Research: Pedophilia as a sexual/erotic orientation

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Paedophilia is an erotic age orientation. Even the American Psychological Association's DSM-5, considered the "bible of psychiatry", now describes pedophilia as a sexual orientation that does not necessarily constitute a disorder.

  • American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth ed.), p. 698.
    "Examples of disclosing this paraphilia include candidly acknowledging an intense sexual interest in children and indicating that sexual interest in children is greater than or equal to sexual interest in physically mature individuals. If individuals also complain that their sexual attractions or preferences for children are causing psychosocial difficulties, they may be diagnosed with pedophilic disorder. However, if they report an absence of feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety about these impulses and are not functionally limited by their paraphilic impulses (according to self-report, objective assessment, or both), and their self-reported and legally recorded histories indicate that they have never acted on their impulses, then these individuals have a pedophilic sexual orientation but not pedophilic disorder. [...] There is some evidence that neurodevelopmental perturbation in utero increases the probability of development of a pedophilic orientation."
  • Gaither, George A. (2002). "Peer Commentaries on Green (2002) and Schmidt (2002): Pedophilia as a Sexual Orientation?," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31(6), 486.
    "One possible conceptualization of pedophilia is that it is a sexual orientation. This point of view appears to be consistent with Schmidt's reasoning. Although most researchers have tended to discuss sexual orientation in terms of the sexes or gender identities of the individuals involved (most likely assuming that the individual to whom one is attracted is of consenting age), there have been a growing number of researchers who have defined sexual orientation in much broader terms, which include pedophilia (e.g., Barbaree, Bogaert, & Seto, 1995; Berlin, 2000; Feierman, 1990; Laws & O'Donohue, 1997; Suppe, 1984). Barbaree et al. (1995), for instance, stated that "sexual orientation is defined by (1) the ability of a certain class of stimuli to evoke sexual arousal and desire in the individual, (2) the persons or objects toward which sexual behavior and activity are directed by the individual, and (3) the persons or objects depicted in fantasies and cognitions" (p. 358). Pedophilia certainly fits within this definition of sexual orientation. Furthermore, clinical evidence suggests that, similar to homosexual or heterosexual orientations, a pedophilic sexual orientation typically begins by early adolescence, tends to be lifelong, and is resistant to change (Abel & Osborn, 1995; Marshall, 1997), for as Schmidt states, it is part of the person's identity."
  • Blanchard, Ray; Kolla, Nathan J.; Cantor, James M.; Klassen, Philip E.; Dickey, Robert; Kuban, Michael E.; and Blak, Thomas (2007). "IQ, Handedness, and Pedophilia in Adult Male Patients Stratified by Referral Source," Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 19(3), 285-309.
    "The term pedophilia may be defined as the erotic orientation of persons whose sexual attraction to prepubescent children exceeds their sexual attraction to pubescent or physically mature persons (Freund 1981)."
  • Bailey, J. Michael (2009). "What is Sexual Orientation and Do Women Have One?," in Hope, Debra A. (ed.) Contemporary Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identities, p. 50.
    "Pedophiles are men who are more sexually aroused by children than they are by adults of either sex. That is, their sexual orientation is toward children."
  • Seto, Michael (2012). "Is Pedophilia a Sexual Orientation?", Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 41, p. 233.
    "By the above definition of sexual orientation — and most common definitions of sexual orientation — pedophilia can be viewed as a sexual age orientation based on the more limited evidence available regarding its age of onset, associations with sexual and romantic behavior, and stability over time."
  • Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (2011). 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, February 14.
    Hubert Van Gijseghem: "For instance, it is a fact that real pedophiles account for only 20% of sexual abusers. If we know that pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offence from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality, and if we agree on the fact that true pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation, everyone knows that there is no such thing as real therapy. You cannot change this person's sexual orientation. He may however remain abstinent. [...] With respect to pedophilia, as I believe Dr. Quinsey just explained, in other words and perhaps better than I, as I have already said, it is a sexual orientation. Of course, even an individual whose sexual orientation involves a quasi-exclusive preference for prepuberscent children can remain chaste or abstinent."
    Vernon Quinsey: "I just want to say that you can manage the risk that sex offenders present--even pedophiles. It's a matter of supervision. So it's not necessarily that they need to change their sexual orientation; they need to learn to control themselves, with our help. Pedophiles are not usually the highest-risk offenders."
  • Howitt, D. (2002). "Social Exclusion--Pedophile Style," in Goodwin, Robin and Cramer, Duncan (eds.), Inappropriate Relationships, p. 232.
    "There are several reasons for regarding pedophilia as a sexual orientation rather than as a perverse act of an evil manipulator of children (Howitt, 1995). One of these is that the pedophile orientation is formed by the age of young adulthood or late adolescence--much as homosexual orientation is."