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Sexual Assault Can pedophiles become non-pedophiles?

Rose White

MyPTSD Pro
I was reading about how the idea that pedophilia is a sexual orientation is gaining traction. I have become aware that just because one has a sexual orientation does NOT imply that it’s ethical to engage in it.

@Weemie you gave an informative list of categories of pedophiles which I found helpful. I still am unsure whether I agree that many men are pedophilic through genes alone. But even if a condition is genetic that does not mean it can’t be overcome, right? For example, General Anxiety Disorder, Schizophrenia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Diabetes, Deafness, and more could have a genetic origin but also be overcome to a certain degree.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on whether pedophiles can become non-pedophiles?

(Weemie sorry to bring you into this right off the bat but you are so knowledgeable on stuff related to… what is this called… forensic psychology?)
 
I was reading about how the idea that pedophilia is a sexual orientation is gaining traction.
So, pedophilia is not a sexual orientation, it is a paraphilia.

Paraphilias are sexual, but they are distinct from sexual orientation because:

-sexual orientation is relative to gender (the qualiatic interpretation of one's own physical form) and sexuality (what physical/mental forms you are attracted to)
-sexual orientation is both of those things, not just one of them
-so paraphilias do not qualify since a paraphilia could only ever meet the criteria for one or the other since a paraphilia is definitionally specific
-paraphilias are specific fetishes that cause harm to one's self or others
-you don't have to act on a paraphilia to have a paraphilic disorder
-a non-offending pedophile is still paraphilic because being a pedophile is harmful to the pedophile
-yes, even if they have no victims

The idea that a paraphilia is a sexual orientation is damaging in a myriad of ways but succinctly:

-it opens the door to claiming that other genuine sexualities are perverse
and
-it legitimizes harmful fetishes

Paraphilias activate a very specific subset of neurological wiring. My instinct is to say no, a pedophile could not become a non-pedophile with our current technological/cultural understanding. But, it's the same way as I might say that PTSD is an incurable disorder. These represent fundamental deficiencies in one's neuroanatomy, but just because you have those disorders, does not mean you cannot manage their symptoms to the point that they're no longer harmful.

Pedophilia is a disorder without a cure (until we figure out how to cure it) rather than a random subset of behaviors or a sexual orientation. But just because you have an incurable mental disorder doesn't mean you aren't responsible for your behavior, doesn't make it ethical to engage in harmful behavior, and it also doesn't mean you have to engage in harmful behavior.

That's about the extent of what I would put out as 100%, word-of-law, Weemie Says stuff. Some of the shit I noodle around in therapy sometimes: I think pedophilia may be partially genetic. Some people "look like" pedophiles. It's probably not useful - there is not an actual way to tell and you're damned sure you're going to be wrong, or offensive, at some point. But it is something that people notice enough for it to raise questions.

For me, I notice it with pedophiles. My forensic psychologist who did Violent Sexual Offender Treatment here in NS, agrees with me that there is a subset of patients that "have a certain look." It is by no means all of them! There are lots of pedophiles who you would never, ever guess. But, there is just this like, 20% of them maybe, look a certain way. Like, a high enough number for me to be asking this question.

I also think that in some cases, pedophilia is linked to actual low IQ or developmental disability that we may not fully understand; a lot of the pedos that I knew were just "slow" and like, developmentally immature (which might be part of why they're a pedophile? IDK!) but they aren't actually diagnosed with developmental disorders of any kind. It's a specific kind of cognitive impairment that is very mild.

None of that is scientific, those are just my thinky thonkys.
 
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I was reading about how the idea that pedophilia is a sexual orientation is gaining traction.
Sexual orientation definition: a person's identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are sexually attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, homosexual, etc.

Yes, a paedophile falls into sexual orientation in relation to the sex of the child they're attracted to, but paedophilia is not a sexual orientation. If that is some new woke nonsense, I would stick it in with all the other woke nonsense America is currently trying to undo about the mistakes they've made in this area.

Paedophile is defined as: a person who is sexually attracted to children.

Paedophilia is defined as: sexual feelings directed towards children.

Children is not a gender.
 
