Is pedophilia a sexuality?

“Do you think pedophilia is a sexuality that you dont have a choice about? (similar to not having a choice about homosexuality)”

I’m going to give a very tentative and qualified “maybe” because I don’t know enough about pedophilia (and since I’m pre-writing this while packing for my Florida vacation, I don’t have time to look up more information). I really have no idea if pedophilia is something you have a choice about.

If I’m just totally speculating here (can I add anymore qualifiers?), I can see it being somewhat biological. For one thing, I don’t think anyone would “choose” to have what’s widely considered one of the most, if not the most deviant behavior. And because it’s so frowned upon (understatement of the century), I don’t know how easy it could be to learn the behavior. Maybe it is learned, but you can’t help it once you’ve learned it. Maybe it’s a chemical imbalance. Who knows – I certainly don’t.

Certain types may even be instinctual. Young, healthy females are still physically attractive to men. Some girls can biologically mature at 12, 11, or 10 years of age. From an evolutionary perspective, they are “adults” and potential mates. In past cultures (and unfortunately some current ones), this was recognized by females getting married at these young ages.

However, biology does not dictate morality. Even if you could come up with a scientific explanation for why someone would like a 10 year old, or hell, why someone would like a toddler or infant, that does not make it ethically acceptable. It doesn’t matter if it evolved or if there’s a gene or if there’s some sort of chemical imbalance. Pedophilia is still morally wrong because the younger party is not emotionally developed enough to consent.

That’s why I’m always so annoyed when someone equates homosexuality with pedophilia (not saying the question-asker was, just saying). Homosexuality is between two consenting partners, while pedophilia is not. Even if they had similar biological causes, that doesn’t mean they should be treated the same ethically.

I freely admit I know little about the previous research done on pedophilia. If someone would like to enlighten us in the comments, feel free to do so.


  1. says

    There are those that argue that pedophilia is a mental illness related to the addiction to rape–that is, pedophilia is not about sex, but about a sexual manifestation of a pathological urge to wield power over victims.

  2. Tiger says

    That seems unlikely, since NAMBLA and similar groups consider rape, including/especially of children, as heinous as the rest of us do. Which is not to say that no pedophiles ever commit rape, only that they’re probably not inextricably linked.

  3. says

    As a psych major this was discussed a bit in the psychology of sexuality class, as well as other paraphilias. I am far from an expert, but a lot of what I learned in class stuck in my feeble mind.From a psych perspective the biggest issue is that so many psychologists adhere to one school or another (Skinner’s behaviorism, Freud’s psychoanalysis, modern biological analysis), when in fact, it is a combination of those ideas that creates the “truth” about how behavior is manifested in human beings, sexual or otherwise. Bad behavior (sexual or otherwise) is not singularly a learned behavior ala Skinner or Pavlov or a direct descendant of a bad childhood (Freud.)If you widen the scope to “sex offenders” (so you get rapists, peeping toms, jackasses who cop feels, and pedophiles) after being caught and through the legal system, or at least being educated about why their behavior is bad, they are generally remorseful and feel bad about what they describe as a compulsion that they can’t help. (Not all, mind you, though.) In many cases, these people were abused as children (sexually or otherwise) so the lines between “proper” and “improper” behavior were never defined. With a mixed system of right and wrong combined with what may have been a legitimate positive experience (a real, normal, healthy first kiss at age 9 or 10 or 12 or something) a behavior can then be set. For that individual it is no longer gratification from a kiss, but the gratification of a kiss from someone who looks a certain age or way. The other real issue is that there is no “one size all” fits approach. What explains one person’s behavior (my bogus scenario above) does not explain another’s. When reading through some studies/texts on the subject I drew a conclusion. For us “normal” folks, when we go to kiss and/or be intimate, we lose ourselves in the moment. It’s not a higher-level psychological endeavor. It becomes a lower-level instinctual thing, probably driven by the id (Freud) or at least our biology that wants to receive gratification (and procreate.) Imagine having those feelings towards something inappropriate (someone underage, a physical object, etc.) It’s not conscious thought that kicks in, but instead lower-level types of thinking that may not follow social standards. So I think that’s what (most) sex offenders deal with or why they act they way they do. It doesn’t make it right, but it does make it a tad more understandable.

  4. libraboy says

    Per Mistress Matisse, the sex offenders who claim they were abused as children generally refuse to take a lie detector test to verify that claim.That being said, pedophilia and such aberrations do seem to be inherent. However, Jen, I do agree with you that predilection does not equal permission for behavior. While most blue laws are simply ridiculous, the age of consent laws do exist to protect emotionally immature children from predatory (usually) males.I do really feel sorry for people who have this predilection, and yet have the wisdom to realize it is just wrong wrong wrong. Due to mandatory reporting laws on pedophilia, it is hard for a person to get counseling for this issue without being branded a sex offender. It’s tough.

