Is Pedophilia a Sexual Orientation?
- 12k Downloads
In this article, I address the question of whether pedophilia in men can be construed as a male sexual orientation, and the implications for thinking of it in this way for scientific research, clinical practice, and public policy. I begin by defining pedophilia and sexual orientation, and then compare pedophilia (as a potential sexual orientation with regard to age) to sexual orientations with regard to gender (heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality), on the bases of age of onset, correlations with sexual and romantic behavior, and stability over time. I conclude with comments about the potential social and legal implications of conceptualizing pedophilia as a type of sexual orientation in males.
KeywordsPedophilia Paraphilia Sexual preferences Sexual orientation
A version of this article was presented at the University of Lethbridge Workshop, “The Puzzle of Sexual Orientation: What Is It and How Does It Work?”, held in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, June 2010. It does not represent the positions of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group or of any of the universities with which I’m affiliated. I would like to thank James Cantor, Meredith Chivers, Grant Harris, and Vern Quinsey for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
- Beckstead, A. L. (submitted). Can we change sexual orientation? What we know, what we need to know, and why these questions are important. Archives of Sexual Behavior.Google Scholar
- Beier, K. M., Neutze, J., Mundt, I. A., Ahlers, Ch. J., Goecker, D., Konrad, A., et al. (2009). Encouraging self-identified pedophiles and hebephiles to seek professional help: First results of the Berlin Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD). Child Abuse and Neglect, 33, 545–549.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bernard, F. (1985). Paedophilia: A factual report [English edition]. Rotterdam: Enclave Press.Google Scholar
- Cantor, J. M. (submitted). Is homosexuality a paraphilia? The evidence for and against. Archives of Sexual Behavior.Google Scholar
- Chandra, A., Mosher, W. D., Copen, C., & Sionean, C. (2011). Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: Data from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth (National Health Statistics Report No. 36). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.Google Scholar
- Des Sables, L. (1976). Résultats d’une enquête auprès d’un groupe de pedérastes. Arcadie, 276, 650–657.Google Scholar
- Diamond, L. M. (2008). Sexual fluidity: Understanding women’s love and desire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Drescher, J., & Zucker, K. J. (Eds.). (2006). Ex-gay research: Analyzing the Spitzer study and its relation to science, religion, politics, and culture. Binghamton, NY: Haworth.Google Scholar
- Finkelhor, D. (1984). Child sexual abuse: New theory and research. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Jenkins, P. (1998). Moral panic: Changing concepts of the child molester in modern America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Marshall, W. L. (2008). Are pedophiles treatable? Evidence from North American studies. Polish Sexology, 6, 1–5.Google Scholar
- O’Carroll, T. (1980). Paedophilia: The radical case. London: Peter Owen.Google Scholar
- Oxford English Dictionary. (2011). Retrieved http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/orientation. Accessed November 30, 2011.
- Pieterse, M. (1982). Pedofielen over pedofilie [Pedophiles concerning pedophilia]. Zeist: Nisso.Google Scholar
- Quinsey, V. L., & Lalumière, M. L. (1995). Evolutionary perspectives on sexual offending. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 7, 301–315.Google Scholar
- Rouweler-Wuts, L. (1976). Pedofielen in contact of conflict met de samenleving [Pedophiles in contact or conflict with society]. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus.Google Scholar
- Seto, M. C. (2002). Precisely defining pedophilia. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31, 498–499.Google Scholar
- Seto, M. C., Murphy, W. D., Page, J., & Ennis, L. (2003). Detecting anomalous sexual interests among juvenile sex offenders. In R. A. Prentky, E. S. Janus, & M. C. Seto (Eds.), Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 989: Understanding and managing sexually coercive behavior (pp. 118–130). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
- Smith, T. P. (1994). Effects of the child’s relative age appearance and attractiveness on vulnerability to pedosexual interactions. Dissertation Abstracts International, 54(12-B), 6472.Google Scholar
- Wilson, G. D., & Cox, D. N. (1983). The child-lovers: A study of paedophiles in society. London: Peter Owen.Google Scholar
- Wilson, G. D., & Rahman, Q. (2005). Born gay: The biology of sex orientation. London: Peter Owen.Google Scholar
- World Health Organization. (1997). The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders: Clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines. Geneva: Author.Google Scholar