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HOW DO WE DEFINE A PEDOPHILE ?

 
 
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 12:23 am
How do we define a pedophile ?

Its ez on the worst, most violent side of the spectrum:
a kidnapping rapist; but that is not the limit of it.


To the fullest extent of its reach, toward the other side of the spectrum,
in the non-violent direction,
how far does the definition of a pedophile go ?

a kiss ?

a handshake ?

a wink ?

a conversation ?

What is the analytical logic of the situation ?



Is it possible for children
to accurately come within the definition ?



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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,219 • Replies: 41
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Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 01:19 am
Someone who either engages in or fantasises about engaging in sexual activity with people who are not fully sexually developed. That's the only way I can define it.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 01:26 am
Adults sexually attracted to pre-pubescent youths.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 04:45 am
I think a lot of people would probably agree that you don't need to have actually done anything to be a paedophile. So not even conversations, winks or kisses are necessary. What makes somebody a paedophile is the fact that they have a strong sexual attraction towards children; they don't need to have acted on these feelings, except perhaps through fantasy.

An important related question is: how do we define a child? I'm aware of three definitions:

1. Somebody below the age of consent.
2. Somebody who has not yet completed puberty.
3. Somebody who has not yet begun puberty.

By the first two definitions, I am actually a paedophile. By the third, I am not.

The first definition is a bit strange, because it means that whether or not you are a child depends on which country you happen to live in. In the UK, a 16 year old is not a child, but if he moved to certain US states he would 'become' a child. The same goes for paedophiles: a man who is attracted to 15 year old girls might be considered a paedophile, but if he moved to Canada (where the age of consent is 14) this would no longer be the case.

The second and third definitions are a bit vague, because it is difficult to know when puberty actually begins or ends. Some girls start their periods at around 9 years old, or so I've heard. I had a male friend whose voice didn't start to break until he was about 17/18 years old. There are more extreme examples than that, in people with developmental disorders. However, I think it is possible to draw the line at where puberty has pretty much ended for the majority of people. I guess this would be around 16 or 17.

The same could be done for the onset of puberty, but on the subject of paedophilia I think we need to be careful about this. We could work out when most girls have started their periods, or when most boys are able to ejaculate, but if we define paedophilia using the third definition of a child, then this might not be good enough. I am not sure that the fact that a girl has started her period necessarily means that she is physically ready to have safe sexual intercourse, and it is arguable therefore that attraction to such a girl should not necessarily be deemed non-paedophilic. Men who are attracted to 9 year old girls are probably attracted to them regardless of whether they have begun their periods, so perhaps we should not use periods to indicate the end of childhood if we define a paedophile as someone who is attracted to children.

I think that we should use science to determine when most people reach the relevant stage of puberty: the stage at which they are physically able to have safe sex, and at which they actually want to have sex. It seems pretty obvious to me that this stage must come somewhere between the onset of puberty and the end of puberty, since so many early teenagers choose to have sex and (if they use contraception) do so without causing significant physical harm to themselves or others.

I'm no expert, but my opinion is that the transition from childhood to young adulthood should be defined as being somewhere between the beginning and end of puberty. And if we want to reserve the term 'paedophile' for someone with a strong sexual attraction towards children (or towards people who are not yet physically able to safely enjoy intercourse), then it follows that we should define paedophilia as strong sexual attraction towards people who have not reached this mystery stage of sexual development which happens at some point during puberty.

By the definition I have just defended, I may or may not be a paedophile; it depends on what research tells us about the physical/sexual readiness of young adolescents. A lot of people tell me that they know that young adolescents are not physically ready to have sex, but they usually tend to assert this without providing any evidence for it. I admit that I don't know whether my attraction to young adolescent girls (usually 13 or 14, sometimes 12; only a primary attraction, not an exclusive one as I also like adult women) is appropriate in the sense that if I were to act on it and have consensual intercourse with such girls, I wouldn't cause significant physical harm. Perhaps my condition is in fact paedophilia, I'm not sure.

I have only been considering sexual intercourse here, not other sexual acts. I've read that most paedophilic acts don't actually involve intercourse. But I would guess (correct me if you know different) that these acts involve the desire to engage in intercourse, and fantasies about intercourse. So I think that men who fall short of actually engaging in intercourse with children can still be called paedophiles because they desire to have intercourse with people who are not able to have intercourse without being harmed. But if I'm wrong, and many 'paedophiles' have no desire whatsoever to penetrate children, then that makes things a bit more complicated, because there are other sexual acts which even young children are physically capable of engaging in safely (e.g. fondling).