  5. says

    Young, healthy females are still physically attractive to menIn my country, no distinction whatsoever is made between sex with a minor, that is, statutory rape (which no, I am not arguing should be permitted), and paedophilia. Or even between noticing a sexy teenager on the street and paedophilia. The paedophilia concept extends up to at least 18, and if possible a lot further, in social discourse covering any sexual interest in any female more than marginally younger than oneself. The to my mind crucial distinction between age-inappropriate behaviour and the full-blown paraphilia of desiring a prepubescent or infant is thus eliminated entirely. This allows for the social condemnation of far more men as paedophiles than would be the case if one kept one’s head straight in the Jen manner; and this universal condemnation is, of course, the object of the exercise.

  6. TheBigBlueFrog says

    I don’t know if you’ve studied the concept of neoteny, but it’s the tendency of adults in certain species to retain characteristics of juveniles. In humans, this manifests as females having shorter stature, lighter bone structure, higher pitched voices and visible vellus hair, all of which are generally desirable traits by men. I wonder if this, combined with our culture’s edification of childlike traits in women, leads to a confusion in pedophiles wherein the drive to seek out these characteristics overrides the innate urge to protect children.I think we also have to take into account the fact that as our culture evolves and lifespan increases, the age of majority tends to increase. However, biology is fighting this trend, and the age of adolescence is decreasing. This causes a dichotomy: humans are beginning to mature sexually at an earlier age, but are not considered to be adults in society’s eyes until much later than they would have a hundred or a thousand years ago. Drawing the line at consent, which constitutes the current medical view, doesn’t answer your question, but instead creates an arbitrary distinction.

  7. says

    The big point you bring up, and one that should always be mentioned in any argument over homosexuality (“gah = pedophilia”; “If gays can marry, I can marry my dog!”), is the whole issue of consent. I’m not sure if pedophilia could ever be consensual.

  8. TPRJones says

    Even if one considers it to be an ingrained response (regardless of the origin), there is still a world of difference between desires and actions.I don’t generally fault anyone for their desires. But when they manifest those desires into actions, then judgement – and condemnation – can begin. I pity anyone who has desires that others would consider evil, but I have no pity once they choose to act upon those desires.

  9. the_Siliconopolitan says

    Well, lie detectors are useless pseudoscience, so even if they took a test, it wouldn’t tell us much.I think Dan Savage has covered this at some point. He certainly deal with bestiality from time to time.

  10. says

    And don’t forget that we also treat our kids as though they’re children (i.e., the trend to move back home after college, helicopter parents, etc.). But even with us maturing physically earlier, emotionally later (at least in my opinion), and the difference between the age of physical maturity and sexual consent (generally 16-18 depending on U.S. state you live in) gradually getting larger, pedophilia is still about pre-pubescent children. Our age of consent may be arbitrary, but I don’t think that there’s any disagreement that a child who hasn’t physically matured is not capable of consenting and/or is not ready for sex. But then again, a 13 year old who has physically matured and has the body of an 18 year old also isn’t. When it comes to pedophilia, I don’t think there’s really a dichotomy at all. We, as a culture, think it’s wrong, without any grey area about it.

  11. says

    I did my thesis in film school on pedophilia and i just have to throw one thing out there. What I found in my research is that most pedophiles act out onto their own family and that it is not always the Men. Women are just as likely, although not discussed.

  12. Introbulus says

    Probably not inextricably, though I think in certain contexts, they might be linked. Note, however, as we are using our qualifiers today, that does not make it a constant. It is merely a possibility. It is possible that pedophilia could potentially be a mental illness for a certain group of pedophiles. That does not mean it is true for every case.

  13. TheBigBlueFrog says

    This is one of the problems with using general terms when dealing with people’s urges and thoughts.

  14. Introbulus says

    I’d just like to say that I appreciate the level of detail that went into this post, and how it addresses multiple psychological perspectives on the same issue, develops a theory on the subject that is workable for all schools of thought, and poses it in a reasonable way. In fact, that’s all I’d like to say, because I think I agree with this post entirely.

  15. Introbulus says

    Not that I am a criminal psychologist, but isn’t there also a fear factor in taking a lie detector test? I mean, the assumption that a person knows when they are lying only goes as far as they KNOW if they are lying or not. I know for a fact that I can’t remember half of the things that happened in my childhood accurately, so if I were to take a lie detector test that asked me to recall a memory for my childhood, there’s a good chance I would fail it, possibly just from being nervous or from doubting my own memory.

