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definition - Hebephilia

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Hebephilia refers to a primary or exclusive sexual interest in individuals in the early years of puberty (generally ages 11–14, though onset of puberty may vary). Girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10 or 11; boys at age 11 or 12.[1][2] Hebephilia differs from ephebophilia, which refers to the sexual preference for individuals in later adolescence,[3] and from pedophilia, which refers to the sexual preference for prepubescent children.[4] While individuals with a sexual preference for adults (i.e., teleiophiles) may have some sexual interest in pubescent-aged individuals,[5] the term hebephilia is reserved for those who prefer pubescent-aged individuals over adults. The term was introduced by Glueck (1955),[6] who later credited it, without citation, to Paul Benedict.[7]

Debate is ongoing over whether hebephilia is a mental disorder, with Ray Blanchard and a number of his colleagues from CAMH arguing for its inclusion in the DSM-5.[8] The proposal has been criticized by Richard Green,[9] Allen Frances,[10] Michael First (DSM-IV editor),[10][11] Karen Franklin,[12] Charles Allen Moser,[13] William O'Donohue,[14] and other mental health professionals on various grounds. The current draft of the DSM-5, on which Blanchard serves as Chair of the Paraphilias Sub-Work Group,[15] includes Blanchard's proposal.[16]


  Etiology and etymology

As with sexual preference in general, it is not known what causes someone to prefer a pubescent rather than an adult individual for sexual reasons. A number of biological associations have been studied however. A team from CAMH has published a series of research articles comparing biologically relevant characteristics of clinical samples of pedophiles, hebephiles, and teleiophiles (individuals with a sexual preference for adults). In such samples, hebephilic men are midway between pedophilic men and teleiophilic men on average IQ,[17] memory test scores,[17] and rates of school grade failures over and above the IQ differences, with pedophiles scoring the lowest on the first two measures and highest on the third.[18] Hebephiles score midway between pedophiles and teleiophiles in rates of non-right-handedness,[19] rates of having suffered childhood head injuries,[20][21] and physical height.[22]

The name is based on the Greek goddess of youth Hebe (mythology), a daughter of Zeus and Hera. She is also known as Ganymeda, or in Roman: Juventas. Words such as juvenile are based on that form. The suffix -phil- based on Philia is also Greek, meaning love.

  Prevalence of hebephilia versus pedophilia

There are clinical and correctional samples of sexual offenders in which hebephilic men outnumber the pedophilic men.[17][23][24] Moreover, anonymous surveys of people sexually interested in children more frequently report an erotic interest in pubescents rather than in prepubescents.[25][26]


In 2008, Ray Blanchard was the lead author of an influential paper proposing the introduction of hebephilia in the DSM-5.[8] The paper, coauthored mostly with colleagues from CAMH and the University of Toronto, triggered a number of reactions, many of them critical on the basis that it pathologizes reproductively valid behavior in order to uphold current social and legal standards. Critics include Richard Green,[9] Michael First (DSM-IV editor),[11] Karen Franklin,[12][27][28] and Charles Allen Moser,[13] while others like William O'Donohue argue that the proposal does not go far enough.[14] Clinical psychologist Joseph J. Plaud[29] criticized Blanchard's study for lacking a control group of "normal" men, and other methodological issues, leading him to conclude that "The data do not support the conclusions reached in this article, especially the inclusion of a significant change to the DSM-V".[30] Blanchard replied to these concerns.[31][32] Franklin maintains a list of publications discussing the new diagnosis.[33]

The proposed DSM-5 replacement for the pedophilia diagnosis, called pedohebophilic disorder, largely reflects the proposal of Blanchard and his colleagues.[16] The naming of the new disorder also reflects the more general distinction proposed between paraphilia and paraphilic disorder in DSM-5.

At the annual meeting of the American Association of Psychiatry and Law (AAPL) a group of forensic psychiatrists working with sex offenders made a symbolic vote on the inclusion of Pedohebephilia in DSM-5, with 2 votes for and 31 against. At the International Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders meeting in Oslo another vote was made with 1 vote for and 100 against.[34]

