In this paper the importance of relationship for understanding sexual offenders is discussed. Studies of social competence in sex offender populations are also reviewed. It was further concluded that while social skills deficiencies are not common in all sex offenders, they are probably significant in some instances. Where social competence deficits do exist, they frequently manifest as deficits in social cognition. Many sexual offenders have a lot of trouble starting and keeping long-term personal relationships. Lack of empathy and incorrect, culturally imposed sexual relationship standards are likely significant factors in these issues. A move from the study of social skills to social relationships is noted and this is perceived as an important development.