Monday, September 19, 2016

Should pedophiles talk online?

This post was inspired by a quote in the Virtuous Pedophiles support group:

"I've hear MANY people (who didn't know they were talking to a pedophile at the time) say that pedophiles being able to talk about their attractions among one another will only lead to us all feeding into each other's desires. They think it will snowball more and more if pedophiles have a space where we can anonymously talk to each other, and will make us certain to offend because it'll normalize the thoughts and behaviors for us."

I've heard this argument many times myself, and I'm not sure if I've addressed it directly in this blog (and if I have, perhaps there's little harm in doing so again -- imagine a blogger raising the same issue twice!)

The argument is remarkably similar to the idea that providing sex education to young people will make them go out and have sex. The idea that teenagers live in a state of purity where they know to resist any urges they may feel and finding out more about sex in practical terms will only encourage them to act on them. I believe the actual results are that those without sex education have sex just as often but not safe sex so the rates of unintended pregnancy and STIs are higher. The progressive policies of the Netherlands are contrasted with those of other countries such as the US, for instance.

On the other hand, you could argue that going to meetings of white supremacists and seeking out the ideology does make a person more likely to accept those beliefs and perhaps even do bad things. There is a legitimate reason to discourage people from attending such meetings.

So which is pedophilia more like, white supremacism (?) or ordinary vanilla sexuality?

Those who post in Virtuous Pedophiles overwhelmingly believe that it is far more like ordinary sexuality -- the desires are there, the thoughts will not be suppressed by force of will, and the question is how to deal with them appropriately. A thoughtful defense of the "by talking they will enable each other" relies on the idea that in fact pedophilic desires are just chosen and if we don't talk about them with each other they will not grow. Allegedly it is just like white supremacism, which is not a force within us dying to find expression. Feeding that ideology is likely to make it grow.

Drawing a parallel between pedophilia and ordinary sex education may strike people as alarming. But you can calm your alarm. In ordinary sex education, people learn of the absolute requirement to find partners who are conscious and willing and not subject to coercion -- and legal. We learn the same in a VP-style group, it's just that the set of partners available to us is -- the empty set. There are none.

In progressive sex education there is a pro-sex part -- how to do sex safely if you decide to do it. There is also a negative part. People should feel free to abstain if their own religious or moral code requires it. And people learn to honor the strength of their desires but to make sure not to coerce partners and not engage in sex if either party is drunk or otherwise impaired in judgement. We in VP-style groups can learn the same negative messages. We learn that minors and especially prepubescents are always impaired in judgement on such matters.

The effect of pedophiles talking to each other in groups where pro-legalization opinions -- maybe even pro-contact opinions -- are common is not clear. I'm not aware of any studies. On the one hand they should feel less alone and more supported and so less likely to do things they know are illegal -- and avoid coercive relationships that they also believe are wrong. On the other I suppose some might be emboldened to act with willing children -- you hear stories. Yet the control group there is those who aren't in any such group -- did the group embolden them to act or would they have acted anyway? In any case, such groups where pro-legalization opinions are common have been with us for 15 years or more and are not going away.

The answer to the question regarding the Virtuous Pedophiles group is clear to me: when we talk online it is a way to keep children safe as well as to make pedophiles more content with their lives.



5 comments:

  1. I think this goes back to the belief that groups of pedophiles are all trading tips on how to molest children. I have never seen a group act in such a way online.

    VirPed has actually made me more humble about my pedophilic tendencies. I don't brag about it anymore, as I now know the danger to such behavior. I am now more cautious about telling people. I am even more empathetic towards those who hate pedophiles and those who have been harmed by pedophiles.

    As far as offending? I think it has played its part in me not offending, alongside getting therapy and support from family.

    This whole idea that VirPed emboldens people to offend is like saying going to therapy and talking about it emboldens you to offend. It's simply people so scared they're not thinking clearly. The media has spun a narrative that all pedophiles are offenders. People are scared out there, and I bet many of them were abused as well. I think the mainstream media is to blame for this moral panic...People mean well, but they're not thinking straight.

    I wish society well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. * why would you ever brag or boast about being a pedophile? It's similar to boasting about masturbating to pictures of dead animals or something more deviant where the victim can't consent . I think this is why so many people fear pedophiles and for good reason.
      *
      * Pro contact pedophiles actually would be so inclined to share tips of conquest , there is always a good and bad side to everything.
      *
      * You also have to think about if you were a father and your friend said to you that he was a pedophile and your daughter or son happened to be at his preferred age range, sometimes temptation is too great. Why put your kids in a position like that or any young person for that matter.

      It seems that pedophiles tend to put their needs before their victims, obviously pedophiles who don't offend are different but the reason they would seek out a young person or underage person is still uncomfortable. All it takes is one instance of weakness and it could be detrimental.

      Delete
    2. @Skull and bones.

      Magnus identifies as autistic, and that perspective is sometimes helpful in reading his posts.

      "If you were a father..." I am a father, though my girls are grown. Here are the two situations you should be comparing: my friend who tells me about his attractions, and the same friend who doesn't tell me. It might make me uncomfortable to have him tell me, but my kids are probably safer that way. Most pedos today would probably not tell even if they are clear in being non-offending. (I don't think this has anything to do with my base post).

      "It seems that [child sex abusers] tend to put their needs before their victims". That's kind of obvious, though for a seemingly willing child they may convince themselves otherwise.

      "All it takes is one instance of weakness and it could be detrimental." I suppose. In many cultures unrelated men and women never are alone together unless they're married. Maybe it does deter a few relationships that those societies frown upon, but I think the extra freedom we in the west have is well worth it. If you think of a non-offending pedophile as a person whose happiness might be worth a little something, then innocent friendships have a value.

      Delete
    3. @Skull and bones - Let's start by what we agree on. I do not think, at least for me, that befriending children is a good idea, unless they are family. Even then, I can't remember the last time I was alone with a child. Nowadays, I avoid children unless they are family, and even then, I am careful and am not alone with them. I disagree with Ethan, and I believe pedophiles should ALWAYS put the child's needs first. If that means living like a hermit, so be it.

      On your point on me as a father. I tend to agree that I would be wary of someone bragging about pedophilia around even a child I was attracted to. I tend to feel protective of children, and that drives my behavior more than my sex drive.

      Ethan is right. I am autistic. That, however, is not an excuse for my past behavior. In retrospect, I see how bragging about sexual fantasies about children is distasteful, and in fact morally wrong (think of all the victims that would be triggered). I think you're right that bragging about pedophilia is like bragging about something like necrophilia. I think it is worse, because with pedophilia, there are actually people out there who were hurt by pedophiles, and they don't need to be reminded of that...So, I don't brag anymore. Let's let the past be in the past.

      Delete
  2. * why would you ever brag or boast about being a pedophile? It's similar to boasting about masturbating to pictures of dead animals or something more deviant where the victim can't consent . I think this is why so many people fear pedophiles and for good reason.
    *
    * Pro contact pedophiles actually would be so inclined to share tips of conquest , there is always a good and bad side to everything.
    *
    * You also have to think about if you were a father and your friend said to you that he was a pedophile and your daughter or son happened to be at his preferred age range, sometimes temptation is too great. Why put your kids in a position like that or any young person for that matter.

    It seems that pedophiles tend to put their needs before their victims, obviously pedophiles who don't offend are different but the reason they would seek out a young person or underage person is still uncomfortable. All it takes is one instance of weakness and it could be detrimental.

    ReplyDelete