Approximately 0.5 percent of all "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors" are "pedophilic" men

Schuster, Filip; Feb 17 2022
Type of WorkResearch Essay

For orientation in advance, a brief summary of the following calculation: According to the available Darkfield studies,

  • 74 percent of all "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors" are "minors" (people under 18 years of age) and
  • only 26 percent are adults (women and men 18 years of age and older).
  • 14 percent of all "perpetrators" are female and
  • 86 percent are male, according to available dark field studies.

We assume here that this result based on "minor" and adult "perpetrators" also applies to adult "perpetrators". Then

  • 4 percent of all "perpetrators" are women and
  • 23 percent are men.

According to two Darkfield studies, about 2 percent of all adult males who have "sexually abused" "minors" are estimated to have a sexual age preference for prepubescents (people in the 0 to 9/10 age range). Accordingly, approximately 0.5 percent of all "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors" are "pedophilic" adult males.

Proportion of "minors" among all "perpetrators"

According to the median of twelve Darkfield studies,

  • 73.6 percent of "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors" are "minors" and
  • 26.4 percent are adults
  • (Averdijk et al., 2011; Ajduković et al, 2013; Allen et al., 2014; Casterline, 2013; Feng et al., 2015; Hafstad et al., 2020; Karatekin et al., 2018; Kooij et al., 2018; Maschke et al., 2018a; Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014; Pereda et al., 2016; Sperry et al., 2005).

In eleven of the twelve studies, "minors" constitute the majority of "perpetrators", so it is safe to assume that "minors" are the majority of "perpetrators". The exception is a study from Suriname (see Kooij et al., 2018). In the 12 studies, "sexual abuse" was often understood to mean all forced sexual acts or, additionally, all sexual acts with a larger age difference.

Proportion of men among all adult "perpetrators"

According to the median of 21 Darkfield studies,

  • 14.4 percent of "minor" and adult "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors" are female and
  • 85.6 percent are male
  • (Ajduković et al., 2013; Allroggen et al., 2017; Bourke et al., 2014; Castro et al., 2021; Dube et al., 2005; Felson et al, 2019; Ferragut et al, 2021; Gewirtz-Meydan et al, 2019; Hofherr, 2017; Karkoskova et al, 2018; Maschke et al, 2018a; Mohler-Kuo et al, 2014; Newcomb et al, 2009; Oelschläger, 2019; Okur et al., 2020; Pereda et al., 2016; Priebe et al., 2009; Rind, 2022; Stadler et al., 2012; Tang, 2002; Vaillancourt-Morel et al., 2016).

Below, it is assumed that

  • 14.4% of adult "perpetrators" are also female and
  • 85.6% are male.


  • 3.8% of all "perpetrators" are female adults and
  • 22.6% are male adults.

 19 of the 21 studies included "minors" and adults as "perpetrators", so the exact proportion of female and male adult "perpetrators" could differ from the values identified.

The two studies recording only adult "perpetrators" (Ajduković et al., 2013; Stadler et al., 2012) had results of 3.6% and 3.8% regarding the proportion of female "perpetrators". If females accounted for 0 percent of all adult "perpetrators" instead of 14.4 percent, the proportion of "pedophilic" adult males among all "perpetrators" would be 0.53 percent instead of 0.45 percent. The small difference is due to the small proportion of "pedophilic" adult males out of all adult males who "sexually abused“ "minors" (see below). Thus, the exact proportion of females in all adult "perpetrators" is insignificant for the calculation presented here.

Age range of people preferentially desired by "pedophiles"

"Pedophilia" is typically defined in sex "science" as sexual age preference for prepubescents (Seto, 2018). Prepubescents are individuals before puberty. According to the median of 32 studies, girls typically reach Tanner stage 2 of breast development, and thus (physically visible) puberty, at 9.7 years of age

