Friday, August 19, 2011

Feminste and the recent "pedophilia conference"

Earlier this week, Salon ran an article called Redefining pedophilia with pedophiles' help about a symposium held this Wednesday in Baltimore (not Boston) called Pedophilia, Minor-Attracted Persons, and the DSM: Issues and Controversies that was organized by B4U-ACT, a 501(c)(3) organization with aims to make compassionate mental health care available for minor attracted people.

Because there has been a lot of misinformation about the symposium swirling about, B4U-ACT recently posted on their website a more accurate version. It opens:
The purpose of B4U-ACT's August 17 symposium in Baltimore was to contribute to a more comprehensive and accurate DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) by bringing together a range of clinicians, researchers, academics, and minor-attracted persons to discuss key issues regarding the entry for pedophilia. This was successfully accomplished, as 38 people participated by listening intently to stimulating presentations and contributing to lively discussions.

B4U-ACT’s position is that the DSM should be based on accurate information about people in the general population. It should be "sensitive to the needs of clinicians and their patients" (as advocated by the American Psychiatric Association, or APA). Minor-attracted people should be involved in its revision (also advocated by the APA).

B4U-ACT believes that everyone benefits when a variety of reasoned perspectives is heard. Therefore, speakers were allowed to express their views freely and openly. B4U-ACT does not necessarily endorse all of the views expressed. Our policy of free and open expression is in support of the APA's position that DSM revisions should involve input from "diverse perspectives, disciplines, and areas of expertise," and that "patient and family" groups be involved. Speakers and attendees specialized in psychiatry, ethics, psychology, philosophy, social work, linguistics, and gender studies.


Blogger Kristin Rawls authored a very prejudiced and misleading guest post on feministe.us called Salon Flubs Reporting on Child Predators. The author's motivation is clearly stated at the beginning:
I had an emotional—even a visceral—response to the article that I discuss here.

What this actually means is that because she had strong feelings, moral indignation is an acceptable substitute for actual facts and representing a group based prejudice-based stereotypes are an acceptable substitute for understanding actual human beings.

In terms of even basic factual issues, it can't even correctly identify the city the symposium took place in (it was in Baltimore, not Boston. B4U-ACT is based in Maryland--not Massachusetts--a fact that is very obvious to anyone who actually bothers to read their website. At the bottom, Rawls says:
*Speaking of which: Residents of Boston, had you heard that there’s a big pedophile convention going on in your town?

It was a one day symposium with 38 people in attendance.

The title demonstrates the assumption that "child predators" is a perfectly acceptable substitute for "people attracted to children." Now, the fact of the matter is that a large portion of MAPs obey the law. How many, we do not know for a number of reasons. First, if an MAP commits a horrific crime, it makes the news. If they abide by the law, we never hear about it. If they are actively working to help people in their communities, we never hear about it. Because of the truly hateful stereotypes about them, the vast majority are afraid to admit their attractions to anyone (even if they are law-abiding). The result is that most of us know virtually nothing about real-live MAPs and rely instead on images we get from sensation media reporting. Second, virtually all research on this population is based on people in the criminal justice system (which systematically excludes law-abiding individuals. A major reason for this is that the alternative is almost politically impossible in Anglo-America, although I hear that there's some important research on the subject coming out in Germany.) If you portray them as human beings, you'll take a lot of shit for it. Third, mandatory reporting laws make it unethical for researchers to ask the necessary questions to find out how many abide by the law.

People do not choose to be attracted to children any more than people choose to be attracted (or not) to men or women, or both or neither. We live in a society where MAPs, when coming to understand their attractions, only find images of "people like themselves" as being monsters, predators. (If you want to understand the effects this can have, go read pp. 4-7 of Understanding and addressing adult sexual attraction to children: A study of paedophiles in contemporary society by Sarah Goode.)

Later in the Rawls article, we find more hateful stereotypes:
To her credit, the author does hint at the fact that the conference might serve as a place for pedophiles to conspire and swop tips[about whatever it is she imagines they do]

Right, just like when Jewish people get together they swap tips on how to swindle people, or how when black men get together they swap tips on how to rape white women. (To justify this claim, there is a post from the website boychat, but it is interpreted through prejudicial lenses rather than by trying to actually understand. Having a YF [young friend] need not imply any sexual relationship. In fact, I know one MAP who finds that having boys in his live is a major part of how he refrains from acting sexually with them--his attraction isn't just sexual, it is also emotional, spiritual, and a number of other things. By focusing on the other forms of attraction, he is able to sublimate his sexual desires.)

