Keywords: Tanner stages

The age of the girls and the boys in the Tanner stages

Schuster, Filip - 2022
Type of WorkEssay

The following table shows the ages of girls and boys when they reached the different Tanner stages.

Table 1: Age of girls and boys when reaching the Tanner stages (medians of the results of the studies listed)

  • B2-B5: Tanner stages of breast development;
  • P2-P5: Tanner stages of pubic hair development.
  • G2-G5: Tanner stages of genital development.
Tanner stages Age in years Number of values
B2 9,7 33
Tanner stagesAge in yearsNumber of values

The studies listed were identified by the author in 2017 using a systematic literature search. Only English and German language studies that determined the exact age at reaching the Tanner stages were selected. Only results for girls and boys born around 1990 or later were considered. Groups that may be atypical with regard to pubertal development, such as those treated with medication, were not included.

In recent decades, the age at which girls reach puberty has declined by 0.24 years per decade, according to one meta-analysis (Eckert-Lind et al., 2020). Therefore, it may be that in the last five years since the literature review was conducted, the age at reaching puberty has decreased slightly.

There seems to be a consensus in science that reaching Tanner stage 2 of breast development or the onset of breast development marks the beginning of (physically visible) puberty in girls (see, for example, Rosen, 2004). Accordingly, girls do not typically reach puberty at age eleven, as has been widely claimed (Seto, 2017), but rather at age nine.

U.S. girls also typically reach Tanner stage 2 of breast development at age nine

  • (Kozinetz, 1991; Sun et al., 2002; Herman-Giddens et al., 1997; Susman et al., 2010; Cabrera et al. 2014; Biro et al., 2013).

Girls are not in Tanner stages 2 and 3 (preference age „hebephilia“) at ages eleven to 14, but at ages nine to twelve. Girls are not in Tanner stage 4 (preference age "ephebophilia") at 15 to 16/17 years, but at twelve to 14 years.

Also, in a meta-analysis published in 2020, girls in the majority of recent studies reached Tanner stage 2 breast development at nine years of age (Eckert-Lind et al., 2020). Accordingly, the desire of girls from the age of ten and of boys from the age of eleven was and is not evidence of preferential desire of prepubescents ("pedophilia").

The American Psychiatric Association's (APA) statement in the "pedophilia" definition of the "DSM-5" „prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger)“ (American Psychiatric Association (ed.), 2013, p. 697) is misleading and a pseudoscientific statement.

Given the true ages of the girls and boys in the Tanner studies, and given the results of darkfield studies on the proportion of "minors", women, and "pedophilic" adult men among all "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors," the author estimates that only about 0.5 percent of all "perpetrators" are "pedophilic" men (see especially Ajduković et al., 2013; Dombert et al., 2015; Ó Ciardha et al., 2021).