  • (Boyne et al., 2010; Codner et al, 2004; Sun et al., 2012b; Ma et al., 2009; Jirawutthinana et al., 2012; Saffari et al., 2012; Biro et al., 2013; Zsakai, 2012; Wang et al., 2016; Chen et al., 2014; Jaruratanasirikul et al., 2014; Bodzsar et al, 2015; Rabbani et al, 2010; Atay et al, 2011; Razzaghy-Azar et al, 2006; Cabrera et al, 2014; Dai et al, 2014; Feibelmann et al, 2015; Susman et al, 2010; Russo et al, 2012; Aksglaede et al, 2009; Wohlfahrt-Veje et al, 2016; Rubin et al, 2009; Jones et al, 2009; Kashani et al, 2009; Rabbani et al, 2008; Ireton et al, 2011; Akre, 2013; Wohlfahrt-Veje et al, 2012; Roelants et al, 2009; Khadgawat et al, 2016; Facchini et al, 2008).

According to the median of 11 studies, boys typically reach Tanner stage 2 of genital development, and thus (physically visible) puberty, at 11.0 years of age

  • (Lam et al., 2014; Herman-Giddens et al, 2012; Susman et al., 2010; Facchini et al., 2008; Papadimitriou et al., 2011; Wang et al., 2016; Sun et al., 2012a; Roelants et al., 2009; Sørensen et al., 2010; Zsakai et al., 2012; Bodzsar et al., 2015).

People with a sexual age preference for 0- to 9-year-old girls and/or 0- to 10-year-old boys are therefore "pedophiles" according to the "pedophilia" definition currently prevalent in sexual "science".

Proportion of "pedophile" adult males out of all adult male "perpetrators"

22.6% percent of the "perpetrators" are adult men as described. What percentage of these men now have a sexual age preference for prepubescents? The author is aware of two dark field studies on this question:

In an anonymus online survey of 8,718 men, representative for Germany,

  • 1.5% (n=132) of all men surveyed reported sexual contact with (allegedly) prepubescent "children" (people under 12 years of age) and
  • 0.4% of men (n=33) reported "child prostitution" (Dombert et al., 2015), in each case in adulthood.

Only 0.1% (n=12) of all men surveyed showed more sexual fantasies with (allegedly) prepubescent "children" than sexual fantasies with adults. Some of these 12 men may not have had sexual "contact" with people under 12 years of age, as not all people with a "pedophilic" age preference also have sexual "contact" with prepubescents.

The proportion of "pedophilic" adult males out of all adult males with sexual „contact“ with people under 12 years of age is small according to this study; it could be perhaps five percent. The proportion of "pedophilic" men out of all men with sexual "contact" with "minors" (i.e., people 17 and under) that is considered "abusive" is likely to be much lower. It should also be taken into account that girls, as described, typically reach puberty at age 9 rather than 11.

Ó Ciardha et al. (2021) anonymously surveyed 997 men online from the general population about sexual "contact" with "minors". Almost all of the men were from the United Kingdom and the United States. In these countries, the "age of consent" was and is predominantly 16, 17, or 18.

  • 29 of the 997 men reported having had at least one sexual "contact" with a "minor" below the "age of consent" as an adult.
    • Twenty-seven of these 29 men (93 percent) reported that the other person was older than 14 when the sexual acts occurred.
    • One of the 29 men reported having a person in the 11 to 14 age range.
    • Finally, one man reported persons in the three age ranges of under 11 years, 11 to 14 years, and over 14 years.

This finding speaks to a small proportion of "pedophilic" men out of all "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors".

The men in the study were also asked this question, "Since the age of 18, have you ever found yourself sexually attracted to someone who was under the age of 15?"

This was self-reported to be the case for 153 men.

  • 142 men reported attraction to people between the ages of 11 and 14,
  • one man reported attraction to people under the age of 11, and
  • 7 other men reported attraction to people from both age groups.

Again, this finding clearly indicates that only a small minority of men with perceived sexual attraction by people below the "age of consent" have a preference for prepubescents.

According to the two Darkfield studies described above, it is estimated that approximately two percent of all men who have "sexually abused“ "minors" are "pedophiles".

Proportion of "pedophile" men in all "perpetrators"

Accordingly, approximately 0.5 percent of all "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors" are "pedophilic" men.

