Part I. Theoretical Portion
Chapter 1. Defining Characteristics of Pedophilia
In scientific and non-scientific discourse, the term "pedophilia" is used in different ways, conflating various content-delimited concepts with one another -- as, for example, with "incest" and "sexual abuse."
Completely different types of labels are
It is, first of all, necessary for this study to define the underlying concept of pedophilia, differentiate it from other concepts, and establish diagnostic criteria for the purpose of operationalization. An undifferentiated application of the construct makes it more difficult to compare studies with one another. (Hoffmann, 1996)
1.1 Underlying Viewpoint, Definitions, and Concepts
In this study, pedophilia is defined as
The phenomenon is distinguished in terms of its
It goes beyond a purely sexual attraction to children and moreover includes
From a legal perspective, children are defined as persons under the age of fourteen. (Tröndle & Fischer, 1999) From a sexual science perspective what is meant is a person who manifests a prepubertal nature and outward appearance; thus for pedophilic attraction it is not the chronological age of the boy or girl that is decisive, but rather the physical and mental developmental status. (Lautmann, 1994)
The term "pedosexuality" (Dannecker, 1996) is increasingly used synonymously with or in place of the term pedophilia. And it should replace the euphemistically appealing conceptual construct of pedophilia (v. Krafft-Ebing, 1912), which consists of the Greek terns for "child" and "love," as the sexual desire-structure becomes a greater focus of attention. (Bundschuh, 2001)
In this study, the terms pedophilia and pedosexuality
are used synonymously in the comprehensive sense defined
As Sigusch puts it:
The discrete and stable nature of pedophilia is also made apparent in
the study by Lautmann (1994). However, the phenomenon cannot –
contrary to Sigusch – be reduced to a purely physical
attraction to the child; rather, the boy's or girl's nature is
also of central importance in pedophilic attraction.
Most authors adhere to the
In this study, pedophilia is regarded
Beier (1995,1998) subdivides manifestations of pedosexuality into
which are informed by the construct of “dissexuality.”
Although the current study does not rely on this classification for operationalization purposes, this does not constitute an implicit assessment of social failure.
For this study they are defined as follows:
The subjects in this study are exclusively primary pedophilic men, who for the sake of simplicity are usually characterized by the abridged terms of pedophile and pedosexual.
When a distinction between primary and secondary pedophilia is not made, very different groups of people get mixed in together; people who differ quite clearly in terms of their sexuality and, to a great extent, their behavior as well.
The life-situations of these two groups of persons are also different: whereas
The terms "true," "structured," and
"fixated" pedophilia used by Lautmann (1994, 1999) are
synonymous with the primary pedophile status. They are meant to make it
clear that the emotional-erotic-sexual being-structure of these men is
exclusively or predominantly aligned with boys or girls, and is deeply
rooted as a core sexual identity.
The pedophilic lovemap is understood in this study to be an expression of psychosexual developmental particularity along the lines of the models presented by Griesemer (2004a, 2005). In reality a sexual preference goes far beyond a purely cognitive structure, because it is experienced as significant. (Berner, 2002)
1.2 Delineating Viewpoints and Concepts
The underlying psychological and sexual-science perspective on the concept of pedophilia follows the property paradigm.
It is virtually incompatible with the criminological viewpoint and sexual abuse paradigm, and therefore needs to be distinguished from them.
The fundamental problem with these paradigms lies in the fact that the pedophilia concept becomes understood, almost exclusively, as a behavioral category.
1.2.1 Delineation of Criminological Paradigm
In criminology, the interest is in making a determination regarding the presence of sexual delinquency, in terms of the objectively ascertainable facts of the case (touching, copulation).
As a consequence of this, every sexual act between an adult and a
child frequently gets subsumed under the pedophilia rubric, which in the
legal sense is depicted as a violation of the right to
The essential components of human sexuality are not merely observable sexual activities, but also erotic-sexual fantasies, feelings, and emotional connections.
These are not criminally prosecutable, and are correspondingly not a primary focus. However, another factor decisive to the verdict -- following the ascertainment of punishable criminal sexual acts -- is what the motivation for them was.
If a primary pedophilic motivation is established through personal remarks, expert opinions, or circumstances, this has the effect on judicial practice of frequently enhanced punishment on up to additional patholigization
Pedosexual relationships, however, usually cannot be reduced to sexual practices, but instead are quite often far more complex phenomena.
