VirPed Panel: 05 May 2024

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  • VirPed Panel: 05 May 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.

“Mira” asks:

Are you around kids that you’re attracted to? Do you think it’s ok for you to be around kids that you fantasize about? I ask this in a non-judgemental way, so let me explain with an exemple: I am a grown woman and I wouldn’t like to be around someone that fantasizes about me unless that person is my partner, even if I’m 100% certain that they won’t abuse me, and I suppose I’d be extra uncomfortable if I had no idea that a certain person is fantasizing about me and I found out later. How do you navigate those kinds of situations? Do you outright avoid minors that you’re attracted to?

Firstly, thank you for recognizing that we aren’t attracted to all kids. That’s a common misconception. I do want to draw a further distinction between attraction and fantasy. I don’t fantasize about real kids ever. Certainly no one that I know personally, but also no celebrities or child influencers or anything like that. I keep everything purely fictional in the realm of sexual fantasy.

So, for me, I don’t avoid kids I’m attracted to. Like you, I can’t control who I’m attracted to, and it would create some weird restrictions on who I could socialize with (based on their kids), where I could go, what kinds of activities I could participate in. It’s very likely that if you interact with a lot of people, there are at least some who are attracted to you, and some of those probably have had you in their head as part of a sexual fantasy. The reason you don’t know is because it’s not polite to communicate that to someone who isn’t a partner. It’s the same with us. I fully believe it would be damaging for a child to realize that an adult is attracted to them. It’s one of the reasons I strongly oppose pro-contact ideology. Just like you, and I imagine the majority of people in your life, I can be attracted to someone and not have them know it.

Probably all generalizations on this topic are wrong ones. But it’s an important question. People often equate it to alcoholism. You can’t take an alcoholic to a pub. But it’s a bad analogy. People are different. MAPs are all different. Keeping all MAPs away from kids as an exercise in risk management and child protection makes little sense.

So not to generalize, I’ll focus on myself. I’m no more a threat to children than anyone on the planet. A child will just find someone who gives them more attention than average and is willing to listen to them. I do find it personally uncomfortable to interact with a child and his parents if I’m physically attracted to him. That has happened several times. I have discovered that I have the ability to turn that physical attraction off in those situations and just relate to the child as as an individual I care about, with no uncomfortable distraction.

I think others are going to provide mostly their personal experience and hopefully that experience will allay some of the fears about uncontrollable urges and such. Should the average heterosexual male be kept away from all women? I expect that some should. Most should not.

Personally I don’t fantasize about kids I know because I don’t think I could look that kid in the eyes. I do however fantasize about kids (real or not) but I draw the line at kids I could meet (for the same reason as if I knew them….I could in the future know them). I should also add that even if I did meet a kid that I had previously fantasized about, there still wouldn’t be a risk to that kid from me. And as a previous poster mentioned, people are around others they are attracted to everyday and you wouldn’t know it. This is the nature of everyday life, for MAPs and normal people alike.

Before I get into my answer, I want to highlight this part of the question: “I wouldn’t like to be around someone that fantasizes about me unless that person is my partner, even if I’m 100% certain that they won’t abuse me, and I suppose I’d be extra uncomfortable if I had no idea that a certain person is fantasizing about me and I found out later."

I guess I want to ask you how you would practically go about avoiding people who fantasise about you? How would you even work out who that was? If you did find out who one of these people were, would you ask them to stop fantasising about you or to avoid contact with you? Would you believe them if they said they had stopped? While I understand the gross-out factor here, I feel like this is an area where none of us will ever find out the full truth. I’m not awful-looking and I imagine a handful of my work colleagues (of either sex) and some of the adults I knew as a child, and some of my platonic adult friends probably had a sexual thought or two about me. The point is that none of them have made inappropriate comments, or stared at me (that I noticed) or tried to act inappropriately with me, so here I am, untraumatised.

We never hear about all the people who silently experience attraction without harm ensuing. We only hear the “dramatic” stories about people who fantasised then inappropriately tried to express that attraction. Thus we assume that fantasy leads to bad behaviour, because all the many counterexamples are invisible. The same is true regarding pedophiles.

I haven’t avoided every child that I was attracted to, but where I have been around such a child, I have taken care to make sure that they or the adults around wouldn’t ever see a sign of my attraction, and that my behaviour around that child was no different to what would be acceptable from any other adult in the same role, whether I was overseen or not (which pretty much I always was).

I have actually had the rare experience of being able to have a conversation with an adult (late 20s) to whom I was attracted back when he was a child, and to explain that that was the situation. I was relieved to hear that he had had no idea at the time that this was the case.

I have had fantasies about children I’ve met in real life - when I was in a different building entirely from that kid - but the important thing for me is that I recognise clearly that these fantasies aren’t something I could pursue in real life. And I am content/at peace with that. It’s not a source of tension or of misplaced hope for me.

