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Thursday, April 19, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Where's My Gold Star?

Posted by on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM

I was reading the letter from March 7th from "CWIA", and I want to extend my encouragement. Stand strong, and get the, ahem, heck out of the US! I am a man in my early thirties, live outside the US, and those "in the know" about my attraction to young girls include my doctor, my mental health worker, my parents and a few friends. While it is hard to trust, I find it to be entirely necessary, because it's too much to carry on your own—and the ones I need worry least about are the healthcare professionals, as their duty is NOT to report anything that is said in confidence. (Though it is my understanding that they can have me committed for short stretches of time if they believe that there is immediate danger to anyone.)

For the record, while I am a pedophile, I am not a child molester.

Here I'd like to address a subset of your readers, who wonder why one should commend pedophiles for not indulging in their desires, since they don't rape people and get no credit for that—here's why. You know when Dan says to someone with a weird (to others) fetish, or some kind of physical peculiarity, or whatever, that they should "hold on, there's someone... plenty of someones... out there for you, give it time, put yourself out there," and so on? That doesn't apply to us. Not only should we not put ourselves out there... but I walk around every awful day of my life knowing that THERE IS NO ONE OUT THERE FOR ME. Time will bring me no release from knowing that what I want can't happen.

A few other things, to offer a perspective from my side of things: chemical castration does nothing much, in my own experience. More melancholy, but no less longing for intimacy from the "wrong" sources. Also, it's not "because I was raped as a child." I know this because I wasn't. My childhood was sickeningly normal and wholesome, and my parents were and still are awesome people. And finally, no, it's not a CHOICE. As if anyone would CHOOSE this! Given any kind of choice, I would much rather not have to give explanations as to why I haven't found that "special someone" yet, and fear for my life in case someone should somehow find out.

Finally, one small bone I'd like to pick with you, Dan. You plead with CWIA not to work with children. Makes sense. Then you plead with him not to have children of his own. Makes less sense. Any human attracted to other humans will potentially have children that are nominally in the group they are attracted to. As a gay man, Dan, are you attracted to all men? Rhetorical. Pretty much any heterosexual man would be willing to attest, I think, that not ALL women are attractive to them, as well. Now for me, as a pedophile, not all children are attractive to me. Given the Westermarck Effect, it is in fact very likely that I would NOT find my own children sexually desirable, and my own reluctance to have children stems more from a feeling that it would be unfair to a woman to have a child with her when any sexual attraction I feel to her is weak and transient, if present at all.

Sad About Impossible Desires

Thanks for writing, SAID. But I'm going to stand by my advice to CWIA.

CWIA shouldn't have children of his own—and neither should you. Let's just set aside the issue of how exactly you guys would come to have children of your own. (Convincing someone you could never truly never love—say, an adult woman—to marry you and give you children, well, that wouldn't be fair to her, now would it?) Even if you weren't attracted to your own kids, SAID, having children of your own means spending a great deal of time with other people's children. Play dates. Sleepovers. You don't need the stress or the temptation, SAID, and other people's children don't need the risk.

But in case you're not willing to take my word for it, SAID, here are a couple of a second opinions for you...


My scientifically informed guess would be that it is not a good idea for a pedophile to become a parent, even in the absence of any sexual offending in the past. Pedophilia is likely to be a risk factor for sexually offending against one's child, relative to the nonpedophilic population, all other things being equal. Probably not a huge risk factor on its own, as demonstrated by emerging research on men who are charged and convicted for child pornography offenses: Identified child pornography offenders are likely to be pedophiles, yet many have no known sexual offenses involving children.

But having a kid would create opportunities to act on one's pedophilia, with that kid or with the other kids that being a parent brings into one's life (play dates, school, sports, etc.). Someone with a low sex drive and high self-control may be able to manage the temptation successfully, but the risk would be there until the kid(s) are out of his preferred age range. That's a tall order, fraught with uncertainty and stress. As for pedophilia vs. the Westermarck effect, I wouldn't bet on Westermarck given the startling incidence of incest in our societies without pedophilia ever coming into the equation.

Assuming your question comes from a Savage Love reader/listener, my advice to him would be: if you are capable of it, enjoy sexual relationships with adults and stay childless. Being a parent is a wonderful experience, but unfortunately, life has not dealt you a hand of cards for this to be a viable option.—Michael Seto, psychologist and researcher, @mcseto on Twitter.


Why won't the Westermarck Effect help you out? Because it creates sexual aversion in siblings, SAID, not adults:

I just wanted to clarify the Westermarck effect, or the effects of childhood co-residence on the development of sexual aversions. The Westermarck effect really pertains to siblings. The cue of childhood co-residence duration was a good cue to use to identify probable siblings in ancestral environments. Though we talk about co-residence duration, I think the more appropriate way to look at this cue is the duration of time one receives care from the same mother (and perhaps also father). In any case, I think we only use co-residence duration for sibling detection. This raises the question of how men figure out who their offspring are. My research is focusing on this now and I am pretty confident men do not use the cue of co-residence duration. The likely rely on other cues signaling fidelity of their mate.

So, to answer the question about pedophiles [molesting their own children], I would say that so long as they have an intact kin detection system and they were exposed to the cues indicating that a particular child is likely to be their own, then they likely develop strong sexual aversions toward their own children. This question is really like asking about whether a man who is addicted to sex (ok, any man) is sexually attracted to his sister. Same thing applies—so long as the cues to kinship were present and their is no brain damage, I would suspect even an oversexed man would find his attractive sister relatively sexually disgusting.—Deb Lieberman, Assistant Prof of Psychology, University of Miami

So... presuming you're not brain damaged, and presuming all the appropriate kinship cues are present and accounted for, then you probably won't be a danger to your own children. But, again, being a parent means spending time—sometimes a great deal of time, sometimes a great deal of time alone—with other people's children. You agree that its a bad idea for pedophiles to work with children, SAID, as that means spending time with and around children. Pedophiles shouldn't have children of their own for the exact same reason.


Comments (77) RSS

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seatackled 1
But the rhetorical question is the wrong one. As a gay man, is Dan attracted to all men? Of course not. As a gay man, if Dan were isolated on a desert island for the next 18 years with a guy he's not attracted to, is he going to start thinking about having sex with the guy he's not attracted to? Only Dan knows, but I would expect he will.
Posted by seatackled on April 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM · Report this
very bad homo 2
I know several people who were molested by their own fathers. If you're sexually attracted to children, don't have any. Don't be around them in any way, ever.
Posted by very bad homo on April 19, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
But most people who molest their children or step-children are not pedophiles but just use the children because they are "available". It's a power thing.

