All of these "-centrisms" obscure the fact that
the behavior is seen in other species, societies, and times and has to be
understood within these broader contexts.
The behavioral-science disciplines that have contributed
the most significantly to our current understanding of this topic have
been sociology and social psychology
(e.g., David Finkelhor’s Child Sexual Abuse and Mark
Cook's Adult Sexual Interest in Children).
Numerous practitioners have based clinical interventions
on the data base and knowledge generated by these disciplines. This volume
adds to this data base by including new, biosocial contribution from the perspectives of history, political science, sexology, biology, primatology, anthropology, experimental and developmental psychology, and psychiatry.
What results is a trans-species, trans-cultural, and
trans-historical perspective that gives new biosocial insights into the roots of pedophilia as the phenomenon is found in contemporary industrialized societies.
Human behavior, like human anatomy, has evolved. The major mechanisms that account for this evolutionary process are natural, sexual, and kin selection,
all of which are explained later in this volume. Selected behavior that
leads to an increased chance for the individual to survive and reproduce
,is called "adaptive behavior,“ or simply, “an
As a result, almost all humans who are alive today are
individuals who exhibit a repertoire of adaptive behaviors. Because of our
current understanding of the evolutionary process, the biosocial
perspective systematically asks the question, Is or was a particular
behavior adaptive? It is legitimate to ask the question regarding any
human behavior, including some aspects of adult human sexual behavior with
children and adolescents.
Many social scientists would argue that the determinants
of adult human sexual behavior with children and adolescents simply are
culturally transmitted across generations by social learning. This view
has been the predominant perspective in the sociological and
social-psychological literature on the subject to date.
This volume will expand upon this view by developing the
thesis that aspects of the behavior result from an interaction of genetic
and non-genetic determinants and that in many instances, there is strong
support that some of the genetic determinants were subjected to positive
selective pressures or were the by-products of selective pressures in our
This realization is perhaps the single most important
contribution of this volume and is of more than academic interest,
inasmuch as it not only suggests why there is a proclivity towards the
behavior in some individuals but it also suggests a rational strategy by
which heuristic questions and future hypotheses can be formulated.
The biosocial perspective augments the previously
published literature on pedophilia, much of which is published under the
category "Child Sexual Abuse" in the lay and professional
literature. The perspective of most of the child sexual abuse literature is that of cultural transmission through social learning, a perspective that is strongly influenced by the emerging but still nascent discipline of
victimology. One of the central theoretical tenets of victimology is the perpetuation of the behavior, perpetuation that occurs, it is said, because the primary determinant of one's being a child sexual abuser as an adult is that one was sexually abused as a child.
This volume critically examines the biases under
which the data that form the basis of this fundamental tenet of victimology
are collected, as well as critically examining the actual data, and comes
to the conclusion that, contrary to the popular belief that is
based on victimology theory, being sexually involved with an adult as a
child is neither a necessary nor a sufficient cause of the engaging in
sexual behavior with a child as an adult. Clearly, alternative
perspectives are in order.
The title of this volume, "Pedophi1ia," is the
word that the popular media give to any kind of sexual behavior
between an adult and a legally underage person.
However, the more scientific definition of the term
"pedophilia" is "sexual attraction to prepubertal
children." The term for actual sexual behavior between an
adult and a prepubertal child is "pedosexual
Sexual attraction to adolescents is called
"ephebophilia" (the synonym is "hebephilia"), and
actual sexual behavior between an adult and an adolescent is called
All of these specific attractions and behaviors are
discussed separately in this volume under the rubric
Because of the biosocial perspective of this volume, a
vocabulary was chosen that allows numerous species, including humans, to
be described with the same terms. For example,
Although these terms may appear to be somewhat awkward at
times, the overall effect of having a common terminology with which to
describe the behavior of humans as well as nonhumans outweighs the
Incest is defined in this volume as sexual behavior
between any two individuals who are first-degree relatives and, therefore,
are related to each other by 0.5. This category includes relationships
between parents and offspring and between brothers and sisters. Incestuous
behavior does not imply that one of the individuals is a child or an
adolescent, because much incestuous behavior takes place between first-degree
relatives both of whom are adults. When incestuous behavior involves a
child or an adolescent, the adult is engaging in pedo- or ephebosexual
behavior. Such an adult may or may not be a pedo- or an ephebophile.
The tendency in the clinical literature has been not to consider most adults who engage in sexual behavior with children and adolescents as being pedo- or ephebophiles, inasmuch as pedo- and ephebophilia previously have been assumed to be the result of either previous childhood
victimization or mental derangement.