Big thanks @Weemie ! Your response gives clarity and points of reference. I like the emphasis that pedophilia hurts the pedophiles themselves, I hadn’t considered that perspective—but something tells me that they don’t feel hurt by it unless they get caught, and then it’s the punishment that hurts them not the pedophilia itself—I would think they feel soothed and satisfied by it 💀

Thanks @anthony ! Appreciate the straightforward answer with definitions.
paedophilia is not a sexual orientation. If that is some new woke nonsense,
My understanding is that it is being considered that way from an academic standpoint, not a political one. The idea being that if they can’t change, then how can society use that information to best prevent child sexual abuse.
The idea that a paraphilia is a sexual orientation is damaging in a myriad of ways but succinctly:

-it opens the door to claiming that other genuine sexualities are perverse
Yes. I think that the “born this way” hypothesis, along with the idea that homosexuality could be evolutionarily selected for has gone a long way to stamp out the idea of it being perverse or a mental illness.

I think the notion that just because something is evolutionarily selected for means that it is somehow not an illness or not perverse is just wrong. (Sickle cell anemia is a classic example of an illness selected for giving individuals greater protection against malaria.). Which I think is the point of the academics—they are saying that if, say, 20% of pedophiles have a strong genetic predisposition (so much that it might even be able to be visible phenotypically) then it is being selected for.

I do not find a lot of credence for evolutionary psychology but that’s their whole schtick, that things like depression and rape and Machiavellian traits are all products of evolution by natural selection. So the “born this way” argument doesn’t need ethics attached from an evolutionary perspective.

But from a social science perspective it seems it would need ethics attached.

Side note: I agree that equating paraphilias with sexual orientation is damaging. As a parent I feel it’s a shame that kink got blended with the pride parade—I tried to explain to my daughter that latex pride is not the same thing as gay pride and she said I was shaming them—I let it go but felt uneasy and determined to find a way to make sense of it.
 
I asked GPT if paedophiles are born that way. Its answer:

The origins of pedophilia are complex and not fully understood, involving a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. There is no consensus among researchers that pedophiles are necessarily "born that way" in the sense of having a predetermined sexual orientation towards children that is entirely genetic or innate from birth. Instead, the development of pedophilia is likely influenced by multiple factors:

1. Biological Factors: Some studies have found differences in brain structure and function among individuals with pedophilia. For example, certain areas of the brain that are involved in sexual arousal and impulse control may differ between pedophiles and non-pedophiles. However, it's not clear whether these differences are causes of pedophilia or a result of other factors.

2. Psychological Factors: Psychological factors, including early childhood experiences, personality traits, and developmental issues, can also play a role in the development of pedophilia. Some theories suggest that early sexual experiences or trauma may contribute to its development, though evidence is mixed and not conclusive.

3. Environmental Factors: Environmental influences, including experiences during childhood and adolescence, such as exposure to sexual content or abuse, may contribute to the development of pedophilic preferences. However, not all individuals who experience these factors develop pedophilia, indicating that environmental factors alone cannot explain its development.

It's important to distinguish between having pedophilic interests and acting on those interests. Many individuals with pedophilic interests never engage in illegal activities or harm children. Research and clinical efforts often focus on understanding the origins of these interests to develop effective treatments and interventions to prevent offending.

Given the sensitive and complex nature of this topic, ongoing research is crucial to deepen our understanding of the origins of pedophilia and to develop effective prevention and treatment strategies. It's also important to approach discussions on this topic with sensitivity and an understanding of the potential for harm to victims of child sexual abuse.


Interesting!
 
There are various studies that show that intervention does not stop reoffending. So, they don’t change.


there is also the ‘offending wheel’ or something like that, which is a theory/process that pedophiles
go through to justify their behaviour.

whether they or others want to call it a sexual orientation and to become helpless within it, is something that I think is perverse. and also, makes it about the peodophile rather than their victims. And peodphiles are very good manipulators. And this is another strand of that manipulation.
 
Anyway, what are your thoughts on whether pedophiles can become non-pedophiles?
The science I’ve read says no… even people who are so morally opposed to it that they castrate or chemically castrate themselves… still struggle

Science is always evolving, and always has outliers.

