Bell214: Pedophilia is recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child
(American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)
It’s easier not to ask too many questions about pedophilia. The questions make you blush; some of the answers make your skin crawl. Why are there so many people who want to molest children? How can we stop them? Are we overreacting?
Though researchers have many unanswered questions about child sexual abusers, a serious, if small, academic field is devoted to understanding and preventing their behavior — and to comprehending its effects on their victims. Although news reports focus on horrific serial offenders, experts say it’s possible, with treatment, to prevent pedophiles from abusing kids.
In other words, asking questions about pedophilia may make us squirm, but it may also be the first step toward ending it.
Pedophilia is a paraphilia (abnormal sexual activity) that involves an abnormal interest in children. A paraphilia is a disorder that is characterized by recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies generally involving: nonhuman objects; the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner (not merely simulated); or animals, children, or other nonconsenting persons.
Pedophilia is also a psychosexual disorder in which the fantasy or actual act of engaging in sexual activity with prepubertal children is the preferred or exclusive means of achieving sexual excitement and gratification. It may be directed toward children of the same s^* or children of the other sz@. Some pedophiles are attracted to both boys and girls. Some are attracted only to children, while others are attracted to adults as well as to children.
Pedophilia is defined by mental health professionals as a mental disorder, but the American legal system defines acting on a pedophilic urge as a criminal act.
The focus of pedophilia is sexual activity with a child. Many courts interpret this reference to age to mean children under the age of 18. Most mental health professionals, however, confine the definition of pedophilia to sexual activity with prepubescent children, who are generally age 13 or younger.
The term ephebophilia, derived from the Greek word for “youth,” is sometimes used to describe sexual interest in young people in the first stages of puberty.
The sexual behaviors involved in pedophilia cover a range of activities and may or may not involve the use of force. Some pedophiles limit their behaviors to exposing themselves or m%*@#%z@#$%y in front of the child, or fondling or undressing the child, but without genital contact. Others, however, compel the child to participate in oral sy@ or full genital intercourse.
The most common overt aspect of pedophilia is an intense interest in children. There is no typical pedophile. Pedophiles may be young or old, male or female, although the great majority are males.
Unfortunately, some pedophiles are professionals who are entrusted with educating or maintaining the health and well–being of young persons, while others are entrusted with children to whom they are related by blood or marriage.
Bell214: Causes and symptoms
A variety of different theories exist as to the causes of pedophilia. A few researchers attribute pedophilia along with the other paraphilias to biology. They hold that testosterone, one of the male s%z hormones, predisposes men to develop deviant sexual behaviors. As far as genetic factors are concerned, as of 2002 no researchers have claimed to have discovered or mapped a gene for pedophilia.
Most experts regard pedophilia as resulting from psychosocial factors rather than biological characteristics. Some think that pedophilia is the result of having been sexually abused as a child. Still others think that it derives from the person’s interactions with parents during their early years of life. Some researchers attribute pedophilia to arrested emotional development; that is, the pedophile is attracted to children because he or she has never matured psychologically.
Some regard pedophilia as the result of a distorted need to dominate a sexual partner. Since children are smaller and usually weaker than adults, they may be regarded as nonthreatening potential partners. This drive for domination is sometimes thought to explain why most pedophiles are males.
A pedophile is often very attractive to the children who are potential victims. Potential pedophiles may volunteer their services to athletic teams, Scout troops, or religious or civic organizations that serve youth. In some cases, pedophiles who are attracted to children within their extended family may offer to baby–sit for their relatives. They often have good interpersonal skills with children and can easily gain the children’s trust.
Some pedophiles offer rationalizations or excuses that enable them to avoid assuming responsibility for their actions. They may blame the children for being too attractive or sexually provocative. They may also maintain that they are “teaching” the child about “the facts of life” or “love”; this rationalization is frequently offered by pedophiles who have molested children related to them.
All these rationalizations may be found in pornography with pedophilic themes.
Pedophilia is one of the more common paraphilias; the large worldwide market for child pornography suggests that it is more frequent in the general population than prison statistics would indicate. Together with voyeurism and exhibitionism, pedophilia is one of the three paraphilias most commonly leading to arrest by the police.
The onset of pedophilia usually occurs during adolescence. Occasional pedophiles begin their activities during middle age but this late onset is uncommon.
In the United States, about 50% of men arrested for pedophilia are married.
The frequency of behavior associated with pedophilia varies with psychosocial stress. As the pedophile’s stress levels increase, the frequency of his or her acting out generally rises also.
Pedophilia is more common among males than among females. In addition, the rate of recidivism for persons with a pedophilic preference for males is approximately twice that of pedophiles who prefer females.
