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Classification according to ICD-10
F65.4 pedophilia
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

The term pedophilia (from ancient Greek παῖς paîs " boy , child " and φιλία philía "friendship") describes the primary sexual interest in children before they reach puberty . If the respective conditions of the various diagnostic manuals are met, pedophilia is classified as a mental disorder , more precisely as a disorder of sexual preference or as a paraphilic disorder . If corresponding inclinations are implemented in action, criminal law norms that deal with sexual acts with children are usually violated at the same time .

Since the 1990s at the latest, the term pedosexuality has also been used synonymously with the term pedophilia , as it is undisputed that pedophile-oriented people always have a sexual interest in children. However, the sexual behavior of people is sometimes also referred to as pedosexual, who use children only as sexual objects without having a fixed pedosexual orientation. There is no definition of either term that sexology or other scientific disciplines dealing with these terms would have agreed upon.

Especially in colloquial language and generally by laypeople, the term pedophilia is mostly used where the sexual abuse of children or adolescents is actually meant.

The term

History and diagnostic classification

The term was introduced as "Paedophilia erotica" in 1886 by the Viennese psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his book Psychopathia sexualis . In essence, it stayed with its definition. The following characteristics are listed for pedophilia:

  • Sexual interest is in children who are before puberty in the sense of sexual maturation.
  • The sexual interest is primarily, i.e. exclusively or predominantly and originally, directed towards children.
  • The sexual interest persists over time.

The basis for diagnosing pedophilic sexual preference today is based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) and the diagnostic criteria set out in the US DSM-5 . The diagnostic criteria mentioned there partly contradict each other. There are also other pedophile definitions that are used less often and are also not uniform.

In the ICD-10, 2014, the diagnosis of pedophilia is located under the code F65.4 in the chapter on personality and behavioral disorders (F60 to F69) as a disorder of sexual preference . It is defined as “sexual preference for children who are mostly pre-puberty or in the early stages of puberty” . Pedophilia is thus described exclusively as a “sexual preference”. The decisive factor here are the mental preferences, which (based on Krafft-Ebing) must be geared primarily towards pre-pubescent children. Whether these fantasies are lived out or not remains open and is of secondary importance for the diagnosis.

In DSM-5 , 2015, pedophilia, there referred to as pedophile disorder , is also classified under F65.4 as paraphilic disorder ( paraphilia ) and requires a minimum age of 16 years. The person concerned must also be at least five years older than the child. It must also be determined whether the disorder is an exclusive type (only oriented towards children) or a non-exclusive type , whether the person is sexually oriented towards boys , sexually oriented towards girls or sexually oriented towards boys and girls ; furthermore, whether pedophilia is limited to incest . Late adolescents who are in a permanent sexual relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old partner are not included. The diagnostic features according to DSM-5 are both preference and behavior-oriented. That is, the diagnosis of pedophilia can relate to both urgent sexual needs or fantasies and to specific sexual acts with children. According to the behavior-oriented definition, all abusers can be classified as pedophiles, even if - unlike according to Krafft-Ebing - their sexuality is not primarily geared towards children.

The sexologists at the Berlin Charité describe pedophilia as the "exclusive or predominant sexual responsiveness to pre-pubescent children's bodies" . The term says nothing about the sexual behavior of a person, but only about the sexual orientation towards the prepubescent age. Gunter Schmidt describes pedophiles as "men whose sexual desires and their desires for relationship and love are primarily or exclusively aimed at prepubescent children, although these three areas - sexuality, relationship, love - can also be weighted differently, as with other people" . In contrast to the diagnostic criteria of the ICD and the DSM, Schmidt emphasizes the emotional aspect of pedophile sexual preference. Davison and Neale, on the other hand, use a primarily behavioral definition in their textbook Clinical Psychology when they describe pedophiles as people who achieve sexual satisfaction through physical and often sexual contact with prepubertal children to whom they are not related .

Pedophilia does not exist if there is sexual excitability caused by children, but this is not primary. Several phallometric studies have shown that quite a few men can be sexually aroused by prepubertal stimuli (erotic images or audio stories): in those studies in which the average sexual arousal from the prepubertal stimuli was compared with the average sexual arousal from the adults to determine the results When compared to stimuli, 6 to 32.5 percent of adult men exhibited at least as much sexual arousal under the prepubertal stimuli as under the adult stimuli; in those studies that compared the respective maximum sexual arousal with one another, it was 25 to 28 percent. The percentage of adult men who are sexually excitable at all by prepubertal stimuli is likely to be significantly higher. However, it cannot simply be concluded from this that the actual primary sexual interest in children (= pedophilia) in male adults also exists in a comparably high percentage, partly because the comparison of prepubertal with adult stimuli does not take into account that it is men that can maximally be sexually stimulated by pubescent children or adolescents: For example, a further study determined the average sexual arousal for each test person from stimuli from 3–11 year old girls, from stimuli from 12–14 year old girls and from Stimuli from 16–24 year old women and compared them. It was found that only one of the 22 test subjects was more aroused by the prepubertal stimuli than by the adult ones, whereas 3 of the 22 test subjects were more aroused by the pubertal stimuli than by the adult ones.