One could speculate that possibly, for example, half of the "pedophilic" men in the two Darkfield studies just described concealed their "pedophilic" age preference. In this case, not about two percent, but about four percent of all men who "sexually abused“ „minors" would be "pedophiles". This would then correspond to 0.9 percent instead of 0.5 percent of all "perpetrators". The example shows that the proportion of "pedophilic" men to all "perpetrators" is small in any case, since certainly only a small proportion of the small proportion of men to all "perpetrators" is "pedophilic". A small proportion of little is always very little.

According to the median of eleven Darkfield studies, 89.3 percent of "minor" "victims" of "sexual abuse" are eleven/twelve years or older at the time of the (first) "abusive" sexual acts, and thus are typically not prepubescents

  • (Ajduković et al, 2013; Andersson et al., 2012; Castro et al., 2021; Dunn et al., 2017; Felson et al., 2019; Ferragut et al., 2021; Helweg-Larsen et al., 2006; Karkoskova et al., 2018; Maschke et al., 2018b; Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014; Okur et al., 2020).

The "sexual abuse" of "minors" rarely involves prepubescents and predominantly involves older teens. This also supports the assumption that in fact only a small proportion of adult "males" with sexual „contacts“ with "minors" considered "abusive" have a sexual age preference for prepubescents.

The typical case of "sexual abuse" of "minors" does not involve a girl of about 5 years old with a doll and a strange older adult, as often pictured by the mass media, but rather, for example, a 17-year-old girl and her 24-year-old boyfriend. Mass media reporting has led to a misconception among most people about the "sexual abuse" of "minors" and about the proportion of "pedophilic" adult males among all "perpetrators".

In the last ten years or so, the author has collected the cases that have come to his knowledge of known persons who had sexual "contacts" with people who were still "minors" and at least five years younger than the known persons. One example is the writer Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900) (Ellmann, 1997).

Such sexual "contacts" are today often regarded as "sexual abuse". The "minors" involved were predominantly teenagers and only rarely pre-pubescents. Almost never were there any indications of a preference for prepubescents among the known persons. Very often, on the other hand, there was evidence or proof of a preference for teenagers. It is easy to list many known people with a preference for teenagers, but to name almost no people with a preference for prepubescents.

This analysis of the many intensively researched life histories of the known individuals also supports the assumption of an extremely small proportion of "pedophilic" males in all "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors".

According to a meta-analysis published in 2014 by the author, in phallometric studies about 20 percent of adult males from the general population are more sexually aroused by stimuli from prepubescents and pubescents than by stimuli from adults (Schuster, 2014a; Schuster, 2014b).

However, contrary to assessments to the contrary (Cantor et al., 2015), the sensitivity, specificity, and also reliability of the phallometric "pedophilia" and "hebephilia" diagnoses remain unresolved to date.

Further, in the meta-analysis phallometric studies, greater sexual arousal by images/movies of 13-year-olds than by images/movies of 20-year-olds will often reveal an "ephebophilia" rather than a "pedophilia" age preference.

For the reasons described and others (Schuster, 2014b), the results of the phallometric studies cannot be used to draw firm or precise conclusions about the prevalence of a "pedophilic" age preference in the adult male population and, therefore,about the proportion of "pedophilic" adult males among all "perpetrators" of "sexual abuse" of "minors".

Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that considerably more men than previously assumed by sexual "science" have a "pedophilic" age preference and conceal it in surveys. It seems desirable and necessary to clarify empirically the unresolved question of why phallometric studies diagnosed significant portions of the adult male population as "pedophilic" or "hebephilic." The scientific status of the phallometric method is unresolved and in need of clarification.

The calculation presented here is inevitably only a rough calculation. The studies used differ greatly in many respects, for example with regard to the age range of the "minors" studied, so that the median values determined can only represent orientation values in each case.
Also, for example, the sexual "contacts" of "minors" with much older people, which are often regarded as "sexual abuse", have declined drastically in recent decades (Rind, 2022).

Research could more accurately determine the current proportion of adult "male" "perpetrators" to all "perpetrators" as a function of different "abuse" definitions through representative studies. However, it seems impossible at present to determine the exact proportion of "pedophilic" adult males to all adult male "perpetrators" because not all people disclose their "pedophilic" age preference in surveys and because the exact extent of this unconscious and/or conscious concealment is currently not measurable.