Little is known about the incidence of pedophilia in different racial or ethnic groups.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition text revised, the following criteria must be met to establish a diagnosis of pedophilia.
* Over a period of at least six months, the affected person experiences recurrent, intense and sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or actual behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children aged 13 or younger.
* The fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of daily functioning.
* The affected person must be at least age sixteen and be at least five years older than the child or children who are the objects or targets of attention or sexual activity.
A diagnosis of pedophilia cannot be assigned to an individual in late adolescence (age 17 to 19) who is involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 12– or 13–year–old person.
In establishing a diagnosis of pedophilia, it is important for a mental health professional to determine if the patient is attracted to males, females or both. It is also important to determine whether incest is a factor in the relationship. Finally, the doctor must determine whether the pedophilia is exclusive or nonexclusive; that is, whether the patient is attracted only to children (exclusive pedophilia) or to adults as well as to children (nonexclusive pedophilia).
One difficulty with the diagnosis of the disorder is that persons with pedophilia rarely seek help voluntarily from mental health professionals. Instead, counseling and treatment is often the result of a court order. An interview that establishes the criteria for diagnosis listed above may be enough to diagnose the condition, or surveillance or Internet records obtained through the criminal investigation may also be used.
An additional complication in diagnosis is that the paraphilias as a group have a high rate of comorbidity (the coexistence of two or more disease processes) with one another and an equally high rate of comorbidity with major depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorders. A person diagnosed with pedophilia may also meet the criteria for exhibitionism or for a substance abuse or mood disorder.
In the earliest stages of behavior modification therapy, pedophiles may be narrowly viewed as being attracted to inappropriate persons. Such aversive stimuli as electric shocks have been administered to persons undergoing therapy for pedophilia. This approach has not been very successful.
In 2002, the most common form of treatment for pedophilia is psychotherapy , often of many years’ duration. It does not have a high rate of success in inducing pedophiles to change their behavior.
Pedophilia may also be treated with medications. The three classes of medications most often used to treat pedophilia (and other paraphilias) are: female hormones, particularly medroxyprogesterone acetate, or MPA; luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists, which include such drugs as triptorelin (Trelstar), leuprolide acetate, and goserelin acetate; and anti–androgens, which block the uptake and metabolism of testosterone as well as reducing blood levels of this hormone.
Most clinical studies of these drugs have been done in Germany, where the legal system has allowed their use in treating repeat sexual offenders since the 1970s. The anti–androgens in particular have been shown to be effective in reducing the rate of recidivism.
Note: There is nothing new or scientifically subtle about these drugs: they squash testosterone levels and therefore suppress sexual hunger. (High, long–term doses of the drugs are known as “chemical castration,” a misnomer because s@^ drive returns if the injections stop.) But together, drugs and counseling can be effective.
Surgical castration is sometimes offered as a treatment to pedophiles who are repeat offenders or who have pleaded guilty to violent rape.
Increasingly, pedophiles are being prosecuted under criminal statutes and being sentenced to prison terms. Imprisonment removes them from society for a period of time but does not usually remove their pedophilic tendencies. In 2002, many states have begun to publish the names of persons being released from prison after serving time for pedophilia. Legal challenges to this practice are pending in various jurisdictions.
The prognosis of successfully ending pedophilic habits among persons who practice pedophilia is not favorable. Pedophiles have a high rate of recidivism; that is, they tend to repeat their acts often over time.
The rate of prosecution for pedophiles through the criminal justice system has increased in recent years. Pedophiles are at high risk of being beaten or killed by other prison inmates. For this reason, they must often be kept isolated from other members of a prison population. Knowledge of the likelihood of abuse by prison personnel and inmates is not, however, an effective deterrent for most pedophiles.
The main method for preventing pedophilia is avoiding situations that may promote pedophilic acts. Children should never be allowed to in one–on–one situations with any adult other than their parents or trustworthy family members. Having another youth or adult as an observer provides some security for all concerned. Conferences and other activities can be conducted so as to provide privacy while still within sight of others.
Children should be taught to yell or run if they are faced with an uncomfortable situation. They should also be taught that it is acceptable to scream or call for help in such situations.
Another basis of preventing pedophilia is education. Children must be taught to avoid situations that make them vulnerable to pedophiles. Adults who work with youth must be taught to avoid situations that may be construed as promoting pedophilia.
Many states have adopted legislation that requires periodic background investigations of any adult who works with children. These persons may be paid, such as teachers, or they may be volunteers in a youth–serving organization.