Pedophiles can also be sexually stimulated by adults in some cases, but are primarily interested in children. In the case of adults who can be sexually stimulated by children, one sometimes speaks of pseudopedophilia . Original pedophiles are also referred to as structured pedophiles for better delimitation , as their sexual orientation is firmly anchored in the personality structure. Sometimes one speaks of core pedophiles or primary pedophiles.

Pedophilia can be differentiated from Hebephilia , which describes a preference for adolescents aged around 11 to 14 years. The terms ephebophilia (male adolescents) and parthenophilia (female adolescents) are used for sexual interest in adolescents after or at a later stage of puberty . Both terms were first introduced in 1906 by Magnus Hirschfeld . The Dutch psychoanalyst Gerard van den Aardweg made a sexological and criminological demarcation in 2010.

If the primary sexual interest of the pedophile is directed towards infants under three years of age, one no longer speaks of pedophilia, but of infantophilia. This term is not officially recognized in technical terminology and is classified according to ICD-10 as “Other disorders of sexual preference” under F65.8.

The term pederasty describes sexual relationships between adult men and sexually mature male adolescents. B. were tolerated in ancient Greece. This term is now considered out of date and no longer appears in more recent sex medicine classifications.

The term corophilia (from Gr. [Attic] κόρη kórē "girl") was introduced by Hirschfeld in 1914 to denote a preference of adult women for young girls, and he compared it with the term pedophilia for comparable male relationships. With this meaning, corophilia can also be found today in some specialist books. As with most of the terms from his system, the feminine terms are used very rarely today, and there is a strong tendency that the sex of the desiring person becomes irrelevant for many, i.e. relationships of both women and men to girls are meant . In English there are the spellings corophilia and korophilia. The former, like the German term, is sometimes incorrectly used for coprophilia . Since the Attic κόρος kóros means “young man”, korophilia has been described by some as an attraction to boys or young men since 1997 at the latest, a development that has not yet been seen in German.

The term in public and media

In social debates and in reporting in the media, the term pedophilia is often not used in the sexual science sense, for example when basically all perpetrators who sexually abuse children are referred to as pedophiles. In particular, sexual abuse within the family is often not correctly classified in terms of sexology, as it is often a matter of perpetrators whose sexuality is primarily aimed at adults. Sexual science findings are also ignored, for example when all pedophiles are assumed to be sexually abusing children.

In the reporting of abuses by priests on underage boys, these are mostly referred to as pedophile acts, although a study commissioned by the Catholic Bishops' Conference in the USA showed that only a minority of priests who committed sexual assault meet the diagnostic criteria of pedophilia correspond.

People whose sexual interests are adolescents are also often referred to in public as pedophiles, although from a sexual medicine point of view this is a tendency to be seductive, ephebo or parthenophile.

In Germany there have been two public pedophilia debates in the recent past , one in the 1970 / 1980s and another in 2013 in the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen party . Neither of the debates helped to clarify the concept.


The term “pedosexuality” is used on the one hand as a distinction, on the other hand as a synonym for the term pedophilia and is preferred by some interest groups for different reasons.

An early mention of the term came in a book published by the theologian Spyker in 1968 entitled Same-Sex Affection. Homotropy: homosexuality, homoeroticism, homophilia, and Catholic moral theology . In analogy to these terms, he used the distinction between pedosexuality / pedosexual - pedoerotic / pedoerotic - pedophilia / pedophile and also used his superordinate adjective pedotropic ("attraction to children"), more clearly referred to as pedagotropic . This distinction also appeared in a literature analysis of homotropia by Ott from 1979 and he also used the term pedotropy explicitly . In the following year, the German magazines Spiegel and Emma also noticed the use as a self-denomination. In German and English sex science, the frequency of use increased slowly from around 1987 onwards for reasons of differentiation.