My personal experience says no. Full stop.
 
they are saying that if, say, 20% of pedophiles have a strong genetic predisposition (so much that it might even be able to be visible phenotypically) then it is being selected for.
I'm not necessarily sure that I buy this (and I am not sure if you do either or if you are just mentioning it as a Fun Fact heh.)
1) because it operates under the assumption that the objective function of evolution is a lot more intentional than it really is (which is kind of a misconception about how evolution, even in evolutionary biology, actually works)
and
2) if it did work that way, the fact that pedophilia is one of the most common mental disorders on planet Earth, would suggest that it is being selected for. Its existence would suggest that, because people are born with the neurological abnormalities that create the conditions for pedophilia

Just as people are born with the neurological predistortion
for SZPD or BPD or RAD etc.
Environment plays a role, but if those pre-existing factors didn't exist, then your likelihood of developing the illness is much lower

but something tells me that they don’t feel hurt by it unless they get caught
Its complex, for the record I have known many many pedos who are distressed by being pedophiles (including actively offending pedophiles) - I also know a lot of people with OCD self-identify as pedophiles, so its important to be aware that the account of the person ur speaking with could be unreliable

I think the notion that just because something is evolutionarily selected for means that it is somehow not an illness or not perverse is just wrong.
Because I think this is correct. A lot of the times, illnesses and disorders get swept up into clusters of other heritable traits and are kind of "along for the ride." So you may have clusters of completely unrelated things, where an abberation/disorder is also being passed down because of selectivity for something entirely different. Something being natural doesnt make it moral, natura non contristatur after all. Morality is a human construct, and since we are human beings, we are obligated to be moral

As a parent I feel it’s a shame that kink got blended with the pride parade
This one is complicated - pride parades are a direct result of activists such as Miss Major, etc -many of these activists were kinksters and sex workers, so kink has always been part of pride. Youd be kicking out the people who invented Pride. I went to every pride parade every year since I was 5 years old and I didn't see anything particularly damning, just a couple topless women and leather gays. Didn't do much damage to me, but who knows, maybe it's why I do have all these problems 😜

the issue is that people conflate events like Folsom with Pride Parades. Folsom isn't family friendly, mfs be walkin their subs like dogs in the street. But Pride, even with kink representation (such as sw rights, leather, symbolism, etc obviously not stuff thats over the line), is fine.

Pedophilia isnt a kink, as well, as mentioned, pedophilia is a paraphilic disorder. Kinks are harmless, paraphilias are harmful/disordered. Some ppl may have ageplay kinks, but if they only roleplay with adults, then theyre not pedophiles, its just a kink. As long as there is informed consent (which is a whole bag of worms and has potential for abuse, as do all relationships/behaviors) then its not particularly abhorrent/immoral (especially as tons of ppl into this, have a history of child sexual abuse themselves)

One final thing: people who have sex with kids or abuse kids sexually, also may not actually be pedophiles. They can be psychopaths, or sadists, or rapists who are committing crimes of opportunity or are obtaining gratification from sexual abuse of a kid that isnt sexual (such as trafficking, money, etc)
 
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whether they or others want to call it a sexual orientation and to become helpless within it, is something that I think is perverse
Yes, I think that doing so removes the responsibility from society and culture. I have heard that America is one of the most pedophile-friendliest nations in all of history.

I'm not necessarily sure that I buy this (and I am not sure if you do either or if you are just mentioning it as a Fun Fact heh.)
You are right, I don’t buy it, but having studied evolution in college I understand the argument. The reason I don’t buy it is that it ignores the last two hundred years of history and pretends that society and culture and politics play no role.
 
I have heard that America is one of the most pedophile-friendliest nations in all of history.
How on earth could someone even judge this? And not even bringing Ancient Greece and Rome into it, where pedophilia was common AND accepted.

I think there are some great people doing important work to keep children safe here in the USA, but they exist in the background. Meanwhile, you have some very popular people saying one particular political party is made up entirely of pedophiles. So the idea of a "pedophilia friendly" nation is entirely useless.

