Pedophilia is a psychosexual disorder in which an adult or adolescent has a sexual preference for prepubescent children. This disorder is also considered to be a paraphilia, which is a group of disorders defined by abnormal sexual activity.
When the fantasy, or act of engaging in sexual behavior with a child is the preferred means of achieving sexual excitement and gratification for a person, then he or she might have Pedophilia. Mental health professionals define Pedophilia as a mental disorder, but the American legal system defines it as a criminal act. Also, the court system defines a child as any person under the age of 18, but mental health professionals consider any person under the age of 13 to be a child.
The preferences of pedophiles can vary from person to person. Some individuals are attracted to both boys and girls; some are attracted to only one sex, while others can be attracted to adults as well. The sexual behaviors involved in Pedophilia vary and they may or may not involve force. Some Pedophiles limit their behaviors to just exposing themselves in front of a child, while others participate in oral sex or full genital sex.
There is no typical pedophile. Pedophiles can be young, old, male or female. Pedophiles usually don’t choose strange children as their victims; rather they choose children they know, either through family, school, sports teams, etc.
Common characteristics of Pedophilia
While there is no typical “stereotype” of a pedophile, there are some common characteristics, which include:
- Having sexual fantasies, feelings, urges or behaviors towards children
- Prefers the company of children, feels more comfortable around children
- Popular and well-liked amongst children and adults
- Usually, but not always, male, masculine and in their 30’s
Causes of Pedophilia
Since every individual is different, there are many reasons why a person may become a pedophile. Most researches say that Pedophilia is probably a result of psychological factors. There are theories that Pedophilia is the result of being sexually abused as a child. If a pedophilic person was sexually abused as a child they may be more likely to sexually abuse children. Another possible cause of Pedophilia is arrested emotional development, which means that a person will find an attraction towards children because they never fully matured psychologically themselves. One other possible cause is the need to dominate a sexual partner. Since children are smaller and weaker than adults they are more easily dominated. This drive for domination could also be the reason there are more male pedophiles than there are women pedophiles.
Treatment of Pedophilia
Pedophilia is a disorder that not only negatively affects the pedophile, but also the person who suffers the sexual abuse. Therefore, treatment of this disorder is important, although pedophiles rarely seek treatment on their own. Most often treatment is court ordered.
The most common form of treatment is psychotherapy and/or medication. These treatments tend to be effective, but more often than not, pedophiles relapse into their old behavior. If you feel like you may suffer from Pedophilia, it might be time to seek professional help. Seeking help from a professional psychologist or psychiatrist will help you better understand yourself and your disorder, and will help you overcome the Pedophilia and better your way of life.