Today, the following aspects are up for discussion when using the term:

  • People who have experienced sexual abuse often find the term “pedophilia” to be obscuring and belittling, since it simulates mutual love, while they believe it is a ruthless abuse of power by the adult. Many victims' associations are therefore calling for the term “pedophilia” to be replaced in general with “pedosexuality”, because this undoubtedly states what it is about: a sexual desire that has nothing to do with love.
  • The argument of the pedophile lobbyists is exactly the opposite. For them, the term “pedosexuality” fits well into the linguistic scheme of the terms “heterosexuality - bisexuality - homosexuality”. The expression “pedosexuality” is therefore well suited to emphasize the alleged equivalence with other sexual forms (→ section “Mental disorders versus sexual orientation” ).
  • Other approaches emphasize the distinction between “pedophilia” as a pure preference (at the emotional and thought level) and behavior in the form of sexual assault on children. The term “pedophilia” therefore only describes the sexual preference, from which impulses for action can, but do not have to, arise. If, however, sexual acts occur - that is, sexuality actually lived out with children - one no longer speaks of "pedophilia", but of "pedosexuality". According to this conceptual model, one can speak of pedosexual behavior even if sexual child abuse is not due to a primary pedophile preference, but the perpetrator acts for other reasons (e.g. as a so-called substitute object offender or as a sadistic violent offender). The Charité sexologists use this model because they want to take two different aspects into account: On the one hand, it should be pointed out that a pedophile preference does not necessarily lead to the sexual abuse of a child; at the same time, it should be made clear that a child is sexual Child abuse can have different motivations.
  • Pedophiles themselves sometimes use these two terms to differentiate between people who have purely sexual contact and those who have a relationship on other levels as well or only.


Prevalence and sexual orientation

There is no reliable information about the number of pedophiles. Cautious estimates assume 50,000 to 200,000 pedophile men in Germany . International studies assume that around 1% of all adult men are primarily pedophilic, whereas researchers at the University of Regensburg, after a survey of around 8,700 German men, concluded that less than 0.1 percent of the male population met the diagnostic criteria for a pedophilic disorder as defined by the DSM Meet -5 .

There are homosexual , heterosexual, and bisexual pedophiles. According to a statistical analysis based on pedophile and hebephile participants in the Charité's Dunkelfeld prevention project , the proportion of bisexual men who are pedophiles or hebephiles is low. Most are oriented towards either boys or girls, with the proportion of homosexuals being slightly larger and just over 50 percent. In the case of men who are not exclusively pedophile or hebephilic, there is a distribution of around one third with homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual orientation, with the proportion of heterosexuals being just the largest here. The risk of abuse is said to be three to four times higher for girls than for boys. One dissertation assumes that homosexual men in stable relationships have a lower risk than mixed-sex couples of sexually assaulting children because they are subject to increased social control.

Pedophile sexual preference

The focus of attention in pedophilia is the primary sexual orientation towards children. This is not necessarily coitally expressed. Pedophiles can be aroused and satisfied by situations in which there is no physical contact with a child. In situations with physical contact, even just touching the child can be perceived as exciting without these touches having to take place in the genital area . The desire to have sexual intercourse with the child seems to be less common among pedophiles.

Some of the pedophiles exclude sexual contact with children for themselves. Reasons for this can on the one hand be fear of legal and social consequences, on the other hand there are pedophiles who are aware of the ethical and moral problems of their sexual desires and therefore fundamentally reject sexual relationships between children and adults.

In addition to sexual interest, pedophiles have a need for emotional closeness to children. Some fall in love with children and want real mutual love relationships with them. The sexologist Volkmar Sigusch understands that they actually consider this to be possible as an expression of an illusory misunderstanding. Some pedophiles find their life incomplete and emotionally destabilizing when their desire for emotional closeness is not fulfilled. In addition, pedophiles have a social interest in children and a need for friendship. Pedophiles therefore like to work in appropriate professions that enable interaction with children, such as educators or youth care.

Effects on those affected

The effects of pedophile sexual preference on the pedophile themselves depend on numerous factors and have hardly been researched as a whole. The effects also depend on whether the person concerned experiences their sexual orientation ego-synton, i.e. whether they agree to it, or whether there has been an ego-dystonic processing in which a different sexual orientation is desired. There are also pedophiles who perceive their sexual impulses as stressful, judge themselves for their tendency or suffer from the fear of giving in to the impulses and committing a sexual assault. Therefore it can lead to secondary diseases, such as B. Depression or substance abuse.

For pedophiles who are sexually abstinent , be it for fear of legal consequences or because of a general rejection of pedosexual contacts, this primarily means renouncing the fulfillment of sexual and emotional needs. Since pedophiles represent a very outlawed fringe group of society, they are also usually forced to hide their inclinations from friends and family, as getting acquainted often results in complete social isolation up to divorce, job and housing loss.

age of the child

According to the sexual medicine definition, the sexual interest of pedophiles is directed towards children before the onset of puberty in the sense of biological sexual maturation . Since the expression of the secondary sexual characteristics in children can vary widely from person to person, exact age information is not possible. In general, pedophiles' primary interest is in children around 4-14 years of age, with two peaks in age preference: one peak is five to six years old, and the other is eleven to twelve years old. Sexual desire in the specific pedophile is usually limited to one of these two sections, but usually expires at the latest when secondary sexual characteristics are developed in the child. However, heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles have significantly different age preferences: According to Horst Vogt, the average age of girls desired by heterosexual pedophiles is 8.4 years and that of boys desired by homosexual pedophiles is 11.5 years.