However, "most" doesn't mean "all".
Posted by migrationist on April 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Vince 4
Some things require suicide because life is more painful than death. Just saying. I know some will find this offensive- so be it.
Posted by Vince on April 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
Nope @4.

Hang in there, and hold on to your gold star.
Posted by Nancy Hartunian on April 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM · Report this
merry 6
I guess this is one area where the idea of a truly lifelike human 'doll' would make sense... You know, those ultra-expensive 'Real Doll' things... a customized, very young-looking 'Real Doll' might be an aspirational "solution" in cases like this.

Throughout all the years I've read and learned from Savage Love, I never ever thought I'd come to a place where I could actually empathize with pedophiles. And I thank you for that, Dan, for helping to expand my understanding of this vast human condition we all share - as strange and unsettling as it sometimes is.
Posted by merry on April 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Report this
slade 7
Attractions are on display at the theater on 4th Ave.

You will have many or none or many and none as you grow and age?

You get married and are happy (you think) and "POW" Mr.Wonedfullfrickingspeacial steps in front of you?

We dont control much about ourselves and if we could we would all be perfect? Violence is special and sacred in many places and times of the earth and its all about dealing with our inability to be perfect. The Cripple has been the president? the transsexual has been the beauty queen? The priest has been the child rapist and the child rapist has saved the life of a child when no one else would? Its a big cruel stupid world and you need to put it in park and get out of your fossil fuel Media wagon and deal with your self and others?

we all have problems and we all need to realize that others have problems and we all need to work together to deal with all of these problems?

we gain testosterone and we lose testosterone or we gain estrogen or we lose estrogen? your sex drive can lead you to confrontations or lead you to sexual gratification? or a long long time in prison run by a pathetic nation that will make things worse for you and then make you a problem for the entire nation. years ago you could get married to a child or get married as a child and it was not so taboo as sex was not the main factor in relations and finding a good person for your daughter or son was more important than their "legal age". that main factor is ("your problem") your looking at sexual attractions as your motivation and there are many prostitutes who can teach you about marriage and sexual attraction. our mind plays many a cruel trick on us. we think and feel we want something only to find it puts us in shock when we get it? your at war with your self and your feelings and we all are for most part until we reach the understanding that we can overcome our self and others and discover or rediscover something else.
Posted by slade on April 19, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
While some can't a number of people do live happy celibate lives. Not every priest buggers kids or fucks his way through the nunnery.

It's not easy for most people, but then not drinking is not easy for alcoholics.

I don't think its any more far to judge this guy for his thoughts then it would be to judge an abstaining drug addict for the things they might do if they relapsed. Shaming, no matter how justified, is not going to help. Never has. These individuals need safe spaces where they can be open about who they are and get support in never ever acting on their desires. Give them (fake) porn, dolls, whatever it takes to provide them enough of an outlet to keep their desires in check.

To me the choice is to either try and do everything we can help these people, or spend a shit ton of money locking them away after they ruin some kids lives.
Posted by giffy on April 19, 2012 at 12:56 PM · Report this
@4 Being single isn't as bad as being dead. Yes, we're social animals, but there are enough sources of satisfaction in the world that have nothing to do with sexual and romantic partners that a gold star pedophile--or an asexual, or a prohibitively sexually inhibited individual--can still have a life with pleasure and meaning.

Over-exalting sexual partnering and romantic relationships isn't a helpful way to begin building such a life, however.
Posted by Functional Atheist on April 19, 2012 at 12:59 PM · Report this
well_now 10
@6- Ever read Charles Stross's "Rule 34"? It's got a pretty great subplot about exactly that thing... though I'm not sure if it would help or hurt the letter writer in the long run.
Posted by well_now on April 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM · Report this
@3 -- My mother grew up being molested by her own father and I've often wondered about the distinction between what we typically think of as pedophiles versus married "heterosexual" men who rape their own kids. I would argue that a man must have some pedophilic tendencies in order to be sexually attracted to any child, including his own children. I think there are some men who try to resist or suppress their pedophilia and live "normal" lives. They get married to women and have kids, then discover that being around even their own children is too tempting for them. That's just my theory.
Posted by Amanda on April 19, 2012 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 12
merry@6: I can't imagine any possible scenario where buying the pedophile realdoll doesn't immediately get you all sorts of entirely well-deserved attention from law enforcement. For however many actual "gold-star pedophiles" there are out there, imagination and masturbation would seem to be their safest outlet.
Posted by Doctor Memory on April 19, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 13

The idea that a life without sex has no meaning is really immature. What about quadriplegics? Should they all just commit suicide?


Supposedly, about 50 percent of men who molest children do it impulsively and not out of "true" pedophilia. I haven't seen the methodology, so I don't know how experts have come to that conclusion, but, frankly, I trust their research more than your theories.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 19, 2012 at 1:45 PM · Report this
fannerz 14
@13: While I agree that life without sex can be full of meaning, Quadriplegics can have sex. They just have to be a bit more creative than most, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Posted by fannerz on April 19, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 15
Wait, wait, wait.

I don't have statistics on hand, but my recollection is that a huge percentage of rapes of women and girls are committed by fathers and uncles. It seems to me that this Westermarck Effect isn't doing a particularly good job keeping guys from fucking their daughters.

I'm totally down for giving a gold star to non-practicing pedophiles. I'm sure that is a difficult burden, and they deserve credit for not harming children to satisfy their desires.

But I think you'd be playing with fire to have kids of your own. This sounds like a terrible idea.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on April 19, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Report this
sirkowski 16
What about robo-lolies and shotas? I'm sure Japan is working on it. XD
Posted by sirkowski on April 19, 2012 at 2:03 PM · Report this
@13 -- I haven't seen that methodology either or ever heard of that research. Maybe you could toss some links or references my way, rather than just being snarky about it?

I still don't think it's unreasonable to suspect that, in the same way there are closeted gay people who pretend to be straight, there are closeted pedophiles who pretend to be straight.
Posted by Amanda on April 19, 2012 at 2:04 PM · Report this
So what exactly IS pedophilia? I don't buy that it's a sexual orientation, as I've heard some claim. Is pedophilia simply a compulsion? It's just that I see these letters from people lamenting that they will never have a "real" relationship and I get confused.