According to Dieth (2004), the sexual aspect of these normally friendship-based relationships is, from a scientific and non-scientific perspective, usually very strongly over-emphasized, at the expense of their socio-emotional features. A portion of pedophilic relationships end up being asexual.
Two additional problems in criminological research are
Criminological studies are also unable to say anything about the general pedophile population. The effective scope of criminology and forensics remains, in contrast to sexual science, limited to particular 'light number' cases.
1.2.2 Delineation of the Abuse Paradigm
The abuse paradigm is the source of many difficulties in the
scientific as well in non-scientific spheres:
Equating pedophilia/pedosexuality with sexual acts obscures the fact
that a portion of pedophilic men pursue, for various reasons, a sexually
abstinent lifestyle. Bundschuh (2001) also came to see that at least
some pedophiles live out their sexuality only through fantasy, others by
means of aids such as erotic or pornographic images of children.
From the perspective of sexual science, empirical evidence has been produced that there is no automatic harm-mechanism inherent in intergenerational eroticism and sexuality.
Finkelhor, as the leading (scientific) adherent of this paradigm, is even so frank as to admit that his axiomatic position is not purely empirically-based, but is also infused with moral assessments.
Schmidt (1999, 2002a) argues for the need to separate the
of the pedophilia discourse, because the mixing of these planes will
lead to no good.
The primary problem the abuse paradigm poses for sexual science lies in the fact that a great number of some very different pedosexual realities
can be subsumed under the vague concept of "sexual abuse.”
The context and qualitative aspects of these relationships usually remain unconsidered. As Schorsch (1989} writes:
Because of inadequate operationalization, and the expectation of normative assessments that go hand-in-hand with the terms "sexual abuse" and "sexual violence,” there arises a certain arbitrariness of interpretive license. (Loschper, 1992)
A great number of authors have criticized the fact that the unlimited availability of this label makes it possible -- all the more so as, even today, "sexual abuse" continues to be instrumentalized by various political and emancipatory groupings -- for acute psychological and ideological needs to be met.
Hoffman (1996) assesses this problem as follows:
The absence of differentiations in earlier vehement, hysterically-conducted abuse debates has, to a considerable extent, contributed to a situation in which the "pedophile" label has been a rendered meaningless. It has become a "container-concept" for anything and everything. (Gieles, 1997)
Groups of persons and ways of behaving frequently get lumped in together in everyday usage and in the media, such that a distorted, disturbing, and inhuman image of the pedophile minority arose among the public.
For the children concerned, moreover, it brought an increased risk of secondary traumatization through the unprofessional actions of self-appointed experts as well as by court interrogation practices.
1.2.3 An Attempt at Categorizing Intergenerational Sexual Contacts
In this study, it is assumed that Knight, Rosenberg & Schneider's (1985) empirlcally-based classification, which establishes a defining division into three levels of hierarchical criteria
grossly over-simplifies sexual realities, however amply represented.
Knight et al. (1995) differentiate between
What are meant by "true pedophiles" are primary pedophilic
men, who for the most part want medium-term relationships with boys,
girls, or children in general. As a rule, pedosexual activities are
limited to fondling, mutual stroking, and masturbation.
Moreover, it is conceivable that there are isolated cases of married pedophilic men where intrafamilial pedosexual contacts take place with biological/adoptive children.
There are even pedophilic men who enter into sexual relationships with single mothers in order to gain access to the desired child
The case of J. Bartsch, in whom Berner (1997) diagnosed a borderline
structure (impulsive type), shows that in very isolated cases, even
sexual sadists and sexual murderers are members of this sexually
Lautmann, 1994: named groups of persons would appear to be both
justified and necessary. If this were not done, the result would be a
very distorted picture of sexual and social realities.
1.3 Discussion: Normal and Deviant Sexuality
1.3.1 Initial conditions
In order to be able to define deviant sexual behavior, a definition of normal behavior is required. Even as the subject of sexuality has proven itself to be particularly problematic, the understanding of what constitutes normal sexuality is, in fact, strongly culturally -- and socially -- dependent, and also changes again and again over the course of time.
It is highly doubtful that intercultural studies, in which
intergenerational eroticism and sexuality are considered normal, will
translate to European circumstances. It is, however, remarkable and
worth remembering that under the international system of diagnosis,
people from these cultures would be regarded as mentally ill.