  16. says

    Huh, I coulda sworn that I was the one who asked that, though I reckon I would’ve capitalized it.I’ve already written a certain amount on the matter of sexuality and morality from my perspective as someone who knows a fair amount on the matter (from both studying research data and from personal experience), and my conclusion is thus: pedophilia is a sexual attraction (like any other “—philia”) and is entirely innate, not due to environmental or experiential factors. (That is, of course, talking about actual pedophilia, not when an adult suddenly finds him-/herself attracted to children or otherwise sexually compromised as a result of physical or psychological trauma or illness, as has happened before.) Pedophilia is as much of a choice as is being gay or straight, or male or female. It is not a “normal” sexual attraction, granted, as this goes against everything from social norms to evolutionary sense (why be sexually attracted to individuals who cannot yet reproduce?, and so on). But it most certainly not a lifestyle choice – as Jen has noted, who the hell would want to be part of a fringe group that’s universally decried as though they were the hellspawn of Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer?However, I strongly resent and reject the notions that pedophilia is in any way horrible or an “aberration”, or especially, that it leads to the rape of children. This conveys a critical misunderstanding of the nature of pedophilia and sexual attraction in general. Put plainly: a pedophile is no more inherently a child molester than any straight man is a rapist of women, or a zoophile is someone who would harm animals. Pedophilia is merely the sexual attraction itself, and does not dictate or indicate what one may or may not do as a result of these impulses. A good-hearted pedophile would sooner rape him-/herself (figuratively speaking) than they would harm a child, just as any other “normal” person would. Pedophilia, being a sexual attraction, does not affect (or especially, remove) one’s sense of morality or their heart. It’s quite unrelated.Sorry if this is taking a bit long to hammer out, only I wish to get my point across as clearly as I can as to avoid any potential ignorant flaming that may ensue. I am not defending child molesters (and a hearty “fuck you” to anyone who would claim otherwise). I am merely defending a group of people who are stuck with an affliction, in the form of a sexual attraction that they most certainly do not want, who are endlessly vilified and persecuted as though they were all out to rape children, all because of what actual child molesters do. Being a pedophile does not make one a child molester, no more than does being a straight male make one a rapist of women. One is a sexual attraction, the other is a horrific crime that the vast majority of people rightfully deplore. They are NOT synonymous – this, despite what the perpetually ignorant and unhelpful media will claim, as every child molester who makes the news curiously receives the label “pedophile”.Being a child molester does not inherently imply that one is a pedophile, and nor the vice versa. Just as most cases of rape are due to the rapist’s desire for power and control over his/her victim as opposed to mere sexual lust (or other factors, such as vengeance or cultural), the majority of child molesters commit these horrible acts because they desire weak victims who can’t realistically fight back. It’s as simple as that. Targeting pedophiles for the actions of child molesters is on par, in my mind, with targeting straight people for those who rape. It’s just as stupid, ignorant, blind, mindless, and wrong.Anyway, I think I’ll leave it here for now. See this post (dated last September) for another little detailing of my views on how sexual deviancies, even pedophilia, and sexual criminals are not one and the same.

  17. TwoCents says

    Certainly nobody has a “choice” about their sexual preferences, and I doubt there’s much real choice about trying to act them out, since these are the strongest urges provided by nature. Hence pedophiles and rapists need to be monitored for life. Of course “normal” sexual relationships between consenting adults can be quite damaging as well, but what can you do…nature didn’t design a very nice game for us to play, all things considered.

  18. says

    I think it’s important to distinguish between desire and action. I’d like to have all the money in the bank, and I won’t apologize for that, since I did noting to foster that desire. On the other hand, I haven’t robbed a bank yet, and I don’t think I’m likely to in the future. I feel sorry for those who have pedophilic desires. I don’t have any compassion for those who rape babies, however.

  19. says

    “There are those that argue that pedophilia is a mental illness related to the addiction to rape–that is, pedophilia is not about sex, but about a sexual manifestation of a pathological urge to wield power over victims.”

    “That seems unlikely, since NAMBLA and similar groups consider rape, including/especially of children, as heinous as the rest of us do. Which is not to say that no pedophiles ever commit rape, only that they’re probably not inextricably linked. “

    NAMBLA can claim to be King Ozymandias and wear a shiny hat, too, but that doesn’t make it so. The carrying-out of a pedophilic act is an action between a (supposedly) mentally competent adult and a (de jure and de facto) mentally incompetent child. Such an act is by definition a nonconsensual act and is thus an act of rape and/or torture.