Let's not take all of our arguments off a cliff with black and white thinking.
 
I still am unsure whether I agree that many men are pedophilic through genes alone.
I'm not comfortable reading the literature right now, but would like to point out that men and women have the same types of traits in their genomes, not touching on epigenetics, environment, hormones, health, etc. When men are more predisposed to something, ESPECIALLY originating in the brain, than women, it is rarely through genes alone, even if some genes may not have become activated until exposed on the DNA or from under histomes.

I say this because people are using this argument to excuse female pedophiles as "doing a motherly role" and other similar arguments, and the argument that people with vaginas who becomes transmasculine and who decide to/can take testosterone are at risk for becoming abusive or pedophilic. The last one is an argument that's making it difficult for me to use public bathrooms right now, and I know you don't mean anything by it, so just wanted the bring the issue up because any topic about gender and pedophilia quickly ventures into such territories.

But even if a condition is genetic that does not mean it can’t be overcome, right?
There was a user here years ago who stopped coming on regularly after a cancer diagnosis (mentioned through her youtube, not through these forums). She hasn't been by in years (not sure if she survived or not) so I'll talk about her without bringing up the username. (If you know the username, you know, no need to bring in a name at this point.)

She had been raised in a cult with rituals involving beastiality. She regularly would ask questions or say concerning things about beastiality, including making threads about the fear of "accidentally" having sexual relations with a dog that was a service dog she was training (through uneducated methods, with little suggestibility on feeding suggestions or training methods). She regularly hinted in her diary or through threads on these forums that, especially when triggered, she was behaving sexually towards the dog, even going so far as to post threads about getting anxious while performing these acts to the point that the dog would go into service-dog trained mode, so to speak, and put a paw on her or do deep pressure activities, but also implying that this was an activity she hoped to be able to do normally without any fear of becoming more triggered. She would also imply that she had regularly been within potentially online-only beastiality forums/circles and found through her research that a crush on a dog was not a bad thing. I obviously cannot read this person's mind, but I feel this example can help you conceptualize this issue without as much confusion? If not, or if it's too upsetting, just ignore this portion.

Was the issue genetic? Hard to say. Especially with a history of trauma, and therefore a confirmed environmental factor, it is not necessarily possible or likely that we will get a definite answer to whether or not this was something she was genetically predisposed to have, or if her environment molded her.

When it comes to sexual orientation, I and many, many other people have had to defend their sexuality or gender. Straight people are often mocked for being gay, gay/bi/etc people are often accused to being traumatized into being gay, etc.

In fact, I've had the experience of a therapist trying to tell me that I would not have learned empathy if I had not been raised by my abusive father. That one REALLY upset me.

Obviously, the reason for this is that trauma does not change who you like or why. That's not the problem with trauma. People can be gay, straight, empathetic, sociopathic, etc from birth, potentially. The research is hard to say on this -- thankfully, because when autism was found to be potentially genetic, for example, the organization Autism Speaks, full of only people without autism, was created with the hope and goal of eliminating autism from the world forever. Thankfully, it's rarely that simple.

In "username's" case with the dog, it's hard to say what happened. Was she "genetically" (aka, born to be) attracted to dogs? Many zoophiles report being attracted specifically to one or two species at most and not having an attraction to others, according to scientific research. Some never develop an attraction towards humans at all. We can't know how every single zoophile was raised. And we can't ask early humans or just any humans throughout history about their beliefs and opinions on it, except for what little was recorded through history AND not destroyed or purposefully misinterpreted by modern, white archeologists in the 1800s or 1900s, for example.

Could her trauma have made her more likely to engage in the acts, especially as it was ritual abuse? Maybe. But we can't know for sure. Even if we could mindread, it's doubtful that "username" would have known, either. In fact, specifically arguing that it was natural and not something caused by trauma would have made her feel more in control about the trauma. It would only have been because of trauma if it were a legal argument to avoid legal repercussion, most likely, but we don't know that.

You may be able to see where I'm going here but I'll say it anyway -- the problem isn't zoophilia itself. The problem isn't pedophilia itself. The issue is safety. Yes, we can study all day and research others' research all year to find out whether it's genetic or a disorder or not. But that in itself is not the main issue.

