“Cranking” – Gas Pedal Pumping Fetish

“Dear Dr Annalise, I recently heard of Jordan Haskins and his felony convictions for “cranking”. As a political candidate, how conservative can a kinkster like this really thing he is? My real question is that he is an addict and will he do it again?


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Hi J,

[First of all, while I’m flattered you call me Dr., I do not have a PhD, nor am I a medical doctor. I do have six years of training and internships behind me to qualify as a sex therapist, I hope that’s enough for you.  “Miss Annalise” will do. ]

I hadn’t heard of Jordan Haskins until you wrote to me.  It seems he’s stepped down from his political candidacy, pretty much at the time you wrote to me, and it was due to pressure over these sexual offenses from his past.

For those who also haven’t heard of Haskins, he was a Republican candidate for the State House in Michegan. He’s had both felony and misdemeanor convictions for what news articles describe as “a sexual fetish.” It seems that he liked breaking into other people’s cars, disconnecting their spark plugs and then sitting in the driver’s seat, “cranking” the ignition while masturbating.


I can’t really judge whether someone can consider themselves conservative or not based on their kinks. Just based on my personal experience, if a person has a kink that they are really trying to repress or avoid, it often becomes even more extreme. What I can talk about more is his sexual interests of the past and what they might mean now.

Cranking is certainly a fairly rare sexual focus. It involves getting sexually excited to the sound (or other stimuli) of a car engine turning over unsuccessfully.  Here’s an example (and I’ve scattered a few more throughout this post in case anyone would like to see them):


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There are a whole lot of elements that make cranking exciting for some people:

  • There is an element of the damsel in distress, or person in trouble.
  • It intersects with an interest in legs and feet, and can intersect with an interest in shoes or socks and stockings as well.
  • A strong visual image of that leg pumping up and down on the gas pedal, muscles moving under smooth skin. Very sexy.
  • The soft organic often young female interacting with the cold hard old brutally resistant machine.
  • The desperate nature of the act, someone trying so very hard to get something to work. It builds up a huge sense of anticipation -the whole act is a plea for relief: “Please please please PLEASE….. YES!!!!”
  • The loud harsh sound of the starter turning over, and the possible release of the engine starting.

Cranking is only one part of what Haskins liked sexually. He could have disconnected the wires of his own car inside his garage and turned it over in there while masturbating in private, or watched videos like the ones I’ve included here. He probably did all that, but he also felt the need to break in to other people’s cars and masturbate in public – elements of danger and exhibitionism that meant that this impulse was strong enough for him to take extreme risks, and those risks probably also added to how strong the impulse was for him.

Sexual addiction is not yet recognized by the DSM (the manual that is used for diagnosis for mental disorders).  However there is a section on sexual disorders, and a subcategory on “paraphilias”.  Psychology Today defines a paraphilia as “a condition in which a person’s sexual arousal and gratification depend on fantasizing about and engaging in sexual behavior that is atypical and extreme.” A diagnosis also requires that the person feel distress about their interest (and not just from social pressure or disapproval), or that their sexual interest could cause distress or harm to someone else.

The way Haskins is disowning his past sexual behavior indicates some level of personal distress. His actual past sexual behavior involves unwilling persons – those whose cars he used, and the people who discovered him masturbating in the cars. He qualifies as having a diagnosable sex disorder of a relatively severe magnitude, enough to risk arrest again after his first conviction.

The evidence that is available about paraphilias says that it’s almost impossible to change the patterns of what arouses us.

What someone like Haskins can do is to start analyzing his paraphilias. He can break them down into things that cause issues for him or others, and things that he can do without causing problems.

spend some time working out exactly how his fetish is causing issues for him and for others, and start working on particular behaviors. This is easier with a sex therapist, and it also helps to have a supportive partner.  Most importantly, he needs to identify which things he can do that aren’t problems. For example, he can fantasize all he wants about it (as long as feelings such as guilt aren’t driving him crazy);  he might set a small budget aside for doing NiteFlirt calls with someone who is accepting and has a wild imagination (hint! hint!). He might even have or find a partner who is willing to incorporate elements of his fetish into their sex life. At the very least, there’s probably nothing stopping him from fooling around in the privacy of his own garage with his own vehicle.

I can’t tell you whether he will offend again. I hope not, for his sake especially. It can be very difficult living with a problematic paraphilia, but it’s not impossible to get it to a point where a person can engage with it appropriately and in moderation. As long as the person can find a way to indulge their sexual preferences in a way that doesn’t hurt them or others, there is nothing wrong.

Thanks for asking, J! Please feel free to contact me any time with more questions. 🙂

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