In the first four chapters, our narrator Humbert, after explaining his backstory, relates an experience in which he met, in his youth, a girl he was friends with. He even had a kind of relationship, albeit awkward since they were young. However, just after that he mentions a few women with whom he had sexual relationships with as he grew up. I’ve had trouble understanding why he ends up fixated on preteen girls in particular. Maybe there’s a deeper context I’m missing?

1 Answer 1


Humbert is primarily a hebephile, sexually attracted to young pubescent females. His relationships with adult females are entirely to facilitate access to their children, and they are unfulfilling.

As to why he had hebephilic urges, it's not known in the real world if hebephilia is an acquired paraphilia, something inherent possibly with a genetic basis, or only a personal preference. My interpretation is that Humbert gets his fulfillment from relationships with young girls not necessarily because it's a sex thing so much as that is a power thing. He is a weak individual who gets his sexual thrills with girls he can have power over.

  • 7
    This answer could be improved by quoting or summarizing relevant passages from the novel to show how you come to your conclusions. Sep 14, 2021 at 10:14

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