At the end of the article Rawl's agenda becomes clear:

All I know is: Cue the Christian Right, because they’re about to be all over this story. I begged Cara to let me write this because we need to start talking about it before they pick it up and use it as one more piece of ammunition in their crusade against basic civil rights—and against families and children. We’re going to have to keep saying it until it no longer needs to be said: Gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans*, queer: These are not—and never will be—synonyms for “pedophile.”

First of all, if Rawls had actually done any research on this (and I'm talking about doing a search in google news), she would have found an article in the Daily Caller from Monday, Conference aims to normalize pedophilia, in which the person quoted more than any other actually condemns empathy.

Rawls point', boilled down to its core, is that treating people attracted to children as human beings in bad for her politics, and so feminists must rise up and dehumanize them. Attempts to get to know them as people (which this symposium provided opportunities for during lunch, breaks, and discussion periods) must be condemned. I do hope that this call to dehumanization is actively resisted.

To end this already long post, I'll post the entire piece that B4U-ACT has issued the following on their website:
Statement on August 17 Symposium

The purpose of B4U-ACT's August 17 symposium in Baltimore was to contribute to a more comprehensive and accurate DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) by bringing together a range of clinicians, researchers, academics, and minor-attracted persons to discuss key issues regarding the entry for pedophilia. This was successfully accomplished, as 38 people participated by listening intently to stimulating presentations and contributing to lively discussions.

B4U-ACT’s position is that the DSM should be based on accurate information about people in the general population. It should be "sensitive to the needs of clinicians and their patients" (as advocated by the American Psychiatric Association, or APA). Minor-attracted people should be involved in its revision (also advocated by the APA).

B4U-ACT believes that everyone benefits when a variety of reasoned perspectives is heard. Therefore, speakers were allowed to express their views freely and openly. B4U-ACT does not necessarily endorse all of the views expressed. Our policy of free and open expression is in support of the APA's position that DSM revisions should involve input from "diverse perspectives, disciplines, and areas of expertise," and that "patient and family" groups be involved. Speakers and attendees specialized in psychiatry, ethics, psychology, philosophy, social work, linguistics, and gender studies.

This kind of scholarly interaction is necessary in light of the numerous unresolved issues raised about the proposed DSM revisions by scholars, researchers, and minor-attracted people. Controversy has arisen over scientific issues, conceptual issues, the purpose of the DSM (to promote mental health vs. social control), and consequences of the DSM entry for society and the people being diagnosed. Information about these controversies can be found at:
http://b4uact.org/science/symp/2011/refs.htm#crit
http://www.asexualexplorations.net/home/paraphilia_bibliography

Speakers addressed a diverse range of crucial issues related to the DSM, and discussion was lively. Keynote speaker Dr. Fred Berlin (of Johns Hopkins University) provided a conceptual overview of pedophilia from a psychiatric viewpoint, and argued in favor of acceptance of and compassion for people who are attracted to minors, while at the same time rejecting adult-minor sexual activity. Dr. John Sadler (University of Texas) argued that diagnostic criteria for mental disorders should not be based on concepts of vice since such concepts are subject to shifting social attitudes and doing so diverts mental-health professionals from their role as healers. Dr. Nancy Potter (University of Louisville) analyzed the concept of "uptake"--that is, genuine listening--and argued that by giving uptake to minor-attracted people, those revising the DSM would strengthen DSM-5 and contribute to more ethical treatment, but that minor-attracted people must exhibit accuracy and sincerity in their testimony. Dr. Lisa Cohen (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) presented data on the psychological correlates of pedophilia based on forensic samples, and argued that use of non-forensic samples would help researchers separate factors related to feelings of attraction from those related to behavior, and support the development of improved diagnostic systems.

