Commentary on pedophilia diagnostic criteria in DSM-5

Fred S. Berlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Human beings differ in sexual makeup. Most adults are not sexually attracted to prepubescent children, but some are. Societal values can be of relevance in determining whether such a difference is considered to be a psychiatric condition. Were a society to believe that adult-child sexual interactions should not be prohibited, such a difference might not be viewed as a disorder. According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), a difference in sexual makeup can be considered a disorder when it causes interpersonal difficulty or marked distress. In contemporary society, pedophilia can do both. According to DSM-IV-TR, for a diagnosis of pedophilia, there must be both a qualitative difference in sexual makeup (i.e., sexualized urges directed toward children) and a quantitative difference (i.e., the sexualized urges must be intense). However, just as a heterosexual man with low (i.e., nonintense) sexual urges is still heterosexual, DSM-5 should similarly allow that individuals with low sexual urges in response to children qualify for a diagnosis of pedophilia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-244
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Commentary on pedophilia diagnostic criteria in DSM-5'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this