In my previous post I argued that pedophiles should be assumed to be as variable as any other group of people.
One very important question is how pedophiles relate to children they are attracted to. Since we know so little about celibate pedophiles, we have to use indirect methods. For a baseline of comparison, I think it's fair to look at how teleiophiles (ordinary folks) relate to the people they are attracted to. And I'd like to pick just one case from among the array of possibilities, though it is an important case. I'd like to compare 18-year-old boys who are attracted to 18-year-old girls with pedophilic 18-year-old boys who are attracted to 9-year-old girls.
This is a speculative post. I have no studies to cite. I don't recall ever seeing anyone else take this perspective. It comes entirely from my own intuition.
What are the different ways that an 18-year-old boy relates to women he is attracted to?
A very few will engage in premeditated rape. A few others might rape a woman on impulse -- not planning it but not stopping in an arousing situation such as a date. They're all rapists.
Some would not rape but would feel free to deliberately lie or deceive to get a woman into bed. Others might be deceiving themselves at the same time they deceive the women. All they're interested in is the sex. I will call those types deceivers.
Yet there are others -- and my intuition is that it is a large group, maybe half of the total? -- who are interested in what a woman wants and developing a relationship built on mutual communication and trust. They might not pass up short-term sexual opportunities, but even those should be based on mutual honesty, not deception. What they really want are long-term relationships. If there's to be sex, it's important to them that their girlfriend be genuinely interested too -- they want everything to be good from her point of view too. I'll call them relational.
Finally there are some men who are too shy or lack the confidence to pursue women at all. Let's call them wallflowers.
My working assumption is that 18-year-old pedophiles will cover the same range of attitudes and inclinations. However, the results may differ greatly because 9-year-old girls are quite different from 18-year-old women.
I assume the pedophile analogs of rapists will be rapists too.
Pedophile deceivers will more easily deceive girls because 9-year-olds are generally far less savvy. But there is a big problem: whereas 18-year-old women are very interested in sex under the right circumstances, hardly any 9-year-old girls are. Even if they think their 18-year-old friend loves them passionately and would stay with them forever, hardly any are interested in sexual activity. (These men may be much more likely to succeed with 13-year-olds if we were considering that age group -- but that's not part of this post.) Having no interest, many girls will decline. Others will consent to sexual activity as a favor or payback because the man is nice to them in other ways, and may later regret it when they understand what happened in its broader context. Another big difference is that pedophile deceivers know they would be committing a very serious crime. The consequences if the girls tell on them will be enormous. That may deter a great many. The ordinary 18-year-old has no such fears and may be admired among his peers for his conquests.
Then we come to the relational pedophiles. They will often form genuine friendships with girls -- online pedophiles report this a lot. They might at some level crave sexual activity, but they take the girl's point of view. They know she doesn't understand the full context of any such activity and wouldn't really be into it, so they will abstain. If they needed any extra impetus, the fear of very serious consequences in case of discovery will deter them.
And, to complete the picture, wallflower pedophiles will steer clear of young girls.
Now I suggest some adjustments.
The wallflower pedophile group may be expanded by men who are horrified at their attractions and hate themselves. It may be expanded by men who don't want to be friendly with girls for fear of being suspected of being pedophiles. It also might gain many members from men who would find it frustrating to have a friendship with a girl and know it could never be a full-blown romantic and sexual relationship. Together, I can see those three groups causing a dramatic increase in the wallflower count.
Ordinary guys who are on the edge between being deceivers and relational may stay on the relational end in any given case because they can form a satisfying relationship with some other woman. Pedophiles in that gray zone might go over the line into being deceivers because there is no "right girl". For the same reason, some pedophile deceivers may go over the line into being rapists.
Only the rapists and the deceivers who are not deterred by consequences will abuse girls. Among them will be all the pedophile abusers -- not just those who are caught and show up in front of sex abuse professionals. Deceivers who are deterred by consequences will not abuse, nor will relational pedophiles nor of course will wallflowers. Judging from the size of those groups among ordinary 18-year-olds, it suggests that a great many pedophiles will remain celibate.
Conclusions from this analysis come from evaluating a jumble of competing considerations -- including undoubtedly some I'm not thinking of. And while it's not clear how everything sorts itself out, I think it is a useful framework. It's quite different from the perspective of someone who has only met offenders and tries to expand their point of view enough to include non-offenders.
In such a speculative post there is plenty of room for differing opinions and points of view, and I hope people will weigh in.