I feel the same will be the case for most adults in relation to all the many people they find attractive but who they know they can never be with. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a Hollywood celebrity, your crush at work or a kid. If you have functioning boundaries and no delusions, then that’s a safe situation.

Like others, a key thing that strikes me in the question is your judgment about what you would not like others to do regarding you, and by implication, what you feel they ought not to do regarding you. First, I would describe what I think is not humanly possible, drawing on a Dalai Lama analogy. He said that he often finds unkind or angry thoughts crossing his mind that are not in line with his values, and he doesn’t berate himself for having those thoughts, but observes them briefly, and then lets them go. Expecting people not to have momentary awareness of attraction is simply not realistic. The same goes for any unusual attribute. If you are 7 feet tall or only have one arm, you simply cannot expect that people will not notice that when they meet you and even have an emotional reaction to it. But it is realistic to expect them to set it aside quickly and relate to you in the role that is appropriate. The same goes with attraction.

If on the other hand we are talking about later, when alone, actively following up on a fantasy about you, it would be possible for someone to agree not to do that and abide by it. But I think it is an intrusive expectation on your part, and one they can rightly ignore. I might also wish they not actively entertain the thought that something I said was dumb or that I was dressed carelessly, and that is an equally intrusive expectation.

When it comes to children, adults with no sexual or romantic attractions often find children charming and interesting and will smile at them or engage them in conversation. At least they did up until 50 years ago, though more recently pedophile hysteria means they might check themselves. I often have such feelings about children, and might or might not smile at them, depending on my judgment of the hysteria meter. But the fact that I might in addition have an attraction will be completely undetectable.

It is unrealistic of us to expect on behalf of children that adults will not have momentary reactions to their acting or looking adorable, as well as more negative reactions. It is reasonable to expect that they will not fixate on a child and for instance, stare at them repeatedly. Pedophiles who are not good at monitoring their body language and understanding how it comes across to others and have this pointed out to them can reasonably be expected to avoid children they find attractive, where possible. The same might go for men attracted to women who cannot avoid inappropriate forms of attention. It is, however, typically harder to avoid women than children, and we expect women can deal with things such as being stared at now and then. Part of the human condition is that people are often not very nice to others, and this is often dramatic when it concerns teens relating to each other. We can try to improve things but it will always be with us.

I personally wouldn’t mind if someone I wasn’t attracted to fantasized about me, but I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to hear about it or become aware of it myself at all. That’s where I see the damage can lie, in our cases particularly with children that are only going to potentially realize our motivations much later in life, once they become sexually aware, and assuming they have memories of us that could be interpreted that way. I had a daycare teacher when I was about 10 that was obviously quite attracted to me, though he never acted upon it, and I didn’t realize it until I was an adult.

Having said that, we all deal with this differently, but I don’t generally spend much time around kids. I live alone and don’t have a job where I am around them at all, and everyone that I’m friends with don’t generally have kids themselves. I wouldn’t specifically be concerned about distancing myself around them unless I started falling in love with one. I wouldn’t worry about offending, as I’ve been in this situation before, but it’s possible the attention they would get from me could be interpreted in a way that could cause damage in the future. Additionally, it’s a difficult thing to deal with psychologically, particularly when a part of your brain interprets their affection (a fondness a child might have for a loving and attentive parental type figure) with something that feels (but isn’t) romantically reciprocal.

I think it’s perfectly fine and not harmful in the slightest to be around children who we’re attracted to, as long as our actions are not harmful or inappropriate. I will echo what someone else said and ask, how do you plan on avoiding anyone who is attracted to you, or fantasizing about you? Teleiophiles [adults who are attracted to other adults] are presumably attracted to at least a few of the adults who they interact with on a daily basis, and perhaps they will fantasize about some of these adults when they’re alone and in the mood to do so. Now, I do agree that it would be over the line to make unwanted comments about how attractive someone is directly to that person, but if the attractions and fantasies are kept away from the knowledge of whoever we’re attracted to, where is the harm?

I volunteer with kids, and I’ve worked with them in the past. Am I attracted to some of the kids who I volunteer with? Of course. Do I fantasize about some of them? Sure, sometimes I do. Do I let my fantasies influence my actions around these kids? Absolutely not. That’s where the line should be drawn: actions and behaviour, not unchosen attractions and fantasies. I think it’s entirely unreasonable to expect us to avoid kids. Some of us work with kids, some of us are parents, some of us live near kids and don’t have any other reasonable options to move. Kids are inevitably part of our lives, and expecting us to avoid kids because of fantasies that might make some people uncomfortable is basically treating us like ticking time bombs who are supposedly a real threat to any kid who we fantasize about. We’re not. The vast majority of us are perfectly capable of controlling ourselves, and we should feel absolutely no shame or guilt in fantasizing about whoever we want to fantasize about, and it’s nobody else’s business who we fantasize about unless we want to disclose this in private (not in front of the kids who we’re fantasizing about, again I believe it’s over the line for them to be aware that we fantasize about them). Treating fantasies like a threat rather than a harmless outlet makes things worse, not better, because it reinforces the myth that we really are ticking time bombs.