This volume will question both of these assumption, inasmuch as the major "roots" of pedo- and ephebophilia are found neither in the previous childhood exposure to sexual behavior with an adult nor in the minds of the seriously mentally ill. Rather, the bulk of the determinants of pedo- and ephebophilia are embedded in the phylogenetic, i.e., the evolutionary, past of all humans.
In addition to the very sensitive issue of incest, there is also a very
sensitive and somewhat strained relationship between adult homosexual
males and adult, androphilic pedo- and ephebosexual males. An awareness of
the nature of this relationship has resulted in the use of the terms
"androphilic" and "gynephilic" in this volume rather
than "homosexual" and "heterosexual" to describe the
sex of the individuals to whom pedo- and ephebosexual males are sexually
Contents and Organization of this Book
The volume is organized in six parts, the middle four of
which represent ethologist Niko Tinbergen’s suggestions regarding the
areas of inquiry that one has to address if one is going to understand a
In Chapter 1, "A Biosocial Overview . . .
," Feierman develops a biosocial basis by which selected aspects of
human sexual attraction and behavior in general can be understood and then
puts pedo- and ephebosexual behavior within this context.
In Chapter 2, "History ..." Bullough
places adult human sexual behavior with children and adolescents into the
historical context of Western civilization and concludes that such
behavior, in contrast to popular belief, is at an all-time low level of
In Chapter 3, "Sociopolitical Biases in the
Contemporary Scientific Literature ..." Okami shows how the use of
the nascent discipline of victimology, as a basis with which to
understand all adult human sexual behavior with children and
adolescents, serves more as a sociopolitical vehicle for the values of
some of its users than as a scientific model with which to understand the
In Chapter 4, "The Phylogeny of Male/Female
Differences .. . ," Medicus and Hopf show how an understanding of the
evolutionary history of male/female differences can help in explaining why
pedo- and ephebophilia are largely adult male phenomena.
In Chapter 5, "Dominance, Submission, and
Love: ...," Eibl-Eibesfeldt explains how the origins of pedo- and
ephebophilia can be found in the dominant/submissive sexuality of our
reptilian ancestors as well as in parental love.
Chapter 6, "Adolescent/Adult Copulatory Behavior in Nonhuman
Primates," Anderson and Bielert document that a low frequency of
copulatory sexual behavior between adults and non-adults is widespread
among our primate ancestors and that the patterns of who copulates with
whom can be predicted to some degree with a knowledge of the species as
well as of the socio-ecology of the particular social group.
Chapter 7, "Mechanisms of Inbreeding Avoidance ...," Pusey
describes the two main biosocial mechanisms of inbreeding avoidance in
nonhuman primates: separation of close relatives (by death or dispersal)
and suspension of mating (by prolonged familiarity) between close kin
living in the same social group. These biosocial mechanisms predate the
emergence of humans and, therefore, of age-of- consent laws and incest
In Chapter 8, "The Modification of Sexual
Behavior Through Imprinting: . . . ,“ D’Udine describes how adult
sexual preferences in rodents can be predictably and permanently altered
through experimental manipulation of their early environment by
cross-fostering among different species.
Chapter 9, "The Modification of Sexual Behavior Through
Conditioning...," Domjan demonstrates experimentally in the Japanese
quail that even in adulthood, sexual behavior can be modified in some
degree through conditioning to inanimate objects.
Chapter 10, "Hormones and Neuro-endocrine Factors . . . ,"
Gladue reviews the literature on neuro-endocrine correlates of sexual
orientation in humans and suggests how these same techniques can be used
to study the neuro-endociine correlates of age orientation.
Chapter 11, "Adult-Male/Juvenile Association . . . ,"
Mackey, using a comparative field approach among many societies, argues
that the consistency and predictability of certain nonsexual temporal
associations of adult males with children and adolescents across diverse
societies suggests that" such behavior is a species-characteristic
trait of humans.
In Chapter 12, "The Concept of Function . . .
," Dienske discusses the possible answers and their bio-philosophical
implications that result from asking the ethologically justified question,
Is there a function of adult human sexual behavior with children and
In Chapter 13, "The
Functions of Primate Paternalism: . . . ," Taub reviews the various
functions of adult-male/non-adult associations in nonhuman primates.
Chapter 14, "Socio-sexual Behavior . .. Among Bonobos," de
Waal shows how sexual behavior functions in regulating inter-individual
tension among all age and sex combinations in bonobos (pygmy chimpanzees),
a species of living primates that is one of the genetically closest to
In Chapter 15, "Ritualized
Adult-Male/Adolescent-Male Sexual Behavior in Melanesia," Schiefenhövel
discusses the functions of a behavior that is considered criminal in Western
industrialized societies but is both normative and obligatory in some
In Chapter 16,
"Selected Cross-Generational Sexual Behavior in Traditional Hawai’i:
.. . ," Diamond presents a sexual ethnography, with emphasis on
adult/non-adult sexual behavior, of a non-Western society known even to
In Chapter 17, "Pedophilia: . . . New Phylism
Theory as Applied to Paraphilic Lovemaps," Money shows how pedophilia
(and ephebophilia) can be understood in terms of a transposition of the
parenting and mating "phylisms."
