Pedophilia is the attraction and sexual feelings directed towards children. The DSM-V classifies pedophilia as a mental disorder accompanied by intense and recurrent sexual urges and fantasies about children, that have either been acted upon or which cause the person with the attraction distress or interpersonal difficulty.
Pedophilia is considered child sexual abuse. It is mostly documented in men but women also exhibit the disorder. It emerges during puberty and remains stable over time. Pedophiles do not choose to be attracted to children; it is self-discovered. Therapies exist but no cure has been identified.
The difference between pedophilia and heterosexuals and homosexuals is that the former causes harm to others, while partaking in heterosexual or homosexual acts is understood to be mutual between two consenting adults or two consenting adolescents. A child cannot consent to sexual acts with an adult without the child being psychologically manipulated.
Pedophiles often develop a relationship with a child and prey upon their feelings and emotions, slowly making their advance at vulnerable times. Some children learn to accept the sexual advances because they wrongly interpret them as opportunities for affection and attention; their manipulated mind works in favor of the pedophile who is clearly taking advantage.
Even though pedophilia is considered a mental illness, criminal prosecutions continue to persist due to the nature of the illness; no child or adolescent deserves being manipulated mentally, emotionally and physically. On the other hand, efforts continue for developing treatments with the goal of preventing future acts of abuse.
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