Many cases which are labeled pedophilia are mislabeled. Why this is so is not clear but the media play a prominent role for their sources of information responding to those authorities who incorrectly label cases as pedophilia.
The standard classification of adults having sex with non- adults falls generally under three categories:
– Pedophilia: When an adult is aroused by and carries out some type of sexual act with a prepubescent child.
– Hebephilia: The same but within the approximate ages of 11-14.
– Ephebophilia: The same but within the approximate ages of 15-19.
The DSM, The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, classifies pedophilia as a mental disorder but not the other two. It is interesting to note that the American Association of Psychiatry and Law held a survey on its members regarding hebephilia. Only 2 out of the 33 believed that it should be classified as a mental disorder which clearly sends out a message of our rapidly broadening of acceptable sexual values.
Regarding the general adult versus children-teen sexual relationships and, in spirit, supporting the votes of the 31, some ethicists have now coined the term “intergenerational intimacy” which is a tacit approval of such relationships.
The reasons I wrote this post are twofold: the first is for educational purposes- particularly to moms and dads- regarding the misleading use of the term “pedophilia”, and the second is to alert you that pedophilia, hebephillia and ephebophilia are most likely on the rise and becoming increasingly but subliminally acceptable.
As we all know sexual freedom in general is booming and much that was frowned upon only a couple of decades ago is becoming commonplace. To be sure males and females in their teens are much more sexually sophisticated than our previous generations. For instance, many today would consider a 16 year female mature enough to have sex with a 21 year old male quite acceptable but not yet with a 60 year old one but may be so shortly. Or, since we have embraced homosexual marriage, how about a 14 year old male shacking or hooking up with a 30 year old one? Not yet, but may be shortly.
A broad variety of such sexual relationships will inevitably continue to rise. The lines of acceptability are blurring and is, because of this, leading to a wider acceptance of adult-non-adult sexual interfaces.
Only time will tell how far this is going and what impact it will have on the young and, particularly, the very young.