Incest is sexual activity between members of the same family. Sex
play between children in the same family is common and is not
usually considered to be abusive. Exploratory sex play between
cousins and brothers and sisters is not usually physically or
psychologically damaging unless one child is older and bigger than
the other uses force.
Incest between adults in the same family or between adults and
children in the same family is illegal. It includes all kinds of sex
play including asking children to undress. Incest usually occurs
between a man and a young girl who is related to him. Women are also
known to commit incest with younger members of their families.
Incest is committed against infants, young children, teenagers and
young adults. Older children may allow themselves to be victimized
to protect a younger sibling from being victimized. In many cases
mothers know what is happening when fathers or stepfathers are the
offenders and their daughters are the victims, but they may remain
silent because they believe they are unable to intervene. These
relationships often cause profound shame and guilt and can seriously
affect children for the rest of their lives.
In most states, sexual contact or marriage between blood relatives
is against the law. But some states allow marriage between first
Pedophilia is a psychological condition in which an adult is
sexually aroused only by children. Using children for sexual arousal
crime in every state. Most pedophiles are men who were sexually
abused as children. It is very difficult for them to control their
urges. Therapy is not always successful, and repeat offenses are
Many pedophiles control their sexual urges with chemical castration.
They receive weekly injections of Depo-Provera to reduce sexual
desire. California offers this option to any first time sex offender
who has molested a child under 13. If the man commits a second
offense, the law requires either chemical or surgical castration.
Removing the testicles stops nearly all testosterone production.
Although it is not a foolproof way of preventing further sexual
abuse, it permanently reduces sexual desire. Chemical castration is
used in some parts of Europe and has decreased the rate of repeated
sex offenses by treated men from 100 percent to 2 percent.
A new federal law, called Megan's Law, went into effect in 1997. It
requires convicted pedophiles who have been released from jail to
register with the police every 90 days. They must provide a blood
sample for identification. Police must contact citizens to alert
them to the presence of a pedophile in their community. Lifetime
supervision by parole officials is mandatory.
Seven states now allow prison authorities to put dangerous sex
offenders in mental hospitals without their consent after they have
served their full sentences. This has raised legal questions about
whether people who have already been punished for sexual crimes and
who are not considered officially "mentally ill" should continue to
be held in this way The U.S. Supreme Court will rule on this matter
Men's Health-Erectile Dysfunction