This is just me, but I don’t fantasize. I feel feelings (sometimes strong), and attraction when I see or am in the presence of those I’m attracted to, but rarely create scenarios in my head involving those people. Having said that, we don’t choose our feelings, and it seems unreasonable to me to expect people around you not to fantasize about you in the privacy of their own head, as long as they are not outwardly behaving inappropriately and you can’t know if they’re doing it.

To answer the main question, I think it’s ok for me to be around kids that I have feelings for, because my self control is as good as anyone else’s who are around people they find attractive, and I behave respectfully.

I live far away from family, most of my friends don’t have children, and my career is adult-dominated. Therefore, I don’t have regular access to any children at the moment.

However, if I did and was attracted to them, I have a personal boundary of not fantasizing about them. It’s not that fantasy puts me at greater risk of offending, but it reinforces a longing feeling for something I can never have in the way I truly desire. The internal conflict would be too overwhelming for me and lead to poor mental health outcomes in the long run.

That all being said, my attraction wouldn’t necessarily preclude me from being around children, at least not in a public or supervised setting.

Personally, I’m not around kids that I’m attracted to. I just tend not to fall in love with people. The last crush I had was when I was in secondary school. So, I can’t really speak from experience.

That all said, I think it’s perfectly fine to be around kids you like. I can’t judge people for fantasising, in such a situation. People have crushes in their weird little brains. Many of them fantasise. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I can’t imagine that being very harmful to a child, so long as the adult is keeping those feelings to themselves.

I think there are many different kinds of attraction. It’s one thing to be attracted to someone; it’s another to fantasize them; it’s another to obsess over them.

At one end, someone might go, “oh, that person is hot.” At the other extreme, someone might become obsessive, developing elaborate fantasies about someone. I think most people accept that it’s OK for someone to think we’re attractive, but we’d all be uncomfortable if someone was obsessing over us. There’s a lot in-between, and everyone probably draws their line in a different place.

I don’t fantasize about boys I know in real life. I might think that some I interact with are attractive; to me, noticing their attractiveness is fine and normal. However, I don’t want to let me actions change towards someone because I find them attractive, and when I interact with them, I want to think about them as a person. That’s why I made that line for myself: noticing their bodies is fine, anything further I avoid.

I don’t see a need to avoid kids, as I’ve never felt like a danger to them, even when I might be attracted. I do fantasize, but only about strangers, as I have no desire to objectify anyone I know personally, regardless of age.

Having said that, I fail to see any inherent harm in private fantasy. Would you insist that straight men simply can’t have contact with women like yourself, in case they might be fantasizing about you? You probably encounter people every day who are viewing you in a sexual light and keeping it to themselves. To expect that this should never occur is unreasonable, and arguably in denial of the reality of human nature.

I don’t avoid boys I am attracted to and fantasize about. I’ve been close friends with many boys in my AoA (Age of attraction), and have fantasized about them, we always had good relationships and they never knew or questioned my intentions at any time.

That being said, if I found myself obsessing over them to the point where I felt my attraction or fantasies were having a negative effect on me or the relationship I may choose to distance myself more but that has never happened. I can see why different MAPS would have different choices depending on their situation.

I would agree the baseline would have to be that fantasies and attractions have to be kept personal and not lead to action, just as with any other type of attraction. As anything else would be impossible to know and also impossible to enforce.

You can’t know what people’s attractions or fantasies are unless they act on it in some way. And even if you did, there is no way to control what is going on in a person’s head.

I do not think I have much to add to this, except echo what other people have said.

I am around kids I’m attracted to, very often actually. And I do fantasize about them. Not when I am with them, but at other times. Seeing an issue with that goes against the very core of my beliefs. Attraction does not equal action. I always try to act in ways that are not harmful to the children I around. That would include making them uncomfortable because they notice, knowingly or unknowingly, my attraction towards them. If I felt that my actions towards a particular child changed because I’m attracted to them, I would take a big step and reevaluate the situation. Most often my actions are not affected by my attractions, and I interact with children, the way I am supposed to. I think for anyone to try and avoid people they’re attracted to is stupid, because most often one does find themself attracted to someone they know, perhaps a friend or a colleague. Should that person quit their job then? Or just deal with the attraction as it is, perhaps?

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