Hebephilia refers to the sexual preference for individuals in the early years of puberty (generally ages 11–14, though onset of puberty may vary). Girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10 or 11; boys at age 11 or 12. Hebephilia differs from ephebophilia, which refers to the sexual preference for individuals in later adolescence, and from pedophilia, which refers to the sexual preference for prepubescent children. While individuals with a sexual preference for adults (i.e., teleiophiles) may have some sexual interest in pubescent-aged individuals, the term hebephilia is reserved for those who prefer pubescent-aged individuals over adults. The term was introduced by Glueck (1955), who later credited it, without citation, to Paul Benedict
The name is based on the Greek goddess of youth Hebe (mythology), a daughter of Zeus and Hera. She is also known as Ganymeda, or in Roman: Juventas. Words such as juvenile are based on that form. The suffix -phil- based on Philia is also Greek, meaning love.
Prevalence of hebephilia versus pedophilia
There are clinical and correctional samples of sexual offenders in which hebephilic men outnumber the pedophilic men. Moreover, anonymous surveys of people sexually interested in children more frequently report an erotic interest in pubescents rather than in prepubescents
- More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Hebephilia ]