Michael Seto is a friend of celibate pedophiles. In a world where many people assume we are monsters, he does not. In a world where many scientists will not speak outside of the mainstream punitive view against pedophiles, he will tell the truth as he sees it, including that sentences for child sex abuse perpetrators and those possessing CP are too severe and that investigating CP possession and online solicitation are poor uses of limited police resources.
But his writing still reveals a skepticism about us. Since I just read his book, he's in my thoughts. Perhaps I would see more extreme versions from other scientists.
A few quotes: "Can pedophiles be entirely abstinent, eschewing even their preferred child pornography?" My reaction is: Why on earth is that even a question? Does anyone doubt the existence of men who rarely look at ordinary pornography? Even though it is legal? There are still a great many men even in the developed world who don't even have private internet access.
"A pedo-hebephilic individual who is sufficiently antisocial to overcome the social and legal prohibitions against sex with a child is likely to engage in both forms of offending. A pedohebephilic individual who is low in antisocial tendencies may engage in child pornography offending but is unlikely to commit contact offenses. Finally, a pedohebephilic individual who is high in self-control, low in sex drive, and living a life with strong family, social, and community ties may not act illegally at all."
The bar of skepticism is very high here. If everything is perfect, then there MIGHT exist an individual who does not act illegally at all? I would suggest it is highly likely that such an individual will not act illegally. And what about the man who is so-so in self-control, high in sex drive, and living by himself? Could we not imagine that a great many such men might also not act illegally at all?
The passage continues: "This does not mean an entirely abstinent life because this last group of pedophilic individuals may still fantasize and masturbate about sex with children or may view legal images of children that they find to be sexually arousing (e.g., images of children in underwear or swimsuits), but it does not mean criminality."
It certainly sounds like he still feels these men (including me) are doing wrong. Let's instead start from the premise that pedophiles, like everyone else, deserve the right to the pursuit of happiness. Pedophiles' pursuit is of course limited by the need to not infringe on children's happiness, but here there are no children being harmed -- not even viewing past abuse. Since pedophiles are people with an unfortunate sexual orientation, wouldn't private, legal sexual fantasies be what you would want for them if you have any compassion? He holds the view that pedophiles viewing CP are slightly more likely to abuse children, and perhaps he thinks fantasizing to legal pictures might possibly have the same effect. But he seems unable to get out of the mindset that their potential to abuse children is by far the most important attribute of celibate pedophiles. I do not dismiss even one extra crime as unimportant. But for instance a night curfew of poor urban young men (with no criminal history) would surely do far more to reduce crime -- and it's unthinkable to do that.
There's a reason he doesn't write much about totally law-abiding pedophiles -- neither he nor any other scientist knows much of anything about us. But I can dream of a short section like this that could have been included in his book:
"This book has focused on pedophiles who commit either contact offenses against children or CP offenses or both. We can say very little about those who commit no offenses at all, because we scientists never meet them. There might be very few of them. But it is entirely possible that there is a large group of pedophiles -- perhaps larger than the group of lawbreakers -- who never break the law. They may masturbate to thoughts of children or legal pictures of children -- fulfilling their natural human sexual desires in the best way they can that is ethical and harms no one else. Their inability to have fully satisfying sex lives is likely to be distressing to them, and they deserve our sympathy and respect."
As I've said, Seto is a friend of celibate pedophiles.
And he is far from alone. Michael Bailey is now one of our most sympathetic supporters, and as of a few years ago he believed that almost all pedophiles eventually molest children. He is notably open-minded on most sexuality topics, but apparently the evidence or the imagination (?) just is very hard to come by even for receptive scientists.