In the afternoon, Dr. Renee Sorrentino (Harvard Medical School) discussed legal, ethical, and medical consequences of the proposed DSM-5 entry for pedohebephilia. Andrew Hinderliter (University of Illinois) argued that the medicalization of social deviance blurs the boundary between the helping professions and the criminal justice system, creating the potential for psychiatry to become a means of controlling undesirables, rather than an agent of healing. Jacob Breslow (London School of Economics and Political Science) challenged assumptions about minors and sexuality which currently underlie policymaking and the DSM. Richard Kramer (the only speaker representing B4U-ACT), analyzed sources of stigma in the DSM, presented survey data regarding MAPs' feelings of stigma, and provided recommendations for revising the DSM to reduce stigma.

B4U-ACT is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes communication and collaboration among minor-attracted persons, mental health professionals, and researchers. Its mission is to increase the availability of accurate information about minor-attracted persons and mental health services that focus on their mental health needs. Inaccurate negative stereotypes force minor-attracted people into hiding, leave young adolescents who are attracted to children hopeless with nowhere to turn, and do nothing to protect children. We have received emails from teenagers as young as 15 who were engaged in self-harming behavior or threatening suicide, and could talk to no one about it, because they were attracted to children. Making welcoming, informed, and empathetic mental health services available is the goal of B4U-ACT.

For more details about the symposium, see http://b4uact.org/science/symp/2011/index.htm. Please direct any questions to Richard Kramer at rkramer@b4uact.org.


For anyone reading this who isn't a regular reader of my blog, my name is on that list. I know what actually went on at the symposium because I was there. And it bears little resemblance to the vast majority of reporting I’ve seen on the matter.

(Comment: Since originally posting this article, I’ve edited and moved some stuff around, but the content remains mostly the same.)

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you ACH. It's nice to know that there are people in the world such as you.

GKC said...

Having a sexual attraction to children means having an attraction to rape. You can’t, under any circumstances, have consensual sex with a child. By default, any sexual interaction that involves a child is rape. Wanting to have sex with children is wanting to rape.


What is your view on this argument?

Anonymous said...

The article makes several other errors that I noticed including not understanding how most Internet news sites, especially the larger ones work. I don't think Salon "assigned" this story to anyone. I think the reporter chose it because it was a topic she was interested in.

ACH said...

GKC, I saw similar arguments in the comments on the feminste page, and in context they seemed to function to make people feel justified in hating people simply for having certain feelings. Basically, it seems to be, "Simply having these feelings means that you want to rape children, and if you want to rape children, then you're evil, and so I can condemn you as much as I want without even attempting in the least to understand you."

The argument is utter nonsense.

If there's someone you want to have sex with and they don't want to have sex with you, is this wanting to rape them? No. Having sex with someone who does not want sex with you is rape. Wanting to have sex with someone who does not want to have sex with you is not "wanting to rape them."

Furthermore, studies that have examined people's sexual fantasies have found that fantasies about sexual coercion (both coercing someone and being coerced) are very common. However, the large majority of people are perfectly capable of understanding the difference between fantasy and reality. The argument you propose seems to obliterate this distinction. (Or more likely, obliterate it for this population, but accept it just fine for other populations--i.e. the ones regarded as fully human.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sticking up for us , ACH. I'm glad you try to understand us unlike the people who vehemently attack us.

I wish I could come out and tell everyone the truth about who I am but right now that's not possible. Most people wouldn't understand. I could lose my job, my family and everything.

It's too dangerous for us to come out of the shadows right now. That's why we really need people like you who can help give us a voice.

GKC said...

"Having sex with someone who does not want sex with you is rape. Wanting to have sex with someone who does not want to have sex with you is not "wanting to rape them.""

Cant you see that you are contradicting yourself?. You say

Having A is B

But then

Wanting to have A is not wanting to have B

Your "argument" is self-contradictory. I think the main problem of it is that you are assuming that children dont want to have sex...

ACH said...

GKC, I'm not entirely clear on the point that you're trying to make. The "wanting to rape someone" argument I made was intended to be focus on the case of adults (where emotions don't tend to run as high).

On it's surface, my logic does seem problematic, but I think it's still OK for two reasons. First, I'm objecting to the "wanting to rape" language--I think it's incendiary but is describing something that is so utterly normal, unavoidable, and often unproblematic that it cannot possibly be worth of condemnation (having non-reciprocated sexual desire.)

Second (and a point I hadn't made earlier) is that wanting to have sex with someone who doesn't want to have sex with you is not wanting to rape them--generally, A wants to have sex with B, and A wants B to want to have sex with A (even if B doesn't). In this case, A wants the sex to be consensual, as so cannot be said to want to rape B.