What I'm getting at is that I just don't understand why it's not "fixable" to a certain degree -I mean, aren't all sexual interactions really just a combo of intellectual and physical attraction? Why can't the pedophile looking for a one-off experience make do with their imagination and a sex-worker or an accomodating person with a complementary fantasy who would make their body look "childlike." And why can't the person looking for an actual relationship get some cognitive therapy to deal with their inability to be attracted to someone who's an equal while finding an adult partner willing to make some basic accommodations in their physical appearance?

None of us really get our perfect fantasy, I guess is what I"m driving at. That's just part of being an adult. So why can't pedophiles make do the same way centaur fetishists do?

I'm not trying to be obtuse here - I just feel like there's a certain overlay of drama to these letters that is perhaps unnecessary. I definitely feel that pedophiles who don't act on their urges should be able to find support more easily, but I feel like there's pieces missing in these pictures. What am I missing here?
Posted by JrzWrld on April 19, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
@15 Yeah, it does seem like a terrible idea. It's also weird that the letter writer is demanding the right to have kids, instead of thinking in the best interests of the hypothetical future children.

I mean, if the desire to have some future progeny to love in a non-sexual way is so strong, shouldn't the letter writer confront the fact that children are not objects of desire, toys, or status symbols but human beings first? Furthermore, the duty of parents is not to create some distraction for being sad and lonely (newsflash, old age homes are full of people who are sad and lonely), but to bring new people into the world.

I mean, regardless of whether or not SAID is gonna diddle them, he doesn't sound like a particularly caring *parent*. And that's just as much of a problem as pedophilia.
Posted by FonsieScheme on April 19, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
I don't think there's any universally applicable reason as to why some men molest or rape their own daughters. Some might do it because they are closet pedophiles, some might do it as a way to establish power and dominance over their offspring, some might do it because they were raped as a child and this is their (fucked up) way of processing and overcoming that victimization.

Regardless, I think it's fair to say that an adult who has no sexual longing for adult women and quite a lot of sexual longing for young girls (or boys) should probably not have children, for the reasons that Dan has said. Even if the actual child is 'safe', his or her friends and classmates will surely present years and years of direct temptation and opportunity that a pedophile is better off not facing.

And I think that a pedophile should be able to buy a childlike sexbot without coming under the scrutiny of legal officials (just like I think they should be able to view cartoon kiddie porn). Yeah, it's kind of creepy, but it's better than any alternative I can think of.
Posted by R.Taylor on April 19, 2012 at 2:24 PM · Report this
Lance Thrustwell 21
@18 - what are you missing? How about the fact that centaurs don't exist, but children do. Children that may be alone in your house at some point.

It's not an abstraction for these people. They're attracted to real, vulnerable children. It's dangerous and a curse.
Posted by Lance Thrustwell on April 19, 2012 at 2:28 PM · Report this
I'm uncertain that the availability of a child-like sexbot or cartoon child porn would reduce the likelihood of a pedophile to offend against an actual child. I'm not certain of the opposite, either. Maybe it's different for different people--some would be able to manage that way, but others would be much better off with a self-imposed zero-tolerance policy.
Posted by clashfan on April 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
@21, I live a life where just by pure happenstance I rarely come into contact with children - it can't be THAT hard to find that if I just stumbled into it by accident. I'm far from a hermit, but I live away from my family, and most of my friends are happily childless. My only exposure to kids is when I encounter them with their parents in public places.

I'm not saying it's not dangerous or a curse, but people resist temptation or find alternatives all the time when they know what they want is wrong. Unless you want to take the stance that pedophilia is similar to an addiction, maybe. I dunno. There's virtually no resources out there for the pedophile who wants to keep his urges in check - I recognize that. But given the age of the internet, there's far more potential to seek out a reasonable facsimile of the fantasy. Heck, remember that letter from the gay man who gravitated towards children, but had found himself a boyish-looking adult partner?
Posted by JrzWrld on April 19, 2012 at 3:07 PM · Report this
@22 I suspect that it might work like "near beer" for alcoholics - that is, not that well, one the whole. When there is something that you want to do but you absolutely just no cannot do, it's usually easier to build it up as impossible and put lots of barriers around it, than to dabble with it a little bit. Trouble is, this is not the sort of thing you can do double blind research studies on.

One thing that might be useful is something that is not actually similar to the desired experience, but which taps into some of the same needs. Like when my alcoholic husband quit drinking, he drank a lot of canned club soda. He got the cold can, the hiss of opening it, the hard first cold hit of something non-sweet and a little bitter, but it's nothing like beer and didn't assault his barriers. What that could be for a pedophile, though, I dunno. Other kinds of sexual partners who help them feel powerful, if that's part of what they're getting out of it? Or who are non-threatening? Seems like the kind of thing a good therapist could help unpack.
Posted by agony on April 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 25
"Given the Westermarck Effect, it is in fact very likely that I would NOT find my own children sexually desirable"

That study wasn't carried out among pedophiles, you idiot. A person whose ideal sexual partner is a child should never have children.

@18: "What I'm getting at is that I just don't understand why it's not "fixable" to a certain degree "

Watch Louis Theroux's documentary "A Place for Pedophiles". It's a really tough problem, socially and psychologically.
Posted by undead ayn rand on April 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM · Report this
kristen pawling 26
Is it the age that pedophiles find attractive, or is it the appearance of children that they find attractive? I'm just curious. If a pedophile meets a girl who's 19, but she's very petite, has no boobs, is hairless, and could pass as a 14 year old...would they be attracted to that girl?
Posted by kristen pawling on April 19, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
I'm pretty sure number 4 wasn't saying, "Aww. The poor guy can't have sex, he should suicide."

I think number 4 was echoing my own view of "He wants to fuck kids and killing himself is the closest thing to an honorable way out he has."
Posted by mubhappy on April 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM · Report this
@22 studies have shown that the greater availability of porn does not increase rapes in those areas so I doubt access to porn would increase incidences of statutory rape in pedophiles……

there are even a few papers suggesting that in some areas greater availability of pornography decreases sexual violence:…

and papers showing that consumption of "particularly disgusting" child porn is not a risk indicator for child molestation:…

I dunno where that gets you with the sex-bots for pedophiles cause but I can't help but think this research indicates such an idea has potential. Even if it helps some but not others wouldn't that be better than helping no one?
Posted by tal on April 19, 2012 at 3:47 PM · Report this
Vince 29
@27 Bingo.
Posted by Vince on April 19, 2012 at 3:54 PM · Report this
"Any human attracted to other humans will potentially have children that are nominally in the group they are attracted to. "

There's something fundamentally wrong with this statement that a simple Venn diagram would reveal, in that children are in no way a subset of the possible adults to which a given normal adult might be attracted.