I haven't considered the issue of emotional harm as a result of underage sex, partly because I think that this issue is often overstated, and often contingent on the taboo surrounding underage sex, or on a lack of decent sex and relationship education. I think that if sex is emotionally harmful to minors, then this is due to contingent facts about the way western society is structured and about the prevailing attitudes that we have about sex with minors; I don't think that it has anything to do with necessary facts about what it is to be a child or an adolescent. I think that under different circumstances, consensual sex would not be emotionally harmful to minors (in fact, perhaps it is isn't all that harmful at the moment, I'm not sure - remember that I'm talking about consensual sex here). Anyway, I can talk more about the emotional side of things if other people raise those issues.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 04:50 am
Those definitions seem plausible and well reasoned;
however:

since we are not privy to anyone 's fantasies,

1 ) in terms of evaluating the CONDUCT of a man who may be a pedophile,
how far beyond statutory rape ( i.e., actual sexual intercourse )
shud the definition extend ?

a pat on the back ?

a kiss ?

a conversation of current events ?


2 ) shud the definition of a pedophile
include children sexually interested in children their own age ?




`
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 04:52 am
Just a question in between: do you discuss the legal definitions and questions of paedophilia or what a paedophile is?

Quote:
Legally, pedophilia is considered in most Western nations to be one of the most serious of sexual offenses. In general, the younger the child and the greater the disparity in age between pedophile and victim, the more severe the penalty. Most severe penalties are usually reserved for pederasty, sexual contacts between adult males and young boys. More than half of those arrested for pedophilia are friends, relatives, or acquaintances of the child.

Source: "pedophilia." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 30 Sept. 2007
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 05:06 am
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Just a question in between: do you discuss the legal definitions and questions of paedophilia or what a paedophile is?

Quote:
Legally, pedophilia is considered in most Western nations to be one of the most serious of sexual offenses. In general, the younger the child and the greater the disparity in age between pedophile and victim, the more severe the penalty. Most severe penalties are usually reserved for pederasty, sexual contacts between adult males and young boys. More than half of those arrested for pedophilia are friends, relatives, or acquaintances of the child.

Source: "pedophilia." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 30 Sept. 2007

No, Walter.
I did not mean to inquire into legal definitions.
I sought to evoke the points of vu of the denizens of our forum; just to discuss opinions.

Legal definitions can be arbitrary
and radically different from one jurisdiction to another
and sometimes radically differ from one period of time to another.



`
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 05:20 am
Okay. So, according to the ICD (Version 2007) paedophilia is "A sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age." (F65.4)

It's a mental disorder, no crime.
The crime would be child sex abuse.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 05:51 am
OmSigDAVID wrote:
1 ) in terms of evaluating the CONDUCT of a man who may be a pedophile,
how far beyond statutory rape ( i.e., actual sexual intercourse )
shud the definition extend ?

a pat on the back ?

a kiss ?

a conversation of current events ?


2 ) shud the definition of a pedophile
include children sexually interested in children their own age ?


1) Well if you want to define paedophilia purely behaviouristically, then whichever acts are exclusively and necessarily harmful to children, those are the ones which should indicate paedophilia. A pat on the back or a conversation is unlikely to harm a child. A kiss is probably safe too, unless it is a french kiss - we'd have to look into the nature of child tongues, and whether contact between tongues is frightening for a child. Genital fondling or oral sex might confuse or frighten a child, although that might just be because we don't teach children about these things.

If you want to use observable behaviour to determine whether certain people fantasise about sex with children, then in that case many of these physically harmless actions could indicate paedophilia. Kissing a child on the lips can be quite suspicious, as can going up to random children and hugging them - that's what Jack McClellan does, and he describes himself as a paedophile.

2) Probably not. Although, children of similar age is another matter. Apparently about a third (or more; I'll provide a source if you want one) of reported paedophiles are under the age of consent, and arguably children themselves. These are usually teenage boys who are attracted to girls aged younger than about 11/12. These people, as far as I know, grow up to be paedophiles as we would normally define them, so I think it makes sense to say that they are paedophiles even when they are in their teens.

Of course, if we define these teens as young adults, and we define the objects of their attraction as children, then the definition of paedophilia remains very simple: adult attraction towards children. Sexual desire or sex play between children is probably quite common, and probably not an indication of future paedophilia, so I wouldn't call it paedophilia.

