Attraction to adolescent boys
Various terms are used for preferential sexual attraction to boys (and girls) who have reached puberty; that is, cases in which attraction to adolescents is stronger than attraction to adults or prepubescent children.
- Some North American researchers and clinicians, particularly those in Canada, refer to this as hebephilia .6
- Others, especially in the U.S., use the term ephebophilia .7
- Still other researchers, mainly those in Europe, do not use the terms at all.8
- Neither term appears in the American Psychiatric Associationís Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR), the organizationís authoritative handbook for diagnosing mental disorders.9
Again, hebephilia and ephebophilia refer to feelings of attraction, not necessarily to sexual behavior with pubescents or adolescents. Sexual interaction between adults and adolescents is termed ephebosexual behavior .10
Some scholars, particularly historians, use the term pederasty in this context. The Greek word paiderastes originally referred to a man who fell in love with male adolescents. However, pederasty has acquired several meanings over time:
- sexual activity between men and adolescent boys
- sexual activity between adults and adolescents of any gender
- homosexual practice among males regardless of age11
This site is concerned with hebephilia/ephebophilia in those cases involving men's preferential sexual feelings for boys.
7. Feierman, 1990a.
8. Sandfort, 1987; Wilson & Cox, 1983.
9. American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM IV-TR, Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
10. Feierman, 1990a.
11. Liddell, H.G. & Scott, R., Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959; Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, New York: Merriam-Webster, 1998.