Media use for sexual stimulation

Many pedophiles use depictions of children for sexual stimulation . The bandwidth ranges from pictures of children from mail order catalogs to legal erotic depictions of children, e.g. B. pictures of the photographer Jock Sturges , up to the use of illegal child pornographic media. In one study, 86% of the participants stated that they used image material from the legal and / or illegal area.

In addition to film and image material, so-called virtual child pornography has recently played an increasingly important role. H. sexual representations of not real, but animated "children". Davison and Neale emphasize that sexual stimulation does not necessarily require illegal material; rather, pedophiles construct their own sexually arousing material from sources that are generally considered harmless . Whether the consumption of child pornography, as many pedophiles claim, serves to reduce tension and thus counteracts real attacks, or whether this is promoted by the additional stimulation is scientifically disputed.

Perpetrator profiles

Since the group of pedophiles is extremely heterogeneous , i.e. composed of very different personalities, the authors from various scientific disciplines who deal with them have tried to structure and developed so-called typologies . The sexologists Beier, Schorsch and Sigusch presented such typologies among many others. However, it has not been possible to agree on one of these classification systems. In addition, the individual models can certainly have persuasive power, but taken together they cause more confusion than clarity. The reference values ​​also change. While Schorsch, for example, developed his typology of pedophiles who had converted their inclination into action and were convicted for it, other systems of order also include pedophiles who, according to their own statements and as far as verifiable, are abstinent. Even the terms used can cause confusion when, for example, a group of “geriatric pedophiles” is named or argued with “sexual distress” or a lack of other opportunity that perpetrators are assaulted for other reasons, but not because of an orientation towards children.

The typologies of offenders that Schorsch in 1971 and Beier in 1995, referring to Schorsch, differ in particular in the composition of the groups. Schorsch differentiated between various groups of juvenile offenders, middle-aged offenders and so-called age pedophiles , highlighting a group of educators who, in an illusionary misjudgment of their professional role , had developed an apparently child-friendly ideology through their pedophilia . Beier differentiated groups with what he called pedophile mainstream, also called “core pedophiles” in the literature, from others with a pedophile side stream. Both authors mention perpetrators with more or less pronounced intellectual disabilities .

In 2010, Sigusch named ten types of perpetrators in an interview with Zeit Online and thus also described, but not only the group of pedophiles, but also the very heterogeneous group of people who sexually abuse children “in different life situations and with very different motives” .

In the sociolect of prison inmates , which the media likes to refer to as jargon , sex offenders, and among them especially pedophile inmates , are referred to as parakeets . They are mostly at the bottom of the hierarchy of the parallel society of penal institutions and are despised.


Often the described disorder in sexual behavior occurs comorbidly with affective disorders , which can also be a consequence of pedophilia. These include anxiety disorders , substance abuse, or other paraphilias.

Pedophilia in women

Pedophilic tendencies have also been demonstrated in women. Some publications on this subject assume that these are isolated cases. Peter Fiedler from the Psychological Institute in Heidelberg takes the view that of the women who have sexually assaulted children, “a more or less large percentage always fulfills the criteria of the pedophilia diagnosis.” There is no reliable information about the frequency Findings, especially in view of the number of unreported cases of sexual abuse.

Sigusch connects the small number of publications on pedophile acts by women with the fact that female sexuality has only "not been measured against the male model for about two generations [...]". That is why sexual research about its strengths and derailments is still a young tradition, but at least, he says, “there has been research since the 1980s that examines, for example, 'perverse motherhood', a disorder through which one's own child is manipulated or violent is tortured up to incest. "

Sexual Abuse of Children by Pedophiles

Criminal classification and frequency

Sexual contact with children is forbidden and punishable in most countries. Gerhard Amendt described culture-dependent exceptions . In German criminal law they are regulated as sexual abuse of children in Section 176 , in Switzerland in Art. 187 StGB as sexual acts with children and in Austria as sexual abuse of minors in Section 207 StGB, and in the case of serious abuse in Section 206 StGB.

There are no known figures on the proportion of sex offenders among pedophiles. Despite the seemingly different impressions from media coverage, at least in Germany the number of crimes reported under Section 176 StGB has not increased over the long term, as can be seen from the police crime statistics (PKS). The impression of an increase is artifact , i.e. errors that can be traced back to other causes.

