Feierman provides a lengthy
behavioral/ethological analysis of components of sexual behavior between adults
and children or adolescents, from sexual motivation, attraction, arousal,
stimulus discrimination, reproduction, parental investment, to embryological
He concludes the chapter with a brief discussion of the
concepts of consent and harm to distinguish between adult human sexual behavior
with children and adolescents and sexual abuse of children and adolescents.
These are pivotal issues in any discussion of pedophilia, and there is extensive
discussion and research on them in the "child abuse" literature. Their
treatment in two pages here seems far too brief for a reader unfamiliar with the
topic, and does not directly address the question of when in the course of
socio-bio-psych-sexual development does a child or adolescent have sufficient
knowledge, judgment, and free choice to consent to sexual activity with an
Bullough addresses the question of how historical changes in prevalence
and incidence as well as social attitudes and values effect current social and
scientific understanding. The account is largely anecdotal, and not clearly
related to the conclusion that adult/child and adult/adolescent sexual behavior
occur less frequently now than in the past. He suggests that while attitudes
towards adult/child sexual behavior have changed little over time, current
policies and attitudes regarding adult/adolescent sexual behavior constitute a
significant shift from the (more "tolerant") past.
In the next
chapter, Okami argues that much of the literature in "child sexual abuse"
has a socio-political bias, and that there is a substantial body of research
that contradicts the "victimology" research Okami is correct in
stating that feminist theory has had an impact on this field. His highly
selective quotes of the "sociopolitical biases" he finds in this
literature however, is at times both inflammatory and a misrepresentation.
example is his neglect in defining the concepts of coercion and force in
critiquing the notion that these behaviors are considered violent crimes. He
"virtually all research documents the low incidence of violence or
forceful coercion in cases...."
and goes on to argue that
empirical point of view, then, it is incongruous to categorize such interactions
as violent crimes...".
As ethologists, might we say by analogy then, that
spatial displacement, because there is no empirical evidence of fighting, is
incongruously categorized as a dominance interaction? Most unfortunately for the
readers of this volume, much of this chapter is flawed by this lack of a careful
examination of issues.
The section on Evolution addresses phylogenetic origins of
sexual behavioral patterns. Medicus & Hopf, and Eibl-Eibesfeldt discuss the
role of social hierarchy in sexual behavior in vertebrate courtship patterns.
Both papers illustrate the relevance of male/female differences in sexual
behavior in the animal kingdom, in particular the association between
aggression, dominance, and successful courtship and mating in males. They also
point out that some morphological traits and courtship behaviors in adult
females resemble those of children. Both Medicus & Hopf, and Eibl-Eibesfeldt
suggest that this pattern of dimorphism helps to explain
"why adult human
sexual behavior with children and adolescents is almost exclusively an adult
Eibl-Eibesfeldt goes on to suggest that humans, perhaps
due to fewer safeguards of phylogenetic adaptations, are more vulnerable to
behavioral disorders than is the social behavior of other species.
& Bielert, and Pusey discuss inbreeding avoidance and other factors that
appear to account for the rare observation of adult/immature sexual relations in
Research based on animal models is again discussed in
the section on Cause. Udine presents data which suggests early imprinting of
cross-fostered rodents determines selection of mating partners later in life.
Domjan's study of mating behavior in quail points to the role of learning in
species-specific consummatory sexual behavior and shows how sexual behavior can
be conditioned to "arbitrary stimuli" in both avian and mammalian
Gladue reports on hormonal and neuroendocrine correlates of sexual
behavior in humans. He notes that pedophiles show markedly elevated LH response
to LH-RH infusions, and that there is no apparent relationship between levels of
T and sexual object choice.
While this data suggests possible organizing effects
of hormone levels on the development of the nervous system Gladue points out
that there is as of yet no generally accepted model of the role of these factors
in sexual object choice.
Mackey's contribution is one of the more difficult for
this reviewer to relate to etiology of pedophilia. He presents data from
observational studies of adult male/juvenile interactions in 19 societies which
shows higher than expected frequencies of juvenile males in adult male only
groups, and older juvenile male/adult male dyads. Mackey suggests these
affiliative and alliance forming behaviors
"reflect the primordial pattern
in which older males recruit peripubescent males (e.g., hunting and scavenging
The reader is left to wonder is it proximity, affiliation, or
alliance forming behaviors that constitute these "biosocial roots of sexual
behavior" and whether these are to be seen as proximate or ultimate causes.
Herman Diensie opens the discussion on Function with an
overview of the concept of evolutionary function. He points out that while the
concept of adaptive function provides useful insights into evolutionary
mechanisms, there are many cases in which empirical demonstration of adaptive
function can be "very difficult or impossible".
