James Cantor

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James M. Cantor
James Cantor at UoT 2010 flipped.JPG
Born (1966-01-02) January 2, 1966 (age 49)
Manhasset, New York
Education MA, PhD
Alma mater Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Boston University
McGill University
Occupation Clinical psychologist specializing in sexology
Employer University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
Known for Sex research, atypical sexualities
Website Faculty page (University of Toronto)

James M. Cantor (born January 2, 1966) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and research scientist specializing in sexology, specifically on atypical sexualities. He has been called the "foremost living expert on paraphilias,"[1] being "at the forefront of neuroimaging studies of pedophiles."[2] He is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine, and the Head of the Law and Mental Health Research Section of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.[3]

Cantor is former editor-in-chief of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Sexual Aggression, The Journal of Sex Research, and Archives of Sexual Behavior.[4]


Cantor studied interdisciplinary science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with a concentration in computer science and minors in mathematics and physics.[5] He obtained an MA from Boston University and a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University with a thesis on "Reversal of fluoxetine-induced sexual dysfunction in male rats."[6]


Cantor's research centers on the development of sexual interests, including sexual orientation and paraphilias.[3] His study using magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brains of male pedophiles was reported in several mainstream news media outlets.[7] He found a significant decrease in the amount of white matter in their brains compared to control subjects, in addition to having lower IQ, and being shorter than average. This was interpreted as suggesting a link to early brain development. Cantor insists however that these findings do not imply that pedophiles should not be held legally responsible for their actions.[8]

Cantor is one of the co-authors of a 2008 paper by Ray Blanchard, which shaped the DSM-5 proposal of replacing the pedophilia diagnosis with pedohebophilic disorder,[9] adding hebephilia as part of the definition of this disorder but at the same time differentiating it into three subtypes: pedophilic type (attracted to children younger than 11), hebephilic (attracted to children between 11–14), and pedohebephilic type (attracted to both age groups mentioned).[10] The main argument in the paper for this addition is that the DSM-IV-TR definition of pedophilia is not sufficient to cover attraction to "physically immature persons".[9] The proposal has been criticized, mainly on the grounds that it pathologizes reproductively valid behavior in order to uphold current social and legal standards.[11][12]

Cantor has rejected any linkage between homosexuality and pedophilia, saying, "It's quite solidly shown in the scientific literature that there is absolutely no association between being a gay man and being a pedophile".[13]

Cantor's research suggests that "sex addiction" represents a variety of distinct problems, rather than a single unitary phenomenon. His typology of people seeking help for sex addiction includes paraphilic hypersexuals, avoidant masturbators, chronic adulterers, people with sexual guilt, and others.[14][15]


Homosexuality and transgenderism[edit]

Cantor gave a speech about his personal experience of being a gay graduate student at the 1991 annual convention of the American Psychological Association.[16][17]

He has written that transsexuals deserve a "bill of transsexual rights," saying that expressions of such rights are overdue. "People choose whether to transition, but one does not choose to be dysphoric about the sex they were born into."[18] He is skeptical of trans women who undergo procedures to look female and who live as women, but who do not seek sex reassignment surgery. Cantor has said that such women "often change their stories as they come to terms with everything."[19][20]


On CNN, Cantor expressed the opinion that society should make it easier for persons who are sexually attracted to children but have never committed any sexual offenses to receive support and assistance in staying offense free. In his view, it is the sexual offenses (child molestation) and not the sexual attractions (pedophilia) that merit social sanctions. "One cannot choose to not be a pedophile, but one can choose to not be a child molester."[21] In another interview, Cantor stated that the online group Virtuous Pedophiles—a group for pedophiles who acknowledge having a sexual interest in children, and whose members share the belief that sexual activity between adults and children is wrong and always will be—could help prevent child sexual abuse.[22]

Cantor has stated that, in his experience, pedophiles who commit sexual offenses against children "do so when they feel the most desperate—when they have nothing to lose, nothing in their lives worth protecting." He recommends that therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy and other techniques to reduce feelings of isolation and hopelessness so that pedophiles can lead "productive, offense-free lives."[23]

Sex addiction[edit]

In an interview about sex addiction and hypersexuality, Cantor expressed mixed views. When asked if he believed sex addiction should be considered a mental illness, he said yes, but added that "I've seen a lot of people use the term 'sex addiction' for a lot of different reasons. It’s very easy to imagine that someone would use the term to curry favour with the public, with the media or during a divorce, but this is hardly the only diagnosis that this happens to. People blame many different kinds of moral failings on many different things. But we also want to be very careful and not make the opposite mistake. Just because there are people who abuse the term and the concept, doesn't mean that there's no such thing."[24]

Cantor has expressed dislike for labels being used to describe sexual addiction. He has said, "Because we know so little about people wanting to reduce their sexual behavior, it's important to avoid terms that assume one or another theory. The term 'sex addiction' implies that it works like substance addictions, even though we have no evidence for that. The term 'compulsive sexual behavior' implies that it's related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, even though we have no evidence for that either. I typically use the term 'hypersexuality' because it does not imply any theory or treatment, but that term isn't perfect either: there are people who refer themselves as 'hyper-' sexual, even though they engage in less (sometimes even much less) sexual activity than most other people."[25]

