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The following is one of the sections of the first chapter of Dr. Parker Rossman’s Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys (originally published in 1976), entitled "Dimensions of a Complex Problem", introduced here. His intention in this chapter was to give an unavoidably simplified but general idea of the different types of pederast and their prevalence. Actually, however, his evidence was mostly limited to what was then recent in countries with a Christian tradition.


 How Many Pederasts Are There?

Even if there were only a few tragedies of the sort illustrated by the case of the physician, compassion would suggest the need for serious and continued study. Since the subject is not limited here to deviant acts against the law, but to an examination of the experience which provides the context and occasion for sex offenses, it is even more difficult to propose reliable statistics. One psychiatrist[1] is convinced that all males have pederastic tendencies but that most are not aware of the fact because the pressures and taboos of Western society require the repression of such desires deep into the unconscious. If so, then the persons here called pederast may be those who somehow failed to repress the inclination, or whose subsequent sexual experience brought such erotic desires back to the surface.

It is probably more accurate to say with Freund,[2] a Czech psychologist who tested sexual arousal in male subjects, that one out of every eight males over the age of eighteen is at least on occasion erotically aroused by young adolescent boys, although, here again the percentage may vary from culture to culture. After sifting the available evidence in light of the experience of persons interviewed for this study, the following statistics are tentatively proposed, to stand until corrected by subsequent research. It should be noted that pederasts rarely admit the truth about themselves on questionnaires, no matter how confidential. It has taken fifteen years for the author to become personally acquainted with enough of them to make possible these tentative and conservative estimates.

1. The number of criminally promiscuous pederasts in the United States, defined as “chicken hawks,” who aggressively seek sex contacts with boys age 12 to 16, may be as small as fifty thousand (with perhaps a half million in the world). This figure is subject to much variation according to definition. Statistical confusion exists over the number of pederasts because many are listed among gay-homosexuals, and vice versa.

2. There are, however, at least a million American men who since age 21 have been involved in one or more sex acts with young teen-age boys. If we include among sexually active pederasts the men who seek out and cultivate athletic physical contact with young teen-age boys as a substitute for the deviant intercourse they desire and fantasize, there are an additional half million to million in the United States.

3. There are at least another half million males over age 21 in the United States who value sex play with boys and believe it should not be against the law, and who will on one or more occasions in the future be involved with teen-age boys in illegal sex acts. To these potential pederasts one should add the large number of boys between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one who each year enter the pederast ranks.

4. The number of men over age 18 in the United States who have one or more times been consciously aware of being erotically attracted to, and sexually tempted by, a young teen-age boy may be over ten million. Those appointed to prevent deviant sexual acts may well ask what is different in the experience of the eight million American males who are thus tempted and yet do not break the law.

5. At least 10 per cent of the pederasts may be involved in incestuous man-boy sex relationships. If one includes cousins, brothers, uncles, and more distant relatives, the percentage of the pederasts in Category 2 above who seduce members of their own families may be 30 per cent.

6. Arrest statistics are difficult to come by and even more difficult to confirm. Only one per cent of practicing pederasts interviewed had been arrested. Less than 3 per cent of men guilty of an indictable pederast offense ever go to prison. Therefore most pederasts tend to view the risk of arrest with the same fatalism which a fast driver has for the risk of an auto accident.

7. The percentage of males in Category 4 above who make sexual overtures to boys while segregated from women, or when they are away from wives and families as tourists or service men overseas, is difficult to estimate, but it would appear that at least two million such American adult males have engaged in a deviant and illegal sexual act with a boy under age 16.

If these statistics were reduced by 50 per cent or even 90 per cent the problem would still be an urgent one. These statistics for sex acts are, in any case, of minimal importance, since our concern here is for sexual experience, which may be traumatic even if an incident never moves so far as an illegal act.


[1] Thorkel Vanggaard, Phallos — A Symbol and Its History. New York, 1972 [Author’s note]. Later, Dr. Bruce Rind came to much the same conclusion, drawing on far greater and more conclusive evidence than Vanggaard had.  See his "Hebephilia as Mental Disorder? A Historical, Cross-Cultural, Sociological, Cross-Species, Non-Clinical Empirical and Evolutionary Review" in Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41 (4), 2012, pp. 797-829.

[2] Karl Freund, “Erotic Preferences in Pedophilia,” in  Behavior Research and Therapy 5 (1967), p. 6. [Author’s note]




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