pedophilia, psychosexual disorder in which there is a preference for sexual activity with prepubertal children. Pedophiles are almost always males. The children are more often of the opposite sex (about twice as often) and are typically 13 years or age or younger; they may be within or outside the pedophile's family. Sexual fantasies, looking, or fondling are more common than genital contact. Sexual offenses against children make up a significant proportion of reported criminal sex acts.

The cause or causes of pedophilia are not well understood. Personality problems may be evident, and the pedophile often shows little or no concern for the effects of his sexual behavior on the child. Researchers have reported that psychotherapy in conjunction with the use of testosterone-lowering drugs has substantially reduced the desire in male pedophiles to molest children. See also child abuse.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Pedophilia: Selected full-text books and articles

Taking Pedophilia Seriously By Kaplan, Margo Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 1, Winter 2015
Aetiology of Pedophile Sufferers By Safitri, Jehan; Fauzia, Rahmi; Sholihah, Qomariyatus European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The, Vol. 9, No. 2, April 2014
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Child Pornography: An Internet Crime By Max Taylor; Ethel Quayle Brunner-Routledge, 2003
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "The Internet, Child Pornography and Adult Sexual Interest in Children"
The Psychology of Sexual Orientation, Behavior, and Identity: A Handbook By Louis Diamant; Richard D. McAnulty Greenwood Press, 1995
Librarian's tip: Chap. 13 "Pedophilia"
Eradicating Pedophilia: Toward the Humanization of Society By O'Grady, Ron Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 55, No. 1, Fall 2001
Ethics and Sex By Igor Primoratz Routledge, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 10 "Pedophilia"
Sexual Strands: Understanding and Treating Sexual Anomalies in Men By Ron Langevin Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1983
Librarian's tip: Chap. 8 "Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophilia"
The Sexually Disturbed: Treating Psychosexual Disorders By Averil Marie Doyle Praeger, 1992
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Loretta: Incestuous Pedophilia, Nonexclusive Type"
Home Truths about Child Sexual Abuse: Influencing Policy and Practice - A Reader By Catherine Itzin Routledge, 2000
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Paedophile Characteristics and Patterns of Behaviour"
Inappropriate Relationships: The Unconventional, the Disapproved & the Forbidden By Robín Goodwin; Duncan Cramer Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002
Librarian's tip: "Hatred of Pedophiles" begins on p. 226
International Perspectives on the Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Offenders: Theory, Practice, and Research By Michael H. Miner; Friedemann Pf00e4fflin; Douglas P. Boer; Reinhard Eher; Leam A. Craig Wiley-Blackwell, 2011
Adult Psychopathology and Diagnosis By Michel Hersen; Deborah C. Beidel Wiley, 2012 (6th edition)
Understanding of Pedophilia Remains Incomplete, Psychologists Say. (Special Report) By Luperchio, Kevin National Catholic Reporter, Vol. 38, No. 19, March 15, 2002
How Pedophilia Lost Its Cool By Eberstadt, Mary First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, No. 198, December 2009
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.