Pedophilia and Hebephilia
People with pedophilia are sexually attracted to children with prepubertal bodies (e.g. no pubic or underarm hair, small vagina, small penis, no or minimal breast development), who are generally not older than 11 years of age. They perceive boys’ and/or girls’ bodies as sexually stimulating. People with hebephilia are sexually attracted to children and/or early adolescents, whose bodies show discrete signs of puberty (e.g. some pubic and/or underarm hair, somewhat developed vagina/penis, signs of breast development).
Clues and signs of pedophilia/hebephilia:
• Sexual arousal when watching and/or coming into contact with children/early adolescents
• Sexually arousing fantasies in which children/early adolescents are involved
• Consumption of child sexual abuse images (so-called child pornography) on the internet
When looking at actual patterns of sexual behavior, some of those affected are able to keep these sexual impulses on the fantasy level for a lifetime. This underlines the fact that the terms pedophilia and hebephilia do not automatically imply sexual abuse of children or sexual exploitation via the consumption of child sexual abuse images.
However, it must be said that sexual desire for children and/or early adolescents can lead to sexual abuse.
It is therefore of utmost importance that pedophiles and hebephiles are equipped with a large capacity for self-control for the sake of protecting minors.