VirPed Panel: 28 April 2024

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  • VirPed Panel: 28 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.

“Journalist” asks:

If our society, for whatever reasons, changed over time into accepting adult-child sexual and romantic relationships, would you still be opposed to sexual contact with children? I guess what I’m asking is: where does your [virtue] come from? Fear of judgement and punishment? Fear of hurting a kid for the rest of their lives?

I think I’d still be opposed to it. Without giving too much thought to it I think my virtuousness comes from a lifelong seemingly ‘built-in’ sense that adults having sexual contact with children (particularly where the age gap is larger than a few years) is bad, wrong, inappropriate, one-sided (self serving for the adult), and likely to be harmful to the child, and being very fond of children I obviously don’t want them to come to harm or discomfort. There are people in the MAP community who spend a lot of time arguing that it can be beneficial to the child, not harmful, and so on. I prefer not to get into those discussions as they make me feel uncomfortable. I prefer to keep my sense that it’s just wrong, even if that makes me somehow narrow minded for not wanting to have my feelings on the subject challenged. I also have a strong desire to be accepted by the general public, and I feel that holding a view that “I [an adult] should be allowed to have sex with children” is extremely unlikely to be accepted by the people we are trying to convince that we are not bad people.

It would not change my mind or my behaviour (except that maybe I’d come out to more people about the attraction and become more publicly vocal about my opposition to the new laws).

I think that if they changed the law in this way, children would be less safe overall, and I’m against that. Personally, I’m happy to abstain from behaviour that’s dangerous to others even if legal. It’s not illegal to be a bully, or selfish or mean, but I avoid those from the same motivation, even if tempted.

I wouldn’t be for it. For myself, I don’t want to be like a parent in a relationship. I want to have an equal partner, and a child cannot be that no matter what changes are made to society. I feel uncomfortable about the idea of having a relationship with an 18-year-old for similar reasons, even though such a relationship would be legal and they are an adult. It just feels inherently unbalanced.

Apart from that, I do think there is an inherent risk of harm to a child in such a relationship that no amount of societal change or acceptance could surmount.

Thankfully, this is something that I never see happening. I absolutely would still be opposed to it, yes, because in this case, society would be in the wrong. There will always be an inherent power differential between adults and children, because adults have more power than children. Ideally, this power differential is used for good, in order to help a child become acclimated to society and ultimately prepare them for adulthood, as this should be the goal of any parent. If a pedophilic adult is using this power to manipulate a child in to a sexual/romantic relationship, it is not for the child’s benefit, but for the adult’s. It is ultimately selfish and self-serving. I’m also against any other behavior people exhibit in regards to raising kids that are not in the service of the child’s needs but rather in service of the adult’s.

It doesn’t matter what the law is. At some point, you’re going to ask about the moral implications of “consensual” sex with a 4-year-old. Everybody has to draw a line somewhere for how young is too young. I can’t imagine a world without an age of consent, or some way to draw the line between a person who can consent and one who can’t.

Now, I like 9-13 year old girls. That’s certainly not toddlers. It’s also not adults. In a relationship like that, they’d be a kid, while I’m the adult. I’m the boss. I’m in charge. I’d have an inherent authority in such a situation. At that point, a lot of things would look like consent that aren’t. That’s a problem. It’s an especially big problem with the infinite fallibility of mankind.

I have a lot of faith in myself. I am a teetotaller. I’m smart, content in life, and reserved. I am incredibly sensible. Even so, I would push away a 13-year-old girl making advances on me. Children are the most fallible people on the planet. There’s no way I’m trusting this girl to know what she wants when it comes to romance and sex.

Maybe that sounds cold. I wouldn’t want to be cold and unfeeling. I’d want to be as kind as I can. I want what’s best for people. That’s why I’d turn her down.

VirPed isn’t the sort of place where this conversation comes up. It’s not what the forum is for, and so there’s rules against this kind of thing. Nonetheless, I think about this sort of thing to myself a lot. I play hypotheticals out in my mind. These are the conclusions I’ve come to on my own, and they’re why I feel at home on this forum. On VirPed, my ideology is a foregone conclusion.

Hypotheticals can be difficult. It isn’t easy to understand what’s being contemplated. In the example presented, yes, the fear of a child being hurt is indeed paramount. Would that fear be diminished if it were legal? I don’t think so. It doesn’t create informed consent. But the definition of adult and child might influence my opinion. If a sexual relationship between an 18 year old and 17 year old that was now illegal, were legalized, I’d say the risk of harm was likely to be lessened, not increased. Would I have a sexual relationship with a minor? Hell, no. I’ll stick to fantasies.

I had mixed feelings about answering this question. I really don’t enjoy arguing with pro-contact MAPs on the ethics of sexual contact with children, and one of their arguments is “It’s only harmful because society says it’s harmful, not because there’s anything inherently wrong with it.” I disagree with this, and the legal system doesn’t influence my views. I have read many testimonies from abuse survivors to understand just how much damage this could cause. The last sentence of the question is absolutely vital: my anti-contact stance is centered around not wanting to cause any harm to any child, and I do not want to do anything to a child that has a chance of causing trauma. Even if the legal system or society’s views changed, this would not change.