  20. says

    “Certain types may even be instinctual. Young, healthy females are still physically attractive to men. Some girls can biologically mature at 12, 11, or 10 years of age.”Bit disappointed with you here. To equate the natural attraction of men for sexually mature females with the violation of children and infants perpetuates the misinformation that paedophilia is any sex act with someone under the legal age. And it makes decent men, who are not perverts, be afraid and ashamed. Example, one of my guys on World of Warcraft came on to vent hysterical one day. He’s 30 something. He had been out walking and saw a gorgeous woman in tight clothes with big breasts up ahead and “lusted” after her . . he caught up with her and passed her and when he saw her face, realized she was about 13. He berated himself for an hour, calling himself names and being stressed out because he was a pervert. It was HORRIBLE and it stinks when we who know better perpetuate this crap.Paedophilia is the attraction to humans before they manifest secondary sexual features. Thinking a woman with big breasts is hot is NOT paedophilia, it’s just illegal and stupid if she’s under 18.

  21. Buffy2q says

    It might be an inherent sexuality, at least in some individuals. That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for them to act on their desires, given that the objects of them are underage and unable to give legal consent. And I also despise the way so many people try to equate pedophilia and homosexuality. They’re nowhere near the same thing.

  22. Rinsewind says

    Well its illegal and stupid if acted upon if the person is under 18 in this country.

  23. Rinsewind says

    I would add that there are millions of homosexuals who grew up in safe and caring households and are homosexuals due to biology. I do not have any data but it’s probably likely that a huge majority of sexual criminals are people who were abused themselves at a younger age. I would argue there is NO link between what makes people homosexuals and what makes people pedophiles. We can demonstrably prove that one can be gay or straight and commit a crime. But pedophiles, statistically, tend to be straight, even those who have preyed on children of the same gender.

  24. says

    Wait, NAMBLA is a real organization? I always thought it was a joke, like Atheists for Jesus, or Republicans for Socialized Healthcare.That’s just creepy.

  25. says

    As I have mentioned here before, I think, there is quite the cottage industry of accusing men who like petite, small-breasted women (the “Asian figure”, Audrey Hepburn etc.) of being closet paedophiles. It would be really nasty to suggest this is an anti-competition manoeuvre on the part of the big and fat, so I won’t.

  26. says

    How remarkably enlightening of you. Would you like to share your obviously genius method of deducing that conclusion?

  27. says

    I see what you’re saying and absolutely agree that the two are not mutually synonymous. Having known persons who are afflicted with deviant sexual attractions but would NEVER give in to them, because they are aware that their desires are abnormal and harmful if given in to, it is insensitive and ignorant to assume that pedophilic (is that a word?) preferences automatically equal child molestation.

  28. says

    Indeed, I’ve known several people that society would characterize as “sexual deviants”, including pedophiles. (Hell, one of my best online friends is an overt zoophile. I really couldn’t mind less.) It’s through talking with them, and hearing about their own experiences and how they just keep their fantasies to themselves and stuff and how they absolutely abhor the very idea of hurting a child, that I’ve developed my own views on the matter.First- and second-hand experience always helps.Also, the word is “pedophiliac” with an ‘a’. ;-)

  29. Winterdragon says

    Another aspect that might be relevant in the discussion concerning pedophilia is the fact that the notion of children being asexual is not much older than 200 years. This means that for at least 99,5 % of the time of existence of Homo Sapiens (~40000 years), it was not considered strange or abnormal in any way for children to interact sexually, with other children or with adults. It is a behaviour that can be observed in all other primates, where sexual practice is a natural part of growing up. No traumatization has been observed due to this behaviour, rather the young upon growing up have shown a more relaxed attitude towards sex, while individuals kept isolated (by humans) from sexual interactions while considered beneath the “age of consent” have reacted panically when introduced to sexual situations when grown up. It is also worth to mention that in sexually allowing cultures, that encourage sexual experimentation from a young age, rape is a rare or even non-existing phenomenon.Furthermore, there is no scientifically executed research that the sexual act in itself is harmful to a child. It is rather the contempt inherited in the society, all the moralizing about how “wrong” and “sick” it is that creates the traumas. Thereby not said that it would be a great idea to encourage pedophilia here and now in this society, since it would put children in very confusing situations. What I rather think would be a good idea is to de-stigmatize the whole concept of sex. Mostly thanks to christianity, sex has been considered the most horrible, despicable, ugly and embarrassing thing in the world for the last 2000 years. Has all of that really created a better situation for humanity, or has it been the origin of countless killings, torture and persecution?Or maybe all that cruelty has helped us to finally realize the truth. Maybe pedophilia really is a mental illness. Just remember when arguing as if this were absolute truth that the same thing was just as true about masturbation a mere hundred years ago. Or homosexuality not even forty years ago. And maybe there is nothing worse that could happen to a child than being “molested” by a pedophile. After all, the jews, the witches, the gays – they were all out to harm our innocent children.

  30. Tyson says

    Joe McKEn pretty much hit everything just right. Speaking from a behavioral psyc and criminal justice background . It’s inherrant , people who act on thier feelings have impulse control problems and usually other psyc problems. Almost all behaviours have a bio-psycho-social root . The recidivism rate among child molesters approaches 100% , which implies that this is something they have little control over over .

