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Paedophilia has gone from being a taboo to being a source of prurient interest. What is going on?

By Bella Thomas   April 1999

Paedophilia is an oddly exalted term for so vile a deed. Not that the sound of a word necessarily says anything crucial about its meaning. But I remember it being a bit of a surprise when I discovered at school that it did not refer to a variety of butterfly, or even to a bicycle enthusiast (a lover of pedals) both of which had flashed before my free-associating eyes as possible definitions. It was in the lunch queue. A trendy girl spat out the word at the climax of her tirade against the biology teacher, who was both “grotesque and…

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