Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Seto, M. C. 2010. Pedophilia. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Pedophilia is typically defined as sexual attraction to prepubescent children, reflected in a person's sexual thoughts, fantasies, urges, sexual arousal, or behavior regarding children (American Psychiatric Association, 2000; World Health Organization, 1997). There are two key aspects to emphasize in this definition: first, the sexual interest in children is persistent, and second, the children of interest are prepubescent and thus show few or no signs of secondary sexual development. This means that someone who has expressed a sexual interest in children or who has engaged in sexual behavior involving a child is not necessarily a pedophile. It also means that individuals who are attracted to sexually maturing children or sexually mature adolescents, even if they are below the legally defined age of consent, are unlikely to be pedophiles.