I really do think that Americans are stupid. Ex-Congressman Foley’s problem isn’t pedophilia, ya’ll. It is ephebophilia. He isn’t attracted to pre-pubescent children (aka, mentally and physically immature); he is attracted to post-pubescent children (aka mentally immature, with physical maturity). There is a huge difference between pedophilia and ephebophilia:
While ephebophilia (or hebephilia) is the preferential attraction to adolescents, pedophilia is the preferential attraction to children who have not reached puberty. According to some researchers, the two phenomena may be quite different in causes, characteristics, function, and prevalence.
This is how the US Conference of Catholic Bishops1 describes ephebophilia:
A fixated ephebophile possesses a primary sexual desire toward children between 14 and 17, with the adolescent victim being at least five years younger than the perpetrator.
Although the media usually throws pedophilia and ephebophilia into one category (that being “pedophilia”), the media really ought to start using the correct terms for what is really happening. Although ephebophilia is not always mentally disordered in nature (i.e. an older man’s passing, somewhat ephebophilic attraction to scantily-clad, 17 year old Britney Spears), it can at times, as in the Foley case, manifest itself in ways which are harmful, perverted and criminal (i.e. Foley had a “preferential attraction to adolescents who are physically mature but not yet mentally mature). The DSM ought to recognize ephebophilia as a condition capable of causing mental disorder, sexual perversion and criminal sexual abuse of minors.
Also… There is too much talk of “gay” and “homosexual.” Although this scandal might have started off at one time with people thinking Foley was “gay,” it has now become overly apparent that “gay” isn’t the issue: Ephebophilia and sexual perversion for which Foley needs help is the issue.
Foley needs to be investigated, charged and convicted of the crimes we all know he committed. On top of that, Foley needs intensive, psychological help. Furthermore, which ever Republican (or Democratic, for that matter) leaders who knew of Foley’s problem and crimes months before now and who did nothing to address it or stop it should either resign or be expelled from the House (or Senate or White House or wherever they work).
Teens who work for OUR Congress (and for that matter, teens and children everywhere) deserve to be safe while doing so, whether that means being safe from teachers, janitors, guardians and, yes, Congressmen and women.
1 – Let it be known that while I agree with how the USCCB describes ephebophilia, I do not agree with their contention that homosexuality is in any way connected to pedophilia or ephebophilia.