Pedophilia is a wrongful abnormal sexual behavior that is performed by an adult to gain sexual pleasures from a child. Research studies show that a third of female respondents and one out of ten males have once experience some kind of sexual abuse in their pre-pub stages (Carroll, 2010). Remarkably, children between the ages of 7 and 13 that belong to different economical and social background are highly susceptible to sexual abuse by older people (Carroll, 2010). For the past decade, a lot of literature about children being sexually ill-treated by adults has exploded. This literature provides many new approaches to the scope of sexual abuse and its consequences to both the victim and the abuser; however much insight is inclined towards the reason as to why some adults engage in abusive sexual behaviors. This paper will compare and contrast three main theories that explain why some adult males prefer pre-pub children for sexual pleasures, the main theories that will be covered in this paper include: emotional congruence, blockage and sexual arousal.
Arguably, many theories about pedophilia basically try to explain why some adults could find it more satisfying to gain sexual pleasures from a child rather than from a fellow adult counterpart. In one theory, the emotional congruence, the sexual attraction towards children as portrayed by some adults shows a connection between a child’s characteristics and the adult’s sexual needs. According to theorists like Hammer and Glueck, pedophiles posses childish emotional needs, and thus wish to relate with children (Rada, 1978).
Under the emotional congruence theory, many insights and explanations as to why some adults find children attractive have been developed. In one perspective developed by Fraser, due to emotional overprotection to children, pedophiles often remain in love with children, due to his projected love towards children, pedophiles end up sexually abusing children. Due to male dominance in a relationship, men often prefer partners, who are younger and weaker than themselves, considering that children fit into their requirements, most of the pedophiles end up abusing young children.
Other than the previous theory of emotional congruence, the sexual arousal theory explains how an adult finds young children being sexually arousing. However, explanations put forward to support this theory appear to be controversial. A number of explanations in this theory take an implicit insight and thus such arousal has no valid explanation. Under this theory, it has been difficult to explain the cause of arousal in pedophiles since people who normally have emotional needs towards children, do not necessarily find children arousing, even when their sexual needs are extraordinary. Arguably, the process of how people find children sexually arousing should be looked from both a social and an individual level. Some feminist argue that child pornography and advertising play a huge role in pedophile’s sexual desire towards children, pornography is viewed to teach adults such arousal that they could have otherwise foreseen (Ryan, Lane, & Leversee, 2010).
A third theory about pedophilia fundamentally explains why some individuals are blocked in their efforts towards getting their sexual and emotional needs fulfilled by their fellow adults in a heterosexual relationship (McAnulty, 2006). In pedophiles, sexual attraction towards adults is blocked and therefore sexual interests towards children begin to develop. Two types’ blockages are viewed to explain the situation of pedophiles, development blockage and situational blockage. In situational blockage, adult sexual interests are blocked due to the loss of transitory crisis. In developmental blockage however, the adult is prevented from moving to the stage of heterosexual development.
Based on a social point of view, emotional congruence view male dominance in a relationship to be a major cause of pedophilia, in sexual arousal theory, the urge of adults to find a fulfillment of their sexual pleasure in children is attributed to the eroticization of children in advertisements and child pornography. Under blockage theory, extra marital sex and repressive norms about masturbation is seen as the major cause of pedophilia.
In conclusion, the differences between the three theories are drawn from both a social and an individual point of view. As illustrated from the above differences, various theories explain pedophilia from different perspectives. The only thing that is of great importance is for the theorists to confirm their claims.
Carroll, J. L. (2010). Sexuality now: Embracing diversity. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth CENGAGE
McAnulty, R. D. (2006). Sex and sexuality: 3. Westport, CT [u.a.: Greenwood Press.
Rada, R. T. (1978). Clinical aspects of the rapist. New York.
Ryan, G., Lane, S. L., & Leversee, T. F. (2010). Juvenile sexual offending: Causes,
consequences, and correction. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.