Sounds like Letter Writer is trying to rationalize that he won't be attracted to his own children for the same reason that other adults aren't attracted to their own children, and it's just not a good comparison. That he doesn't grasp this obvious difference does not bode well, either.
Posted by avast2006 on April 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this
kim in portland 31
I think the definition of pedophilia states that the attraction is to pre-pubescent children (generally age 13 or younger). More often to clearly pre-pubescent.

I've read the term 'hebephillia' as a diagnostic term for those who are sexually attracted to children at the cusp of puberty.

'Ephebophilia' for those who are sexually attracted to those who have arrived at puberty.

The American Psychiatric Association considers most adults who sexually molest children to have pedophilia as described in the Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV).
Posted by kim in portland on April 19, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this
kim in portland 32
My heart goes out to you, SAID. Keep up the good work.
Posted by kim in portland on April 19, 2012 at 4:21 PM · Report this
@26 Your hypothetical would probably be a good work-around for an ephebophile, which is an attraction to post-pubescent adolescents, generally aged 15-19, and not considered a pathology, per Wikipedia.…

A pedophile is an attraction to prepubescents, generally agreed at 13 or younger. As to what precisely attracts such individuals to children isn't known to me, but I wanted to remind folks that an attraction to, say, Britney Spears when she was 16 or 17, isn't really pedophilia, though many would mistakenly give it that label.
Posted by Functional Atheist on April 19, 2012 at 4:27 PM · Report this
mtnlion 34
@6, I think this is a reasonable "solution," as is animated pornography. There is evidence that as porn becomes more available, rates of rape decrease. I'm sure you all understand the theory as to why this is.

@12, A childlike doll could not land someone in jail on its own, unless they were using it alongside real child pornography, which is illegal. Law enforcement could, I suppose, wait outside sex shops and casually observe a purchaser of such a toy, but this purchase alone would not qualify for a search warrant or anything else that would get you into trouble. Also, that's not how investigations are conducted; they can't just follow you around and wait for you to commit a crime. This would be a waste of time and I don't see them doing this.

@33: Being attracted to a post-pubescent-not-yet-18-year-old is not pedophilia, and it is a huge shame that people extend our legal definition of "adult" in that way.
@26: Remember that it's not just about the appearance, but the innocence, the power, the... childishness. Indeed, there are many pedophiles who "love" children. Want to spend time with them, form bonds and long-term relationships with sex involved. I suppose role play would work, but I don't see too many 19-year-olds jumping at the chance to act that way.

Pedophiles are a varied group, just like everyone else. Some are in it for the sexual control and power but prefer the stability of "normal" adult relationships. Some want to literally have relationships with kids. Some are into just girls, just boys, and for some, gender doesn't matter one bit and the only qualification is that you're a child. However, girls are sexually assaulted significantly more than boys (or perhaps they're just more likely to admit it later in life), so maybe there's an implication that more pedophiles prefer girls. We cannot neatly box in and define a pedophile because there is a lot of variation in this group. It's annoying, because we want to label them all as being the same so we can handle the problem easily and with just one method, but it's just not that simple. The only common thread is at least a sexual attraction to children; the degree to which this pervades their life seems to run along a vast spectrum.
Posted by mtnlion on April 19, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this
mtnlion 35
Oh, and also that not all pedophiles were molested. It may up one's likelihood, but there are many who were never abused. And also importantly, that not every victim of childhood sexual assault goes on to be a pedophile! That number is muuuch smaller.

And also, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: no one can arrest you for saying that you're attracted to kids. Why does LW 1 say that CWIA should move out of the US? The rules for therapists are the exact same here. A therapist cannot disclose any correspondence unless there is an immediate and specific threat, as he says. I guess in some other countries, pedophilia might be more socially accepted? You might not be immediately loathed for loving children in some other part of the world, maybe? But I have nothing to back that up with; I just assumed children were a unique class of people most places in the world, at least when it comes to sex.
Posted by mtnlion on April 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Corylea 36
Statistics on sexual abuse show that VERY large numbers of children are molested by their own fathers.

Relying on Westermarck sounds like the kind of rationalization that addicts use to gain access to a supply of their favorite drug. Just don't go there.
Posted by Corylea on April 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Ya'll don't read unregistered comments.

I want to say this to @4 -

You are aware that it's not uncommon for men who were physically or sexually abused as kids by adult men, to develop an irrational fear as adults of becoming abusers.

Irrational, because they're not actually capable of it or even interested in it.

I know this because someone very close to me who was sexually abused and was triggered into remembering a lot of stuff in early adulthood almost lost his life to suicide because he was irrationally afraid of becoming a pedophile.

He was heavily screened by medical health personnel when he was hospitalized after the suicide attempt. And, quite literally, the conversation between him and the therapist was, "Why did you try to kill yourself?" "Because I'm afraid of abusing children." "Are you attracted to children?" "No. But I don't want to become my abuser."

I suspect you think you're recommending something "honorable." You're not. What you're saying is damaging.

And I say that as an incest survivor.
Posted by UnregisteredinDenver on April 19, 2012 at 7:03 PM · Report this
@25, thanks for the reference! I will check it out.
Posted by JrzWrld on April 19, 2012 at 7:15 PM · Report this
I feel sorry for the guy, but pedophiles are by no means the only people who will/have to/should live without sexual relationships. There are people who are only attracted to horrible abusive jerks. There are people who are just uattractive, people with messed up junk, people who were abused and who simply can't stand the emotional danger of sex, etc. it's hard, it's sad, just like everyone's life is, ultimately.
Posted by beccoid on April 19, 2012 at 7:46 PM · Report this
Meant to add more to that: even without sexual relationships, there is plenty of joy , pleasure, and love to be found in life.
Posted by beccoid on April 19, 2012 at 7:49 PM · Report this
mtnlion 41
@39, while I understand the fact that some people have a hard time getting laid or are attracted to the types of guys who will beat them up and I have a healthy degree of sympathy for them, I do not think their sexuality can be likened to a pedophile's.

Very few people ("women" would be the appropriate word here, actually) are *only* attracted to horrible abusive jerks. They're attracted to it often because they're used to it, think they deserve it, are comfortable with it, and many other reasons. Therapy can be effective for changing destructive thought patterns that lead to entering and sustaining abusive relationships, and many go on to have stable, healthy relationships with nice guys they really are into. People with "messed up junk," as you so delicately put it, aren't often completely without sexual pleasure. And they can always find someone who is kind and understanding and willing to accommodate them if they are an otherwise good human being. The unattractive thing is just... way way off the mark; I'm not going to touch that one because it is too obvious.