Convicted pedophiles are at high risk of relapse. International studies have shown that the recidivism rate for them, at almost 40 to 50 percent, is around twice as high as the average rate for sex offenders of 22 percent. The likelihood of relapse is significantly higher for pedophiles who are oriented towards boys than those who are interested in girls.

Numerous studies show that the proportion of pedophile offenders is by far not the main proportion of child sexual abuse. The figures available for this are inconsistent. Fiedler, for example, assumes 12 to 20 percent, Werner Stangl around 2 to 10 percent. The numbers are inconsistent because different cohorts were used in each case . From the studies presented, it can be concluded that the sexual abuse of children is essentially not committed by pedophiles. In 2010, the sexologist Sophinette Becker described more than 95 percent of the perpetrators as “normal” on the occasion of the revelations at the Odenwald School .

Sexual acts

Sexual assault by pedophiles can take different forms. The spectrum ranges from fleeting touches on the head and arm to manipulation of the genitals to encouraging the child to do the same. Penetration is rare. Use of force is the exception and subsequent homicides are individual cases. If sexual acts continue to occur, the intensity and / or closeness are usually increased gradually, without being connected to violent acts. Pedophile contacts can last for weeks, months, or years if they are not discovered and stopped by other adults. As a rule, the children are required to maintain secrecy.

It is not uncommon for neglected pedophiles to look for their victims in well-known places among children who also come from neglected families and pay them or grant other benefits.

Numerous studies such as those presented by the sexologist Eberhard Schorsch , among others , identify a group of offenders among pedophiles who are characterized by the fact that they not only do not behave aggressively, but almost lovingly towards their victims. It seems as if they want to gain the children's affection by doing this, but in this way they actually make their victims docile and lose interest as soon as the children outgrow the child's body scheme. In contrast to this group, comparatively rare perpetrators are described who have sadistic preferences and derive sexual satisfaction from inflicting pain. This included, for example, Jürgen Bartsch , who moved the public in the 1960s.

Consequences for victims of sexual abuse

Children react to sexual contact with adults individually and very differently. Such contacts can directly or indirectly lead to psychosexual trauma in the victims . However, this is not always the case. Gerd Rudolf , psychoanalyst and long-standing expert in the approval process for funded psychotherapy, warned in 2012 that the term trauma should be dealt with in a more differentiated manner, because it is also used excessively by psychotherapists and is increasingly proving to be unfounded. The unjustified ascription of a “victim identity” is counterproductive for a therapeutic process.

Long before the ubiquitous use of the term trauma, Judson T. Landis found signs of trauma in girls significantly more often than in boys in a retrospective study in the middle of the last century. About 75% of the girls and about 32% of the boys had these characteristics. They were rarely permanent, in none of the 215 boys examined and in 4% of the girls. Later publications show that if a mental disorder does occur, it is usually of a temporary nature. Persistent disorders were reported in about one percent of all investigated cases of sexual assault on children in 2007.

The specific consequences for the victims depend on various factors, in particular on the child's age, degree of maturity and gender, on his or her attitude towards sexuality and whether he or she feels that they are in good hands with the family. The relationship with the perpetrator plays an important role, i.e. the question of whether he was a stranger or belonged to the family or their circle of acquaintances, which can mobilize loyalty conflicts. The actual occurrence with or without the exercise of coercion, psychological or physical violence also influences the chances of coping with the experience. Finally, the reactions of relatives, friends and acquaintances in the immediate vicinity or teachers and caregivers in the distant environment also have a beneficial or hindering effect on the child, but also, if a complaint has been made and other authorities have been called in, the way the police and authorities deal with the child . All of this affects his ability to regulate the consequences associated with the act.

Failure to regulate this can result in disorders that persist into adulthood. These include impairments that limit the ability to create satisfactory relationships and partnerships, but also depression and severe clinical pictures from psychopathology . This includes post-traumatic stress disorders and borderline personality disorders or dissociative disorders and so-called multiple personality disorders .

There are cases when what is known as secondary victimization occurs. This means that damage is not caused by the original criminal act, or not only, but exclusively or additionally by subsequent reactions from close or distant social surroundings. Matthias Stöckel recognized risk factors in dramatic behavior in the environment, in persistent or protracted police interrogations and court hearings and examinations in the intimate area, but also in a condemnation of contacts by the environment and a criminal conviction of the perpetrator if there was a positive relationship with him. Fears , self-reproach and feelings of guilt can be the result, as the sexologist Gunter Schmidt summarized in an interview. Even in cases of sexual violence, the risk of secondary damage can be underestimated and even after the acute symptomatic reactions have subsided, it can still lead to so-called retraumatisation .