Humans are naturally violent. Do we ever wonder if a murderer was predisposed to killing? Or do we assume that it would have been wiser to be in control of those emotions? It depends, but outside the military or police, or even self defense? It's generally not accepted, right?

Yes, it would be helpful to know if pedophilia is genetic or not, for treatment potentially, but it's unlikely we will find out in the near future. Our debates don't change how we see our trauma. Here's the thing -- pedophilia could have been perfectly natural once. It has been normalized before in multiple settings. In OUR society, it is frowned upon so much that even if it COULD be healthy, which is not something I'm comfortable debating, it sure isn't now. Typically when you hear about it, it is not normalized, and often even when it IS, such as a young boy being targeted by a female babysitter or teacher who is "hot," the boy still suffers affects from it. There's just often a lot less shame of a specific type that girls tend to get.

What does it mean if we found out that every pedophile was genetically "wired" to be that way? Would would it mean to you?

Would it be different if we found out tomorrow that every pedophile was raised to be one? Would it be different if every pedophile turned out to be environmentally pre-destined through something else? That it was secretly a sexual orientation and the sexual materity of all children has changed because of Christianity or something?

Just some thoughts. :)

Children is not a gender.
PREACH

There are various studies that show that intervention does not stop reoffending. So, they don’t change.
Most people won't admit to being pedophiles. So, most studies are done with prisoners who have already become incredibly unwell or lack empathy to an unhealthy degree already. It creates an odd bias, because yes, people who have already been unhealthy enough to damage themselves or other people are unlikely to have remorse to begin with. People who know better simply wouldn't do it, theoretically.

I have heard that America is one of the most pedophile-friendliest nations in all of history.
And not even bringing Ancient Greece and Rome into it, where pedophilia was common AND accepted.
That's what I was going to mention! Haha. Yeah, there is an uncomfortable degree allowed in certain situations in the United States, but it's better than it has ever been and still likely to improve. These situations were obviously negative. Ancient Greek pederasty is a complex subject.



Anyway, just wanted to chime in as a fellow survivor of assault.

The pedophile I knew and thought I was in a relationship with felt guilt. He may have been faking it to blackmail me, and/or guilt me into silence, yes, but there were times were it was incredibly clear that he was worried not just about the consequeses of if he got caught, but if he was a bad person for having hurt me. This was especially true if he had been drinking and wasn't sure what he had done. Part of it was the honeymoon cycle, but even accidental abuse is still serious to the person it's happening to.

I have wondered before if he had stayed away from alcohol, if the "relationship" would have worked out, and realized that the answer is no. I, as a child, wanted an adult's attention and respect and did not know I could say no, or that some of the things I was agreeing to would cause me longterm confusion or harm, with VERY little guidance from outsiders. The fact that society saw me, then seen as a girl (one of the only times I ever truly leaned into that gender), in a certain light made it much, much worse. I felt a sense of shame that I should not have had to deal with at that age.

The thing is, pedo was so worried about if he was causing harm that he genuinely failed to see where he was, or else was in flat out denial about it. Does it matter if he had good or bad intentions? No. It did not affect how it affected me. If we put him in the legal system right now, the intentions would not have merit. What WOULD is whether or not he did something that is not allowed legally in this country.

I specifically say "this country" because in some tribes and countries, it would have been legal for me to be married to him. Would that have made it less traumatic if I were from one of these places? No idea. I'd have to ask someone from one of those places. It sure doesn't seem like a good idea to me, though.

Pedo truly believed he had a sexual orientation that prevented him from connecting romantically or sexually with adults. He specifically guilted me, either on accident or with a specific intent or goal (it does not matter which), for being the child of a white man (he was native american) and insisted that his people would have been okay with this if it hadn't been for white people. I'm not sure fellow members of his nation would agree, but that is besides the point. I deserve a gold mansion and will never have one. If he deserves a child bride, unfortunately he won't have one (theoretically -- I would like to point out that once he let me go, he decided to move to China in order to marry a girl there, which was presumably done with at least temporary success).

