Psychiatric Group Backtracks on Pedophilia Classification

By:  Dave Bohon
Psychiatric Group Backtracks on Pedophilia Classification

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has backtracked on its designation of pedophilia as a “sexual orientation,” following backlash from conservative family organizations.

In May the APA, which according to its website represents more than 33,000 psychiatrists in the United States and elsewhere, released the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), in which pedophilia is described as a sexual “orientation.”

According to, the designation went largely unnoticed until an online news site called uncovered the updated listing. The news site noted that in DSM-5 the APA “drew a very distinct line between pedophilia and pedophilic disorder. Pedophilia refers to a sexual orientation or profession of sexual preference devoid of consummation, whereas pedophilic disorder is defined as a compulsion and is used in reference to individuals who act on their sexuality.”

The revelation led conservative groups such as Liberty Counsel and the American Family Association to condemn the new designation as the latest in the APA's efforts to appear politically correct with regard to sexual aberrations. “Just as the American Psychiatric Association declared homosexuality an ‘orientation’ under tremendous pressure from homosexual activists in the early seventies,” said the AFA's Sandy Rios, “now, under pressure from pedophile activists, they have declared the desire for sex with children an ‘orientation,’ too.”

The embarrassing exposure prompted the APA to issue a statement insisting that the designation was an error and attempting to make a clarification. “'Sexual orientation' is not a term used in the diagnostic criteria for pedophilic disorder and its use in the DSM-5 text discussion is an error and should read 'sexual interest,'” the APA said. “In fact, APA considers pedophilic disorder a 'paraphilia,' not a 'sexual orientation.' This error will be corrected in the electronic version of DSM-5 and the next printing of the manual.”

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