  31. says

    I just want to chime in here to say that this is without a doubt the most calm and rational discussion of this issue that I’ve ever encountered, on the Web or otherwise.It’s too bad that our society is unable to publicly engage in this discussion with this level of maturity.

  32. says

    An atmosphere of atheism, skepticism and reason tends to promote such discussions, which is why you’re always more likely to find them on science or atheist blogs than anywhere else. Yay for us.

  33. manonymous01 says

    I’m not sure whether sexuality should be considered established as definitive straight or gay or bi or tran anyway, since I’m sure all sexuality ends up as Bisexuality in the end. Otherwise we’d all be devolved unintelligent animals unable to be attracted to a person rather than a gender.I beleive that “normal” pedophilia, which is to say pedophilia focused on sexually maturing children/teenagers could be considered a sexuality under your terms, whereas the pedophilia that shocks does so for a specific reason, and that is lack of understanding. We don’t know why they do it since there is no evolutionary reason for sexual activities with prepubescence, and thus I beleive this form should be considered psychodefective.Hmm. Not sure why but I think I may have outraged myself.

  34. Ben01 says

    Yes! When I read this post, what I really wanted to reply with is a distinction between paedophiles and child molesters. They are not the same. But it seems you beat me to it. Indeed in that sense, homosexuality and paedophilia are exactly the same, but the homosexual act of sex and the paedophile act of sex are not.One final note to illustrate this; there is a perfectly acceptable way to vent paedophilia: shotacon and lollicon. There is even someone who claims to have given up child pornography once he learned those cartoons existed.Many men and women fantasise about being raped, and even use scenarios where their partner pretends to rape them. There is something that appeals to them about the idea of being raped. That does not, however, mean they actually want to be raped. There is a huge difference between fantasy and reality.

  35. jimmyboy99 says

    I think the route word is in fact paedophile…At least, it is where I come from :)Over here the view is generally that paedophilia cannot be ‘cured’ and therefore an offending paedophile will likely remain a risk permanently. I know of an example where a ‘maybe’ paedophile (experimental teen might also have covered it) ended up gay (not making any connection before I’m shot). The point being I don’t believe he continued any abusive behaviour as an adult.I’d also like to make the point that, while many paedophiles may have been abused as kids themselves (seems likely), that is also not a 100% causal link by any stretch of the imagination. Many people have been abused as kids clearly, who do not go on to abuse themselves. One does not automatically lead to the other.

  36. Ben01 says

    “The carrying-out of a pedophilic act is an action between a (supposedly) mentally competent adult and a (de jure and de facto) mentally incompetent child.”Uhm… this would indeed be by definition a non consensual act. Problem is that the law does not see it like this. The law only looks at the ‘de jure’ part: whether a child is 18 or not. Whether he or she can factually consent is never considered.

  37. says

    there is a perfectly acceptable way to vent paedophilia: shotacon and lollicon. There is even someone who claims to have given up child pornography once he learned those cartoons existed.How ironic, then, that the Japanese are considering the criminalisation of such cartoons. If they have not already done so. I don’t know, but I’m guessing this is done under pressure from international organisations, aka the US.

  38. Urban Wild Cat says

    Technically, Paedophilia is the sexual desire for prepubescents, and a sexual desire for barely post-pubescents is called Hebephilia.

  39. says

    And Ephebophilia is a preference for people a couple of years older than that. There isn’t a specific word covering girls from 16 to 18, it seems. As I have said, it suits certain interests to bundle all these up together as “paedophilia”, and also to extend it from a definite preference to any kind of sexual noticing, as they then get more public hysteria and censoriousness for their buck.

  40. Sclad Cjelli says

    I was certainly attracted to eight year olds when I was eight years old. Then that attraction dissipated and just kind of faded into oblivion as I grew older, or rather faded over to nine, ten, twelve, fifteen, et. c. year olds.That’s the two anecdotal pence I have to contribute.

  41. Svlad Cjelli says

    I’ve heard some television shows refer to a fifty years old man attracted to women in their twenties as a paedophile. That’s got to be an outlier.

  42. says

    Outlier, schmoutlier, I’ve encountered the same thing, and not on television. I suggest a DylanThomas-esque definition of paedophile: an eligible man who’s going out with a woman younger and/or slimmer than the speaker. I once had an unrequited thing for a Dutch girl of Javan descent who looked like a teen but was actually in her late thirties at the time. I understand that Asians often look very young until a certain age, and then get old all at once; so she would probably have looked about 21 until 50. I’m quite sure that if my thing had been requited and she had moved to my country, I would have been reported to the police, or at the very least publicly harassed and abused by all right-thinking and progressive people. So it was just as well really……

  43. says

    And my resentment for the US’s policing of the world goes up another few notches. Goddamn it.(Yes, I’m an unashamed fan of shota.)