Even in today's Europe a great divergence still exists in laws
concerning the so-called "sexual protection age-limit." (Graupner,
It is evident in the example of homosexuality just how quickly social change did in fact (and yet also did not) take place: Unti1 a few decades ago it was numbered among the perversions, and until 1984 in West Germany sexual intimacy between an of-age and an under-age man was punishable under §175 StGB.
Today it is regarded in the international diagnosis systems as a normal form of sexuality, although there still exists within society and a large number of psychoanalytic teaching institutions a considerable amount of prejudice, homophobic behavior, and pathologizing opinions regarding gays, lesbians, and even bisexuals.
It has become politically correct to not ascribe any psychopathology to homosexuals publicly.
With regard to pedophilia it is precisely the opposite:
Whoever does not condemn this phenomenon from the start and does not declare these men disturbed will obviously be in big trouble even in scientific circles; i.e., will not be taken seriously and, if necessary, will actually be defamed by high-caliber scientists. (Oellerich, 2000)
What is the problem?
Sexuality encompasses a multitude of aspects and functions on the level of the individual, the couple, and society.
According to Beier (1995), normal sexuality stresses social interaction and partnership formation as particularly important aspects. He uses the term "dissexuality" to characterize deviations in sexual behavior. This is defined as
This determination is indicative of an intended affinity with the construct of dissociality. The dissexuality concept should be distinguished from the concept of deviance, which merely represents an external description of behavior and therefore of sexual practices.
Even the concept of perversion, which encompasses a
is to be differentiated from the dissexuality concept. The perversion
concept is frequently associated with a devaluation of the overall
personality. It is employed with increasing rarity frequently in the
The crux of the evaluation of pedosexual relationships as “non-consensual" lies in the asynchronicity in development and the disparity in desires, rendering so-called "intimate citizenship" (Evans, 1993) impossible. This is far and away the consensus opinion of sexual science and society and contrary to the view of a major portion of pedophilic men.
On the other hand, in sexual science there are also opinions which do not concur that consent is fundamentally impossible in intergenerational sexuality and eroticism, and call this into question.
A series of scientific studies, some with case examples, suggest that intergenerational erotic-sexua1 agreement is possible.
1.3.2 Critique of the Determination in the International Diagnosis Systems
What is regarded as normal or deviant sexuality is socially
constructed and is laid down officially in the international systems of
the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR; APA, 2000) and the
International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10; WHO, 1999). Pedophilia
falls under the Paraphilias in the DSM-IV-TR and, correspondingly, under
Sexual Preference Disorders in the ICD-10.
The determinations are by no means value-free but rather are, according to various authors, connected more with the moral values of society than firm diagnostic criteria. (See, e.g., Fiedler, 2004)
Exhibitionism, fetishism, voyeurism, frotteurism, masochism, sexual sadism, sodomy, and erotophobia are classified as paraphilias. In the DSM-IV-TR, the pedophilia label is applied when the following criteria are met:
|A||Recurring and intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexually pressing needs, or behaviors involving sexual acts with a pre-pubertal child or children (generally 13 years of age and younger) over a period of at least six months.|
|B||The person has acted on the sexually pressing needs, or the sexually pressing needs or fantasies have caused distinct suffering or interpersonal difficulties.|
|C||The person is at least 16 years old and at least 5
years older than the child or children according to criterion
Note: Late adolescents in a long-term relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old partner are not to be included.
|Determine wether:||Limited to incest|
|Determine wether:||Non-Exclusive type|
Green (2002) criticizes the fact that the American Psychiatric Association (APA), in the diagnostic criteria, has failed to adhere to its own standards, rendering particular APA positions with regard to pedophilia logically incoherent.
(See also Fiedler, 2004, pg. 293ff.)
The pedophile label is applied only to persons who act on their pedophilic desires (B Criterion). Consequently it is the presence of corresponding fantasies that designates pedosexual contacts as pedophilic and pathological.
Up until now, acting on these desires was clearly independent
of the actual phenomenon of pedophilia, from both a sexual science and
an APA perspective (i.e., DSM III). A person who has not acted on
his sexual desire for children, yet has exclusively pedophilic fantasies
and in addition to that masturbates with the aid of chi1d pornography,
is now no longer a pedophile according to DSM-IV-TR. Consequently no
mental disorder is present.