To be blunt, I think it’s pointless to debate the contact issue. Why bring up these hypotheticals if they’re never going to happen? If it somehow became socially acceptable to steal money from people who needed it, which has a great chance of causing them to suffer, would you do it? If it was socially acceptable and completely legal to catcall and grope random adults in public, would you do it? We could talk all day about hypotheticals and “What if society thought this” and “What if we lived in a universe where the laws of biology and child development were different” but we wouldn’t really achieve anything, right? We live in this world, in this society, where adults having sexual contact with children always poses a risk of harm, so we have no choice but to not engage in such contact. That should be universal of MAPs regardless of what society thinks.

Yes, I would still be opposed to adults having sexual contact with children. The future you’re describing is so hypothetical that it strikes me as impossible to exist. In order for those relationships to be seen as acceptable, our whole understanding of child sexuality would have to drastically change. We would have to have discovered that truthfully such relationships were not only not harmful, but beneficial. If that were the case, then my own personal understanding would change too. However, I do not believe this will happen. I think that we understand enough now to know that it is not the case. If in the hypothetical future you describe, all of society has collectively lost its mind, but for some reason, I remain unaffected by this madness, then like I said, I would still be opposed.

The question’s second part is, “I guess what I’m really asking…” and truth comes most easily from answering this part. I refrain from adult-child sexual relationships above all from fear of hurting a kid for the rest of their lives.

The framwork for answering the first part is that my attraction to children would have no role in my decision as to what I would be opposed to or in favor of. If there was a societal debate about something that might let me do something I (in contrast to most others) would like to do, at a mix of benefit and possible harm to others, I would be especially likely to keep out of the debate and let others decide.

I would still be opposed. I love children. I do not want to hurt them. Children lack the protective capacity to make informed decisions regarding the consequences of sexual activity with adults. Neurodevelopment trumps anything society says or does not say. Period. Full stop.

I would still opposed if that became law because I believe that adult-child relationships (no matter sexual or romantic) represent an inherent risk to the child; the adult would be playing Russian Rolette with that child’s future (even if they had the best “intentions”). If the adult actually loved the child, they wouldn’t be engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship; kids are simply not ready to understand what they think they are consenting to, let alone considering the power dynamics in any relationship between an adult and a child. I love kids too much to do that to a kid that I loved; I want them to be free to be kids rather than being used by an adult.

I would still be opposed to sexual contact because I believe that intimacy should take place within a loving relationship. We don’t live in Neverland. Any such relationship with a child would have a time limit. It’s the nature of chronophilias. Once they aged out of my AoA, I would mostly likely no longer be attracted to them.

Even one ascribes to the theory that harm from sexual contact is driven entirely by social norms, it is undeniably hurtful to end a relationship with a child because you don’t find them attractive anymore. It’s something they have absolutely no control over, so it’s the adult’s responsibility to never put them in such a precarious position in the first place.

This is a complex question, and I want to handle each part in turn.

I’m sure there are people who don’t have sex with kids because of legal consequences, but for me, it is absolutely about the well-being of others. I’m the kind of person who tries to make the world better with everything I do. Many of the TV shows I love are The Good Place and Star Trek and The West Wing because they’re about people, striving together to understand and do what’s right. I could never hurt a kid, or any person. The legal consequences aren’t what I think about at all; it is about doing what’s right and helping others to thrive.

But your question actually started off from a different place. You asked what I would do if society started accepting adult/child relationships. You said “for whatever reasons,” but the reasons really matter!

If I am honest, a big part of how I know childhood sex is wrong is because society tells me it’s wrong. There’s not really great systematic research, but there are lots of people who share their negative experiences, and there’s the accumulated wisdom and understanding of society. If society changed its mind, I would have to evaluate the reasons and understand why that change happened, and then decide if that changed my reasoning about if it’s right or wrong.

Maybe the “correct” answer here is to say “it’s definitely wrong, no questions asked.” But that’s an unrealistic mindset, and saying that would scare me, because anyone who says “no evidence will change my mind” scares me. It would be just as easy for someone to dogmatically believe the opposite. If society changed, I’d try to understand why, and then make the moral choice within that new understanding, like every thinking person should.

I broadly agree with the reasons that society opposes adult-child relationships, so my attitude towards it is probably no different from yours. You’ll find that most of us believe we’d still stick to our principles if society did somehow change its stance, though the idea is so far fetched as to be impossible to meaningfully consider.

People seem to think that pedophiles must be inclined to evil by default, and that our “virtue” only comes from external pressures. In reality we’re just people, no more selfish than anyone else. For many of us, doing something that would hurt a child is not even a consideration.

That’s not to say we don’t have fantasies as part of our sexuality, but we can hold those without any bearing on how we act in reality.

There are loads of hypotheticals that are fun to think about. Like thought experiments. Examples: What would I do if I won a million dollars, or what would I do if I could be invisible at any chosen time. But this hypothetical, is not a fun one.

For many of us here at VirPed, our principles are that child-adult relationships are wrong. This is because we know that in almost all cases, it hurts the child. There’s a power imbalance that is not possible to disregard. And I, for one do not want to impose that on children. I do not want to hurt children. So yes, I would still be opposed to it even if society’s views on it changed for some reason.

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