  44. frank says

    I don’t appreciate the multiple perspectives thing. Both Freuds psychanalysis and Skinners behaviorism have been abandonded for a reason: they are both total crap. Of course our experiences in life, including as children, influence us. But it is still a long way from that to the insanity that is Freudian psychoanalysis. To use Freud in this way does an injustice both to Feud himself and to the real scientific study of the mind.

  45. says

    Your emotions come to you, what you find attractive is not a choice. Acting on it is. Liking children or the same gender does not make you a pedophile or homosexual, no more than wishing someone dead makes you a murderer. Acting on your emotions is what defines who you are, so these things are choices. Of course the various extenuating circumstances like the primal brain winning out and impregnating something are possible, the cause would be bad discipline, which is rampant.

  46. Introbulus says

    Is there a better standard these days? I’m not asking this as a doubtful person, but out of genuine curiosity. I’m not aware if there is a more accepted standard for psychoanalysis.

  47. Katy says

    I have been thinking about the sexualization of children since the very beginning of reading this thread – we know that many ancient societies saw intimate relationships between grown men and young boys/men as acceptable and normal, sometimes in addition to intimate relationships with one’s wife. I’ve always wondered if that was seen as “wrong” in the same way it is now, and just tolerated because it was an upper class proclivity, or whether our fundamental view of children and sexuality has changed through the eras. If 100 years ago, it was considered practically vulgar to have sex with your spouse, I can’t imagine that the whole image of how people view children’s sexuality could have come through unscathed. Does anyone know?

  48. Katy says

    I think you’re really on to something in your first sentence there – it seems like we’re too busy trying to name and classify sexuality and different sexualities to realize that most people’s sexuality is probably very nuanced. It seems like some sex acts are “defining” while others aren’t… but I’m really interested in the concept of all sexualities boiling down to bisexuality (or multisexuality, if we can call it that). I wonder if we were less worried about what is “masculine” or “feminine” or “straight” or “gay” – would we be more comfortable in our own skins? Would labels like that become meaningless?

  49. says

    It’s a rather difficult subject to deal with. Our society’s laws clearly dictate this is illegal…even when consensual it is still considered rape, as they claim the children do not understand what they are doing…(oddly enough this is the same legal system that has declared they DO know what they are doing when they commit murder and will be charged as adults)…On moral standard though…morality is based purely on the society you were raised in. In Ancient Egypt incest was commonplace. It kept the royal families in power…it was even practiced by their Gods. But in our society, and some others, it’s questionable behavior.Is it a choice to act on these behaviors? Yes. It is a choice in that regard. But this also reminds me of Mary Kay Letourneau, and her affair with her student. They were married once she was released from prison, and are still together. By our societies measures, it is illegal, and it is wrong to act on your feelings for the underage…and with the worst society has to offer always roaming free, I can see why it would be.However, one must consider the idea that perhaps for some of these people, it goes beyond just sex. It’s a truly difficult thing to judge…on the one hand, we’ve been raised to know it’s wrong…but on the other hand…there are examples out there of it turning out with such happy results…for both parties involved.To conclude…I have not the slightest idea what to think.

  50. says

    To reply to you…I think so. I find myself unconcerned over the minor things such as those. I’ve been called homosexual, and have probably set off a few gay-dars…despite being straight. But the truth is, it matters little because I know what I like, and what I don’t.In my curious time I tried the same sex a couple of times. It wasn’t my cup of tea. The world would be a better place if people stopped caring about other people’s differences. We’re all of the same species, so our differences are negligible…at best.So…I think so.

  51. FullFrontalPrefrontalCortex says

    Freud’s psychoanalysis hasn’t been accepted for a LONG time. In terms of therapy offered by psychologists, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and humanistic approaches are more common.If you’re wondering about an overarching theory of human behavior… that is tough. A combination of behaviorism (not Skinner but Lovaas) and social learning theory seem to fit the world in my opinion (of course factoring in neuropsychology and biology).

  52. Introbulus says

    I see…I was thinking more about human behavior theory than therapy, but both answers are interesting. You’ll have to forgive my lack of a deeper background, since my actual experience in the psychological field is limited to the few courses I’ve taken in it, and that is not even close to being certified. Though I am surprised that both Skinner and Freud have fallen so out of favor. I mean, I sort of understand how Freud may have fallen to the wayside, and how behaviorism has hopefully evolved beyond Skinner’s first experiment. Have their theories been disproved? Or have we just reached a better understanding of the human mind?

