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Pedophilia Research Paper – Psychology (400 Level Course)

Pedophilia Research Paper – Psychology (400 Level Course)


Pedophilia is characterized as a long-term disorder that most commonly occurs in males. A pedophile is portrayed as an individual who has sexual urges and fantasies of a child who is 13 or younger. They usually engage in sexual acts such as undressing the child, masturbation, and also fondling and caressing the child. The best way to examine pedophilia is to look at the general information, characteristics, causes, diagnostic, and also the treatment that goes along with the disorder.

Pedophilia Research Paper

I will always be a pedophile. I like adult women, and am even attracted to them sexually all the time – but I am a real pedophile at heart that likes little girls. I also prefer their company much of the time if and wherever possible. To me, I become most aroused sexually with young girls 8-12 years old. They make me the most erect, and I tend to masturbate with them in mind instead of women. I cannot entirely explain it, but I am no worse a person than you! I simply desire them and want to make love with them and feel their bodies (The Pedophilia / Pedophile Education Mirror-Myth #7).

This quote is coined from an anonymous man that enjoys expressing his view on pedophilia. Not only is he okay with the idea of pedophilia, he also views it as being a freedom of choice. His twisted and demented vision of pedophilia is so distorted that he goes on to compare it with any other sexual freedom such as homosexuality (The Pedophilia/Pedophile Education Mirror-Myth # 7).
This anonymous example is usually what is running through a pedophile’s thoughts. They are most often in denial and will claim that the children are being educated for their own good and have received pleasure from the activities that took place. Pedophiles lack compassion for their victims and express no remorse. They even will accuse their victims of “coming on to them”, by saying they were tempted or sometimes even trapped. Unfortunately there is no proof as to whether this particular pedophile was sexually abused as a child. However, the majority of paraphilias are in fact sexually abused during their childhood and are usually drawn to adults of the opposite sex. (Pedophilia: The Human Sexuality WEB, 2005).

A paraphilia is a person that has had repeated and intense sexual urges or fantasies about watching, touching, or engaging in sexual acts with prepubescent children, and may carry out these urges or fantasies (Comer, 2004). Nine out of ten pedophiles are male and are usually fascinated with females who are in their preteens. Also, it is not uncommon for the sex offender to become intrigued with teenage males. They usually start out as “normal” people and are extremely shocked and distressed to discover their illicit sexual preference for the prepubertal (Vaknin, 2005). To thoroughly understand pedophilia, one must examine the characteristics, causes, diagnosis, treatments, and therapy that are offered for the sex offender. (Medical Library: Fact Sheet, 1997 APA)

The characteristics of a pedophile are very hard to notice but if one were to examine it closely it is evident that they are not your average Joe. Personality characteristics vary amongst pedophiles but usually seem to be very similar once they are directly analyzed. Pedophiles usually display unusual interest in children along with a failed marriage due to dissimilar sexual interest with their spouse. (Medical Library: Fact Sheet, 1997 APA). Their hobbies and interest sometimes include collecting any kinds of items that revolve around children such as models of cars and airplanes. Even a pedophile’s room decorations frequently resemble that of a child (Pedophiles and Child Molesters-The Slaughter of Innocence-Online).

Additional characteristics of this particular type of sex offender are that he has few if any friends his own age, thirty or over in age, and usually is single. Pedophiles are not interested in people of their own age. They are so intrigued with childlike obsessions that they forget about reality versus fantasy. What a smart pedophile does to have access with children is to seek employment to where he is forced to be with kids consistently. You can even find them being very involved with volunteering in the community with children related events (Pedophiles and Chile Molesters-The Slaughter of Innocence-Online). Employment usually consists of school teachers, bus drivers, photographers, and even athletic coaches. (Pedophilia, 2004)

There seems to be a number of characteristics for pedophilia, however, it is very different when it comes to the causes and reasons why pedophilia occurs. The causes of pedophilia are not very clear, yet personality problems throughout childhood and adolescent years are very evident. Some evidence shows that pedophilia may be genetic or a learned behavior effect (Sexual Health Center, 1991). People have hypothesized but never proven the belief of abnormalities in male-sexual hormones or the brain-chemical serotonin in being a factor of pedophilia. (Pedophilia Associations, 2005)
There is always the possibility that the sex offender was molested himself throughout his childhood, therefore, thinking it is okay to do the same to others. When a child is sexually molested, there can be a much distorted view of love and intimacy. There are usually issues that arise later on down the road into their adult life. (The Problem of Pedophilia, 2004)

To be diagnosed with pedophilia, the sex offender has to meet certain criteria and actually have had a sexual encounter with a child. The three symptoms that are listed in the DSM-IV are: “Has the person had repeated fantasies or urges about engaging in sexual activity with a child generally 13 years of younger, or has he actually had sexual encounters with a child, A person who is preoccupied with sexual urges and fantasies that disturb his functioning (that is, negatively affect his relations with others or impair his ability to work effectively), even without ever engaging in a sex act with a child, The fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. These three criteria have to exist in pedophiles and are the most important for a person to be diagnosed. (Medical Library: Fact Sheet, 1997 APA)
Finally, pedophilia is usually treated with cognitive-behavioral therapies. The two most popular approaches are the behavioral self-control training and the relapse-prevention training. Generally the individuals diagnosed with pedophilia can go through the cognitive-behavioral therapy alone or with the medications prescribed to them. (Pedophilia, 2004)

To help treat or control pedophilia one needs to take the following medications: Anti-androgens reduce male sex hormones levels and medications that increase serotonin such as Prozac. The two medications have been somewhat successful but with mixed results. (All Psych Online, 1999)

The example in the book is mainly talking about these theories in relation to alcohol; however it can be applied to pedophilia. Behavioral self-control training consists of the person keeping track of their urges and keeping up with places that will tempt them the most. They are encouraged to keep a writing journal so that they can place their thoughts on paper and express and recognize that it is wrong. The relapse-prevention training is very similar with the behavioral self-control training in that it is therapy that helps the person realize they need to keep track of when they are around kids and also how much is too much (Comer, 2004).
Unfortunately, even after certain treatments, the disorder is sometimes hard to cure. It is chronic and most people who suffer with it will suffer with it for the rest of their lives.

Pedophilia is not only a disorder; it can be permanent in the people that are diagnosed with this disorder. The characteristics, causes, diagnosis, treatments, and therapy help for a better understanding of the illness. The disorder is a scary reality because this is something that happens all of the time. One may find it hard to swallow especially having to grasp the feeling that it could be their own child being the victim of these sick people.

Works Cited
Pedophilia: The Human Sexuality WEB
Narth The Problem of Pedophilia
Medical Library: Fact Sheet., 1997 APA
Sexual Health Center Pedophilia. 1991-2005 Sussex pulishers.
Comer, R.J. (2002). Abnormal Psychology (5th Edition). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
The Roots of Pedophile. Dr. Sam Vaknin.
The Pedophilia/Pedophilie Education Website Mirror.
All Psych Online:
Pedophilia, Absolute Astronomy.