This article considers often contrasting theoretical approaches to sexual and non-sexual offending by comparing some influential accounts of the causes of sexual offending and examining the role of socio-cultural factors in the offending process. It also examines how desistance theories may be applied to this complex interaction between psychological factors and socio-cultural ones. The article concludes that there is a strong theoretical argument for substantial socio-cultural elements of sexual offending. It also argues that desistance theories may be applied for the same reason, but also because the causal and desistance process may be thought of as two separate processes. Moreover, and related to the second point, many criminological theories position offending behaviour not in the action that is considered a crime, but the fact that this action is a crime, meaning that both resistance to and desistance from sexual offending can be viewed in the context of general criminological theories.
Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice