VirPed Panel: 17 March 2024

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  • VirPed Panel: 17 March 2024


The below are answers given by selected members of the VirPed forum who are all pedophiles. They are speaking for themselves and not for the organization.

“Brazillian Sympathizer” asks:

Given the massive stigma pedophilia has across all social media, and the reporting laws present in many countries, many pedophiles have to choose whether to risk outing themselves or attempting to cope on their own. While I understand there is no one-size-fits-all solution, what are some of the coping mechanisms that have worked for you? Can one approach this issue like one would approach an addiction (to, say, alcohol and nicotine)?

I wouldn’t directly compare sexual attraction in and of itself to addiction, since one can have the attractions but never act on them. Is an alcoholic an alcoholic if they’ve never taken a drink but have always wanted to? Still, if our condition was treated in the same way as an addiction, I think it would be much better. People don’t blame alcoholics for collectively meeting up to try to manage their addictions better, but many people think that groups like Virped are secretly meeting to learn how to abuse children. Also, no one believes that alcoholics are completely beyond hope, regardless of how destructive their behavior has been in the past, and better off dead. Many people do think that about us, even if we haven’t acted upon it.

As for coping mechanisms, I generally just keep busy. I focus on my attractions to adults, and if I start to develop feelings that could develop in to a deep crush on a child, I will disengage before this happens. I have a therapist that I’m lucky enough to be able to talk to openly about this without judgement. Sadly, many out there do not have this kind of support available to them.

It depends very much on the individual. I focused on career and playing sports. For many years, I avoided children as they seemed to invade my comfort zone. Call it a fear of something. I don’t know what.

When I first accessed the internet, I started encountering and later meeting, others with similar interests. I learned to feel more emotion, lost my level of loneliness and lost all fear of children. I started enjoying their company. The internet became a place to share experiences with peers, past and present.

I generally avoid children since they can influence my serenity. I do volunteer work. I write about my condition. I love music and other positive distractions. I work very hard on developing techniques of self-compassion to deal with periods of harsh inner criticism. I try to not spend too much time on the internet.

One word…friends. That’s putting it extremely simply. Relationships are the key to weathering any negative mental health situation. While it’s great to have friends you can be out to, it is not really advisable for feasible for most of us to come out to our friends and family. Nonetheless, spending time bonding and having fun with the people in our lives can go a long way to alleviating our loneliness and putting a stop to wallowing in self pity.

You cannot approach the state of being attracted to children the way you would approach addiction, but if you have addictive behaviors like looking at CSEM, then you can approach those behaviors that way.

Although I have had some unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol and overeating I have found the best way for me to cope is to be able to talk about it with non-judgmental people be it fellow MAPS, a therapist and my mom. The more I can be my full self without judgment the easier it is to accept myself

First of all, I don’t think we can approach this in the same way to an addiction. If an individual pedophile has issues related to CSAM usage or behaviours around children, then that approach might be viable, but there are many (probably most) of us who don’t struggle with that, and having an attraction to children does not imply any problems with addiction or impulse control. Many of us live through our whole lives without ever coming close to harming a child, and for those pedophiles the coping mechanisms needed don’t need to address that.

What they do need to address is our mental health, and learning to deal with having this condition that is widely hated by society. We’re all different, but the biggest thing that has worked for me is the community, getting to know and become close friends with pedophiles who I met on VirPed, and even entering a relationship with another adult pedophile. This has been very cathartic and helpful, being able to talk about this side of my life with all the mutual understanding in the world is a very effective coping method. Having other interests and hobbies also helps me out. And ever since I learned that I’m no danger to kids, I’ve found that working and volunteering with them is very rewarding, and provides a sense of emotional fulfillment that I otherwise probably wouldn’t get. It’s something to look forward to, something that can give me a sense of purpose in life, and most importantly I can have a positive impact on kids in an appropriate manner without harming them.