According to Green (2002), it is not the job of the APA to perform legal functions with regard to pedosexual contacts:
"Where does the D8M leave us? In Wonderland ... The DSM should not provide psychiatry with jurisdiction over any act any more than it should provide the law with jurisdiction over a thought." (pg. 470)
He demands that the disorder concept of pedophilia be struck
completely from the international diagnosis systems, which contribute to
the exclusion and stigmatization of this sexual minority. If the APA
bows to social necessity, then the proscription on intergenerational
eroticism and sexuality will become more problematic when the pedosexual
who acts on his sexuality cannot be legitimately characterized as
mentally ill. (See also Ng, 2002.)
There exist two substantial 'dark number' studies, which verify that it is very unlikely that differences with regard to personality characteristics between preferential pedophiles and "normal citizens” will be found -- the pedophilic man is fairly normal, and cannot, on an empirical basis, be characterized as mentally ill.
In the study by Wilson & Cox (1983), 77 men were examined with the aid of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire's (EPQ) three primary axes of extroversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism.
The central finding was the existence of a significantly heightened degree of introversion compared with the general population. This could, however, also be a result of the high degree of social pressure that is placed on this despised social group.
On the psychoticism and neuroticism scales, pedophilic men are indeed situated slightly above the population average; they are not, however, in the clinically relevant range in comparison with other groups. Statistically speaking, they do not differ significantly from physicians (psychotic scale) and students (neurotic scale):
“[T]he most striking thing about these results is how normal the paedophiles appear to be according to their scores on these major personality dimensions -- particularly the two that are clinically relevant [neuroticism and psychoticism] ... introversion ... in itself is not usually thought of as pathological.” (pg. 57)
Bernard (1982a [*]) obtained a similar result in a study of 60 pedophilic men, who were also examined with the EPQ. Bernard summarizes: “A portrait of pedophiles? Perhaps this is an irrelevant question, because by all appearances, a pedophile is a person like you and I.” (1982a, pg. 113)
|[* See also Pedophila, A Factual report, Bernard 1985 - Ipce]|
Howitt (1998a) came to the same conclusion:
"The possibility of finding a simple personality profile that differentiates pedophiles from other men appeared increasingly unrealistic as the research and clinical base has widened. Simplistic notions such as social inadequacy driving men to sex with children become unviable as high1y socially skilled pedophiles are found." (pg. 44)
In a 'light number' study by Raymond et al. (1999), it was able to be sbown that 77.5% of the pedophi1ic men examined showed no anti-social personality structures. Eighty percent were not subsumable under the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder.
Naturally, no statement can be made concerning whether these ascertained disorders among pedophilic men are to be regarded as cause or effect. It should be noted that the primary cause of deviations from the norm, such as anti-social behavior, might lie in the conditions of isolation and exclusion faced by this sexual minority.
(1992) describes, in the presentations of his model of the
"isolated minority syndrome," mechanisms which describe,
explain, and predict the behavior of persons with sexual deviancies.
These model presentations wi1l be taken up at a later point.
The empirically and quantitatively examined "Labeling Approach" even suggests that formal labeling (e.g., as a "child molester") increases the risks of the origination of delinquent behavior and anti-social personality structures. (Farrington, 1977)
In conclusion, the status of the current discussion can be summarized as follows:
sexual science is increasingly coming to understand that pedophilia is a question of sexual orientation, not a manifestation of pathology.
(Seikowski, l999; Schmidt, 2002a; Fiedler, 2004)
According to Mirkin (1999), sexual-political controversies have two phases:
|Phase one is characterized by the subject being kept as far
away from politics as possible and declared undiscussable. (Ex.: an
earlier statement about homosexuality: |
“...which of course for them is merely sex, and has nothing to do with love.")
|In the second phase, through politics and various groups in
society, rights and privileges are discussed. |
(Ex.: Homosexuality - "Action 1:1" demands a status for life-partners
fully equal to that of married partners in all life situations.)
Gay and lesbian politics reached the second stage long ago.
The social controversy over pedophilia is at the first stage, to the extent that we actually have come to grips with it.
In the following, criminal statistics data relating to child sexual abuse, the possession and distribution of child pornography, and the incidence of "true" pedophilia are presented. The statistics indicate that pedophilic men constitute a numerically small group on the social margins who, criminologically speaking, in terms of their absolute numbers, represent a relatively minor social group. Certainly, this statement does not apply in relation to other sexual groups in society.
