When Does a Fantasy Become Criminal? And Other News

A man's fingers type on a keyboardA federal judge in New York recently overturned the conviction of Gilberto Valle, a police officer charged with kidnapping and other crimes because of his behavior on Internet chat rooms. Under the web alias Girlmeat Hunter, Valle had chatted with others about his fantasies of sexual torture, kidnapping, and cannibalism. When Valle was first convicted, his lawyers and free speech advocates argued that he had been convicted of thought crimes and that the conviction was a serious blow to free speech.

There was no evidence that any of the women Valle discussed were actually harmed, and the married father insisted it was all just fantasy. The judge said that the behavior constituted “fantasy role play,” and converted the original Valle verdict into an acquittal. The judge did uphold one conviction of illegally gaining access to a law enforcement computer and ordered Valle to stay away from the Internet and to avoid witnesses who had testified against him at trial.

Sexual fantasies are common, and this topic was addressed in a recent blog post by a GoodTherapy.org sex and sexuality topic expert. The post discusses the common, healthy nature of sexual fantasies and the fact that many people would never act them out.

The Psychology of Why Tinder Works

Tinder, a popular dating app that lets users interact with potential dates who show an interest in the user, is among the most popular dating tools. Users swipe left for people they’re not interested in, and right for those they’d pursue. According to a new study, this approach reduces feelings of rejection, and people who had just used Tinder saw a 12% boost in “romantic optimism.” 

People with Narcissistic Tendencies Picked as Leaders

A study has found that people with narcissism are more likely to apply for jobs in management, and that they have more success in interviews than people without narcissistic tendencies. After evaluating 3,200 job candidates, the study found that people with narcissistic characteristics prefer management jobs because such jobs confer status, dominance, power, and authority. 

Kesha On Eating Disorder Rehab: ‘The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Done’

Earlier this year, Kesha, a popular singer-songwriter, checked into rehab for disordered eating habits. In an interview with Teen Vogue, she emphasizes the importance of self-love, saying, “My whole message is to love who you are and accept all your beautiful imperfections. When I felt I was slipping into unloving territory with myself, I knew I had to listen to my own advice and correct it.” 

Sexting and Sex Go Hand In Hand for Middle Schoolers

A new study has found a correlation between sexting and sexual behavior in middle schoolers. Using a survey of 1,200 Los Angeles middle schoolers, the study found that 20% had received a sext, and 5% had sent one. Those who received a sext were six times more likely to be sexually active, and those who had sent a sext were four times more likely to be sexually active.

Teen Drivers Safer When Parents Improve Teaching Skills

Teens really are paying attention when their parents teach them to drive, according to a new study. The study compared parents who were given online instructional training for six months to parents who did not receive such training. Teens whose parents received training on how to teach the teens to drive were 65% less likely to fail a road driving test. 

Study: Common HIV Drug May Boost Suicide Risk

Sustiva, a common HIV drug, may increase users’ suicide risk, a study has found. The study evaluated data from four HIV drug trials, looking at 3,200 men who had taken Sustiva and 2,100 who had not. They found that Sustiva doubled the risk of suicidal feelings. Sixty-two total users had suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and 47 of those people took Sustiva. 

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  • farrah


    July 3rd, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    I am not going to be that person who role plays online, but while that isn’t for me I know that there are a whole lot of people who get into that and if it is just a fantasy and you never act on that then how is it criminal?

  • Carlos


    July 3rd, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    I want to know who is doing this driver training for parents because my teens are all such trerrible drivers that they need a little extra help. I would feel so much better about them being on the road in teir cars if I knew that the things that I was trying to teach them were really sticking and that they were paying attention to what I was saying. I know that they don’t think that driving safe is a big deal but I sure do and I think that it would put me at ease a whole lot more if there were things that I knew that I could do to help them make better edcisions behind the wheel.

  • Christina


    July 3rd, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    The things that middle schoolers have to live with today that I had NO IDEA about when I was their age! They are too young to even have to be thinking about sex but to assume that they aren’t just isn’t realistic.

  • Dane Owensby

    Dane Owensby

    July 4th, 2014 at 6:38 AM

    I have a few friends who are HIV positive and while I can’t say that any of them in particular take this drug, I do know that there are highs and lows that they experience that the rest of us can’t imagine. Can you even habdle the thought of living for years and years with something that you know will be eventually terminal but you are never really sure when it will strike you down? That has to be this terrifying thing that I know I would never wish to face. I am sure that suicidal tendencies will always be higher in those with a terminal diagnosis like HIV or even some forms of cancer… the question is how much is this related to the medication that they take or simply to the diagnosis itself.

  • gayle


    July 4th, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    I don’t necessarily love Kesha’s music but I did feel so bad for her when I learned that she was checking into rehab. It is hard to understand the way that negative self talk as well as hurtful comments can pull you down year after year and even someone as beautiful and strong as she is is susceptible to that negativity. I think that most of us think that those celebs in these positions have it all but things like this show all of us that they are people like you and me. They may have more money and more material goods but they hurt just like we do and have to heal just like the rest of us too.

  • Clancy


    July 6th, 2014 at 5:34 AM

    I have never even heard of this TInder app. Is this new or am I just that far removed form dating scenes lol?

  • Jada


    July 7th, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Fantasy is all well and good while it is still a game but when someone loses sight of the fact that this isn’t real and they crossover into believing that this could somehow become reality, then Houston we have a problem!
    Whether or not the online activity is a crime, I wouldn’t think so but then again you have to start looking at the law and figuring out where that line will be crossed, and if so, how to handle it once it has been.
    If you have not been threatened explicitly then it must be difficult in the eyes of the law to do anything about it.

  • julio


    July 15th, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    The people who are narcissistic have NOOO problem with promoting themselves into leadership positions

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