VirPed Panel: 21 April 2024

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  • VirPed Panel: 21 April 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.

“Alison” asks:

What do you think about including information on MAPs in public school health classes? Do you think such teaching should start in middle or high school? How could you get information on therapy to these kids, confidentially?

I think yes, personally. We should teach children about MAPs and paedophilia. However, this brings up the question of what exactly to teach.

Children already learn about stranger danger and their “no-no parts”, but they’re not told why until a lot later, if at all. In my experience, I was taught sex ed at age 10, and saw a stage production about child sexual exploitation called “Chelsea’s Choice” when I was 13. I was never taught about my “no-no parts”, oddly enough.

I want to see this improved upon. Children can’t protect themselves unless they know how, and some won’t protect themselves unless they know why. Sex is exciting when you’re just discovering it, after all. The earlier they’re taught, the better. I think sex ed should be taught at around the age of 8. I think child sexual exploitation should be taught as its own thing around age 10.

The much bigger deal is teaching about minor-attraction as a thing normal people feel and deal with. I think age 13 is the right age for that. I got my first signs of being a MAP at age 14. Age 13 seems right to me. No doubt, some parents will be furious when MAPs come up on their child’s syllabus. That’s fine. It’ll be normal eventually.

I’m interpreting the question as what do we think education could look like in a more perfect world. One of the problems is that I really can’t envision that education being allowed in the areas where prejudice and misinformation are rampant. That means, I just can’t envision it in the areas where it’s needed the most. The proposed curriculum would be nixed in a hurry.

I’m in my 70’s. All my information on sexuality came from the schoolyard and much of it was wrong. I had the basic caveats from my parents about stranger danger and such. But I ended up quite a scared and confused child. I’d walk past a parked car and be certain that a stranger in that car was going to step out and abduct me.

I think there is value in grade school in providing more information, delivered in a sensitive manner. I struggle with how it should be designed, but kids can absorb a lot and truth is superior to ignorance.

Should high school sex education include the subject of same sex attraction as well as MAPs and an open discussion about age of consent and laws? To me, it seems logical that it should. There is no better way to tackle misinformation, than education in teen years. A skilled open minded teacher would be able to convey the information in a way designed to grab their attention. Do appropriate books exist to describe the MAP experience? They do and they’re very controversial.

Discussing potential therapy should be confined to upper grades. It should include potential benefits and pitfalls, the subject of conversion therapy, and various other controversies.

I could see that curriculum as somewhat realistic in much of Europe and Canada. In the US, all I can envision is freaked out school boards and parents. The curriculum is designed to turn their sons and daughters into pedophiles.

We’re so far away from sex education that acknowledges all possible sexual desires that this seems like a pipe dream… In fact I think in many places we’re going backwards on general sex education - even for straight adults.

Many of us discover our pedophilia in our mid-teens. Many report their first awareness of it around age 14. We experience a lot of loneliness and confusion as a result. This happens everywhere every day, yet I’ve seen people on the internet openly scoff at the idea that there can be such a thing as a teenaged pedophile. The wilful ignorance is stunning.

It seems to me that around that age there should be some sort of official acknowledgement that pedophilia could be the case for maybe 1 in 200 of the students in any given school. This doesn’t mean encouragement or celebration or anything like that. It just means that a 14 year old pedophile knows they’re not the only person their age with this issue, that the adults have some idea about what to do about it (other than panic and improvise and ostracise the kid) and that there’s someone they can safely talk to without risking their whole future and their participation in education/society.

Like I said, something of a crazy pipe dream, but it’s also complete common sense.

When you don’t have this sort of thing available from educators, these kids take to the internet and find… god knows what. Hopefully VirPed.

I’m reading this question and thinking about how 15 yo me would’ve reacted to information like this being taught to me, and I honestly can’t tell how I would’ve reacted and whether it would’ve helped me or hurt me. On the one hand I think it could’ve triggered an earlier realization, with the accompanying depression and anxiety. On the other it might have helped me feel less confused and alone.

Generally, I would say that more (correct) information being communicated is almost always a good thing

I love where the person who’s asking this question has their heart at. It seems as though most pedophiles begin struggling with their attractions back when they were a teenager, so ideally, the most effective thing would be to include MAP education slightly earlier than this, since some children develop younger. I would have loved to have seen this around the age of 10-11 for me, personally.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is not only extremely hostile to our kind (whether we act on our attractions or not), but is also quite hostile to those in society that don’t explicitly denounce pedophilia. This can affect academics studying pedophilia, clinicians trying to treat it, or spouses of pedophiles that don’t leave them after finding out about the attractions. An academic expert in pedophilia calls this phenomenon ‘courtesy stigma’.

Given this, anyone that attempted to put such a program in place would almost certainly be subject to courtesy stigma, so it’s not something I could ever expect of anyone. I love the thought though, so thank you for the question.

I really like this idea, and it’s something I’ve seen floated about before. As a teenager, the only resources I could find was on the Internet, and while I’m thankful that I found VirPed, I still had to go out of my way to read up on it myself, and teenagers are still at risk of ending up on dangerous parts of the Internet. I imagine teenagers being taught about MAPs in sex ed, or in personal development classes, and they are taught that nobody chooses their feelings and MAPs don’t deserve to be collectively stigmatized, that unchosen feelings are different from actions, that MAPs are not an inherent threat to children, and more. The education wouldn’t single out anyone to come out if they didn’t want to, but it would give them guidance in a safe setting that they wouldn’t otherwise get. And of course they should be educated on resources such as VirPed.

It’s a great idea, unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to be possible anytime soon. The stigma is still very strong, and there’s already a strong backlash against LGBT education in schools, so just imagine the horror that people would have if MAP education was in schools. I’m also not sure if there would be enough open-minded teachers to teach this subject. I’d like to think that anyone in the teaching profession would want the best of their students regardless of unchosen feelings, but in the current climate there would need to be a lot of educating teachers on how best to approach this topic before it is taught in schools.

I think it would be fine and beneficial to at least put it out there that attraction to minors is a problem that people may face as they reach puberty and beyond. I think it would be good enough to acknowledge it without shaming it and provide some contact info for a help line or organization that offers MAP friendly therapy that the students could reach out to privately. The students could all snicker and make whatever public comments they want, but the few who know this information is for them will know where to go without outing themselves to their peers and teachers.

I think it would be immeasurably valuable to teach children in high school that “You might be a pedophile, and that’s not the end of the world.” It’s something I desperately needed to know as a teen. Similarly, “Here arw a bunch of paraphilias. You might be a necrophile or a zoophile. We don’t know why this happens, but you can still live a good life. Here’s a basic overview of sexual ethics.” Is this going to happen anywhere anytime soon? Absolutely not. Kids are going to have to be lucky and smart enough to find this online.

The only way I can think of to get the information to them confidebtially would be to compile a list of resources and give it out to the kids so they can know it’s out there. For minor attraction specifically, I’d recommend VirPed (obviously), MAP Support Club , and MAP Resources

In a perfect world, sex education that includes information about MAPs could have a really positive impact on kids. Being 13 or 14 and realizing you’re a pedophile is hard, confusing, and often traumatic, so from that perspective, help and guidance will make lives better.

In today’s world, though, I don’t think it’s a priority and I’m not even sure it would be very helpful.

For one thing, we’re not very good at giving therapy to MAPs. There isn’t great training for psychologists and there are real risks to seeing one. Communities might be really unsupportive and so there’s a real danger of being outed, especially because local implementation would certainly vary. Moreover, I’ve talked to some teenagers who worried they were pedophiles only to genuinely grow out of it; I’m not sure planting the idea in their heads is all that helpful.

It feels really good to imagine a world where we did this, and if we were better at therapy and if communities were more supportive, this could be great. In the absence of that, I think the most important thing is growing understanding and support among people at large. Better to ensure that parents are supportive and know how to provide help when their kids come out to them, or even that there are resources online from Googling that don’t make you want to kill yourself, than to try to go for something like this now.

I think that would be brilliant. The fact is that many pedophiles discover their pedophilia in their teens, and coming to terms with that when all they hear about pedophilia are the abusers, is really difficult. Getting that information in my teens would’ve been majorly helpful for me. Obviously one of the prequisites to doing such a thing is to have a good, publically avaliable therapy option for MAPs. Sadly, a lot of countries don’t, so that’s an issue with the idea. The alternative is to redirect them to online places like VirPed or MAP Support Club.

I think the best way to go about it would be to have a list of resources for people struggling with sex-related (not physical) issues in general. And have paraphilia like pedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia with them. Hand it out to everyone. Most would throw it in the trash quite quickly, but those that bring it home and eventually look up some of the resources will most likely be very grateful. And that is worth it.

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