(Received 6 May 1985; accepted 31 July 1985)
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The origins of detective magazines can be traced to 17th and 18th century crime pamphlets and to 19th century periodicals that Lombroso called “really criminal newspapers.” Content analysis of current detective magazines shows that their covers juxtapose erotic images with images of violence, bondage, and domination; that their articles provide lurid descriptions of murder, rape, and torture; and that they publish advertisements for weapons, burglary and car theft tools, false identification, and sexual aids. Six case histories of sexual sadists illustrate the use of these magazines as a source of fantasy material. We postulate that detective magazines may contribute to the development of sexual sadism, facilitate sadistic fantasies, and serve as training manuals and equipment catalogs for criminals. We recommend that detective magazines be considered during policy debates about media violence and pornography.
Assistant professor of psychiatry and adjunct assistant professor of law, University of Missouri—Columbia, Columbia, MO
Associate professor of law and of behavioral medicine and psychiatry and medical director, Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, University of Virginia Schools of Law and Medicine, Charlottesville, VA
Supervisory special agent and instructor, Behavioral Science Unit, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA
Stock #: JFS11872J