My God the sex drive can veer off in strange directions as our newspapers report seemingly daily. Take a week ago with a 30 year old Hawkes Bay company manager, finally nailed for his compulsion (and compulsion it is, thus incurable) to grasp women joggers’ fannies from behind.

A few years ago we had a similar case in Wellington with a cyclist pedalling furiously through the Botanical gardens each lunch-time, doing the same thing to women strollers. Despite the wide-spread publicity, such was his compulsion he persisted and was duly nabbed. Lo and behold he turned out to be a professional firm partner and family man.

Another case a week ago was a fellow in Palmerston North with an overwhelming urge to masturbate in front of women and children. Apparently Into jail he goes, does his time and within days of release is at it again.

Also last week a goofy looking 38 year old Christchurch bloke with an urge to photograph men peeing popped up in court. I won’t go into the details but note his lawyer said it was a first offence. Perhaps, but history says it won’t be his last.

So too the world-wide craving by some males to photograph up women’s skirts, another of the many negative consequences of the cell-phone. On my observation offenders mainly tend to be males in their twenties. Their photos duly appear and inevitably they show well-dressed white collar types, wide-eyed with dismay at their humiliation.

What’s baffling is the appeal? A few years ago we tested this up-skirting in our Wellington office with several of our female staff wearing a variety of dresses. My Wellington manager and I lay on the floor looking up as they walked past. At best you can see their knees.

As the newspapers reveal these are weekly events, particularly holding a cell-phone photographing from behind up women’s dresses in supermarkets. But why? Our office girls tell us all women always wear pants despite myths to the contrary. Yet plainly large numbers of blokes somehow get a sexual kick out of photos of women’s pants, that’s if they’re lucky enough to get past the knees.

Another common male urge is secret cameras in bathrooms. We’ve had two case in recent weeks, one a Northland motel owner and the other, our top military attache in our Washington Embassy. The latter case is more explicable as one has to be weird to join the army in the first place.

As said, what’s specially mystifying is the appeal, given what’s freely available on the Internet. But one’s mystification doesn’t deny the reality of these all-powerful urges. It’s a bit like paedophilia, universally abhorred because of the child victims. In a discussion about this a few years back with the late Greg King in my library one evening, my lawyer and I agreed we felt deeply sorry for the offenders. Their compulsion is a terrible infliction blighting their lives. Greg said he hated acting for them as invariably they were overwhelmingly distraught by their compulsion and the knowledge they could never stop it.

Writer and former ACT MP Deborah Coddington made a study of this back in the 1990s, resulting in her producing a paedophiles’ directory. There was some criticism of this (they’ve done their time etc) but Deborah, who incidentally shares our pity for these poor buggers, pointed out that the evidence is clear, namely their compulsions are incurable. So what to do about it? There’s simply no ready answer other than much longer incarceration terms to protect potential victims.

That said we should all be mindful of the old adage that there but for the grace of God go us all, just as if we had the misfortune to be born blind.

A final thought; why don’t women do stuff like this to blokes? The answer; they do but rather than complain, we’re grateful.

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