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In a manga, a girl is being accused of being a 痴女【ちじょ】, at which she replies:

私変態だけど痴女じゃないもん!!

What's the difference between the two words? Is 変態 just a pervert and 痴女 someone that actually sexually assaults people?

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変態 are people with abnormal sexual preferences. They can be men or women. 痴女(women) or 痴漢(men) are people who have committed sexual crimes. So, she can be 変態 and not a 痴女 if she has abnormal sexual preferences but does not act on them. Japanese wiki explains this.

To me, when I use 痴女(women) or 痴漢(men), I am not saying if their sexual preferences are abnormal or not but I am saying that they are doing something sexual in abnormal manners, meaning criminal manners.

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