Pubescent children sex (Hebephilia)
Hebephilia refers to the sexual preference for pubescent children; the term was introduced by Glueck (1955). It differs from ephebophilia, which refers to the erotic interest in children in mid- to late adolescence, and from pedophilia, which refers to the erotic interest in prepubescent children. Although individuals with a sexual preference for adults (i.e., teleiophiles) also have some sexual interest in pubescent-aged individuals, the term hebephilia is reserved for those who prefer pubescent-aged individuals over adults.
It is not known what causes someone to be sexually interested in pubescent children rather than in adults; nor is it established what mechanisms cause an individual to be attracted to whatever s/he is attracted to.
A team of Canadian sexologists has published a series of research articles comparing biologically relevant characteristics of clinical samples of pedophiles, hebephiles, and teleiophiles (individuals with a sexual preference for adults). In such samples, hebephilic men are midway between pedophilic men and teleiophilic men on average IQ (with pedophiles scoring the lowest), memory test scores (with pedophiles scoring the lowest), rates of non-right-handedness, rates of school grade failures over and above the IQ differences (with pedophiles having the most frequent grade failures), rates of having suffered head injuries in childhood (with pedophiles having the highest rates of injuries), and physical height.
Prevalence of hebephilia versus pedophilia
There are clinical and correctional samples of sexual offenders in which hebephilic men outnumber the pedophilic men. Moreover, anonymous surveys of people sexually interested in children more frequently report an erotic interest pubescent children than in prepubescent children.
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