, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 817-818
Date: 20 Feb 2010

The Fertility of Hebephiles and the Adaptationist Argument Against Including Hebephilia in DSM-5

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In a paper that generated a certain amount of controversy, Blanchard et al. (2009) proposed that the paraphilias section of DSM-5 be modified to include hebephilia, that is, the erotic preference for pubescent children. Pubescent children were characterized by Blanchard et al. (2009) as children around the ages of 11 through 14 years, but they could be described more precisely as children in Tanner stages 2 and 3 of pubertal development.

Franklin (2009) criticized the proposal to include hebephilia in the DSM on the grounds that “such attractions are evolutionarily adaptive” (p. 319). Franklin did not explain this argument any further. Presumably, Franklin meant something along the following lines: In the environment of evolutionary adaptedness, men with an erotic preference for pubescent females had greater reproductive success, either because they acquired female mates near the onset of their fecundity and thus prevented them from being impregnated by other men, or because they had mo