Notable publications[edit]


  1. ^ Schwyzer, Hugo (August 10, 2012). "The real reason for the upsurge in hidden camera perverts". Jezebel. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ Bleyer, Jennifer (September 24, 2012). "How can we stop pedophiles". Slate. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Dr. James Cantor". University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  4. ^ "Publications: ATSA Journal". Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  5. ^ Dingfelder, S. (June 2009). "Random Sample: James M. Cantor, PhD". Monitor on Psychology (American Psychological Association) 40 (6): 24. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  6. ^ "Jim Pfaus: Former Graduate Students". Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  7. ^ Bacic, Jadranka (2009). "MRIs link pedophilia to early brain development". Canadian Psychiatry Aujourd'hui 5 (3): 6. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  8. ^ Cantor, J.; Kabani, N.; Christensen, B.; Zipursky, R.; Barbaree, H.; Dickey, R.; Klassen, P.; Mikulis, D.; Kuban, M.; Blak, T.; Richards, B. A.; Hanratty, M. K.; Blanchard, R. (2008). "Cerebral white matter deficiencies in pedophilic men". Journal of Psychiatric Research 42 (3): 167–183. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2007.10.013. PMID 18039544.  edit
    • Blanchard, R.; Kolla, N. J.; Cantor, J. M.; Klassen, P. E.; Dickey, R.; Kuban, M. E.; Blak, T. (2007). "IQ, Handedness, and Pedophilia in Adult Male Patients Stratified by Referral Source". Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 19: 285. doi:10.1177/107906320701900307. 
    • Cantor, J. M.; Kuban, M. E.; Blak, T.; Klassen, P. E.; Dickey, R.; Blanchard, R. (2007). "Physical Height in Pedophilic and Hebephilic Sexual Offenders". Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment 19 (4): 395. doi:10.1177/107906320701900405. 
  9. ^ a b Blanchard, Ray, Cantor, James M. et al. (2008). "Pedophilia, Hebephilia, and the DSM-V". Archives of Sexual Behavior 38 (3): 335–350. doi:10.1007/s10508-008-9399-9. PMID 18686026. 
  10. ^ Frieden, Joyce (2009-12-01). "DSM-V work on paraphilias begins in earnest.". Clinical Psychiatry News. Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  11. ^ Green, Richard (2010). "Sexual Preference for 14-Year-Olds as a Mental Disorder: You Can't Be Serious!!". Archives of Sexual Behavior 39 (3): 585–586. doi:10.1007/s10508-010-9602-7. PMID 20204488. 
  12. ^ Franklin, K. (2010). "Hebephilia: Quintessence of diagnostic pretextuality" (pdf). Behavioral Sciences & the Law 28 (6): 751–768. doi:10.1002/bsl.934. PMID 21110392. 
  13. ^ Whiteman, Hilary (2010-04-14). "Gay outrage over cardinal's child abuse comment". CNN. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  14. ^ Cantor, J. M., Klein, C., Lykins, A., Rullo, J. E., Thaler, L., & Walling, B. R. (2013). "A Treatment-Oriented Typology of Self-Identified Hypersexuality Referrals". Archives of Sexual Behavior 42 (5): 883–893. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0085-1. PMID 23455658. 
  15. ^ Sutton, K. S.; Stratton, N.; Pytyck, J.; Kolla, N. J.; Cantor, J. M. (2014). "Patient Characteristics by Type of Hypersexuality Referral: A Quantitative Chart Review of 115 Consecutive Male Cases". Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy: 1. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2014.935539.  edit
  16. ^ "James M. Cantor, PhD". Monitor on Psychology (American Psychological Association) 40 (6): 24. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  17. ^ Cantor, JM (1991), "Being gay and being a graduate student: Double the memberships, four times the problems", Paper presented at the Ninety-Ninth Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (San Francisco) 
  18. ^ Cantor, James (2012-03-01). "A Bill of Transsexual Rights". Sexology Today. Retrieved 2012-09-24. 
  19. ^ Carmichael, A (2002-06-08). "Rare 'shemales' seek respect and understanding". Toronto Star. 
  20. ^ Carmichael, A (2002-06-04). "Toronto shemales strut their stuff, part of national quest for rights". Drudge Report. 
  21. ^ Cantor, James (2012-06-21). "Do pedophiles deserve sympathy?". CNN. Retrieved 2012-09-24. 
  22. ^ Clarke-Flory, Tracy (2012-07-01). "Meet pedophiles who mean well: The men behind VirtuousPedophiles.com are attracted to children but devoted to denying their desires". Salon.com. 
  23. ^ Cantor, J. M. (2014). ""Gold-star" Pedophiles in General Sex Therapy Practice". In Binik, Yitzchak M.; Hall, Kathryn S. K. Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy, Fifth Edition. p. 222-223. 
  24. ^ Anderson, Scott (2010). "Addicted to Love". University of Toronto Magazine. /
  25. ^ Auteri, Steph (August 2014). "What You Need To Know About... Hypersexuality". AASECT Contemporary Sexuality Newsletter. Retrieved 2015-01-24. 

External links[edit]