Now, onto the issue of children wanting to have sex, this is another point on which I find the argument in the second comment to be problematic (but I hadn't mentioned this before as it's a whole 'nother can of worms). I think that the use of the term "rape" is problematic in the argument in the second comment. In this context, it combines into one category two very different things. In research ethics, a distinction is made between assent (being a willing participant), and [informed] consent (being a willing participant who is considered to be sufficient informed and legally capable of providing consent, in which age is generally taken as a proxy for a certain level of maturity.)

Under this logic, sex can be non-consensual in one (or more) of two ways: it can be non-assentual or the person can be deemed incapable of giving consent (regardless of whether they assent.) There are cases of adult-child sex that are experienced as being very harmful to the child. And there are also cases (with much less visibility) where the sexual contact is felt at the time and in retrospect to have been a positive experience. (And the research suggests that assent vs. non-assent is relevant here.) And there are cases where the child initiates. Is a situation where a child initiates a sexual encounter with an adult and the adult reciprocates (rather than saying "no" as they are legally required to do) basically just like forcing someone to have sex against their will?

The use of "rape" strikes me as being rather like the whole "abortion is murder" line. You get pro-lifers who insist that taking a morning after pill, which can prevent a zygote from being implanted in the uterine wall, is abortion. And abortion is murder. But is taking a morning-after pill basically just like breaking into someone's house and shooting them in the face? Not really, but the rhetoric gets people up in arms.

But it doesn't help understand the complexity that is actually found in reality (and yet understanding such complexity is absolutely vital for having informed public policy.)

Also on the question of children wanting to have sex, a very important issue is what is meant by "children." We're currently in a situation where puberty is happening earlier and earlier, but that "childhood" is being extended longer and longer--for instance, the UN defines "children" as anyone under the age of 18.

miller said...

Lots of my gay friends are attracted to men who happen to be straight, and therefore would not consent. That doesn't mean they want to rape people.

Lots of people have rape fantasies involving people their own age. That doesn't mean they want to rape people or be raped.

What it means is they want something they know is ethically wrong. So either they have to find a healthy way to express it (eg role playing) or do without.

Anonymous said...

@miller: You said "What's possibly more upsetting is the suggestion that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles, and their victims more likely to become homosexual."

So you defend gays but thinks that pedophiles rape children.

Do you think that homophobia is wrong but pedophobia is ok?

ACH said...

@Most-recent-anonymous, if you intend to start a fight, please at least use some means of distinguishing between you and the other anonymous's above.

miller said...

@anonymous 9:35 pm
You are attributing a view to me that I have not expressed, and which I would actually oppose. As far as the quote you pulled from my blog archives, I very well do think it is upsetting for people to make incorrect claims in order to attack a group. I would also suggest that using pedophilia as a means to attack groups is a form of pedophobia in itself.

Anonymous said...

@ ACH:

In addition to the question of what is meant by "children," there is also the problem of how "having sex" is being defined. Are we talking about "playing doctor?" Self or mutual masturbation? Oral sex? Sexual intercourse?

The argument some people make that "all children are asexual innocents" commits the same logical fallacy as "all children are sexual beings from birth." It fails to see children as people, and thus varied.

By the time I was five years old, I was masturbating (to orgasm) at least once a day; some people never masturbate once in their entire life. Not all straight men are attracted to large breasts on women. Some people have no interest in oral sex. Conflicts arise in relationships due differing libidos. Some people like rock music, others like rap music. And so on.

Finally, thank you for your rational approach, ACH. Our society is very much in need of a real debate on these issues, which has far too long been dominated by one side. Failing to listen to victims of childhood sexual abuse is indeed an injustice. But, so is failing to listen to those whose childhood experiences were positive. (The section on "uptake" is quite pertinent here!)

ACH said...

I remember at one of the breaks during the symposium, I was talking with a couple other people, one of whom was involved in the "treatment" of sex offenders, and they made a comment about the sort of conversations they sometimes find themself in, offering the following hypothetical dialogue.

Clinician: 8-year olds cannot consent to sex.

SO: When I was 8, I had a sexual relationship with an adult, and I consented.

Clinician: No, you did not consent.

