Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
120 — Pioneer Series: Researching Sexual Behaviors with James Cantor

120 — Pioneer Series: Researching Sexual Behaviors with James Cantor

This is a unique episode in that it features a conversation that was originally recorded back in 2022 with Dr. James Cantor. We intentionally decided not to release the episode at that time. You’ll hear Sasha and Stella introduce the conversation by sharing more about why they chose to withhold the episode for all this time and why they have opted to release it now, over a year after recording.

Dr. Cantor is a clinical psychologist and sexual behaviour scientist. For the past 20 years, he has been studying the nature and causes of sexual interests from relatively familiar ones — such as heterosexuality and homosexuality, transsexuality, and asexuality — to rare and exotic phenomena, including vorarephilia (sexual fantasies of being swallowed) and furries (people who have sex while dressed or cross-dressed as animals). The most widely discussed of his findings has been his research using neuroimaging and other techniques to isolate the causes of pedophilia and hebephilia (the sexual preferences for prepubescent and pubescent children). His team’s results have been published in the highest-impact journals of psychology, including Psychological Bulletin, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Dr. Cantor regularly appears in the media internationally to discuss how society can better apply science to prevent sexual abuse and provide more ethical and more effective treatment for people with atypical sexual interests. Interviews with him have appeared on CNN, NPR, The New York Times, and on Dan Savage’s Savage Love. Dr. Cantor is currently the Director of the Toronto Sexuality Centre and is the past Editor of the Sexual Abuse, the top research journal in this field and the official journal for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.

James Cantor is considered controversial in some circles and yet he is a well-respected researcher who sits on the editorial boards of two peer-reviewed journals (the Journal of Sexual Aggression and Archives of Sexual Behavior). Cantor’s position is similar to that of the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld in Germany: “You are not guilty because of your sexual desire, but you are responsible for your sexual behavior. There is help! Don't become an offender!”

Sasha and Stella speak with Dr. Cantor in the spirit of genuine inquiry, fierce debate, and the desire to wrap their minds around difficult and complex topics which society needs to address. As psychotherapists, the Gender: A Wider Lens hosts, believe in the importance of dialogue and bringing the issues explored in this conversation out from the shadows in an effort to understand how to encourage better outcomes.


For updates and downloads, visit his website

Follow him on Twitter @JamesCantorPhD

M. Beier†, Janina Neutze, Ingrid A. Mundt, Christoph J. Ahlers, David Goecker, Anna Konrad, Gerard A. Schaefer, (2009). “Encouraging self-identified pedophiles and hebephiles to seek professional help: First results of the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD)*” 

“Exploring the Implications of Child Sex Dolls” 

“On the Push to De-Stigmatize Evil,” by Holly Math Nerd: 

Sexology today - childhood desistance, “Do trans- kids stay trans- when they grow up?” 

Resources for Sexual Abuse Survivors: 

“The German Dunkelfeld project: a pilot study to prevent child sexual abuse and the use of child abusive images”  

“American Academy of Pediatrics policy and trans- kids: Fact-checking” 

If you liked this episode, more episodes you might find interesting:

The Pioneers Series Playlist

A series of episodes dedicated to conversations with key figures in the history of gender distress, gender medicine, and gender transition. 

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Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
In this podcast, now in its fourth year, therapists Stella O'Malley and Sasha Ayad take a deep dive into the psychological and cultural forces impacting the social changes around "gender." Through interviews with researchers, doctors, therapists, parents, detransitioners, and others, Sasha and Stella's podcast is a "must listen" for anyone trying to navigate the current gender landscape. With their sharp analytical minds and deep compassionate hearts, Stella and Sasha have also become known throughout many parent networks as lighthouses in the midst of some very stormy seas. Previous guests include Helen Joyce, Jesse Singal, Leor Sapir, Kathleen Stock, Jamie Reed, Peter Boghossian and more.