The real difference between all those groups and pedophiles is that they are not even able to show their preferences to anyone except maybe a therapist, lest they have the town demonize (rightfully or not) and isolate them. There are centers for DV victims to walk into day or night; people rightfully feel for them and wish them well. This is not so with pedophiles. And unlike these other groups, there seems to be no effective treatment to help them into finding a deeply fulfilling sexual and emotional relationship. That which makes them feel most satisfied at least sexually (at most emotionally/intimately) is that which destroys and devastates the life of another innocent human. And that reality is not something which can be shared with any of the groups you mentioned. Perhaps psychopaths, who may feel satisfaction out of extreme violence in some cases (but certainly not all), but they actually feel no remorse. Society doesn't hate uggos, genital cripples, or DV victims like they hate pedophiles. That is a lonely place. Not that I feel sorry for them, really.

I agree with you that life can be immensely meaningful and beautiful and fulfilling without sex, but it sure brings a lot of joy into my life at least. We are driven to orgasm like nothing else; it's nature. At any given moment, there are millions of people, milling about all over the world consciously or unconsciously pursuing orgasm. Sometimes I wonder if the pursuit of the orgasm is what get some people out of bed in the morning; it's that powerful. And I agree with you that everyone's lives inherently contain suffering and that suffering is a very important thing we must all learn to endure. But some people have it a lot easier and a lot harder, and pedophiles, I think, have it much harder in Western society in a way most of us fully take for granted.

Too long winded; I can't help it.
Posted by mtnlion on April 19, 2012 at 8:13 PM · Report this
Dan, is pedophilia a mental illness?
Posted by apa on April 19, 2012 at 9:41 PM · Report this
you know it's really too bad "gold star" pedos can't be "out" about their problem. If they were able to be a bit more honest, they could rely on their friends and family or even just a doctor to help them avoid kids & deal with their issues, & less kids would be harmed.
Posted by helzbelz on April 20, 2012 at 12:15 AM · Report this
seandr 44
@Vince - Were you raped as a child? If not, your comment @4 was out of line.
Posted by seandr on April 20, 2012 at 12:53 AM · Report this
seandr 45
@35: no one can arrest you for saying that you're attracted to kids.

Not sure about arrest, but some states in the US (not Washington, according to my sources) have mandatory reporting laws that require therapists to report pedophilic urges regardless if they have been acted upon if the patient has access to children. See Dan's column from March 7th for details.
Posted by seandr on April 20, 2012 at 1:09 AM · Report this
Vince and Mubhappy both come across as pretty vile there, tbh. Thinking it's 'dishonourable' for them to want to live when they have not done anything wrong (and are actively keeping things that way) might be one of the most digusting things i've heard, period.
Posted by being outraged by Americans becoming the norm on April 20, 2012 at 1:17 AM · Report this
46: Pedophiles have a sexual desire towards children. Sxual contact with children is RAPE. e can candycoat it, but its rape, period. I rather agree with Vince..but then, I WAS raped as a young boy, for years..and I still struggle with the fear of becoming like my abuser because I was told so often that 'all homosexuals are child-raping pedophiles'. I'm relieved to say that their spite proved false in my case..however a man who wants childen and wants sex with children strikes me as a tragedy waiting to happen..with blinders on.
Posted by SurvivorVA on April 20, 2012 at 3:36 AM · Report this
mtnlion 48
@seandr, I read the column, but forgot about that part. That surprises me. I have been specifically told that mandatory reporting only refers to immediate and specific threats to one's safety. There's a good chance that I was just taught the Washington laws. I suppose one could stretch this and say that someone who admits he is attracted to kids is likely to assault one if given the opportunity, but I don't see how that would get anyone anywhere. Law enforcement can't do anything until a crime is committed, or, if one is about to occur, they can intervene, but it's illegal to follow citizens who are "probably" going to commit a crime.

I understand now why LW 1 suggests moving out of the country because programs are better, but I still think the right therapist here could make like a whole lot easier.
Posted by mtnlion on April 20, 2012 at 4:45 AM · Report this
geoz 49
People are so complicated. What a sad dude.
Posted by geoz on April 20, 2012 at 6:21 AM · Report this
Thanks for the letter SAID. As a parent, I am glad to know that there are people like you out there -- people too honourable to hurt a child. Thank you. Keep it up and I trust that you are finding non-sexual fulfillment out there in our big wonderful world. I am also deeply dismayed by @4's suggestion. You are obviously a strong person with many gifts and @4's so-called solution would remove those gifts from the world. Also your wonderful parents would be heart broken.
Posted by North of 49 on April 20, 2012 at 9:47 AM · Report this
shurenka 51
Good advice, Dan.

35 and 45 are correct about the reporting laws. But having access to children in your job does constitute a threat, yes? Still, your therapist is fundamentally an ally and a support system. They want you to succeed in getting better, or controlling yourself as the case may be, and so they don't have an incentive to out you as a pedophile if you're not an actual threat. They know that if you were so outed, and lost your job or home or support system as a result, then you would have nothing to lose and thus be more likely to offend, statistically.

Your therapist will talk to you about what they will or have to report, and what such a report would entail, but they won't report something behind your back.
Posted by shurenka on April 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
I was a psyc major and find abnormal psyc really interesting. I also reviewed a lot of research studies in school- I don't remember the exact study, but one research article found that incest and abuse rates are higher in geographical areas where families live in close quarters. According to that study, opportunity, availability and repeated exposure to temptation caused incidences of abuse to rise. Their finding was unexpected, because it was assumed that rates of abuse should remain steady, regardless of where people live.

If it's true that sharing bedrooms and living in close quarters can cause abuse rates to increase, then child abuse doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the Westermark effect, as much as it has to do with access to potential victims. I don't think that the Westermark effect would keep a pedophile from abusing his own children, especially b/c so many documented victims were abused by their own family members. Access and opportunity are more important factors than familial bias or the Westermark effect.

Contrary to what traditional news media would have us believe, most abuse isn't done by a stranger with candy in a van. Salacious news doesn't tell the real story. Most violations occur because coaches, priests, pastors, teachers and others abuse the trust they've been given. Opportunity to commit the crime seems to have more influence than psychological factors.

