What Is Hebephilia?

Hebephilia is the sexual preference for early adolescent children (those roughly ages 11 to 14). Some evidence suggests that hebephilia is a distinct and discernable erotic age preference. But whether it qualifies as a disorder is the source of debate as critics believe including it in the DSM would pathologize a reproductively valid behavior. The DSM workgroup on sexual disorders is the main proponent of hebephilia, and much of the supporting research has been done by them. The disagreement has been strong and at times nearly unanimous; a straw poll conducted by the American Association of Psychiatry and Law resulted in a vote of 2 for and 31 against inclusion of hebephilia in the DSM. Whether or not hebephilia will ultimately find its way in remains to be seen.

Recent posts on Hebephilia

The Clergy Sexual Abuse Story Is Revisited In "Spotlight"

The church and the community is safer in 2015 thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of the Boston Globe Spotlight team. While there are always risks of problem cases falling between the cracks when it comes to child safety more and more of these cracks are being sealed shut to ensure that all children are safe in church as well as in other community environments.

DSM 5 Confirms That Rape Is Crime, Not Mental Disorder

By Allen J Frances M.D. on February 22, 2013 in DSM5 in Distress
DSM-5 has rejected rape as a mental disorder. This should reduce the inaccurate use of psychiatric diagnosis to justify the longterm involuntary commitment of sexually violent predators who have already served their full prison sentence. Inappropriately using psychiatric diagnosis in the service of preventive detention is a slippery slope with disastrous consequences.

Psychiatry Rejects Novel Sexual Disorder "Hebephilia"

By Karen Franklin Ph.D. on December 03, 2012 in Witness
Hebephilia, or the sexual attraction to young adolescents, was one of three highly controversial new sexual disorders proposed for the upcoming fifth edition of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). All three were rejected.

DSM 5 Is Guide Not Bible—Ignore Its Ten Worst Changes

By Allen J Frances M.D. on December 02, 2012 in DSM5 in Distress
The ten worst suggestions that were recently approved for DSM-5 are summarized and the recommendation made that clinicians and the public not to use them at all or use them with great caution.

Forensic Psychiatrists Reject Hebephilia - Again

By Karen Franklin Ph.D. on November 01, 2012 in Witness
It is clear to most observers that hebephilia -- sexual attraction to "early pubescent" minors -- is not accepted by the professional community as a mental disorder. What remains unclear is whether the American Psychiatric Association will get the message in time.

American Sex and American Psychiatry

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on May 01, 2012 in Side Effects
The APA considers "excessive time" thinking about sex a sign of Hypersexual Disorder.

My Review Of 28 Sexually Violent Predator Cases

By Allen J Frances M.D. on March 29, 2012 in DSM5 in Distress
During the past two years, I have been asked by public defenders to review 28 SVP cases, mostly in California, but two each in Iowa and Washington, and one each in illinois and New Hampshire. All had previously been evaluated by two or three psychologists testifying for the prosecution and also by two or three psychologists testifying for the defense.

My Third Letter to the APA Trustees

By Allen J Frances M.D. on March 01, 2012 in DSM5 in Distress
The following letter was sent to the APA Trustees and to the DSM-5 Task Force on February 12, 2012, under the title, Heads Up And Recommendations.

DSM 5 Tries to Sneak in Hebephilia

By Allen J Frances M.D. on December 14, 2011 in DSM5 in Distress
he DSM 5, Sexual Disorders work group has not yet given up on its discredited pet idea and persists in trying to find new ways to sneak Hebephilia into DSM 5.

Should Having Antisocial Personality Disorder Qualify a Rapist For SVP Commitment?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on July 18, 2011 in DSM5 in Distress
There are fundamental constitutional questions, a need for consistency across states, and a need for evaluators and juries equipped to deal with complex legal issues.

DSM 5 Needs to Reject Hebephilia Now

By Allen J Frances M.D. on June 15, 2011 in DSM5 in Distress
"Hebephilia" is a medical sounding term for what is a purely legal issue- the statutory rape of pubescent youngsters aged 11-14. This is a crime deserving punishment, not a mental disorder deserving psychiatric hospitalization.

No reliable method to determine pedophilia, study finds

By Karen Franklin Ph.D. on November 16, 2010 in Witness
Lest you think that TSA's employment gurus can protect passengers by weeding out the sexual deviants from the "normal," they cannot. There's no accurate way to know, a new study finds.