Fast Facts About Plethysmographs

Fact 1: Penile plethysmographs are used to measure sexual arousal in males.

Penile plethysmographs measure the changes in circumference of a penis caused by blood flow when a male is exposed to a variety of visual and auditory imagery.

Fact 2: Penile plethysmography may be used as part of an assessment process.

When someone who has committed a sexual offense is being evaluated for treatment needs, treatment progress, and risk to reoffend, a penile plethysmograph may be one of the methods a treatment professional uses. Penile plethysmographs also are used by researchers seeking to learn more about the factors that cause some individuals to sexually abuse others.

Fact 3: ATSA recommends against using penile plethysmographs on juvenile offenders.

Plethysmographs are physiological measurements designed for use with adults. They are not regularly used outside the United States. They have not been shown to improve treatment outcomes, reduce recidivism, or enhance community safety. Ethical concerns about their use on juveniles include exposing adolescents to developmentally inappropriate sexual material and engendering fear, shame, and other negative emotions in teens.


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2018 ATSA Conference