Dan is right in stating the obvious- pedos shouldn't have kids. And not just because the Westermark effect might possibly prevent a few cases of abuse (it probably won't actually), but b/c of the constant opportunity to be around other people's kids. The desire to commit a crime is way different than having the constant opportunity to act on the desire.
Posted by psyc 411 on April 20, 2012 at 6:24 PM · Report this
Gou Tongzhi 53
I wish these people would die.
Posted by Gou Tongzhi on April 20, 2012 at 10:27 PM · Report this
Nevermind other people's children... Sure, you MAY turn out not to be attracted to your own children. But how can you possibly know in advance? You can't (the Westermark effect excuse is off the mark, as Dan pointed out). You can't know how your children would turn out physically and otherwise, and anyway sometimes there is no attraction in the beginning but it develops later. Is the chance worth taking?
Imagine for a moment that you did have children today. If you wanted to go to some place or do some activity (like skydiving or backpacking in an unknown country), but you had reason to believe it could be dangerous for your children, would you risk taking them with you, or would you leave them at home and get someone trustworthy to take care of them while you were away? Your situation is like that. You know there's a very serious risk associated with your having children. Choosing not to do it is the most responsible, loving thing you can do for them, your potential children. It may leave you insatisfied, but anything else would be gambling with their lives.
Posted by dont think this has been said on April 21, 2012 at 4:05 AM · Report this

Is pedophilia a mental illness?
Posted by 'yes' or 'no' will suffice....... on April 21, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
@6, I was thinking the same thing. I have never had an empathetic thought for pedophiles until now. As SAID said, who the hell would choose this? This is an affliction, a handicap. SAID must consciously work to suppress his affliction ALL the time, because he can hurt people. Sounds like a time bomb to me. But of course, you must never have children. I'm empathetic, but that's the most selfish fucking thing I've ever heard. When it comes to their children, parents are above all selfless. So do the selfless thing and don't fucking have any.
I was also thinking about sexual energy, and how some very disciplined people (and that ain't me) divert it for the greater good...creativity. I remember Moby said he was celibate because creating was so much more important to him, and sex just distracted him. So maybe, SAID, if you take your desires and funnel them into music or writing or art or inventing something, it would feel better to deny yourself. It would also give you a ready answer to nosy bastards who ask you why you aren't dating. Just a thought.
Posted by portland scribe on April 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Report this
#42 & #55: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual classified pedophilia as a mental disorder with three criteria: person at least 16 years of age with an attraction or action on the attraction to prepubescent children at least five years younger for a period of at least six months. The DSM will be changed in May 2013 and some would like to include hebephilia in the diagnosis.

SAID, help is on the way for pedophiles who want to control their sexual attraction to children. For research, check out,, and
Posted by yrag on April 22, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Report this

do you consider pedophilia to be a mental illness?
Posted by Dan. Is pedophilia a mental illness? on April 22, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this


If pedophiles are innately attracted to children why consider it a disease?

How is it any more different from the norm than being attracted to the same sex?

It seems the only definition of 'mental illness' is to violate the social mores of the moment.
Posted by braĆ© on April 22, 2012 at 3:26 PM · Report this
mtnlion 60
@53, you can crap in one hand and wish in the other; see which one gets filled first.
Posted by mtnlion on April 22, 2012 at 3:44 PM · Report this
@59 It's not about being different from the norm or social mores. Except to people like you those things *are* the definition of "right" and "wrong." Right is whatever I'm used to, Wrong is what makes me uncomfortable.

People who are capable of independent rational thought measure right and wrong based on harm. You idiot.

Pedophiles do quantifiable harm to the children they want to "love.". Children abused by pedophiles, however well-intentioned, grow up with serious damage. The same is not true of people who consensually engage in same-sex relationships.
Posted by Fairness Doctrine on April 22, 2012 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Children who grow up in households with other than a married mother and father experience quantifiable harm. see Dan's "Every Child Deserves...." for examples.
Is shacking up a mental illness?
Is having babies out of wedlock?
Is adultery?

20% of men who practice homosexual sex give themselves HIV.
And their rates of other STDs are even higher than that.
Much higher.
(and we won't even consider the elevated rates of suicide and mental illnesses like depression....)
Does that quantifiable harm mean homosexuality is a mental illness?
Posted by People who are capable of independent rational thought on April 22, 2012 at 8:34 PM · Report this
@62: Many of the people in Dan's "Every Child Deserves..." are married. My parents were married, and they still managed to do quantifiable harm. The safest family-configuration for children are if they have two mothers who are lesbians.

It's awful that 20% of homosexual men in america have HIV, but that's not a universal figure. The rates of HIV and other STIs are nowhere nere that high in most of Europe. Worldwide HIV is spread mostly (by far) via heterosexual contact in Africa and Asia. HIV has nothing to do with orientation and everything to do with safety (testing, condoms, information).

The elevated rates of suicide and depression are harm that's being done to homosexuals by the rest of society, it's nothing inherent in the orientation.
Posted by Friendstastegood on April 23, 2012 at 1:49 AM · Report this
mtnlion 64
@62, Short answer to all of your inane questions: no. Dan's "Every Child Deserves" columns are meant to illustrate how the traditional mom & dad setup can be entirely fucked up and ruin the lives of innocent children all on its own. The last one was about a man who shot his daughter and wife at a Cracker Barrel. So you know, I think I'd call that quantifiable harm as well. The mere fact that there is a husband and a wife involved does not denote happiness or good health, and therefore, allowing a gay couple to consciously and willingly bring a child into their life could not possibly be more harmful. These are people who by their very nature must consider what they're doing when they have a child. How can that be more harmful than the shit we see het parents doing all the time?

STD and HIV rates are entirely different from the psychological trauma of being raped as a child. You see, there's this thing called consent, and a child can't provide it. And for the love of god, people have got to stop saying that homosexuals inherently feel more depression than hets: it's because people around them are fucking dicks about it. Once they're in an accepting, open environment, they have the same levels of anxiety and depression as the rest of us normies.

Now please allow me to teach you a bit about mental disorders and illness. You cannot separate mental disorder from culture. One of the defining requirements of a mental disorder is that it is abnormal for the culture in which it presents itself. If you visit a person in an impoverished country whose family can barely survive, you're not going to diagnose them with depression. If you're in a totalitarian regime police state, you probably won't going to get an anxiety disorder diagnosis. And because in some countries 12-year-olds are arranged to marry older men, we would not label or try to treat them as a pedophile.

