Pedophilia is a rare disorder but pedophiles are responsible for most CSA cases.
- Pedophiles are sexually aroused by prepubescent children, generally aged 13 and younger. Pedophilia is a psychological disorder listed in the APA’s DSM-IV.
- Pedophiles are perhaps 3 percent of the population and at least 90 percent are men. Sexually abusive behavior may be linked to testosterone.
- Most pedophiles become aware of their sexual attractions during puberty and begin offending as teenagers.
- A major study found that pedophiles commit 95 percent of child sexual offenses, averaging 70 assaults.
- Pedophiles who exclusively molest boys have the most victims, but most adults who molest boys define themselves as heterosexual if they have adult sex.
- Pedophiles cannot be “cured” but studies suggest they can learn to control their urges. Many who work with pedophiles compare their clients’ sexual compulsion to an alcoholic who has to learn to stay away from alcohol.
About half of people who commit CSA are not pedophiles.
- Compared with pedophiles, non-pedophile molesters commit far fewer CSAs (about 5 percent of cases), have comparatively few victims (two or three) and are least likely to reoffend (averaging six molestations).
- Researchers describe this abuse as one of “opportunity.” These offenders are typically capable of sexual relations with adults, while pedophiles are less likely to be.
- They may have more coercive and antisocial behavior than pedophiles.
- Incest generally occurs in families where there is a high level of conflict, martial stress or sexual incompatibility among the adult partners. People who commit incest (with biological children, stepchildren or adopted children) may also abuse outside the family.
- Men who are developmentally delayed are over-represented among CSA offenders. That may reflect an inability to connect with people their own age.
Sources: Gene Abel, ATSA, Fred Berlin, Michael Seto, Stop It Now, Carla van Dam. See Additional Sources and Resources.