Even though it was just a hypothetical dialogue (intended to be representative of a lot of conversations), there's so much going on in it. And I have difficulty imagining either side finding the other's arguments convincing.

Anonymous said...

Hi ACH. I'm the same anonymous as above.

It's a conundrum, isn't it? An over-willingness to believe anything people say is obviously a problem. Never believing is a problem as well.

What if the speaker really is telling the truth, and no one is listening? I've seen stories where zealous investigators simply won't take "no, nothing happened" as an answer from a child. There are children out there who have been coerced by police (who think they are breaking down "denial") into falsely accusing loved ones. Big headlines are made, names and pictures are published, and one-paragraph retractions are printed in obscure corners.

In regards to the symposium, the fallout in the right-wing press is amusing and disgusting at the same time. I saw a news blog post citing Judith Reisman as spokeswoman for B4U-ACT. Which is just...Wow.

ACH said...

I've read about the McMartin Preschool horror story/travesty of justice. They verbally and emotionally abuse children who deny having been sexually abused, and then when the children finally "confess" they get hugs and, "Oh, I'm so proud of you for telling the truth." Where, "the truth" is what the interrogator just told them to agree with.

And then Oprah and others have these great big, "Believe the children" campaigns. (Of course, the problem would have never occurred if the interviewers had believed the children in the first place.)

Personally, I'm in the school of thought that "beyond a reasonable doubt" means "beyond a reasonable doubt." And if it's hard to get convictions for certain sorts of things with that standard, then maybe the solution is to find non-criminological means for dealing with problem, rather that the "punish harder!" approach that thinks that depriving the accused of right to fair trail is a good idea--after all, the innocent people who will be convicted under such situations are "other people." Until they're not. But then it's too late, now isn't it?

Anonymous said...

"Clinician: 8-year olds cannot consent to sex.

SO: When I was 8, I had a sexual relationship with an adult, and I consented.

Clinician: No, you did not consent.
"

The sad truth is that many shrinks think that they know their patients better than themselves. Its outrageous when the feelings of a person regarding his sexuality as a child, are overrided by a so called "specialist" that it wasnt even there! Who the fuck do they think they are to say "you didnt consent" "you didnt like it" "you were raped", etc.!? They werent even there! They didnt know what happened! Who the fuck they think they are? Its sad when an adult says that they did enjoy his/her childhood sexuality and then someone comes and says that they "didnt enjoy" "they didnt consent", etcetera.

Anonymous said...

Looks like I'm a little late to the party, however, I'd like to make a comment about the argument against fantasies.

Where is it written that fantasies must be realistic? Let's consider a much less emotional example.

Suppose that I fantasize about taking off in super-powered flight from the top of a skyscraper, like Super Man. I would wager that many people have had similar idle fantasies, not to mention dreams. They are shared in movies, television shows, comic books, etc.

Now, such a fantasy is obviously unrealistic, and if I attempted to fly from the top of a skyscraper, I would plummet to my death. The action would be suicide. However, to then proclaim that I am "fantasizing about suicide," and "therefore" at risk of committing suicide, would be pure logical fallacy. No, I'm fantasizing about super-powered flight.

We can see where logic and rationality flies out the window when the topics of sex and children are combined. No matter how realistic or unrealistic it may be, a fantasy about a child consenting to sexual activity is exactly that: a fantasy about a child consenting to sexual activity.

In addition, the argument against fantasies seems to presume one single fantasized activity: sexual intercourse. Such an argument displays a curious lack of sexual imagination. Couldn't a pedophile fantasize, say, about a child masturbating? It's not an unrealistic fantasy. Many normal, healthy children masturbate, after all. If someone reacts with disgust over the idea, I would worry much more about the disgusted individual.

A presumption is made that, somehow, sexual fantasies about children are different from any other type of fantasy. That it leads to some kind of psychological warping, and inevitable action.

However:

It's my understanding that in a particular survey/study, a significant minority of normal men admitted to at least occasional sexual fantasies involving children. I can't recall who did the study, or the exact percentage, sadly. Maybe you're familiar with it? That aside, it's worth bearing in mind that many people are likely to simply lie about having such fantasies due to the extreme taboo in our society. Looking at the small percentage of people who sexually offend against children, compared to the potentially very large number who fantasize, one can see that there is no correlation between the two.

It doesn't seem to be "the pedophile" who is unable to distinguish fantasy and reality...

