A person who is considered an ephebophile has a primary sexual interest in young adults, between the ages of 15 and 19.
“Ephebophilia” is linked to pedophilia in a way, but a person who is sexually attracted to mid-to-late adolescents, who are in fact biologically capable of reproducing and have the characteristics of an adult, is not labelled as a pedophile.
It has to be noted that it isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis; it is more of a sexual preference.
Origin of the term
The term was originally used in the 19th and 20th century. However, the word originates from the Ancient Greek.
Individually, the word “ephebo-” means “youth” or “one arrived at puberty”, and “philia” or “phile” means “love”.
The word has been used as far back as 1950 by a Dutch psychologist Frits Bernard, and it was reprinted in 1960 by a gay support magazine, in which the origin of the term was dedicated to Magnus Hirschfeld with no exact date given.
Nonetheless, the earliest known appearance of the term was used in French (éphébophilie) in Georges Saint-Paul‘s 1896 book.
Spread of the term
The term also has been described by Félix Buffière in 1980, who argued with the Pakistani scholar Tariq Rahman that “ephebophilia” should be considered within homosexuality and should be used with regard to it.
Partly because women’s sexual interest in adolescent individuals has been significantly less than men’s sexual interest in adolescents.
Also, according to psychologist and sexologist James Cantor, it is “very common for regular men to be attracted to 18-year-olds or 20-year-olds,” although in the general public the term pedophilia is commonly used to refer to any sexual interest in minors.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer – We know about pedophiles, but what about ephebophiles?