Pedophilia: Adult sexual fondness for and activity with children. Pedophilia is a form of paraphilia (deviant sexual behavior). If acted out, pedophilia is legally defined as sexual child abuse. Pedophilia includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation of children through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. Pedophiles who have sexually abused children require intense psychological and pharmacological therapy prior to release into the community because of the high rate of repeat offenders. Treatment is rarely effective because the disorder is not yet well understood. The incidence of pedophilia has been markedly underestimated. It is essential that pedophilia be reported so that appropriate steps can be taken to protect the children involved and all other children.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016