  53. says

    True Freudian psychoanalysis no longer exists, but there is a school of psychoanalysis that does rely on introspection and “talking things out” to understand things. Psychoanalysis and its principals surrounding addiction counseling are still widely in play.There are others, even in the present day, who subscribe to extreme behaviorism.

  54. A Student says

    Pedophilia springs from several sources. One is simply sexual attraction to children, which other commentators have covered. Another is psychological trauma, which, again, others have covered. The third is parental narcissism. The last is religious.Parental narcissism can express itself as the feeling that one is the ideal sexual partner. Narcissists often view their children as perfect extensions of themselves. Thus, the best sex is to be had with the perfect extension of yourself. So, narcissists often molest their own children.The Profit Muhammad (piss be upon him) had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. For whatever reason, he was attracted to young girls. He married his youngest wife, Aisha, when she was 6 and consummated the marriage when she was 9. Apparently, in the interim, he molested her without penetration, causing her to fall out. Since Muslims are to follow the example of their Profit (Quran 33:21), they are to copy him in every way. The Qur’an (65:4) condones pedophilia. To give an example of this in practice, two British Muslim brothers were investigated on suspicion of terrorism. The police confiscated their computer. They found no evidence of terrorist involvement, but did find lots of child pornography. So, they were convicted of possessing child pornography.Source:

  55. says

    Excuse me. There has been rape in all ancient societies. The rape of Lucretia leading to the downfall of the Etruscans comes to mind. Dinah avenged by her brothers in Genesis 34 also. The statistics might be different in some communities but there have always been problems.RE: ” It is also worth to mention that in sexually allowing cultures, that encourage sexual experimentation from a young age, rape is a rare or even non-existing phenomenon.”

  56. says

    Pedophilia…. Bestiality….Incest….. where do you draw the line? Where do you go from being “wired wrong” to being “wired differently”? And how do you go about judging what is wrong and what isn’t?Pedophilia is bad, because the child can’t consent and is traumatized. Homosexuality is allowed, because both parties are consenting. what about bestiality? if a guy or girl wants to have sex with a sheep, who is getting harmed? I don’t hear the sheep complaining. I always laugh when I see an attractive female teacher who gets arrested for sleeping with her under age student. “He is too young to know better.” I am sure she had to twist his arm to get him into bed too. Is it a criminal act? yes. but who is getting harmed? I know when I was 17, I would have slept with a hot teacher. And had no, 10+ years later, I wouldn’t have called it rape (although some would still argue that is). Going back 200 years, how common was it for a 16 year old to be married to a 20 year old, and have them conceiving children? How is this different?In closing, a 25 year old who likes 17 year olds can be considered by the law to be a pedophile. but many men and women like 18 and 19 year olds, even if they are in their 30s or 40s. And considering many studies are showing that the adult brain isn’t fully developed until a person reaches 25 years old, the line for what is accepted can become very gray. But preying on kids under 13, definitely not cool

  57. Winterdragon says

    That is true, which is why I used the word “rare”. However, what I meant to emphasize wasn’t that acceptance of pedophilia in a culture would eliminate rape as a phenomenon, only that it would be significantly less common, compared with Western societies today. “More rare” might have been a more adequate expression.

  58. says

    But there is no way to verify if said subjects still harbored feelings of wanting to abuse and not going through with it an issue which can cause a lifetime of silent suffering. It’s always called upon for the next generation to pick up the burden of those malicious thoughts and take the higher ground by facing them and refusing to give in. A hard road but one I hope today’s more world-viewing peoples might just be ready to take on.

  59. guest says

    “Going back 200 years, how common was it for a 16 year old to be married to a 20 year old, and have them conceiving children? How is this different?”200 years ago we had a life expectancy of 40 years, people married their children off to who ever they could to keep money/food/housing in their families, alot of children died from illness so in order to keep the human race alive people needed to start having children young.I bet alot of these young girls did not want to get married, but knew they had to out of necessity. Just because something was common place doesn’t make it right.As to the main question. Pedophilia should not be classed as a sexuality along side homosexuals or heterosexuals.I agree with others that Pedophiles have automatically been labeled as child molesters even if they have never, and may never, act upon the thoughts they have.But they do automatically become a risk.There needs to be resources and help available for people to help them overcome this ‘attraction?'””That’s why I’m always so annoyed when someone equates homosexuality with pedophilia (not saying the question-asker was, just saying). Homosexuality is between two consenting partners, while pedophilia is not. Even if they had similar biological causes, that doesn’t mean they should be treated the same ethically.”Exactly.It’s unbelievably wrong on so many levels.

