Medical Definition of Pedophilia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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