Two studies seem to show positive effects of sexual contact between adults and children. They are sometimes claimed by pedophiles and have been confirmed by male students in both studies, but no secondary literature has yet been found.

Prevention and therapy

Preventive options

Today, education through the dissemination of information is primarily seen as prevention against child sexual abuse by pedophiles. They should reach children, parents and educators and raise awareness of the problem in society. It is also beneficial for children to be encouraged to develop self-confidence and learn to say no . Preventive measures are ineffective against child abduction and consequent acts of sexual violence, but they are the rare exception.

So far, there has hardly been any preventive work with potential sex offenders, especially since it is not part of the service catalog of statutory health insurances. The project “ Don't become a perpetrator” at the Berlin Charité offers “Therapy for the prevention of sexual child abuse and the consumption of abuse images”. In the meantime, the project has locations in other cities that have joined forces to form the prevention network “ No Offenders Will” and work according to common quality standards.

Therapeutic options

Nowadays, sex medicine professionals mostly assume that the development of sexuality is essentially over at the end of puberty and that a fundamental change in pedophile sexual preference is not possible.

The primary goal of therapy is therefore usually to prevent sexual acts in children. In individual and group therapies, the patients should learn to control their impulses and to avoid behavior patterns that favor sexual abuse. Further goals can be the detection of errors in perception and interpretation of the behavior of children and the strengthening of empathy .

Therapies can also be necessary if the patient is confronted with the serious social consequences that becoming aware of his pedophilia usually results, but cannot cope with them and becomes ill. Last but not least, existing secondary disorders such as depression or alcoholism may have to be treated.

In addition to psychotherapy or socio-therapeutic offers, some patients are offered drug treatment options - in severe cases and given with their consent. These include the antagonists of the sex hormone testosterone , but also serotonin reuptake inhibitors , which inhibit the sex drive, improve impulse control and thus reduce the risk of attacks. In some cases, this can also be used to influence so-called intrusions , i.e. thoughts that cannot be prevented willingly by the patient. In recent years there have also been attempts to combat undesirable behavior with medroxyprogesterone (MPA), which lowers testosterone levels in men.

Antiandrogens , which cause chemical castration , are rarely administered to sex offenders convicted of pedophilic acts ; stereotactic brain operations are no longer performed, unlike in the 1960s and 1970s.

More recent studies show that therapies for pedophiles who have committed offenses can reduce the likelihood of relapse by around 12 to 17 percent. But the relapse rate remains comparatively high.


Mental disorder versus sexual orientation

There has always been controversy about the sexual medicine classification of pedophilia. They take place on the one hand among professionals, pedophiles and laypeople and on the other hand between these groups. Experts agree that pedophilia is a disease-related disorder. The pedophile movement , which is quite well connected around the world , also agrees that this is not the case. In between there are laypeople who essentially derive their positions from the media and take sides on this basis. In addition, there is a porn industry supported exclusively by profit interests , which additionally fuels the discussion in the sense of its profit interests.

The experts disagree on some subject-specific issues that laypeople are hardly interested in. Their theoretical orientation is different and so are explanatory approaches. In addition, the differences on the issue, which they prefer the available diagnostic classification systems, if they so prefer after the WHO issued ICD or by the American Psychiatric Association developed DSM classify or even to the obsolete existing concept of perversion hold who is defended by Sigusch among others:

“I have chosen to continue to call addictive sexual developments in need of treatment perversion. The main reason is: This word doesn't gloss over anything; it calls the catastrophe by name. This cannot be said of the term paraphilia, which younger sexologists prefer to use. We should use this word when it comes to unusual sexual preferences and behaviors that do not require therapy and do not cause violence to anyone, which means that they do not harm either the paraphile himself or any other person. "

- Volkmar Sigusch : Sexual worlds

The concept of perversion had become established soon after Freud had written his Three Essays on Sexual Theory in 1905 . As Reimut Reiche wrote, it was "the start of a renaming odyssey that continues to this day". He warned not to underestimate “the normative power of language regulations”. In an effort to achieve conceptual clarity, the sexologists at the Berlin Charité proposed in 2005 to differentiate between sexual orientation for the preferred sex of the sexual partner, sexual orientation for the preferred age of the sexual partner and sexual inclination for the preferred sexual practices.

