I pride myself in having a large vocabulary, but I also know that I don’t know the entirety of the English language. So in my exploration of all things homo-sexy, I came across a word that until now I hadn’t known – ephebophilia.

Simply put, it’s the preference for mid-to-late adolescents as sexual partners. Teens, in other words, primarily ages 15-19. 

There’s an important phrase in that definition: preference as sexual partners. That means you’re actively seeking out sex from teens in that age range. It’s not that you’re merely finding one attractive. 

And ephebophilia is different from hebephilia, which pertains to the younger pubescents, and the p-word, pedophilia, which invovles children who have not reached puberty. It’s also important to point out that pedophilia is considered a psychiatric disorder or disease. Ephebophilia is not.

Again, all deal with sexual activity, not sexual desire.

But is it inherently wrong to look lustfully at the baseball team as they play their season opener? Is it shameful to sneak peeks at the high school seniors washing their pickups while rubbing your bulge from the privacy of your office?

The answer in short? Hell no.

Many sexologists agree that just like some adolescents fantasize about teachers or celebrities that are older than them, adults will sometimes find teens attractive or desirable. It’s your body’s natural processes working normally. 

Where many adults fall into trouble is that while the teen may be matured physically, their emotional growth may not have caught up. So acting on a desire, even if legal in the eyes of the law, may come with unexpected or unwanted infatuation or professions of love from the teen. That’s what I think this piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer hits the nail on the head when it suggests parents talk about this type of attraction and the physical and emotional stakes in play.

We’re a world full of MILFs, DILFs and TILFs. And even if you’re acting within the bounds of the law (please check age of consent in your state or territory), you have to keep in mind the emotional maturity of your partner, especially if they’re in the “barely legal” age range.

  1. This. As a teen I wanted nothing more than a relationship, private or not, with on of my teachers. But in hindsight I was barely self dependent, hadn’t even worked a job yet, no idea of where I was going in life. Not to mention what could happen to them if it was discovered they had a relationship with a minor.

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