DSM-III

In DSM-III, this disorder is called Pedophilia

Diagnostic Criteria

A. The act or fantasy of engaging in sexual activity with prepubertal children is a repeatedly preferred or exclusive method of achieving sexual excitement.

B. If the individual is an adult, the prepubertal children are at least ten years younger than the individual. If the individual is a late adolescent, no precise age difference is required, and clinical judgment must take into account the age difference as well as the sexual maturity of the child.

Differential Diagnosis

Isolated sexual acts with children

Isolated sexual acts with children do not warrant the diagnosis of Pedophilia. Such acts may be precipitated by marital discord, recent loss, or intense loneliness. In such instances the desire for sex with a child may be understood as a substitute for a preferred but unavailable adult.

Other mental disorders

In Mental Retardation, Organic Personality Syndrome, Alcohol Intoxication, or Schizophrenia there may be a decrease in impulse control, particularly in the elderly, that in rare instances leads to isolated sexual acts with children. However, sexual activity with children is generally not the consistently preferred method for achieving sexual excitement.

Exhibitionism

In Exhibitionism exposure may be to a child, but the act is not a prelude to further sexual activity with the child.

Sexual Sadism

Sexual Sadism may, in extremely rare instances, be associated with Pedophilia, in which case both diagnoses are warranted.

DSM-IV

In DSM-IV, this disorder is called Pedophilia

For more information, see Paraphilias

The paraphiliac focus of Pedophilia involves sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 or younger). The individual with Pedophilia must be age 16 years or older and at least 5 years older than the child. For individuals in late adolescence with Pedophilia, no precise age difference is specified, and clinical judgment must be used; both the sexual maturity of the child and the age difference must be taken into account. Individuals with Pedophilia generally report an attraction to children of a particular age range. Some individuals prefer males, others females, and some are aroused by both males and females. Those attracted to females usually prefer 8- to 10-year-olds, whereas those attracted to males usually prefer slightly older children. Pedophilia involving female victims is reported more often than Pedophilia involving male victims. Some individuals with Pedophilia are sexually attracted only to children (Exclusive Type), whereas others are sometimes attracted to adults (Nonexclusive Type). Individuals with Pedophilia who act on their urges with children may limit their activity to undressing the child and looking, exposing themselves, masturbating in the presence of the child, or gentle touching and fondling of the child. Others, however, perform fellatio or cunnilingus on the child or penetrate the child's vagina, mouth, or anus with their fingers, foreign objects, or penis and use varying degrees of force to do so. These activities are commonly explained with excuses or rationalizations that they have "educational value" for the child, that the child derives "sexual pleasure" from them, or that the child was "sexually provocative" - themes that are also common in pedophiliac pornography.

Individuals may limit their activities to their own children, stepchildren, or relatives or may victimize children outside their families. Some individuals with Pedophilia threaten the child to prevent disclosure. Others, particularly those who frequently victimize children, develop complicated techniques for obtaining access to children, which may include winning the trust of a child's mother, marrying a woman with an attractive child, trading children with other individuals with Pedophilia, or, in rare instances, taking in foster children from nonindustrialized countries or abducting children from strangers. Except in cases in which the disorder is associated with Sexual Sadism, the person may be attentive to the child's needs in order to gain the child's affection, interest, and loyalty and to prevent the child from reporting the sexual activity. The disorder usually begins in adolescence, although some individuals with Pedophilia report that they did not become aroused by children until middle age. The frequency of pedophiliac behavior often fluctuates with psychosocial stress. The course is usually chronic, especially in those attracted to males. The recidivism rate for individuals with Pedophilia involving a preference for males is roughly twice that for those who prefer females.

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger).

B. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.

Note: Do not include an individual in late adolescence involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old.

Specify if:

  • Sexually Attracted to Males
  • Sexually Attracted to Females
  • Sexually Attracted to Both

Specify if:

  • Limited to Incest

Specify type:

  • Exclusive Type (attracted only to children)
  • Nonexclusive Type

DSM-5

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger).

B. The individual has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.

C. The individual is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children at Criterion A. (Note: Do not include an individual in late adolescence involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old.)

Specify whether:

  • Exclusive type (attracted only to children)
  • Nonexclusive type

Specify if:

  • Sexually attracted to males
  • Sexually attracted to females
  • Sexually attracted to both

Specify if:

  • Limited to incest

Differential Diagnosis

Many of the conditions that could be differential diagnoses for pedophilic disorder also sometimes occur as comorbid diagnoses. It is therefore generally necessary to evaluate the evidence for pedophilic disorder and other possible conditions as separate questions.

Antisocial personality disorder

This disorder increases the likelihood that a person who is primarily attracted to the mature physique will approach a child, on one or a few occasions, on the basis of relative availability. The individual often shows other signs of this personality disorder, such as recurrent law-breaking.

Alcohol and substance use disorders

The disinhibiting effects of intoxication may also increase the likelihood that a person who is primarily attracted to the mature physique will sexually approach a child.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

There are occasional individuals who complain about ego-dystonic thoughts and worries about possible attraction to children. Clinical interviewing usually reveals an absence of sexual thoughts about children during high states of sexual arousal (e.g., approaching orgasm during masturbation) and sometimes additional ego-dystonic, intrusive sexual ideas (e.g., concerns about homosexuality).

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