Three years earlier, the American journal Archives of Sexual Behavior had published a broad controversy about the concept of pedophilia and its classification in the relevant diagnostic classification systems of the ICD and DSM . Both provide for the coding of a mental disorder for pedophilia, the ICD under the generic term of sexual preference disorders , the DSM under paraphilia . This controversy dealt with a number of issues at the same time. Some authors suggested that all paraphilias, including pedophilia, be removed from the DSM because they were convinced that such disorders were only assigned to paraphiles because of social conflict. In addition, there was the suggestion to categorize pedophilia as an impulse control disorder (ICD: F63) with the consequence that sexual orientation towards children would be concealed. It was also recommended to distinguish between sexual preference and sexual behavior . This would distinguish pedophilia as a pure preference disorder from pedosexuality as a sexual behavior disorder in which sexuality with children takes place. This should take into account the fact that there are pedophiles who direct their sexual desires to children, but refrain from giving in to it. If they do not do without, a sexual behavior disorder should be assigned in the diagnosis , as suggested, for example, by Ahlers, Beier and others. The disease value of a paraphilia would then be measured by its consequences, which other sexologists disagree with.

Beyond this discussion, a few experts set themselves apart from their colleagues by taking propedophile positions. There was a scientific journal under the title Paidika - Journal of Paedophilia in which propedophile authors such as Brongersma and Graupner published. It “saw itself as a scientific journal for 'consensual intergenerational sexual relationships'”, including with children. In 1995 it was discontinued. Konstantin Mascher described in his work The Pedophile Movement in Germany and its stakeholders in detail how to act from a propedophile position and how much influence it was able to gain, especially “in the slipstream of the homosexual movement”. Graupner, for example, was invited as an expert to the legal committee of the German Bundestag and was able to place his proposal there to amend Article 3 of the Basic Law in such a way that people are not only disadvantaged or preferred because of their gender identity , but in future also not because of " sexual identity [...] will be ”. His proposal was not accepted, thus preventing a first step towards legalizing pedophilia. The pedophile movement has an interest in eradicating both the concept of pedophilia and the criminal liability of its practice, and instead having it recognized as an expression of personality and as an independent sexual orientation alongside hetero-, homo- and bisexuality. Your critics complain about the associated denial and trivialization of the implications.

Jeffrey Satinover , an American psychoanalyst and physicist, dealt only marginally with the subject of pedophilia under the significant title The Trojan Couch , but in doing so uncovered power structures in the scientific community that decide the weal and woe of scientific positions.

On the question of the criminality of non-violent sexual acts

In section 13 of the special part of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Germany, the legislature has stipulated which sexual and sexual behaviors it wants to be criminalized. This is regulated as a whole in Sections 174–184j StGB . In addition, there are regulations in Sections 12 and 16 that can be disregarded here. The absolute age of consent in Germany is 14 years and under special circumstances 16 or 18 years. Children and adolescents who have been entrusted to care within the framework of a custody relationship are specially protected by the law, once more if an emergency exists. For existing relationships of dependency and other constellations, there is no age limit for the prohibition of sexual acts. Sexual violence , like any exercise of coercion , is punishable under all circumstances. In other countries, different regulations sometimes apply.

The criminality of coercive and non-violent pedosexual acts was originally based on moral ideas. It is contested by representatives of propedophile interests, but defended by most sexologists. Martin Dannecker, for example, emphasized what he called the “ disparity of desires” that existed between the pedophile and a child “from the very first meeting”. It is “not to be bridged by the sexuality that may be experienced together” because the “desire” of the pedophile is structured and directed towards a so-called object , while, should it be present in the child at all, it is “comparatively diffuse and objectless in the case of him " would. The reference system of child sexuality in contact with a pedophile is "not one's own sexual desire, but that of the other". Dannecker went one step further:

“Because it is just not the case that only 'pathologically inclined' adults in erotic play with children can get into a situation in which there is a risk of confusing the child's sexual expression and wishes with the wishes of a mature person. "

- Martin Dannecker : Sexual abuse and pedosexuality

According to Dannecker, adults can always find themselves in such a situation "when they are intimate and physically close to children". Then a "certain amount of excitement [...] in this vicinity cannot be avoided". These “challenges” had to be resisted, which usually succeeded, but, with a few exceptions, that was not the pedophile's concern.

Because “a pre-pubescent child does not know what love and sexuality are, what they mean, what they symbolize”, according to Sigusch, “there can be no reflected consent”. In this context, the American social scientist David Finkelhor pointed out that a child can consent willingly (" simple consent "), but not - and this is a significant difference - knowingly ( " informed consent " ). The child can neither grasp the motives for which a sexually motivated adult seeks closeness, nor is it able to foresee the expected consequences. This difference is not seen or denied by pedophiles who want to assume consensuality and therefore advocate legalization.

In the debate on pedophilia, the educationalist Friedrich Koch pleaded for an expansion of the concept of violence, because it could even appear "in the guise of care, help and support, even without those who approach the child under this pretext being aware of a deception" be. Children would also have to be protected from subtle manipulations by adults, because there is naturally a not inconsiderable power imbalance between them due to different life experiences and mental and emotional maturity .

