Pedophilia (American English) or pædophilia/paedophilia (British English), from the Greek παιδοφιλια (paidophilia) < παις (pais) "boy, child" and φιλια (philia) "friendship", (ICD-10 F65.4) is the condition of people (either adult or adolescent) whose primary sexual attraction is toward prepubescent children
. Pedosexuality is used as a synonym. The term is sometimes used informally (and incorrectly) to describe sex offenders or child pornographers. It is one form of Paraphilia, a mental health term recently used to indicate a sexual condition that is considered "abnormal".
In the United States and some other countries, the term is also sometimes used (incorrectly) to describe people attracted to adolescents, and usually reflects the age at which a minor becomes an adult legally — especially in regards to sexual activies. In cultures or countries where love relationships or dates between adults and adolescents are socially or legally accepted (at least with parental consent) or are viewed with tolerance, such as France or Brazil, the word pedophilia is almost never used in this sense, either formally or informally.
In most countries of the world, adolescents above a certain age can be legally emancipated through marriage, economic self-sufficiency, pregnancy or by other means. The marriageable age is generally below the age of majority and in some cases below the legal age of consent. Having sexual relations with emancipated minors is not considered pedophilia.
The term Paedophilia erotica was coined in 1896 by the Vienna psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his writing Psychopathia sexualis. The following characteristics are given:
the sexual interest is toward children, either prepubescent or at the beginning of puberty
the sexual interest is the primary one, i. e. exclusively or mainly toward children
the sexual interest remains over time
Occasionally definitions additionally require an age difference of at least five years. On the other hand, a pedophilic sexual inclination often develops during puberty or childhood. See causes of sexual orientation; note, however, that while some individuals assert sexual attraction to children to be a sexual orientation, this is very much a minority view. In fact, it is diametrically opposed to the standard (conservative) definition of sexual orientation as solely a question of sexual attraction between individuals based upon the characteristic sexes (or physical genders) of the parties.
Some sexologists such as Dr. John Money assert that not only adults but also any postpubescent adolescents may qualify as possible pedophiles.
A person is not necessarily a pedophile simply because he can be sexually aroused by children; rather, a pedophile is defined as someone whose primary sexual attraction is toward children, however this is mostly ignored in any such matters, and usually someone is classified as a Pedophile if they are found to be sexually aroused by children. There is evidence that at least a quarter of all adult men may have feelings of sexual arousal in connection with children (Freund & Costell 1970, Hall et al. 1995, Quinsey et al. 1975). Note that pedophilia can be diagnosed solely in the presence of fantasies or sexual urges on the subject's part — it need not involve sexual acts with children, and indeed "Pedophilia" is not a legal term, it describes no act.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition, Text Revision, American Psychiatric Association includes a Diagnostic criteria for 302.2 Pedophilia:
* A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger).
* B. The person has acted on these urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.
* C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.
Note: Do not include an individual in late adolescence involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old.
The actual boundaries between childhood and adolescence may vary in individual cases and are difficult to define in rigid terms of age. The World Health Organization, for instance, defines adolescence as the period of life between 10 and 20 years of age.
Pedophiles often refer to themselves as boylovers or girllovers, though most of them are not both; collectively they are sometimes referred to as childlovers. The term childlover however is an affront to some who are attracted to adolescents, or attracted to girls and boys undergoing puberty - and therefore the term "Minor Attracted Adult" can be preferred.