ACH said...

@most-recent-anonymous, the argument that GKC presents (which is pretty similar to a number of comments on the Feminste post) made me think of similar things. I am quite confident that children can't fly around and shoot lasers out of their eyes, but I can easily imagine children who can fly and shoot lasers out of their eyes. Whether actual people designated as children can give sufficiently informed consent to sex for it to be ethical is an entirely different issue from whether they can be fantasized as consenting.

As for the study, I suspect that read Richard Green's "Is Pedophilia a Mental Disorder" and saw something referenced there. Here's the reference:

Briere, J., & Runtz, M. (1989). University males’ sexual interest in children: Predicting potential indices of “pedophilia” in a non-forensic sample. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13, 65–75.

I've taken a look at the article, and it suffers from a lot of the methodological flaws that are pretty standard for cases where the line between science and marketing are blurred. They asked a few questions about sexual interest in children (without defining children) and responses were on a 5-point likert scale. They made two groups: people who answered "5" and people who answered "1-4." It helps you get big numbers, which can be cited in press releases and whatnot.

A serious problem is that they don't seem to give any definition of "children." Given the huge stigma associated with attraction to children, part of me wonders if people taking the survey decided to define "children" as "people younger that those I'm attracted to."

MrsH said...

Really interesting debate! It's hard for people to put their understandable emotions to one side & be rational about a subject like this, which is why you get people reacting as though accepting people's attraction to children is equivalent to accepting child abuse. Although I am a mother and I find the idea of anyone acting on these feelings absolutely abhorrent (obviously being a parent doesn't give me exclusive rights to feeling that way, it just makes it feel "closer to home"), I can see the value in trying to understand where these feelings come from (what hope do we have of preventing the sexual abuse of children if we refuse to try to understand it?!), and I would even go as far as describing someone who has strong sexual feelings towards children yet refuses to act on them as a "moral" person. Most people at least occasionally think about doing "bad" things, but generally we stop ourselves. What makes someone a good person is the way they behave, not what they think. We cannot police the thoughts of others, as much as we sometimes might wish to. But I think if a person has the moral fortitude to resist overwhelming desires because they know that it would be wrong to act on them, then that person deserves some respect.

Anonymous said...

Whats the position, if there is any, of the asexual community towards pedophiles? Im not talking about your own position, rather the position of asexuals in general.

ACH said...

It's about the same as the opinion of pedophiles in the rest of the Anglo-American world. There's a thread in AVEN's hotbox called I feel sorry for pedophiles that should give you a good idea.

There was a recent incident of someone wondering if they were "an asexual pedophile," that got so ugly that the thread was removed.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, I know an asexual pedophile. It's been one year since he last masturbated and he seldom (or never) thinks about sex. He still feels attracted to little girls, but more like like wanting to hug kiss or cuddle with one rather than anything more sexual. Sex is not an issue for him, he almost doesnt have any sexual fantasies.

Anonymous said...

PD: People find the idea of an asexual pedophile contradictory because they see pedophiles as "sex-driven", freaks, perverts, maniacs who only think about sex. The idea of an asexual pedophile is no more surprising than the idea of an asexual heterosexual or an asexual gay. You can still be attracted to children, but just rarely think about sex, and maybe your idea of a relationship might just be kissing and hugging.

I dont know much about asexuals, but I dont think there is much difference between a straight asexual and a pedophile asexual. Just the "object" of your attraction and your idea of a romantic relationship changes.

ACH said...

It doesn't surprise me at all that there are asexual pedophiles--I've long suspected that there are although I don't know any (I've seen a handful of possible candidates [three] on AVEN, but none really stayed to long or talked about it more than once. I can think of two ways that it should be possible.

The first concerns a commonly made distinction in asexual discourse between sexual and romantic orientations. In most people, these go together, but not always. Thus, there are hetero-, homo-, bi-, and aromantic asexuals (and some--including myself--who don't identify with any of these). I figure that it's likely that there are also pedoromantic (and heberomantic) asexuals out there.