What you are describing is a list of socially unacceptable activities (adultery, children out of wedlock, etc.) which a lot of people would look down on. However, because they do not cause significant impairment to the person who does these things and are not acted out on unwilling partners (and because they are not terribly abnormal), they are not pathologized. Pedophilia is considered a mental disorder because it is not normal for our society and because it causes significant impairment and harm to people who are pedophiles, and yes, this may be partly due to the stigmatization. But I also suspect it has something to do with the fact that that which they lust for most would be devastating and horrible for the child and that must be quite the internal struggle.

No shit pedophilia is a disorder in part because we disapprove of it (and we fucking do so for good reason; acting on sexual urges towards children ruins their lives in ways that sometimes never completely heal). Homosexuality used to be in the DSM as well; it was taken out in the '70s. Of course this was a misstep: nobody really gets hurt by people loving people of the same sex, and the torment that gay people felt was a byproduct of their isolation. Similarly, gay couples' children, if treated with tolerance and respect, are not hurt anymore than nuke kids; possibly less because of the planning gay couples have to put into having a kid. Last but not least: all of these things are debated about by psychiatrists and psychologists all the time and nothing is set in stone. That's science.

So please come up with some better reasons to misconstrue the meaning of "mental illness" and to hate on homosexuals and their families. I would like to tear those apart too.
Posted by mtnlion on April 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
So that's a lot of feedback right there... Didn't have the time to spare to read up on the... SLOG... for a while. For the record, my letter was in fact titled "Can I have a gold star too?", asking for one rather than demanding one. General note first: I don't intend to have kids, for some of the reasons Dan mention. But I'm still unconvinced that "omg never have kids" is necessarily the correct answer, though it is certainly something you need to be aware of.

@4: The one thing I figure merits an encouragement of suicide is encouraging suicide, so I won't. But you're still an asshole.

@13: I have heard this claim too, but found no verification. It may well hold some merit, but I wouldn't rely on it. What troubles me most about it is that research into it is unlikely to happen, so we may never know.

@15: I think it does a remarkably good job of it; it's hardly commonplace, is it? Not to my knowledge, anyway. Does it work perfectly every time, all the time? I should think not, or the very idea of it ever happening would be alien to all of us.

@18: Ascribing pathology to a condition does not make it curable.

@19: I made no demands, and to the extent I need such a right I already have it; it is not forbidden to me. I objected to Dan's dismissing the very notion out of hand, that is all.

@26: It is a nice thought, but as others have pointed out, being attracted to a young teen is very different from being attracted to a child, to such an extent that there is a different name for the two.

@30: I will suppose that you didn't misunderstand on purpose, because I admit I did not elaborate on the point. Take this example: two heterosexual people have children, boys and girls. The boys and girls grow up and become adult men and women. Nominally they are now in the group attractive to their opposite-gendered parents, IE the boys are men, and the mother is attracted to men. Yet it is exceedingly rare that they have very much in the way of attraction to one another.

@32: Thanks! You know, hearing a few words of encouragement, even anonymously like this, does contribute to a feeling that you might just make it...

@35: The rules for psychological therapists may be much the same in many countries, but the US is fanatically litigious. The rules makes it pretty much impossible for a US-based therapist not to report even where there is no threat, because the potential cost of a lawsuit makes that risk completely untenable for them. The country I live in has no more tolerance for pedophilia than does the US, but that was never the point. I do not want acceptance for "the lifestyle", just for my struggle not to engage in it. If we could lower the risk of lynch mobs should I go public, that would be grand.

@53: Right back atcha. Can't stand judgemental people (I am fully aware of the irony, and I revel in it). And for anyone else thinking of tossing something like this into the ring: spare me. I have heard better death threats on the Internet than you can come up with, I guarantee it.

@61: I'm not actually disagreeing with your conclusion, but some of the steps along the way... for instance, that there is always harm. I am given to understand that there is often no quantifiable harm done to a molested child, depending on the nature of the abuse. However, I would not be willing to take that chance with a child's life, so I am not arguing the "should not", merely the semantics of your statement.

@mtnlion (and a few others): be careful. From what I gather, the Republicans are on the prowl, and the hunting permits on people who read, think and such are not hard to come by on the religious right :-P

Anyway, if anyone has questions for me, I'm willing to hear you out. Cuz hey, talking helps.

In case I don't get to sign this somehow, this has been SAID.
Posted by SAID on April 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM · Report this

94% of the "Every Child Deserves..." are not married.

Homosexuals in accepting societies still have elevated suicide and mental illness rates.

"Now please allow me to teach you a bit about mental disorders and illness. You cannot separate mental disorder from culture. One of the defining requirements of a mental disorder is that it is abnormal for the culture in which it presents itself. ...."
Thank you for restating the premise.
Why is innate attraction to children a mental illness when innate attraction to the same sex is not?
You and Dan define mental illness as 'whatever icks me out' then condemn the fundies when they do the same thing.

A high percentage of children born and raised outside of married families have their lives ruined in ways that do not heal. The difference between those less stigmatized behaviors and pedophilia is not the harm they inflict on children but society's willingness to tolerate it.

How is pedophilia in 2012 different from homosexuality in 1962?
how is Dan Savage different from Anita Bryant; tongue clucking judgemental biddies condemning those whose sexual desires differ from their own.

Why is innate attraction to children a mental illness when innate attraction to the same sex is not?

Both deviate from the reproductive "normal" sex drive that insures that the species continues.

glass houses and all......
Posted by have a big glass of orange juice and get back to us..... on April 23, 2012 at 6:44 PM · Report this
mtnlion 67
@66, I am explaining to you the clinical definition of a mental disorder, not the way I personally define it because I have no say in that. I also think you're still mixing up actions with disorders.

I agree that pedophilia is a culture-specific diagnosis, although to be fair, there are very few countries on par with civil rights, industrialization, and healthcare that do not also view children as a unique class to be protected, especially sexually. And I stand by it as such because identifying these individuals is the only way to prevent children from being harmed.

I am not pointing the finger and saying they're horrible people who are destroying society the way fundies do to... well, mostly anyone different from them. I will start graduate school to work with these people, and other violent criminals, to see if I can actually do something about the fact that they will always exist; to try and lessen harm in the future.

Attraction to a child is a disorder because it brings about impairment and suffering in the individual: a pedophile cannot legally obtain the intimate relationship which he desires. Furthermore, acting on his urges is illegal and it is rape.

Attraction to the same sex is not a disorder because it does not bring about impairment and suffering (unless you are raised in a very bigoted environment). A gay person can enter into a loving and sexual relationship legally and without deleterious repercussions for either partner.

