Pedophiles: mental retardation, maternal age, and sexual orientation

Arch Sex Behav. 1999 Apr;28(2):111-27. doi: 10.1023/a:1018754004962.


Intellectual functioning, parental age, and sexual orientation in 991 male sexual offenders were investigated. Sources of data included semistructured interviews, clinical charts, phallometric tests, and self-administered questionnaires. The results suggest two main conclusions: (i) Among pedophiles in general, erotic preference moves away from adult women along two dimensions: age and sex. The extent of this movement is greater, along both dimensions, for pedophiles with lower levels of intellectual functioning. (ii) High maternal age (or some factor it represents) increases the likelihood of exclusive sexual interest in boys. Intellectual deficiency (or some factor it represents) decreases the likelihood of exclusive sexual interest in girls. These two factors summate, so that a pedophile with both factors is more likely to be sexually interested in boys than a pedophile with only one.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Homosexuality / psychology
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology*
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Pedophilia / psychology*