Myth 5: Pedophiles and ephebophiles are psychosexually immature or fear relationships with adults.
There is no evidence to support the common belief that sexual attraction to children or adolescents in adulthood is related to fixation at an immature stage of development or aversion to adults:16
- The theory that pedophiles and ephebophiles fear adult sexuality has not been investigated scientifically, but rather assumed as the only reason a man would interact sexually with a child or adolescent. Pedophiles and ephebophiles may simply lack interest in adult women rather than fear them.
- Similarly, the belief that pedophiles are psychosexually immature has not been studied scientifically, but assumed based on the types of behaviors in sexual encounters between adults and prepubescent children. Research shows it usually involves exhibitionism, fondling, and/or masturbation rather than intercourse.
Theodorus Sandfort, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands:
Psychiatric literature has played an important role in establishing this misconception: in it one reads that pedophilia occurs in regressive personalities who are frightened of sexual contact with women and have not sufficient social skills to be able to get along with adults. Such stereotyping is completely without empirical support. There is no research which justifies any kind of type-casting of "the" pedophile, assuming such research would even be possible.17
For more information, see the section on this site about characteristics of minor-attraction men.