Forensic studies arrive at results that differ greatly from the results of the Darkfield studies described above with regard to the proportions of "minors", males, and "pedophilic" males among all "perpetrators" examined in the respective studies (Seto, 2018). This does not change the situation in the general population. The results of forensic studies always apply in principle and initially only to the forensic field.

In forensic studies, widely divergent and sometimes very high percentages of the "abusive" men studied receive a "pedophilia" „diagnosis“ (Eher et al., 2010; Heitzman et al., 2014). Nevertheless, for three reasons, presumably only about 2 percent of all "minor" "abusing" men are actually "pedophiles".

First, these forensic studies typically do not examine people who "abused" people up to age 17, but rather people who "abused" people up to age 14, for example. This changes the group of people studied and the "pedophilia" rate.

Second, the cohort of state-diagnosed "abusive" adult males is quite different from the cohort of state-undiagnosed "abusive" adult males. While the state-diagnosed "abusive" adult males had very frequent sexual "contacts" with prepubescents according to one study (Eher et al., 2010), all "abusive" adult males have relatively infrequent sexual "contacts" with prepubescents according to the available Darkfield studies as described.
Those in prison for cannabis possession, for example, are also likely to differ substantially from cannabis possessors not known to the police in terms of the extent of their prior cannabis use. One cannot, in principle, infer the general population from judicial samples.

Third, in practice, state "pedophilia" "diagnoses" refer not only to pre-pubescent desire, but typically also to the desire of pubescent individuals up to age 13 (Allan, 2020). As outlined, the preferential desire of pubescents is much more common than the preferential desire of prepubescents.
Therefore, only serious Darkfield studies are informative for the question raised of the proportion of "pedophilic" adult males to all "abusers" of „minors“. However, the two Darkfield studies described have similar results.

A calculation example can illustrate the non-representativeness of prison samples. The calculation is rough and is only intended to show the dimension of the problem.

In 1998, Germany had about 82 million inhabitants. In the same year, about 2,000 people in Germany were in prison or in "preventive detention" for sexual "contacts" with people under 14 (see Bange et al. (ed.) 2002) pp. 575-576). These individuals were and are almost never women and were and are almost always men.

Let us assume, roughly estimated, 33 million adult men living in Germany at that time. Let us further assume, roughly estimated, that 5 percent of all men were "pedophiles" and "hebephiles." That would be 1,650,000 men. Accordingly, a maximum of 0.1 percent of all "pedophilic" and "hebephilic" men would have been in prison or in "preventive detention" at that time (1 out of 825) because of sexual „contacts“ with people under 14 years of age, although of course non-"pedophilic" and non-"hebephilic" people also have to go to prison or to preventive detention in many cases because of corresponding "contacts".

This very small sample of men (maximum 1 out of 825) is not remotely representative of all "pedophilic" and "hebephilic" men in Germany. Similarly, the people diagnosed by the judiciary in terms of their age preferences who have "sexually abused“ "minors" are not remotely representative of all people who have "sexually abused“ "minors". Scientifically, the results of prison samples cannot be extrapolated to the general population. Anyone who does so nevertheless is not a scientist.

This raises the question of who, instead of the "pedophilic" men, is the main "perpetrator“ group of the "sexual abuse" of the "minors". Some would probably think first of the "hebephilic" men and/or the "pedophilic" and "hebephilic" "minors".

However, there is no data basis for these assumptions. According to the available Darkfield studies, the main „perpetrator“ group of the "sexual abuse" of boys are the "underage" girls

  • (Mohler-Kuo et al., 2014; Miller et al., 2018; Ajduković et al., 2013).

Girls and women, unlike boys and men, are almost never assumed to be "pedophiles" in sexual "science". Klaus Beier: "Pedophilic women are almost non-existent." (Without author, 2021; author's translation) The main group of „perpetrators“ of "sexual abuse" of girls are, according to the author's assumption, the "ephebophilic" and especially the "teleiophilic" "minor" boys. However, Darkfield studies in this regard do not seem to be available so far.