Of the criminal acts against the right to sexual self-determination listed in Article 13 StGB, public discussion most often centers on §176 StGB ("Sexual Abuse of Children."). This provision makes each and every type of pedosexual contact
(from obscene conversations to playing doctor, showing pornography to children, exhibitionistic acts, genital manipulation, rape, mistreatment, and homicide)
Lautmann (1980) criticizes these paragraphs based on their
"differentiation-hostile wording" because they offer "no
provision for filtering out cases that don't merit punishment" (pg.
44), and also leave the definition of the concept "sexual act upon,
in the presence of, or with the child" unclear. Under this
provision, custodial sentences of up to ten years can be imposed.
The extent of sexual contacts between adults and children in Germany is unknown. Reliable information concerning officially registered figures is prov1ided by Police Criminal Statistics (PCS). In the year 2003, there were 15,430 reported cases (code 1310) of attempted and completed sexual abuse against children under the age of fourteen.
(Federal police Bureau Suspect Statistics, 2003;
author's note: the number of cases actually prosecuted is listed in the Criminal Prosecution statistics and is smaller; ex.: higher percentage of false accusations under §176 StGB by the mother of the child in divorce proceedings/custody disputes.)
Various authors have estimated that pedophilic men are responsible for anywhere from 1% (Wolter, 1985) up to a maximum of 5% (Lautmann, 1994) of all pedosexual contacts. In 95-99% of cases of child sexual abuse, the perpetrators are not pedophilic men but rather predominantly heterosexual men. If these estimates are right, between 154 (1%) and 772 (5%) of the cases reported in 2003 would have involved pedophilic men.
The 'dark number' figures would have to be reckoned to be high. Baurmann (1991, pg. 233) estimates the 'light:dark number' ratio for the sexual abuse of children under fourteen to be 1:5, and between 1:20 and 1:50 for abuse under the color of authority.
For the pedophile minority the 1:5 ratio may be closer to the mark,
since the abuse under color of autho rity paragraph is aimed at
protecting the "right to sexual self-determination" of
teenagers (over 14). Teenagers essentially do not correspond to
pedophilic men's sexual-erotic age-span.
The paragraphs (§§176(3), 184 StGB) under which the possession (since 1993) and distribution of child pornography are largely subsumed represent additional, central provisions that are relevant to a more or less large portion of pedosexuals. Violating these provisions can result, depending on the seriousness of the facts of the case, in the imposition of fines or prison sentences of varying severity.
For the year 2003,
|2,868 cases of possessing/obtaining child pornography (code 1433),|
|1,858 cases of distributing child pornography (code 1434), and|
|169 cases concerning the production and distribution |
of pornographic writings relating to the sexual abuse of children (code 1316) were reported.
(Federal Police Bureau, 2003)
It should be noted that there is a large commercial market for
so-called paraphilic pornography (and also for paraphilic accessories),
which implies that paraphilic tendencies are widespread in our society.
It is, therefore, to be assumed that the boundary between what is
designated a paraphilia in the diagnosis systems, and paraphilia as a
normal manifestation of sexual behavior, is fluid. (Fiedler, 2004)
Moreover, we may presume that many offenses relating to the possession and distribution of child pornography involve an even larger number of non-pedophiles. General anti-socialness and the "sensation seeking" personality characteristic, as a form of self-regulated compensation for deficits in civilized stimuli (see Klemm, 2003), obviously play an important moderating role.
(Zuckerman, 1979; Gallwitz & Paulus, 1999; Paulus, 2000); Paulus & Gallwitz, (2001)
The influence of pornographic images of children along the lines of compensation vs. act-facilitatioa is unclear.
(See, e.g., Berner & Hill, 2004; Howitt, 1998b; Drewes, 2002; Fiedler, 2004.)
Research approaches in this area are limited to the 'light number.' The present study wi1l proceed based on the assumption that users and non-users differ with regard to the presence of pedosexual contacts.
For a variety of reasons
(presence of the taboo, different definitions, problems inherent in criminally prosecuting pedosexual acts),
only with great difficulty are we able to make a statement concerning the incidence of pedophilia as a sexual orientation in its own right. The overall number of pedophilic men in society is unknown.
There is a broad consensus within sexual science that what we have here is a small sexual minority. (See, e.g., Lautmann, l994.) Based on a personal appraisal fairly well-grounded in self-reports, we may proceed under the assumption that the number of pedophilically-oriented men and women in Germany is somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 (Pedo Society brochure).
Ziegler (1988) proceeds based on the assumption that there are
150,000 homosexually pedophilic men in Germany; Brongersma (cited in.
