What is pedophilia?
Pedophilia is a paraphilia 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 sex or children of the other sex. Some Pedophilias are attracted to both boys and girls. Some are attracted only to children, while others are attracted to adults as well as to children.
How common is pedophilia?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of pedophilia?
The common symptoms of pedophilia are:
- Recurrent, intense sexual fantasies, urges or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 years or younger) for a period of at least 6 months.
- These sexual urges have been acted on or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- The person is at least age 16 and at least 5 years older than the child in the first category. However, this does not include an individual in late adolescence involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes pedophilia?
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 sex 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 Pedophilia 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 Pedophilias are males.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is pedophilia diagnosed?
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).
How is pedophilia treated?
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 pedophilias 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.
The practitioner can attempt to reduce the intensity of pedophiliac fantasies and develop coping strategies for the patient, but the individual must be willing to recognize that a problem exists and be willing to participate in treatment for it to succeed. Dynamic psychotherapy, behavioral techniques, chemical approaches, and surgical interventions yield mixed results. Lifelong maintenance may be a pragmatic and realistic approach.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage pedophilia?
There are currently no lifestyle changes to manage pedophilia.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
- What Is Pedophilia? http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/explaining-pedophilia#1. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
- https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/pedophilia. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
- http://www.minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Pedophilia.html. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
- Overview of Paraphilic Disorders. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/sexuality,-gender-dysphoria,-and-paraphilias/overview-of-paraphilic-disorders. Accessed 17 Apr 2017
Review Date: June 26, 2017 | Last Modified: June 26, 2017