Current Sexual Health Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 203–206 | Cite as

Can Pedophiles Change?

  • James M. Cantor
Current Controversies (PJ Kleinplatz and C Moser, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Current Controversies


Purpose of Review

To provide a critical analysis of purported claims to have cured pedophilia, including their scientific and policy implications.

Recent Findings

A single recent study has been in published in which authors claimed to find evidence that half of pedophiles cease to be pedophiles, when tested with a phallometric test in use at those authors’ facility. Bootleg simulation of the original dataset confirmed prior criticisms: When analyzed correctly, the data were indistinguishable from random. Despite that the study was not a treatment study, claims continue to appear that pedophiles can become non-pedophiles.


To tell pedophiles that they cease to be pedophiles relieves them from any need to develop skills for managing that pedophilia (the current clinical consensus of the field). Although it is hoped that there may one day be methods to “convert” pedophiles into non-pedophiles, there is no evidence we are there yet.


Conversion therapy Pedophilia Paraphilia Sexual orientation Sexual preference Regression to the mean 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

James Cantor reports that he has been hired as an expert witness to summarize research relevant to this topic, in a constitutional challenge to minimum sentencing.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Toronto Sexuality CentreUniversity of Toronto Faculty of MedicineTorontoCanada

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