Stöckl, l988, pg. 16) goes even further, assuming there are several
hundred thousand. In the final analysis, however, these presumptions
cannot be verified. Due to a "self-serving bias," the total
number could be well below that.
A broad consensus exists within sexual science, based on penile plethysmograph studies, that pedophilic arousal patterns of a lesser degree are evident in a high percentage of the male population. In phallometric studies, the engorgement of the penis is measured simultaneously with the synchronized presentation of pre-pubertal stimuli. The statistical incidence of sexual arousal to pre-pubertal stimuli (i.e., "child-female”) means that this is not at all an "unusual sexual object" as far as the male population is concerned. As a ru1e, however, for most male subjects, this constitutes secondary rather than primary pedophilia.
(Freund & Castell, 1971; Quinsey, Steinman, Bergesen & Holmes, 1975; Freund, 1991; Freund & Watson, 1991; Hall, Hirschman & Oliver, 1995)
Berner (2002), based on various penile plethysmograph studies, goes
on the assumption that secondary pedophilia is present in about 25% of
the male population.
Empirical studies geared towards assessing women's sexual arousal to children do not yet exist. For anatomical reasons, they are far less amenable to operationalizing and carrying out such research. It should furthermore he noted that not only female but also male sexuality is, in reality, much more complex, extending far beyond sheer sexual arousal - in this case the erect penis. (Zilbergeld, 1996) The penile plethysmograph is, however, well-suited to the operationalization of scientific experiments. (Lautmann, 1994)
A questionnaire study of nearly two hundred male students by Briere & Runtz (1989) reached the following findings:
|21% reported a small degree of sexual attraction towards children;|
|9% of those questioned had sexual fantasies involving children;|
|5 % reported having masturbated to these fantasies;|
|7% could envision themselves having sex with children if it were not against the law.|
In their study, Briere & Runtz suggest that, given the tendency to respond to this taboo-laden subject in socially-desired ways, the actual percentages could be even higher:
"[G]iven the probable social undesirability of such admissions, we may hypothesize that the actual rates were even higher." (pg. 71)
In a comparable study by Smiljanich & Briere (1996) of 100 male
and 180 female students, 22% of the men and 3% of the women reported
being sexually attracted to children.
Efforts to also study female pedophilia have been initiated. (Knopf, 1993) But the ones so far have not been successful. Though women who erotically and sexually desire children do in fact exist, they are very difficult to find. Only a very few identify with the pedophile label. A public statement by pedophilic women may be found in the "Sewer Rat Journal":
"For us female pedophilia means love between girls and adult women which is voluntary and includes sexual satisfaction, is no kind of domination over others, and is a lifestyle in which we have no need to master or possess children." (Cited in Knopf, 1991, pg. 24)
Beginning with the psychoanalytic paradigm (Fenichel, 1931), on up to
Finkelhor & Araki's (1986) Four-Factor Model, there exist various
causal and function models relating to pedosexual contacts, regarding
which Bundscbuh (2001) provides a comprehensive overview. The
"abused-abuser" hypothesis to be tested in this study, as well
as a more up-to-date approach grounded in neuro-psychology and learning
theory which is based on a scientifically-testable foundation, to be
the aid of a large 'dark number' cross-section, will be sketched out.
The widespread popular belief among the general population that children and teenagers who were sexually abused by adults or considerably older youth are at risk of later abusing children/youth when adults themselves is, in this study, characterized as the "abused-abuser" hypothesis.
In the past this cliché has taken up a great deal of space in
specialized publications and public discussion. This hypothesis also
became generalized to the primary pedophile population. Up until now,
however, 'dark number' empirical findings for this population group have
In special 'light number' cases involving fully institutionalized persons, van Outsem (1992) cites figures for male abuse victims who engaged in homosexual pedophilic contacts as adults of 18%, 33%, 75%, to close to 100%.
As of this point, no empirically based, substantial sexual science 'light number' research on pedophilically-oriented men has come out. The major problem with the studies is that the sexual orientations of the men at issue are not made unequivocally clear. Postulated hypothetical causal mechanisms are of
|the cognitive-behavioral type |
(classical conditioning, operant conditioning and model-learning) and
|the psychodynamic type |
(abuse inversion, repetition pressure, identification with the oppressor).
Moreover, for the abused-abuser hypothesis to be proven correct,
number of women perpetrators would have to be much higher, given that they are predominantly the victims of sexual abuse.