Do you see the difference here? One makes people's lives really shitty; the other doesn't. One requires some amount of therapy to prevent them from ruining someone else's entire life; the other doesn't. At most, other people make gay people's lives really shitty because they don't have the values of respect and tolerance and that is not inherent in a homosexual. I have to question your claim that rates of suicide are actually higher in accepting areas, because there is no safe place that is fully devoid of stigmatization of gay people. I'd like to see the studies you are referring to.

Yes: divorce is hard on kids. I agree, and I think something really should be done to decrease all of the things you're talking about because children do thrive most with present, loving, stable parents and routine childhoods. And that includes having gay parents. I do think it's a shame the way people act immature and use their children against one another during divorce; it surely hurts the kids. But is it a disorder? Well, not yet. I suppose if Post-Divorce Persistent Immaturity Disorder ever comes to exist, now's the time. But we avoid labeling everything that is potentially bad a disorder, or it loses its meaning.

One last thing: Neither Dan nor I nor most progressive people demonize people simply because their sex preferences are *different*. It's about the fact that their "preferences" (rape of a child, to get real) destroy the health and happiness of others and they have negative consequences for the rest of their lives. Just like we don't approve of rape, or even of a guy's "preference" to fuck emotionally vulnerable women and then leave them high and dry. We revile sex which kills the spirit of another, and pedophilia does just that when it is acted upon.
Posted by mtnlion on April 23, 2012 at 7:15 PM · Report this
mtnlion 68
@SAID: Thanks for chiming in!

I hope to be an effective therapist for trauma victims and also an ally to help clients who have harmful urges cope. I also plan to research legal issues in sexual violence and psychopathy. Furthermore, I very much believe that any group that is deeply hated by the majority of people is fundamentally misunderstood. Also, I believe that this hatred exacerbates whatever acts are demonized. If you can still be hated for stating your preference without acting on it, there is little incentive to keep up that gold-star standard.

And also, spot on what you said to 18.

Posted by mtnlion on April 23, 2012 at 9:27 PM · Report this
When male homosexuals in America act on their "preference" a very high percentage of the time they destroy the health and happiness of others and they have negative consequences for the rest of their lives.
Dan is willing to write that off as acceptable collateral damage because it is HIS preference.
But does not extend the same degree of tolerance to others whose preference he does not share.
very progressive.
Posted by Anita Bryant wants her schtick back when Dan is finished on April 24, 2012 at 5:08 AM · Report this

I'm a 60yo man who raised two daughters, only realizing in the past 10 years that I am a pedophile; my attraction to adult women was strong enough that I didn't suffer as acutely as others do, but I am glad to accept my true nature now (though I wish it wasn't my true nature) and understand my feelings, both past and present. Abusing a girl is unthinkable -- it would hurt her. There are a lot of pedophiles like me out there, and we're almost all invisible; I hope it's no surprise why we stay in the closet.
Posted by CelibatePedophile on April 24, 2012 at 2:00 PM · Report this
With all the talk of sex dolls, keep in mind that what many/most pedophiles want is love, with sex secondary -- the same way adults want to love and be loved. Like with any other group of people, not all pedophiles are nice, and with kids there is the extra danger that not-nice or clueless ones can take advantage of the situation -- and they do, all too often. But just like adult-oriented men don't want to be lumped with their boorish brothers and hated for their insensitive actions, nice pedophiles don't either. Consider the possibility that a lot of celibate pedophiles are even angrier about child sexual abuse than the average person; along with all those protective feelings that are common to decent people, these girls (or boys) are also people we might feel passionate crushes for.
Posted by CelibatePedophile on April 24, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
As to the original question of whether the pedophile should have children, it's easy to say, "That's a no-brainer, of course not" -- if you're not a pedophile or don't know one. It's also easier to say deaf people shouldn't drive. I think it's an issue with shades of gray, with different considerations. "SAID" is raising a hypothetical, and you don't get the sense this is a practical issue for him, but his assumption that it would of course be OK is unsettling; I think any pedophile should definitely approach the issue with humility and caution. Things to consider: (1) What's your experience been with kids in your life so far? Have you been around them a lot, aware of an attraction and having no trouble controlling it? (2) Are you in a solid relationship with the prospective mother? (3) Does she know of your pedophilia and does she support you? (4) Do you have sexual outlets? (5) Are you in general impulsive or do you have good self-control? Remember too that an 'ordinary' hetero guy is going to face the same issues of sexual temptation with the friends of his teen daughter, and the pedophile won't. Now, if you only had one son and this was your only chance at grandchildren, would you be so quick to say "Never!" if there were favorable answers to all those questions?
Posted by CelibatePedophile on April 24, 2012 at 5:57 PM · Report this
@72 As I said in my post earlier, I did not mean to imply that it would "of course work out fine". What I mean is, dismissing it out of hand is a bit much. It's something that you have to consider carefully and be damn sure what you're getting into... which on a side note, having a child should be for EVERYONE... you have to know that you're getting into a test of your willpower that will last for a very long time. You have to be very clear on all the factors. But I am positive that it can be done. I think there is room for some nuance here.
Posted by SAID on April 25, 2012 at 3:47 AM · Report this
To the people curious about the "why" of pedophilia, I've heard theories that all humans are "pedophilic" to some extent-- that is, many humans are attracted to neotenic individuals: clear skin, large eyes, young age, sparse body hair. Humans as a whole all express neotenic traits compared to other primates.

The theory is that human appearance has evolved because of a thread of "pedophilia" in human behavior leading to a preference in mate choice for neotenic individuals. When that thread is overexpressed, the result is someone who is not just attracted to young-looking adults, but to actual children.

*Obviously there are exceptions to this, plenty of people are attracted to mature-looking adults, people with a large amount of body hair, etc.
Posted by UtterEast on April 25, 2012 at 7:14 PM · Report this
Registered European 75
@74, that makes a lot of sense.
Posted by Registered European on April 26, 2012 at 12:02 AM · Report this
Dan Savage you are an insensitive bigot. Saying that pedophiles shouldnt have kids is like saying that gays shouldnt have kids. Its bigotry.

Its discrimination. it is wrong, it is bigoted, hateful and harmful.
Posted by zoid on May 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM · Report this
"Being a parent is a wonderful experience, but unfortunately, life has not dealt you a hand of cards for this to be a viable option."

Oh my god so much bigotry and ignorance! This sounds like someone who thinks that gays shouldnt have kids just because they are not men and women! So much ignorance and bigotry and hate towards the different.

I hope that Savage get his child taken of him, just to make him know how it feels. So much hypocrisy.
Posted by zoid on May 3, 2012 at 9:00 PM · Report this

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