Ephebophilia or Hebephilia has been defined as the primary or exclusive sexual attraction to adolescents. In everyday English, the term pedophilia, strictly meaning sexual attraction to children, is also colloquially used to refer to attraction to adolescents.

The term comes from the "love". Despite this classical etymology it is a term of modern coinage, created by German scientist Magnus Hirschfeld in 1906. It has been used by Dutch psychologist and pro-pedophile activist Frits Bernard as far back as 1950,sexology reprinted in 1960 in the gay support magazine Vriendschap under the pseudonym Victor Servatius, also crediting it to Hirschfeld though giving no exact date.

The term has been described by Frenchman Felix Buffiere in 1980 and Pakistani scholar Tariq Rahman in 1988, who argued that "ephebophilia" should be used in preference to "homosexuality" when describing the aesthetic and erotic interest of adult men in adolescent boys in classical Persian, Turkish or Urdu literature.

Ephebophilia is not listed as a paraphilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).


Attraction to adolescents is not generally regarded by psychologists as pathological except when it interferes with other relationships, becomes an obsession which adversely affects other areas of life, or causes distress to the subject.

Sexual desire that includes adolescents, as well as older individuals, is common among adults of all sexual orientations; this is not labeled "ephebophilia" because the attraction to adolescents is not exclusive. In some cultures, such as those in which adolescent girls are routinely married to older men, it is considered normal for adults to include adolescents among their sexual interests. In these cultures an attraction to adolescents is not necessarily thought to require an essentialist classification in terms of abnormality, deviancy or mental health, but is seen as a possibility or a taste. In certain Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures, as reflected in literature written in Turkish, Persian and Urdu, the expression of love for attractive adolescent boys is found in classical literature. In Urdu, for instance, it may be a metaphor for the mystic's quest for an immanent deity; a lover's desire for a woman who, being a veiled lady or a courtesan, is impossible to own; or in some cases, boys who take the place of women in gender-segregated societies (Rahman 1989). This attraction of men to adolescent males is not seen as effeminate or regarded as homosexuality, per se, but is usually considered sinful (Rahman 1988). Nonetheless, an open attraction to adolescents may still be ridiculed or disparaged as inappropriate or unhealthy; an attraction to adolescents is something one is expected to "grow out of". These cultural assumptions have come into contention with the advent of modernity and the resultant exposure to cultures with different views.

In fairy tales, adolescent girls are sometimes made the object of romantic attachment by older men. While suggesting it, this is not ephebophilia since the males do not have exclusive sexual preference for young girls. Some fairy tales that are alleged to contain ephebophilia are Rimsky-Korsakov's opera version of the Snow Maiden, Vasilissa the Beautiful, and Sadko. These themes are sometimes correlated with gerontophobia.


Ephebophilic relationships are against the law in many countries and jurisdictions, depending on the location's age of consent legislation, which typically asserts that a person below a certain age is not legally capable of consenting to a sexual act. In the US, for example, the adult in such a relationship may be subject to charges of statutory rape, regardless of whether the younger partner agrees to-or even initiates-the sexual activity.

Some reasons given for this legal distinction include:

Relationships between adults and adolescents that do not include sexual activity are generally legal, assuming no other laws regarding child welfare are violated. For example, a romantic relationship with an adolescent below the age of consent is generally legal, especially when the adolescent's age is above the age at which their parents could consent to marriage. In other jurisdictions, this may be illegal. Legal or not, it is generally considered a societial taboo in most Western cultures.

See also

Endnotes, references and sources

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This article is based on "Ephebophilia" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ephebophilia&action=history