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James Cantor


James Cantor

James M. Cantor
Born (1966-01-02) January 2, 1966 (age 48)
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
Sexology Today! (blog)

James M. Cantor (born January 2, 1966 in Manhasset, New York) is an American clinical psychologist and research scientist based in Canada and 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]

He is 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]

Research and views

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 received widespread attention.[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, which 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] He is skeptical of shemales—men who undergo procedures to look female and who live as women, but who do not seek sex reassignment surgery—who say they want to remain in a shemale state. Cantor has been quoted as saying that "[the 'shemales'] often change their stories as they come to terms with everything."[14][15]

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]

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."[19]

Cantor has said that the online group Virtuous pedophiles, 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,[20] could help prevent child abuse.[21]


External links

  • Faculty page at University of Toronto
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
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