It's easy to get stuck in the mud, but listen. Even someone who felt he would not be happy without a child in his life caused harm. He made decisions that hurt multiple women/girls. He may not have wanted to -- obviously that's up for interpretation -- but just the fact that I wanted to reassure him that it wasn't true was enough.

Most people, when worried, would simply choose to not have done the act to begin with.

Most people abused with the use of animals, like "username," would be shocked at the thought of continuing that cycle of abuse. Most would not try to make it work. It's an extremely difficult topic, but genetic or not, the issue is in the chosen actions and whether or not they caused harm.

If that helps at all. I know I'm not putting up a debate for whether it's genetic or not to be pedophilic, but I really feel that argument will get you stuck in the weeds forever, like I constantly am. I am constantly worried about that pedo and my role in his life. But the fact that I feel dirty about it when I think on it and wish I hadn't gotten caught up in an adult's life at a vulnerable time in my life tells me a lot.

As does that one "username." Multiple people warned her to back off the dog and try to talk it through with therapists or online, but she was so defensive about how the dog couldn't stay at a friend's for a while that it came across as she had a right to this animal's genitals. And that wasn't true -- and the unknowns of whether or not it MIGHT hurt the doggo should have been more heavility considered than it was, rather than simply becoming defensive, right?

Just wanted to put it out there. Hope this entire thing is helpful to someone. It's a difficult subject to talk about.





Edit to add: there aren't a lot of resources for pedophiles who don't want to commit a crime, but here's something else I didn't mention that's important. First of all, there are forums out there, protected, specifically for these adults who are in need of validation and support because they are disturbed by their attractions. And second of all, if you love someone and respect them as an equal, do you risk hurting them?

In my opinion, and something that has helped me cope for years: If that pedo loved children so much, why did he have sex with one? Was that necessary? Would he have died if he had refrained?

No one ever HAS to have sex. For some people, a relationship without sex can be difficult or impossible. But if that person was not in a relationship and had no access to sex workers or friends with benefits or one night stands, would that person die? Is masturbation with fantasies not enough to prevent that potential negative? And, if so, can no roleplay work, no fictional story, absolutely nothing? No way to cope at all that doesn't involve involving someone else? If I wanted to sleep with a mermaid, for instance, would I would die?

I personally can't even stand the thought of leaving people upset in a simple conversation. I would never sleep with anyone who might not know what they're getting in to.
 
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How on earth could someone even judge this?
Sexualization of girls is a significant problem in America and has spread with globalization. It’s so entrenched that it is often not noticed or dismissed by people exposed to it.

Report of the APA task force on the sexualization of girls

United States has by some estimates the highest rates of child sex trafficking in the world, most of those trafficked children are girls.

Child trafficking by country 2024

A historical review of child sexual abuse in America concluded that American law had failed to focus on pedophilia for three main reasons: 1) slow to realize that it’s wrong and hurts the victims, 2) experts attempting to understand it have “shown more understanding for the perpetrators than the victims, overemphasizing victims’ resilience and minimizing the abuser’s responsibility and the corporate cultures and institutional arrangements that facilitate abuse.” And 3) bureaucratic institutions outside of the public eye have “consistently dealt with sexual abuse by denying its reality, ignoring its existence, claiming that it is an anomaly and an aberration, castigating accusers, and failing to hold perpetrators to account.”

I think comparing American/Westernized pedophilia to the Greco-Roman practice of pederasty is a strawman approach. While as a modern person I agree that a 12-18 yo boy should not be required to be a lover of a man in order to earn his education, I am aware that in those days there was nothing shameful about it. Modern pedophilia is deeply shameful and some people are hysterical about it while others don’t care. Men (80-90% of pedophiles are men) rape infants and toddlers and sell the videos online. Girls are given Bratz dolls dressed in bikinis and fishnets for Christmas gifts and wear thong underwear and pants that say juicy on the butt. Children have unlimited access to violent porn as soon as they can search for it on an unlocked computer or phone. The problem is worse than it’s ever been because capitalism runs on desire and Internet access is unregulated.
 
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