APA has issued a statement acknowledging an error in the text of DSM-5 that involves the definition and diagnosis of pedophilic disorder. In a discussion, the text uses the term "pedophilic sexual orientation," but does not use the word "orientation" in the criteria for pedophilic disorder. APA emphasizes that language in the discussion should have referred to pedophilia as a sexual "interest" rather than an "orientation," an error that was simply overlooked by editors. In fact, APA considers pedophilic disorder a "paraphilia," not a "sexual orientation." This error will be corrected in the electronic version of DSM-5 and the next printing of the manual, the press release points out.
The statement notes as well that "APA stands firmly behind efforts to criminally prosecute those who sexually abuse and exploit children and adolescents. We also support continued efforts to develop treatments for those with pedophilic disorder with the goal of preventing future acts of abuse."
Psychiatrist Jack Drescher, M.D., a member of the DSM-5 Work Group on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders, commented on the error to Psychiatric News, emphasizing that "the language used in DSM-5 does not represent any official position of APA that pedophilia is a 'sexual orientation.' " He said that he interpreted the description at issue "as an alternative way of saying 'pedophilic arousal pattern.' The same could be said for other paraphilias that also are not considered to be sexual orientations." He added that "Making more of this issue than it actually means is simply a tempest in a teapot."