Volume II (Clinical Issues), 547 pages. Edited by William O'Donohue and James H. Geer. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992. Two volume set. Original Jstor link.
  4. [Editor: Backup at Ipce].
  5. Green, R. (2002). Is pedophilia a mental disorder?. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31, 2002.
  6. Peer Commentaries on Green (2002) and Schmidt (2002). Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 6, December 2002, pp. 479–503.