You’re sort of asking three questions. One is about how we cope with the massive hatred of us by society. Another is about the secrecy - the fact we don’t usually risk telling anyone else. The third is about how we manage to get sexual satisfaction in a completely ethical/legal way. These questions relate, but not in the same way for every pedophile.

In terms of the online hate, I mostly try to ignore it nowadays. In the past, when it was possible, I did try to go on social media with anonymous accounts and argue my case for being viewed as a human being and innocent until proven guilty. Maybe a few silent observers thought in a different way as a result, but mostly it was like trying to stop lava from a volcano armed only wth a shovel.

In terms of the secrecy, most people just never tell anyone, except maybe anonymously on a forum like ours (or unfortunately some of the worse forums). However, I have told some important people in my life and I found a therapist I could talk to honestly about the topic.

But both of the above happened decades after I had made my own decision never to abuse a child, and never to view illegal material. I was influenced in this by public discourse about the effects of child abuse and exploitation. I was not influenced by demonisation of pedophiles, which I realised from the start was a moral panic. In fact I would say that the unreasonableness of the moral panic delayed my engaging with the reasonableness of the people wanting to open a discussion about child abuse.

In terms of keeping it ethical, this was a case of finding whatever legal means I could (maybe sometimes involving another consenting adult) of having satisfying sexual fantasies with masturbation. Three decades on and that’s still where I’m at. It’s never felt like an addiction that I didn’t have control over. I’ve made conscious choices the whole way along about what was comfortable. It’s worked fine. No child hurt or exploited.

I coped on my own for the first coupe of decades since my attraction made itself apparent. I don’t know how other than, I guess, I just got used to it. I accepted it, albeit in an unhealthy way (I accepted that I must be a bad person, but tried to hide that side of myself and get on with life trying to be a good person)

Then when I was in my early 40s I had some kind of breakdown. Specifically that ‘acceptance’ disappeared and I fell quickly into a deep depression. I didn’t ‘cope’ as such, I just endured. Eventually my coping mechanisms became constantly reminding myself that I didn’t choose this, constantly reminding myself that I have never harmed a child and I never will, and distracting myself with hobbies, activities. Eventually I found virped (via a link on a reddit subreddit where I had gone to anonymously confess my feelings) and after a while of being a member my coping mechanism became the correct kind of acceptance.. coming more fully to terms with the knowledge that having these feelings does not make me a bad person. As time has gone on and on I’ve had to rely less and less on self therapy to cope.

For a long time I would try to sink as much energy into other things in my life as I could. This was true for my time at university, my job and my hobbies. I suppose it gave me something to focus my energy and time on so that I didn’t have to face the fact that I was a pedophile. It worked up until it didn’t.

After gaining self-acceptance I don’t find a need to “cope” with my attractions. I don’t view it as a burden or an addiction, its just part of who I am, and having community and friends like me whom I love and trust is all I need get by

It would seem that the questioneer mixes up the sexual attraction to children to something else, perhaps CSAM viewing. This sexual attraction to children, pedophilia, is not an addiction. Not something that has to be managed or treated in a way you do an addiction. I’ve heard that CSAM viewing is though, for some. But many pedophiles, such as myself are commited to not viewing such material.

When it comes to my sexual attraction to children and the consequential shame, depression and self-hatred, my life has had different ways of coping with it. In the beginning it was denial. The signs were there, they were obvious, but I still denied the existence of such an attraction. I felt shame for feeling different though. When the walls of denial left me, and I hit the the deepest, darkest time of my life, I had another coping mechanism. And that was hanging about in the gory parts of the web, viewing medical gore, brutal killings, suicides….etc. I really hate that I did that, but I guess it was a way to desensitize myself, and think about something else. During both of these periods I still had a very close friend, and he helped me alot, unbeknownst to him at the time.

Now? I am happy, and I don’t need any particular ways to cope. I have people to talk about this with, I have friends with similar experiences, and I have IRL friends who know who I am. I have a community. With my sexual fantasies, I have my legal and healthy ways to reach satisfaction.

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