  60. Argentum Vulgaris says

    This has been, in my view, the most intelligent discussion on a taboo subject by both the learned and ignorant I have ever seen. Not that I have gone looking, but was drawn to this thread by the post of a good friend on her blog as a part of her personal revelations. If I was to award “Brownie Points” (oh, does that make me suspect?) it would have to be to Winterdragon, for the most enlightened point of view.This is a problem that has perplexed society for many years and it is becoming worse (the disussion) and more confused. I don’t believe the problem is becoming worse, just more widely heard about or recognised.Paedophilia being equated with homosexuality, I consider is absolute tripe, as pointed out by others, but believed by society at large. The discussion about paedophilia being genetic is, to me, becoming more of a relavent argument, why? Because if the statistics are correct and less than 1 in 10 cases are reported, then by the current rate of disclosures, cases number in their many millions, not the 200 hundred recently reported in Germany, probably exceeding the incidence of homosexuality and the more learned in society now accept homosexuality as a legitimate sexuality where as not so long ago was berated as an illness just as paedophilia is today.I find the confusion created by placing all who have sex with children (read underage) as paedolphiles is wrong. It is my opinion that rapists are not paedophiles, given that there may well be paedophiles who are rapists in the same way as there are heterosexuals who are rapists, abhorred by all.Another interesting point raised by one respondent was in relation to the reduction of sexual violence in societies a little more lenient; which brought to mind a programme I saw on a species of monkey many years ago (I think they were the Obono, and I’m not stopping to check now) where inter-generational sex was the norm and violent males almost unheard of. I am not suggesting we are monkeys, however there is the assumption and I’m not prepared to enter the debate on creationism/evolution here, but to me the parallel is evident; male humans are violent. Why?Still, much food for thought.At this point, I will add that I have no clinical training (I suspect many here have), I am a high school drop out and my level of eloquence gained through the university of life, as are my opinions. I have not reached my age without seeing a little of what happens in the world and taking note.Sorry for the length, but that is my tuppence worth.

  61. zippystrip says

    I haven’t read all the posts on here, but I’ll just break it down (I’ll use the UK spelling):Paedophilia is a fetish. A paedophile is usually attracted to either a male or a female child, or in some instances, both. Therefore, they are already gay, straight or whatever. The paedophilia is a fetish that comes from their own childhood, in much the same way that many adult kinks, such as preferring to have an older partner, stems from one’s distance from their mother or father at a young age, and then seeking that dominance or protection as they get older. Another example is the fetish where a man or woman likes to be dressed as a baby- its psychological. So paedophilia is really a mental illness more than anything.This is why it is not uncommon among paedophiles for them to have experienced abuse in their own childhood. Children are like sponges. They absorb everything. When you’re a child, your parents are God. So if your father says to you as a young child that its okay to do something, you will believe that the behaviour is normal and acceptable, even more so after an entire childhood of sexual abuse. When that child grows up and becomes an adult, it may be the case that they become a paedophile themself. Of course this is not to say that every person who has been sexually abused as a child is a paedophile. I’m not defending paedophiles in the slightest; raping a child is among the lowest of human depravities.Paedophilia is a fetish that is perputuated like a cycle in the way I have just explained, and of course if they have not been sexually abused as a child, there is usually some other explanation for why they have done it; but the root is not physiological or biological in the slightest- it only becomes that way after the response is triggered by a psychological reaction. And just to clear a couple of other things up; homosexuality is absolutely fine. If there is no abuse in the relationship, and it is a healthy and loving one for both parties, there is no reason to shun it. As long as any relationship for that matter is happy, why make it out to be such a bad thing? Sexuality, being gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, trisexual or whatever, is biological. Its found in the animal kingdom, so its very much something that is in your DNA. Any phobic attitude toward sexually variant people is psychological and something that goes way back- lets not forget that homosexuality was illegal through the ages in many countries, yet there were still many homosexuals. A bit confusing, and very long, but thats just my opinion :)

  62. Placebokid says

    zippystrip, have you actually got any evidence that childhood abuse is a major cause of the attraction to, and rape of children (ill let you define children as you see fit, since it often tends to be defined as whatever suits one’s particular argument.)

  63. Familyfirst03242010 says

    I agree with the statement, “That dose not mean it is true for every case” comment. The fixated offender has a primary sexual orientation towards children, especially male children; these sex offenders have commonly been called pedophiles. The typical pedophile is attracted to children both physically and emotionally. These offenders get a sense of power, control and omnipotence in their relationships with children. As to The regressed offender is a non-pedophile molester. These male sex offenders are men who have achieved normal adult heterosexual functioning but who, in a time of crisis and stress, may seek out sexual activity with children and youth, in particular female children. They are not as compulsive or as demanding as pedophiles, but as incest offenders they may persist in having sexual activity with their children from an early age into adolescence. Then The child rapist uses violence and assault to involve children. This group of sex offenders is categorized as the angry rapist, the power rapist or the sadistic rapist. It is important to note that not all child molesters are driven by a sexual attraction to children.

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