He argues that with
regard to the evolution of sexual development
"the advantages of a general
flexibility in.... the attributes to which one is sexually attracted may be so
great for so many individuals that these advantages outweigh the disadvantage to
the relatively small number of other indiviiluals who develop nonprocreative
sexual attractions under particular or unusual environmental
It may be the case that this is the strongest argument that
can be made for the role of natural selection in the case of pedophilia and
Taub reviews data On non-human primate paternalism and
observes that male primates have a phylogenetically old capability to use
infants as objects and to harm or put infants at risk for the selfish pupose of
enhancing the male's social and competitive position. He also conludes that
there are no behaviors or relationships between adult male and infant primates
that are analogous
"to human pedophilia in which the primary motivation, at
least for the adult, appears to be sexuoerotic gratification."
Waal's observations of sociosexual behavior in bonobos are remarkable for
documenting high frequency levels and considerable variations in age, sex and
behaviors in dyads. De Waal concludes that in bonobos
occurs in all possible age and sex combinations as a mechanism of reassurance
and appeasement.... (however) males appear to limit penetration and ejaculation
to contacts with mature females."
The reader is left to draw their own
conclusions on the functional significance of these behaviors.
Schiefenhovel's description of ritualized adult
male/adolescent male sexual behavior in Melanesia is a valuable illustration of
the role of culture in defining and shaping sexual development. Most
importantly, Schiefenhovel describes widespread adult heterosexual practices
typical of the Papuan societies in which adult males and adolescent males engage
in sexual behavior within male initiation ceremonies.
He argues that this
behavior occurs in some Papuan societies and not in others with very similar
culture and ecology due to variations in cultural beliefs regarding semen. The
pattern of ritualized sexual behavior between adult and adolescent males in
these societies does not lead to homosexual or pedosexual behavior in non-ritual
Cross-generational sexual behavior in traditional Hawai'i is also
described in a broader cultural context. Adults routinely instructed and trained
both males and females considered "old enough". Sanctions for sexual
behavior were related to social class. Intercourse between socially
inferior males and female royalty could result in death, and while incest was
acceptable for royalty, it was forbidden to commoners.
Diamond concludes that
traditional Hawai'ians view of sex as positive and pleasurable freed them from
most of Western society's sexual fears and dysfunctions. Despite the limitations
of relying on anecdotal historical accounts in reconstruction of the
ethnographic records, descriptions such as these of the cultural context and
adult sequelae are significant contributions to our understanding of bio-social
dimensions of pedophilia.
The section on Development begins with John Money's theory
that pedophilia originates in the development of paraphilic lovemaps. A lovemap
is defined as a developmental representation or template in the mind and brain
depicting the idealized lover and program of sexuoerotic activity. Money's
concept of paraphilic lovemaps has tremendous implications for understanding the
non-volitional nature of sexual attrrction for pedophiles.
Money argues that for
the pedophile, sexuoerotic bonding becomes entrained with parent/child bonding,
and may have as its origin an error in the neurochemical differentiation of
sexual pathways in the developing brain. He is careful to point out that the
factor or factors leading to this vulnerability are not precisely known.
following chapter beings "I believe I was born as a pedophile" and
goes on to give an autobiographical account of the social and sexual history of
a pedophile from childhood, including his sexual experience with an adult at age
15, through medical training, a marriage, and finally incarceration.
material has human interest and some value clinically, for individuals reading
this volume with little or no previous exposure to clinical material on
pedophiles, this chapter might be particularly misleading. For example, several
statements made by this author would be considered "textbook" examples
of denial, cognitive distortions, and rationalizations common to pedophiles.
may not have been feasible for the purposes of this volume to offer a clinical
discussion following this case. As it is presented, however, there is no
information for the reader to know how the children he was sexually involved
with understood their experience.
In the next chapter Garland & Doughter
assert that it is
"(a) widespread belief among the general public and
professionals alike that sexual abuse causes sexual abuse."
They go on to
accurately report the lack of evidence supporting the abused/abuser hypothesis,
however they do not correct the impression that current professional literature
continues to support this hypothesis exclusively. They do point out the well
accepted and thoroughly documented finding that
"sexual contact with an
adult during childhood and adolescence is neither a necessary nor a sufficient
cause of adult sexual interest in children or adolescents."
Hutchison discuss the organizational role of androgens in brain development with
respect to sexual behavior. Research on the ontogeny and regulating mechanisms
of steroid metabolizing enzymes in the intact brain during development may lead
to further progress in establishing sensitive periods and target areas in the
And finally, Zivin addresses the need for models of behavioral
development that can handle the complexity of such behaviors. A systems
perspective allows for the synthesis of seemingly contradictory research
results, and a move beyond the nature/nurture dichotomy.
Feierman, in his summary and conclusion, addresses not only
issues of data and evidence, but also of social attitudes towards pedophilia. He
closes expressing the hope that better understanding of pedophilia may lead to
more opportunities for pedophiles "to receive help to lawfully live with
the reality that the object of their sexual desires is socially proscribed as
This volume, and the conference that lead to its creation,
represent an important step in our efforts to examine diverse data and initiate
dialogue across vastly different disciplines and professional perspectives on
the subject of human pedophilia. There is, however, a need for much greater
cross-fertlization of data and theoretical perspectives if we are to develop a
broader, more balanced understanding of the phenomena of pedophilia in human