Walter Hinteler wrote:
Okay. So, according to the ICD (Version 2007) paedophilia is "A sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age." (F65.4)


I've never understood why the law doesn't correspond to this definition. In the UK, the US and other places, it isn't just paedophilia that is illegal, but sex with people of late pubertal age, or even post-pubescent people. And sexual experimentation between children or late- or post-pubescent people is also illegal, which I find quite strange. Surely the best way for us to learn about sex would be the hands-on approach.

I read an article the other day which described our concept of childhood as follows:

Quote:
A golden, innocent, fenced-off part of society full of tow-headed little angels - until the minute they pass 16, when the fence crashes down and they want us to tear their clothes off and roger them senseless.


Anyway, I digress. Surely paedophilia should be defined as a sexual attraction towards people who have not yet reached the age at which they become ready to safely have sex. And surely the age of consent should correspond to this age at which we become ready for sex. If sex with late-adolescents harms them, then surely sexual attraction towards late adolescents is inappropriate and should be called 'paedophilia'. Why, then, is paedophilia commonly described as an attraction towards people younger than, say, 13 or 14, and yet the age of consent is often higher than that? I don't get it.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 05:58 am
agrote wrote:
I've never understood why the law doesn't correspond to this definition. In the UK, the US and other places, it isn't just paedophilia that is illegal, but sex with people of late pubertal age, or even post-pubescent people. And sexual experimentation between children or late- or post-pubescent people is also illegal, which I find quite strange. Surely the best way for us to learn about sex would be the hands-on approach.


Well, the law in various countries certainly is different.
But what is legal or illegal doesn't have to go parallel to what is an illness or not.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 06:58 am
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Well, the law in various countries certainly is different.
But what is legal or illegal doesn't have to go parallel to what is an illness or not.


But in this case, surely it should. Because what makes paedophilia an 'illness' (if it is one) is just the fact that it consists of desires which would be harmful to act on. If sex with children was not harmful, then paedophilia would not be an illness. Right?

Only harmful sexual behaviour should be illegal, and so the age of consent should be based on the same information as the definition of paedophilia (sexual attraction to peopel who are too young to have sex without being harmed).
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 07:20 am
Now you've got to define harm. The laws on the age of consent attempt to make it illegal until people are emotionally able to deal with the consequences of the act. Not just physically.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 08:21 am
Wilso wrote:
Now you've got to define harm. The laws on the age of consent attempt to make it illegal until people are emotionally able to deal with the consequences of the act. Not just physically.


Yes, a definition of harm is required. Roughly, I'd say that the relevant harms would include: significant, long-term bodily damage; unecessary pain (sex can often be painful for the first time, so perhaps a certain degree of pain is inevitable); disease, or increased risk of disease (over and above the risk carried by adult sex); frightening the partner; increased likelihood of mental health problems such as anxiety or depression; betrayal of trust; guilt, shame or intense embarassment; etc.

As for the comment about being emotionally able, that still doesn't answer the question I raised. If people below a certain age are necessarily emotionally unable to cope with the consequences of sex (that is, if they can't cope because of how old they are, not because of the way they were raised or the way society is here and now), then isn't it inappropriate to want to have sex with people below that age? Shouldn't we apply the term 'paedophile' to anybody who wants to have sex with such people? What's the difference between desiring to perform physically harmful sexual acts, and desiring to perfrom emotionally harmful sexual acts?

I actually believe that the emotional harm that can be caused by sex with people below the age of consent is contingent on all sorts of culture-specific factors such as the taboo surrouning the act, and the way we 'protect' children from information about sex. So I think that social change could actually make sex with people of certain (currently illegal) ages emotionally harmless. This would mean that the definition of paedophilia and the age of consent would need to be based only on physical issues about sex.

But not many people tend to agree with me on that, so I can leave it aside. Many people assume that the emotional harm caused by underage sex is actually a necessary (or at least, very common) feature of such acts; that it is to do with the nature of children and adolsescents, not the nature of society. If that is so, then I don't understand the difference between the age of consent and the age at which minors become too old for one to be called a paedophile if he is attracted to them.
0 Replies
 
averner
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Sep, 2007 09:14 pm
You all might be interested to know that the age of consent is 12 in the Netherlands.

That and weed is legal.. crazy country eh?
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Oct, 2007 02:14 am
averner wrote:
You all might be interested to know that the age of consent is 12 in the Netherlands.

That and weed is legal.. crazy country eh?

Smoking ( intentionally taking dirt into your lungs )
is unwise.

