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Jeremy Bentham used the term in this broader sense in an essay dating from the 18th century.The commonly accepted reference definitions of pederasty refer to a sexual relationship, or to copulation, between older and younger males.Greek pederasty's various forms were the subject of philosophic debates in which the purely carnal type was unfavorably compared with erotic friendships and moderate forms, known as Sophrosyne.In most countries today, the local age of consent determines whether or not a person is considered legally competent to consent to sexual acts, and whether such contact is abusive to the young person.At Rome, the punishment was burning at the stake since the time of Theodosius I (390).Nonetheless, the practice continued to surface, giving rise to proverbs such as With wine and boys around, the monks have no need of the Devil to tempt them, an early Christian saying from the Middle East.

In the history of Europe, its most structured cultural manifestation was Athenian pederasty, and became most prominent in the 6th century BC.as opposed to the more restrained and cultured one valued by the Greeks.Plutarch, however, counters Herodotus by pointing out that the Persians had been castrating boys long before being exposed to the mores of the Greeks.as æ.) The word first appeared in the English language during the Renaissance, as pæderastie (e.g.in Samuel Purchas' Pilgrimes), in the sense of sexual relations between men and boys.

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