According to Garland & Dougher (1990), who carried out a critical review of all studies published to date, the "abused-abuser" hypothesis can, in its universal form, be considered to have been refuted by as early as the late 1980s:
"Given the popularity of the abused/abuser hypothesis, it is perhaps surprising to find that there is a dearth of evidence supporting it. This is not to say that there is a substantial body of contradictory evidence." (pg. 488)
"[It] is neither a necessary nor a sufficient cause of similar behavior in the child or adolescent when he or she becomes an adult [...] it is related only in the context of other, interacting variables. Unfortunately, at this point, researchers do not know what all these other variables are or how they interact." (pg. 505)
1n the area of sexual perpetrator recidivism studies, Hanson &
Bussiere (1998), in their meta-analysis of 61 recidivism studies, were
able to show that the variable 'traumatization of the perpetrator by
sexual abuse during his own childhood' is of no predictive value. On the
other hand, a sexual preference
for children, as ascertained by phallometric assessment, had a far higher predictive value (r. = 0.32).
A recent research project at the University of Stuttgart tackled the timely topic of whether the perpetrator-victim cycle increases the risk of sexual perpetrators committing criminal pedosexua1 acts. (Concerning this, see Urban & Lindhorst, 2004)
This study did not actually address the correctness of the abused-abuser hypothesis. Pedophilic men who as children had been sexually abused by adu1ts were compared with those who had not with regard to the extent of their own pedosexual contacts in adulthood. The difference between the two comprised the "sexual abuse share," and was used in a comparison of the senses of well-being and stress-related feelings of pedophilic men.
Because of its originality and empirical foundation, Griesemer's
(2005) model will be outlined. It was validated a short time ago
with the aid of a large 'dark number' sample of primary and secondary
pedophilic men. Moreover there is a female and male (non-pedophilic)
control group (N=140; inclusive of pedophile and control groups). Due to
space considerations, an extremely simplified and very abridged version
of the model's central ideas will be presented.
The approach proceeds based on the premise that the phenomenon of pedophilia as such is completely non-specific, and is present as latency and potentiality in a major portion of the population.
Eighty percent of children, at the beginning of their psychosexual
development, fall in love with other children (most frequently around
age 10). Applying this 80% probability, early sexual type-designations
(stimulus-response associations in the central nervous system) are
established that are largely resistant to extinction and are life-long.
The extinction-resistance is related to the fact that once they have
come about, due to particular neuronal shifts resulting from internal
regulatory cycles (and the production of adrenal steroids), they are
self-reinforcing. The sexual type-designations, however, typically
evolve into non-pedophilic ones because they are over-written by
different stimulus-response associations.
 The exclusive type of pedophilia is present in persons in whom the pedo-erotic arousal-reaction associations from childhood were never over-written.
 In adults in whom pedo-erotic connections exist, but there is also a simultaneous, subordinate orientation towards adults, primary pedophilia of the non-exclusive type is present. The formation of this second type is accounted for in terms of certain individual properties of the brain.
 The third group are the secondary pedophilia
developments (subordinate sexual preference for boys, girls,
or children in general) owe of these adults never manifest
their pedosexuality, and most show no pedophilic
identity-formation. It is, however, possible that, decades after the onset of puberty, these type-designations may suddenly emerge from latency entering the realm of conscious perceptions and actions. There is a whole series of factors that Wight bring
this to the fore
(e.g. drugs, brain tumors, age-related changes
in the brain, psychological constellations, and specific
The common denominator of these three more or less strongly
pedophilic developmental types is that the pre-pubertal pedophilic imprinting takes place essentially via mechanisms in the forebrain, which has a central regulatory influence on perception in general and the selective perception of information. The actual process of conversion to "normal" sexuality occurs without conscious action and via automated learning processes, and takes place to varying degrees in these three different types.
This model is well-suited to accounting for and predicting a
large number of the particulars of pedophilic experience and
specific pedosexual phenomena, as well as distinguishing
differences (also with regard to women). (Griesemer, 2005 )
Extensive validation trials are, however, still needed.
In the future, Griesemer's integrative causal theory could
represent a potential alternative/complement to the widely-
diffused simplistic analytical and feminist models, in which
a solid empirical basis for the pedophile population is totally
absent. Although postulated mechanisms such as Melanie Klein's "projective identification" undoubtedly do have a certain
relevance, they cannot be blindly generalized to "the pedophile".