The so-called sexual revolution in the second half of the 20th century with its claim to an emancipatory sex education , just like the subsequent neosexual revolution, which continues to this day, prepared the ground for propedophile positions. This has to do with the fact that homosexual pedophiles linked their demands for the legalization of pedosexuality with the fight against discrimination against homosexuals. In the early days of public and scientific debates, the consequences of pedosexuality for the children concerned were not yet the focus of attention, so Sigusch spoke up in an interview in 2010 entitled It must finally be about the victims .

Even if it must not be assumed that non-violent sexual contact between adults and children inevitably leads to psychotraumatic damage , it cannot be ruled out. Any sexual acts between adults and children influence their psychosexual development, endanger this process and, moreover, are capable of destroying children's trust in adults. In this context, the German legal system speaks of an abstract hazard . Not always the sole cause, but almost always at least carry the risk of a lasting childhood trauma , solely, according to Dannecker, through the sudden sexualization of the relationship between adult and child. Sigusch pointed out that the question of whether and to what extent a child was harmed, in addition to the actual occurrence, very much depends on "the social and emotional state of the child with which history and in which social environment it came into a relationship with a pedosexual" .

Pedophile movement

In the 1970s, groups were founded around the world to claim rights for pedophiles. Some strove to legalize pedosexual contacts. The medical historian Florian Mildenberger wrote about this using the example of Peter Schult , who was one of the controversial protagonists of public debates at this time . Even if these groups were temporarily supported by non-pedophile circles, some disbanded as a result of severe criticism. Others, and especially some of their representatives, remained active, as Konstantin Mascher had gathered in his extensive research.

Self-help groups for pedophiles have existed in numerous German cities since the late 1970s . Critics, such as the journalist Manfred Karremann , repeatedly accused these groups of playing down the consequences of sexual abuse and of using their meetings to exchange child pornography media. There are also groups who strive to deal responsibly with their own pedophilia and advocate renunciation:

“A pedophile does not have to lead to child abuse. It takes a lot of strength to control such a tendency for life, but it works. "

- N. N .: Fate and Challenge

This website, which existed before, was named Fate and Challenge in 2006 and has since been run by two pedophiles who, like their predecessors, are aware of the ethical issues surrounding their inclinations and want to educate them. They also offer a forum for communicative exchange. In the international arena there are other forums with a comparable stance on sexual assault, such as the “Czech and Slovak Pedophile Community” ČEPEK and the English-language forum Virtuous Pedophiles .

Propedophile circles, as represented in the pedophile movement , have established terms for self-designation. Use self-explanatory Anglicisms that the preferred reference age group as boylovers, Girl Lover, Littleboylover or Babyboylover. This use of language is rejected by their critics as at least euphemistic.

See also


  • Sophinette Becker: Pedophilia between demonization and belittlement . In: Werkblatt - magazine for psychoanalysis and social criticism . tape 38 , no. 1 , 1997, p. 5–21 ( [accessed on March 2, 2018]).
  • Karl M. Beier, Hartmut AG Bosinski, Udo Hartmann, Kurt Loewit: Sexual Medicine. Urban & Fischer, 2001, ISBN 3-437-51086-X .
  • Gisela Braun, Marianne Hasebrink, Martina Huxoll: Pedosexuality is violence. Beltz Votum, 2003, ISBN 3-407-55896-1 .
  • Günther Deegener: Sexual abuse: the perpetrators. Beltz, 1995, ISBN 3-621-27251-8 .
  • M. Hautzinger (ed.); Gerald C. Davison, John M. Neale: Clinical Psychology. 7th edition. Beltz PVU, Weinheim 2007, ISBN 978-3-621-27614-6 .
  • Hertha Richter-Appelt (Ed.): Seduction - Trauma - Abuse 1896–1996 (=  contributions to sexual research - special volume ). Psychosozial-Verlag, Giessen 2002, ISBN 3-89806-192-2 .
  • Eberhard Schorsch : Sex offender . Enke, Stuttgart 1971, ISBN 3-432-01708-1 .
  • Eberhard Schorsch, Gerlinde Galedary, Antje Haag, Margret Hauch, Hartwig Lohse: Perversion as a criminal offense. Dynamics and Psychotherapy . 2nd Edition. Enke, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-432-27212-X (first edition: Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Tokyo 1985).
  • Volkmar Sigusch: Sexual disorders and their treatment . Thieme 2007, ISBN 978-3-13-103944-6 .
  • Matthias Stöckel: Pedophilia: Liberation or sexual exploitation of children. Facts, myths, theories. Campus-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-593-35944-8 .
  • Horst Vogt: Pedophilia. Leipzig study on the social and psychological situation of pedophile men. Pabst Science Publishers, Lengerich 2006, ISBN 3-89967-323-9 .

Web links

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