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders:
kaem08: <<<<<thinks all of what was just said waslike pearls to a swine in accordance to the last two comments
Eaton Busche: Perhaps you lost something in the language barrier Kaem.......try again. Not really sure wtf you're referring to.
kaem08: I'm saying that the person who was trying to get everyone to understand pedophilia has unfortunately been preaching to an angry mob wielding torches and agricultural tools
bahcatha2: this doesn't excuse them and I am in no way sympathetic to them but perhaps theres a gene that causes it. So maybe they cant help themselves like cleptomaniacs.
kaem08: in my opinion in principle pedophiles are drawn to kids the same way gays are drawn to their own sy& and how straight people are drawn to the opposite. Some pedos however im pretty sure are just grim no two ways about it
im not supporting pedophilia as obviously a child shouldn't be a in an adult relationship, let alone be in a relationship with an adult to begin with. At most I feel sympathetic as it would be a hard life liking things that got you in to trouble,and you can't help but like them. It's tricky to deal with as you can not simply change someones interests,and even if it seemed that it had been dealt with only time willtellif there is anything underneath the surface
solving pedophilia will call for a lot more then killing them all,just so long as people keep on getting reproduced that is...
Sables: does causing them harm make you any better than them? All that does is make you feel good. It is a terrible thing that they have done, but it is an illness and they need treatment.
Eaton Busche: For every wrong-doing ther MUST be a consequence.......so yes, death penalties are required here...right after the public caning is complete!
It may be a sickness but it is caused by lack of lead in their bodies. I propose my unique lead injection system for all of them.
PTBO52: Wow, Bell a very interesting topic. One which splits me in two. I am very interested in the gene factor and I hope they have performed a thorough exam of the brain of one that has died. I can't stand the thought of what they do and likely would have killed anyone if they had harmed my children. But this goes on everyday, everywhere. Maybe science is the answer? I know they have performed PET scans on serial killers but nothing mentioned about pedophiles? Do you know of any?
And before anyone starts replying...oh she is sticking up for them, read my post thoroughly
buffalo bill_: i agree with you PTBO52
beacouse when an serial killer is wanted
in america will be alarm
beacouse he kill some girls or boys
and they will do anything to arrest him
but when an pedophiles will make love with an kid
in america will not be alarm
to arrest him
like the serial killer
buffalo bill_: i mean the police will not hunt him like the other criminals
here in greece they dont arrest the pedophiles
beacouse they will say in court
he was just an psycho
just let him go
well this is not justice lol
bahcatha2: pedophiles don't make love to kids they rape and emotionally torture them. there is no excuse, children are innocent and should not be harmed or seen as s%# objects, this behavior is abnormal. it is worse by far than homosexuality.
Bell214: Thanks PT, there are some answers (although I will repeat some things):
1. Pedophilia (or paedophilia) is a psychiatric illness, one of a group of psychological disorders called paraphilias, which are disorders of sexual attraction and include such deviant behaviors as exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual masochism and sexual sadism.
Pedophilia is considered one of the most dangerous of these disorders because s*x with a child is always criminal and exploitive.
The term comes from the Greek παιδοφιλία (paidophilia): παῖς (pais), “child” and φιλία (philia), “friendship.”
2. The cause or causes of pedophilia are not known.
3. Several researchers have reported correlations between pedophilia and certain psychological characteristics, such as low self–esteem and poor social skills. Beginning in 2002, other researchers began reporting a series of findings linking pedophilia with brain structure and function: Pedophilic men have lower IQs, poorer scores on memory tests, greater rates of non–right–handedness, greater rates of school grade failure over and above the IQ differences, lesser physical height, greater probability of having suffered childhood head injuries resulting in unconsciousness, and several differences in MRI–detected brain structures.
They report that their findings suggest that there are one or more neurological characteristics present at birth that cause or increase the likelihood of being pedophilic.
4. Another study, using structural MRI, shows that male pedophiles have a lower volume of white matter than non–sexual criminals.
Pedophilia might be the result of faulty connections in the brain, according to new research released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study used MRIs and a sophisticated computer analysis technique to compare a group of pedophiles with a group of non–sexual criminals. The pedophiles had significantly less of a substance called “white matter” which is responsible for wiring the different parts of the brain together.
5. As far as genetic factors are concerned, no researchers have claimed to have discovered or mapped a gene for pedophilia.
6. Pedophilia may be treated, but not cured — no significant curative treatment for pedophilia has yet been found. There are, however, certain therapies that can reduce the incidence of pedophilic behaviors that result in child sexual abuse.
Pedophilia may be treated with medications. For the more driven and dangerous pedophiles, chemistry or surgery may be more effective in controlling sexual impulses. Castration — removal of the testes, which produce the male sw$ hormone testosterone — when coupled with follow–up hormone monitoring, is a drastic but effective solution to sexual offenses.
These days, castration is more likely to be done chemically, usually by injecting a slow–release drug to neutralize testosterone.