The second way it should be possible for there to be asexual pedophiles involves cases of extremely low sex-drive. Depending on ones conceptualization of asexuality, such people may or may not be asexual. There are some people who think of "asexuality" as lumping together two groups: people with extremely low sex-drive and people with an undirected sex drive. In the presently dominant conceptualization, asexuals are people who don't experience sexual attraction, so someone who does experience sexual attraction (but not often, or only associated with extremely low libido) are not asexual, although they do fall under (some) conceptualizations of "Gray-A" (essentially, falling somewhere between sexual and asexual). It sounds like your friend falls into this category.

I'd like to get a chance to meet (online or offline) some asexual pedophiles, but they don't really hang out much in asexual spaces (or if they don't talk much about certain attractions). My suspicion is that such individuals would probably not feel comfortable in asexual spaces given the anti-pedophile prejudice we find (which is entirely tolerated by those running the site, although many other prejudices are not tolerated.) I suspect that they are likely to feel rather out of place in many online pedophile communities as well, given the frequency of locker-room style talk in some places (and the rather common discussion about "who do you think is hot?" that many asexuals abhor. Granted, I hear that many pedophiles hate these just as much--at least among teliophilic acquaintances.)

Anonymous said...

" It doesn't surprise me at all that there are asexual pedophiles--I've long suspected that there are although I don't know any (I've seen a handful of possible candidates [three] on AVEN, but none really stayed to long or talked about it more than once. I can think of two ways that it should be possible.
"

Its no surprise since they are a minority inside a minority. And worse, a minority that doesnt interest the mass media at all, so you will never hear about asexual pedophiles, or pedophiles at all, in the media. At least from a positive light, of course.

ACH said...

I'm aware of the issue of not getting accurate portrayals of pedophiles in the media. In my research for my presentation at the B4U-ACT conference, I was trying to find all instances of people using MAP message boards to recruit research participants, and I was directed towards the case of the case of the reporter from a Texas newspaper attempting to write a sympathetic portrayal--and it not happening.

The reporting on the B4U-ACT symposium has really brought home the point for me. With a handful of exceptions, only the far right (who displayed an utter lack of concern for even trying to get facts straight) would even touch it. (To be fair, many more left-leaning people who did talk about it didn't really do a good job of getting their facts straight either, although their mistakes tended to be a lot less inflammatory.) I've talked to a couple people who admitted to being afraid of touching this issue. Basically, B4U-ACT doesn't have a hidden agenda. Their goal is to make compassionate mental health care available for MAPs, and (associated with this) try to promote the collection and dissemination of accurate information about this population. The purpose of the symposium was to get people from a wide range of perspectives to think seriously about the scientific and conceptual issues involved in the diagnosis of pedo(hebe)philia, and I think it did a very good job of doing this. It's hard to seriously object to this, so accurate portrayal of the symposium simply does not justify the fear-mongering rhetoric people want, but it's totally not cool in our society to say nice things about pedophiles.

In terms of not knowing any asexual pedophiles, I realize that they're a minority within a (very stigmatized and therefore hidden) minority. But I know gay men in the asexual community (who identify as asexual or something close to asexual). I know a number of transgender people in the asexual community. I often see people identifying as biromantic asexuals, and there is even a forum for asexual lesbians. So I guess my point is that very few asexual pedophiles hang out in asexual spaces (for understandable reasons), and so I don't know any (so far as I know).

Anonymous said...

"In terms of not knowing any asexual pedophiles, I realize that they're a minority within a (very stigmatized and therefore hidden) minority. But I know gay men in the asexual community (who identify as asexual or something close to asexual). So I guess my point is that very few asexual pedophiles hang out in asexual spaces (for understandable reasons), and so I don't know any (so far as I know)."

Very few or none... The problem is that society divides between "pedophiles" and "the rest of humanity". So an asexual pedophile wont be regarded as an asexual, like in heterosexual asexual or gay asexual. He will just be "a pedo".


"Many asexuals with 'romance drives' also have an orientation (they only fall for certain types of people). Some asexuals may decide only to form relationships with a certain type of person for some intellectual reason, or it could be a simple preference"

(http://www.asexuality.org/home/general.html#def3)

So yes, there can be asexual pedophiles, and there are, but I dont think your community will accept them anytime soon... I guess that for many asexual people its really comfortable to think themselves as completely separated from "the pedos" (the same thing can be said of any other group, including, ironically, pedophiles).

Anonymous said...

btw, I understand that there is much fear and discomfort of talking about pedophilia. I admire the fact that you were the only one who speak up after the b4uact conference.