A sociology student recently pointed out to me that pedophilia is widely accepted by sociologists to be a deviance. I would add that the American Psychological Association in its DSM-IV diagnostic guidelines considers pedophilia to be a paraphilia, in other words a deviant sexual behavior or a disorder. Bearing these things in mind, I would like to make a couple of points. Firstly, ‘soft’ sciences such as psychology and sociology are by no means precise. The work of professionals in these fields consists of observing behavior, looking for patterns in that behavior, classifying that behavior and looking into the causative factors related to that behavior. While they can use statistical analysis to demonstrate trends in behavior, they cannot definitively prove their theories.
Furthermore, since these fields are not precise but dynamic, their terminology as well as their conclusions can be affected by popular sentiment. Amaros is still considered a deviance. However, if we go back through the twentieth century, we can see how homosexuality was also considered a deviance. The definition of deviance, going against the norms and values of a society, is crucial. Since society itself is dynamic, what is considered deviant is also dynamic. Looking at history, we can see that a great many behaviors that are perfectly acceptable today were once considered deviant. Examples of this include pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, women's suffrage, religious freedom, Protestantism, democracy, the organization of labor unions and listening to rock music. While not all of these may have been officially deemed deviant by the sociological establishment, there was often popular or official denunciation of these activities as deviant.
Most deviant activities are derided by the majority because of improper understanding or cultural prejudices. Throughout the past century, many of these activities have become acceptable because of better education and greater tolerance. As humanity progresses in knowledge and sophistication, many of the cultural prejudices we once held are shown to be baseless, and many of the things which we did not understand are demystified, allowing us to understand the world around us better and to have a clearer perception of the way things are.
Another way to define deviance is that which goes against the natural order. The sociology student pointed out to me that by this definition, sex with pre-pubescent girls could be considered deviant since it cannot lead to the propagation of the species (i.e, since the girl was not ovulating, she would not be able to become pregnant). I would like to make two points regarding this argument. Firstly, I do not advocate sexual intercourse (penetration) with pre-pubescent girls. The reason is quite simply that a pre-pubescent girl's body simply is not yet ready for intercourse, and I would never advocate doing something that could cause serious damage to her body. While I do advocate sexual relations, there are a great many other sexual activities than penetration that can be mutually enjoyable. Secondly, I would say that though such sex would, by that definition, be deviant, there are a great many other common sexual practices that would therefore also have to be considered as deviant, such as masturbation, anal sex and oral sex. Therefore, I believe that this second definition of deviance should not be applied to sexual behavior since the primary reason people engage in sexual intercourse nowadays is pleasure rather than procreation.