1st Edition

Sexuality and Crime A Neo-Darwinian Perspective

By Anthony Walsh Copyright 2023
    134 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Written by one of the leading figures in biosocial criminology and evolutionary psychology, this work explores the tight relationship between criminality and indiscriminate sexuality within the framework of life history theory. The underlying thesis is that traits associated with a strong libido, indiscriminately expressed, are intertwined with traits associated with criminal behavior; that is, excessive interest in sexual adventures pursued in an irresponsible way is undergirded by the same individual short- run hedonistic traits that define criminality. While traditional criminology tends to view sexual and criminal behavior as separate domains, many biosocial criminologists, evolutionary psychologists, neuroscientists, and behavioral and molecular geneticists are not at all surprised that a link exists between criminality and sexuality. Research shows that the statistical relationship between indiscriminate sexuality and criminal behavior is stronger than for most other variables associated with crime, although most studies dealing with this relationship are from outside the dominant environmentalist paradigm of criminology.

    Using life history theory as the theoretical umbrella for exploring the relationship between indiscriminate sexuality and criminal behavior, the book explores how and why criminal behavior is related to hypersexuality. Life history theory, which has a long and fruitful history of use among evolutionary biologists who use it to investigate the relationship between mating strategies and the environment among various species of animals (including humans) is particularly suited to understanding how an exclusive focus on mating effort is related to criminal behavior.

    This book will be of interest to scholars and students in criminology, psychology, and sociology, and anyone interested in examining the interconnection between biological, psychological, and socio- environmental factors in relation to criminal behavior.

    Chapter One: Bringing Biology Back In


    Biosocial Criminology

    The Fallacy of Genetic Determinism

    Behavior and Tinbergen’s Four Questions

    Chapter Two: Behavioral Genetics: Genes and Heritability

    From Gene to Protein

    The Concept of Heritability

    Twin and Adoption Studies

    Heritability in Different Environments

    Shared and Non-Shared Environment

    Gene-Environment Interaction and Gene-Environment Correlation

    Chapter Three: Molecular Genetics and Behavior

    Genetic Polymorphisms

    Quantitative Trait Loci


    Dopaminergic Polymorphisms and Criminal and Sexual Behavior

    Genetics and Human Freedom

    Chapter Four: How Criminal Traits Evolve and Are Retained

    Crime is Normal



    Cooperation Creates Niches for Cheats

    Detecting and Punishing Cheats

    Chapter Five: Evolutionary Theories of Crime

    Evolutionary Theories of Crime: Past is Prolog

    Cheater and Conditional Adaptation Theories

    The Gender Ratio Issue

    The Age-Crime Curve

    Chapter Six: Life History Theory and the Covariance of Sexual and Criminal Traits

    The Basics of Life History Theory

    Human Life Histories and the K-Factor

    Linking Sexuality to Criminal Traits and Behaviors

    The Role of the Environment on Life History Strategies

    Chapter Seven: The Human Brain

    The Enchanted Loom and Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory

    Wiring the Brain: Experience Expected and Experience Dependent Mechanisms

    Synaptogenesis as Neural Darwinism


    The Serotonergic System

    Norepinephrine and Epinephrine

    Testosterone and Cortisol

    Chapter Eight: The Antisocial Personalities: Psychopaths and Sociopaths

    Differentiating Antisocial Personality Disorder, Psychopathy, and Sociopathy

    The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised

    Evolutionary Considerations

    The Neurobiology of Psychopathy

    Neurochemistry Associated with Psychopathy


    Chapter Nine: The Sex Ratio, Fast Life Histories, and Crime

    The Sex Ratio

    Crime and the Sex Ratio

    The Sex Ratio in the African American Community

    The Sex Ratio, Illegitimacy, and Poverty

    High Sex Ratios and Crime




    Anthony Walsh is a professor of criminal justice at Boise State University. He has taught biosocial criminology, statistics, and philosophy of law there for 34 years. He received his PhD in criminology from Bowling Green State University in 1983. He worked as a marine, merchant seaman, police officer, and probation officer before entering academia at the age of 44. He is widely published, with 50 books and 150 articles and book chapters on a variety of topics including criminology and biosocial aspects of crime. He was awarded lifetime achievement awards from both the Biosocial Criminology Association and the Biopsychosocial Section of the American Society of Criminology for his research in biosocial criminology. His work has been featured on the Phil Donahue Show, Nova, and Nippon (Japanese) TV.