Paedophilia

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Paedophilia (also spelt pedophilia and pædophilia) is the sexual attraction of an adult towards prepubescent children. Note that to be a paedophile (which means literally "love for a child") it is not required that the person have ever acted on their urges.

The term 'paedophile' is increasingly used by media when referring to someone who has had sex with anyone under the age of consent. It is often mistakenly reported that paedophilia exclusively or mainly occurs in males. The correct term for a man who engages in sexual relations with a male child is Pederast. The correct term for someone who is sexually attracted towards pubescent or post-pubescent adolescents is ephebophile (aka hebephile).

Clinical diagnosis

The ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems) and the DSM IV (the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) describe paedophilia as a paraphilia and mental disorder of adults or older youths, if it causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The diagnostic criteria for paedophilia are:

  1. A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviours involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger).
  2. B. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviours cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  3. C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.

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