If a government respects the right and autonomy
of each citizen to decide what he will ingest,
that is personal freedom; that is not crazy.

The first time I humped a chic ( age 17, who came on to ME ), I was 11.
I did not believe that was " crazy ".
If government had tried to interfere, I 'd have deemed it a tyrannical violation of our liberty.
I 'd have resisted as well as possible
and done the most that I cud to defeat government 's interference.

Did that make me a pedophile, at age 11
because the chic was only 17 ( a year below the age of consent ) ?


I did NOT subsequently become a pedophile.

David
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Oct, 2007 03:19 am
David, I don't think a 17 year old can be called a 'child' by any stretch of the imagination, regardless of what the age of consent is. But if even she were a child, at 11 you were a child too, and sex between children is not paedophilia.

Paedophilia has to involve an adult. If anything, she was the paedophile. Although it sounds like you don't consider yourself a 'victim' because of what happened. It sounds like you might have enjoyed it? It's a shame you didn't bring this up in the 'age of consent' thread; you're a real life example that sex between adults and adolescents is not necessarily harmful.

When it is harmful, there must be other factors involved which were absent in cases like yours. Maybe it's to do with the gender of the adult, or maybe it's to do with the social context. Who knew about your experience? Did she make you keep it a secret? Would you have felt differently about it if you were repeatedly called a 'victim' and told that you had been 'abused' or 'molested', or even 'raped'? How much did you know about sex at the time? If you knew less than you did, would the experience have frightened or confused you?
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Oct, 2007 04:03 am
agrote wrote:
David, I don't think a 17 year old can be called a 'child' by any stretch of the imagination, regardless of what the age of consent is. But if even she were a child, at 11 you were a child too, and sex between children is not paedophilia.

Paedophilia has to involve an adult. If anything, she was the paedophile.
Although it sounds like you don't consider yourself a 'victim' because of what happened.

It sounds like you might have enjoyed it?

Yes, indeed.

I 'd have liked it to have been multiplied many times.
There was only one other time,
with a 23 year old girl that year.



Quote:

It's a shame you didn't bring this up in the 'age of consent' thread;
you're a real life example that sex between adults and adolescents is not necessarily harmful.

When it is harmful, there must be other factors involved which were absent in cases like yours. Maybe it's to do with the gender of the adult, or maybe it's to do with the social context.

Who knew about your experience?

She and me.
She was a stranger who sat next to me
on a bus trip from L.A. to Phoenix, Arizona.
We stopped at a motel, at one of the rest stops.



Quote:
Did she make you keep it a secret?

If u knew me,
u 'd know that no one MAKES ME do ANYTHING;
not now and not THEN.

( We might tangentially note, in passing,
that from the beginning to the end of this one-nite-stand,
I had a .38 caliber revolver strapped onto my right ankle. )





Quote:
Would you have felt differently about it
if you were repeatedly called a 'victim'
and told that you had been 'abused' or 'molested', or even 'raped'?

I 'd have felt that I were in the company of fools.
If thay had been TOO intrusive, I 'd have invited them to be damned.
( I kept the incident private. )
I have never been that easily influenced by the opinions of others,
tho I have always been openminded.



Quote:
How much did you know about sex at the time?

Enuf to hump the chic.


Quote:
If you knew less than you did,
would the experience have frightened or confused you?

I don 't believe that 's likely.

I 'd have absented myself from participation,
if I had been disinclined.
I deemed myself to have gotten lucky.
David


P.S.:
Confused about WHAT ??




`
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Oct, 2007 05:39 am
averner wrote:
You all might be interested to know that the age of consent is 12 in the Netherlands.

That and weed is legal.. crazy country eh?


Nonsense. To all the three.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Oct, 2007 06:25 am
David, when you say you were 11, do you actually mean 44?

Or are you still an adolescent, and making all of this up to impress people?

Did any of these things actually happen? Why should we believe you?

Walter wrote:
averner wrote:
You all might be interested to know that the age of consent is 12 in the Netherlands.

That and weed is legal.. crazy country eh?


Nonsense. To all the three.


All the three what?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Oct, 2007 06:53 am
agrote wrote:
Walter wrote:
averner wrote:
You all might be interested to know that the age of consent is 12 in the Netherlands.

That and weed is legal.. crazy country eh?


Nonsense. To all the three.


All the three what?


- the age of consent isn't 12,
- weed isn't legal.
- the Netherlands isn't a crazy counttry (though that is a persona opinion).
0 Replies
 
 

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