Chapter 18, Silva — the pseudonym for an incarcerated, androphilic
pedo~ and ephebosexual physician with specialty training in both
pediatrics and child psychiatry — describes his own sexual development
and adult behavior, giving a unique, personal insight into the development
of pedo- and ephebophilia. This chapter should be particularly helpful to
individuals reading this volume who have little previous knowledge of the
In Chapter 19, "The Abused/Abuser
Hypothesis . . . ,“ Garland and Dougher critically review the literature
concerning what now must be considered the most widespread misconception
about child sexual abuse: that being sexually involved with an adult as a
child or an adolescent will cause one to be sexually attracted to children
and adolescents in adulthood.
In Chapter 20,
"Sexual Development at the Neuro-hormonal Level: . . . ,"
Hutchison and Hutchison critically review sexual brain differentiation and
sexual development in terms of the role of androgens, the male sex
In Chapter 21, "The Complexity
of the Concept of Behavioral Development: A Summary," Zivin reviews
and synthesizes the latest concepts concerning behavioral development in
general and applies them to our current, rather simplistic views on how
pedo- or ephebosexual behavior develops.
In Chapter 22, "Human Erotic Age Orientation:
A Conclusion," Feierman develops a biosocial understanding of why
"pedophilia" and "ephebophilia" are perceived,
categorized, and labeled.
The processes of the "neotenization"
of nubile females and "nubility perpetuation" of any-age,
reproductively competent females are examined in their relationship to
pedo- and ephebophilia.
It is argued that to date,
although aspects of pedo- and ephebophilia appear to be phylo-genetically
adaptive, the entire behavioral repertoire — in the context in which it
is seen in modern industrialized societies — is best conceptualized as a
by-product of selection. The chapter concludes with the optimistic hope
that through acceptance, compassion, and understanding, pedo- and
ephebophiles will be provided the help they need in order to conform their
behavior to the expectations of the societies in which they live.
The impetus to produce this volume came from the
International Society for Human Ethology, some of whose members suggested
that human ethology, the biology of human behavior, had to demonstrate its
usefulness in a clinically relevant area.
of this volume, who at the time was the Membership Chair of the Society
and had worked clinically for more than 10 years as a psychiatrist with
adults who had been sexually involved with children and adolescents,
suggested that the subject matter that now composes this volume was worthy
In the summer of 1987, The Servants
of the Paraclete, a Catholic religious order, generously supported the
convening of the Society in the order’s secluded retreat facilities in
Jemez Springs, New Mexico, where this very sensitive topic was addressed.
Approximately 50 behavioral scientists from seven countries met for a week
in Jemez Springs to try to further the understanding of the
The respective final versions of many of
the chapters in this volume reflect the thinking of numerous individuals
in attendance at the Symposium. For their contributions, specific
appreciation is expressed to Mark Cook, Kathryn J. Dolan, David Finkelhor,
Suzanne G. Frayser, Robert W. Goy, J. Stephen Heisel, Jane B. Lancaster,
Joan A. Nelson, Hilda and Seymour Parker, Donald Pfaff, Susan Phipps-Yonas,
Theo G.M. Sandfort, Albert Yonas, and others.
half of the individuals who presented papers at that meeting were invited
to submit revised manuscripts, and in addition, a number of individuals
not in attendance at Jemez Springs also were invited to submit
manuscripts. From these submitted manuscripts, this volume was
Without the support of the International
Society for Human Ethology and The Servants of the Paraclete, the volume
never would have come to fruition.
The Vista Hill
Foundation, San Diego, California, generously provided financial and
secretarial support for the editor during 1983-1987, which made it
possible for the Jemez Springs Symposium to be organized and to take
Presbyterian Healthcare Services in
Albuquerque, New Mexico, has supported the editing of the volume with
secretarial staff and office space for the editor in 1988 and 1989.
Weiss has overseen the entire project during a three-year period. Her
organizational, editing, and writing skills are reflected in almost every
aspect of the volume.
Finally, this work is dedicated
to all of the adults, adolescents, and children whose lives have been
affected, in one way or another, by the topic that is addressed in this
Jay R. Feierman, M.D. Corrales, New Mexico,
October 31, 1989