  See also


  1. ^ (Chumlea, 1982).
  2. ^ "For girls, puberty begins around 10 or 11 years of age and ends around age 16. Boys enter puberty later than girls-usually around 12 years of age-and it lasts until around age 16 or 17." "Teenage Growth & Development: 11 to 14 Years". Palo Alto Medical Foundation. http://www.pamf.org/teen/parents/health/growth-11-14.html. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ Krafft-Ebing, R., & Moll, A. (1924). Psychopathia sexualis. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke.
  4. ^ Krafft-Ebing, R. von. (1886). Psychopathia sexualis: A medico-forensic study (1965 trans by H. E. Wedeck). New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
  5. ^ Freund, K., Langevin, R., Cibiri, S., & Zajac, Y. (1973). Heterosexual aversion in homosexual males. British Journal of Psychiatry, 122, 163-169.
  6. ^ Glueck, B. C., Jr. (1955). Final report: Research project for the study and treatment of persons convicted of crimes involving sexual aberrations. June 1952 to June 1955. New York: New York State Department of Mental Hygiene.
  7. ^ Hammer, E. F., & Glueck, B. C. (1957). Psychodynamic factors in sex offenders: A four-factor theory. Psychiatric Quarterly, 31, 325–345.
  8. ^ a b Blanchard, R.; Lykins, A. D.; Wherrett, D.; Kuban, M. E.; Cantor, J. M.; Blak, T.; Dickey, R.; Klassen, P. E. (2008). "Pedophilia, Hebephilia, and the DSM-V". Archives of Sexual Behavior 38 (3): 335–350. DOI:10.1007/s10508-008-9399-9. PMID 18686026.  edit
  9. ^ a b Green, R. (2010). "Sexual preference for 14-year-olds as a mental disorder: you can't be serious!!". Archives of Sexual Behavior 39 (3): 585–586. DOI:10.1007/s10508-010-9602-7. PMID 20204488.  edit
  10. ^ a b Allen Frances, Michael B. First, (2011) Hebephilia Is Not a Mental Disorder in DSM-IV-TR and Should Not Become One in DSM-5 J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 39:1:78-85
  11. ^ a b Joyce Frieden (Dec 1, 2009) DSM-V work on paraphilias begins in earnest, Clinical Psychiatry News, Elsevier
  12. ^ a b Franklin, K. (2010). "Hebephilia: Quintessence of diagnostic pretextuality". Behavioral Sciences & the Law 28 (6): n/a. DOI:10.1002/bsl.934. http://www.wisspd.org/html/training/ProgMaterials/Ch980/Heb.pdf.  edit
  13. ^ a b Moser, C. (2008). "When is an Unusual Sexual Interest a Mental Disorder?". Archives of Sexual Behavior 38 (3): 323–325; author 325 331–325. DOI:10.1007/s10508-008-9436-8. PMID 18946730.  edit
  14. ^ a b O’donohue, W. (2010). "A Critique of the Proposed DSM-V Diagnosis of Pedophilia". Archives of Sexual Behavior 39 (3): 587–590. DOI:10.1007/s10508-010-9604-5. PMID 20204487.  edit
  15. ^ Alice Dreger (19 Feb 2010) Of Kinks, Crimes, and Kinds: The Paraphilias Proposal for the DSM-5, Hastings Center
  16. ^ a b http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=186
  17. ^ a b c Cantor, J. M., Blanchard, R., Christensen, B. K., Dickey, R., Klassen, P. E., Beckstead, A. L., et al. (2004). Intelligence, memory, and handedness in pedophilia. Neuropsychology, 18, 3–14.
  18. ^ Cantor, J. M., Kuban, M. E., Blak, T., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., & Blanchard, R. (2006). Grade failure and special education placement in sexual offenders’ educational histories. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 35, 743–751.
  19. ^ Cantor, J. M., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., Christensen, B. K., Kuban, M. E., Blak, T., et al. (2005). Handedness in pedophilia and hebephilia. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 447–459.
  20. ^ Blanchard, R., Kuban, M. E., Klassen, P., Dickey, R., Christensen, B. K., Cantor, J. M., & Blak, T. (2003). Self-reported injuries before and after age 13 in pedophilic and non-pedophilic men referred for clinical assessment. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32, 573–581.
  21. ^ Blanchard, R., Christensen, B. K., Strong, S. M., Cantor, J. M., Kuban, M. E., Klassen, P., Dickey, R., & Blak, T. (2002). Retrospective self-reports of childhood accidents causing unconsciousness in phallometrically diagnosed pedophiles. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31, 511–526.
  22. ^ Cantor, J. M., Kuban, M. E., Blak, T., Klassen, P. E., Dickey, R., & Blanchard, R. (2007). Physical height in pedophilia and hebephilia. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 19, 395–407.
  23. ^ Gebhard, P. H., Gagnon, J. H., Pomeroy, W. B., & Christenson, C. V. (1965). Sex offenders: An analysis of types. New York: Harper & Row.
  24. ^ Studer, L. H., Aylwin, A. S., Clelland, S. R., Reddon, J. R., & Frenzel, R. R. (2002). Primary erotic preference in a group of child molesters. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 25, 173–180.
  25. ^ Bernard, F. (1975). An enquiry among a group of pedophiles. The Journal of Sex Research, 11, 242–255.
  26. ^ Wilson, G. D., & Cox, D. N. (1983). Personality of paedophile club members. Personality and Individual Differences, 4, 323–329.
  27. ^ Franklin, K. (2009). "The public policy implications of "hebephilia": a response to Blanchard et al. (2008).". Archives of Sexual Behavior 38 (3): 319–320. DOI:10.1007/s10508-008-9425-y. PMID 18923891.  edit
  28. ^ Franklin, K. (2010). "Why the rush to create dubious new sexual disorders?". Archives of Sexual Behavior 39 (4): 819–820. DOI:10.1007/s10508-010-9616-1. PMID 20336359.  edit
  29. ^ http://psyris.com/drjoeplaud
  30. ^ Plaud, J. (2009). "Are there "hebephiles" among us? A response to Blanchard et al. (2008)". Archives of Sexual Behavior 38 (3): 326–327; author 327 331–327. DOI:10.1007/s10508-008-9423-0. PMID 18923892.  edit
  31. ^ Blanchard, R. (2008). "Reply to Letters Regarding Pedophilia, Hebephilia, and the DSM-V". Archives of Sexual Behavior 38: 331–334. DOI:10.1007/s10508-008-9427-9.  edit
  32. ^ Blanchard, R. (2010). "The fertility of hebephiles and the adaptationist argument against including hebephilia in DSM-5". Archives of Sexual Behavior 39 (4): 817–818. DOI:10.1007/s10508-010-9610-7. PMID 20174861.  edit
  33. ^ http://www.karenfranklin.com/hebephilia.html
  34. ^ Frankling, K. 2011. "Forensic Psychiatrists Vote No on Proposed Paraphilias", Psychiatric Times. Vol. 27 No. 12

  External links



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