VirPed Panel: 30 June 2024

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  • VirPed Panel: 30 June 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.

“Grace” asks:

What definitively made you aware that your pedophilia was pedophilia and not POCD or something else? If you have experienced denial, what made you realise it?

I said this in response to a similar question about POCD, but my first time learning that POCD was a thing helped me accept that my paedophilia would be forever, and helped me escape the denial that I could ever change.

I spent a long time being comfortable with my infatuation with loli characters. I guess my time identifying as a “lolicon” was a form of denial. It was easier to accept, and, for a while, I was comfortable being that way. But, eventually, I realised I felt the same way about real little girls. I stopped denying that I was a paedophile. When I realised this, I was eager to fix myself, and friends I confided in encouraged me to do everything I could to fix myself. I still had hope that I could change my sexuality.

Then, I found out about POCD. I knew that wasn’t it. I knew I was a paedophile in the real way. Not long after, I accepted that I would be like this forever.

When I was fourteen, I had a crush on an eleven year old boy and started to be aware that the focus of my attractions was on boys a few years younger than me. I hoped and believed that my attractions would age up with me. Believing that saved me from stressing too much over whether I was a pedophile/hebephile/whatever. It was easy enough to believe this in my teens because I still felt significant attraction to people my age. In my early twenties, that was no longer the case, and I had to seriously think about how I was going to live my life as someone predominantly attracted to minors.

As someone who didn’t recognize and name my attraction as “pedophilia” until I was in my 50s, I have some explaining to do.

The first thing to note is that I am highly non-exclusive. I had strong attractions to women in their 20s when I was that age, and much of my emotional energy went into trying to have relationships with them and get married, which I succeeded in doing. Starting in the mid-80s, our three daughters were born, one after the other.

From the time I started having much to do with small girls, I found I had some notable warm and fuzzy feelings for them. Such exposure increased dramatically when my own daughters were born (though I was never attracted to them in the same way). At first I categorized it as just a strong dose of adult affection for children. There was an intermediate stage where I decided that girls of 13 or so were actually more attractive than older ones or adult women. I thought it likely most other men felt pretty much the same way, but didn’t admit it. Over the years I have often had occasion in the company of other men to see some young teen girl, and as often as not it seemed that others too recognized a sexually attractive component there. Perhaps for them it was “future possibility” or at the least less strong than they felt for true adults, but such comparisons never came up. None of us was going to approach such a girl, so it was just theoretical. I don’t recall any of us hinting at shame around our feelings.

In 2006 or so, I had a long-term girlfriend, but realized that it was never going to move beyond being a problematic, part-time relationship. There ensued a mid-life re-evaluation (“crisis” is too strong a word). I was never going to remarry, which had been a major goal of mine, and I decided to look around for what else there might be in life. One new thing I tried was looking at porn, something I had never done in any significant way before. And I soon found the parts that I had expected would repulse me – women being degraded in various ways, for instance. But porn has great variety, and there was a segment of women of normal proportions, either alone or with men in seemingly happy vanilla hetero intercourse. I found it added a bit of spice to the solo part of sex life. In general, I felt young teen girls were sexy, and younger girls brought forth feelings of tenderness and fascination. But naturally none of the porn involved anyone under 18.

Having heard my girlfriend express what I thought was a sympathetic view of porn, I let it be known that I had looked at it myself sometimes starting a couple years back. But she reacted very negatively and said if I didn’t give up the porn the relationship was over. I was quite resentful, but gave up the porn. The web is also full of pictures of women in bathing suits or otherwise scantily clad. And not just women. Outside the “porn” category, there were plenty of pictures of high school girls. Or middle school girls. Sports teams. Families with a mix of ages. What I noticed was that when seeing a photo of a set of sisters of varying ages, I would get start out aroused to the images of the older ones, but then would find my attention shifting to the younger ones, and finding the arousal even stronger. I was a bit confused by this, but it soon became an unmistakable pattern. Beneath those “warm and fuzzy feelings” for pre-teen girls there was a strong sexual attraction. And once recognized, there was no doubt and no going back. I accepted this quite readily, as it fit with a view of morality I had held for some time – feelings just ‘are’, and have no moral status. What matters is actions – what we do. So since I was never going to act sexually with anyone underage – let alone a prepubescent – the morality was covered. I could explore the feelings however I wished, and I found I was very interested in exploring this solo sexual attraction in considerable detail – innocent pictures, innocent videos, erotic stories. I found myself disappointed and then angry when I realized that I had to keep this whole part of my private life secret from my “real-world” social circles. But all the negative energy was directed outward at others, not internally at me. And since the other half of my moral calculus was that it would be totally wrong to act on such attractions, I was solidly and immovably opposed to the pro-contact viewpoint. These two things put me squarely in line with the Virtuous Pedophiles viewpoint.

So I did go through a phase of denial, but it was a rather unusual sort. Since I was strongly attracted to adult partners, a protectiveness of small girls blocked me from realizing the underlying erotic component to my attraction for many years. When the problematic relationship with the porn-intolerant girlfriend ended, I wasn’t attracted to anyone within 20 years of my age, and my sex life became entirely solo and fantasy-based. And I might as well enjoy the fantasies I find most erotic and satisfying.

I don’t think I knew what ‘POCD’ was before I joined the Virped support forum. I had certainly experienced deep denial, and had in fact recently come out of a period of denial a bit less than a year before joining. What I mean by that is it had hit me hard and sudden that “I am a pedophile and this isn’t going away”. Before that I had been able to reasonably convince myself that I was just a guy in possession of an unusually strong fondness for little girls. Post denial I knew the reality was far more complicated than that, and certainly not normal.

I have to be perfectly honest and say I still sometimes struggle with the question “Am I a pedophile or not” (due to doubts specifically about whether my feelings include sexual attraction), compounded by a habit of overthinking, a reduced libido as I’ve aged, and a recent (last few years) suspicion that I am in fact asexual… but I don’t think I identify with classic POCD traits that I’ve learned of through Virped, so… I don’t know. When I begin a bout of thinking about it, the more I think, the less sure I become. I do know that when I was younger the feelings I most closely identify as sexual were much stronger than they are now, and I have definitely had periods where deep down I’m sure of it. I’m here now, and have accepted that these strong, definitely nice feelings I have, whatever they may be, are not chosen, and don’t make me a bad person (or hate myself because of them anymore) thanks in large part to Virped and the people here.

What’s that they say? Denial is just a river in Egypt? I think that we older types had the benefit of lack of information, if one chooses to call it a benefit. Post internet, those who are younger are flooded with information. I first accessed the internet at about age 50, and it was like suddenly, I was no longer unique and incomprehensible.

I think the only advantage of a label, was that I stopped feeling so isolated. Pedophile, MAP. boylover? They all just fit nicely. 50 years of utter denial shifted to no doubt at all. It’s safe to say that I had suffered from what I’ll call childophobia for many years. But as soon as I let my guard down a bit, I lost my fear and discovered that I could even fall in love with a boy. I guess it was simply realizing that I wasn’t and would never be a threat to a child.

I only learned about POCD recently, but that never seemed to have any relevance to me. My interest was nurturing, romantic, protective and sexual.

I was in denial for a long time. I thought maybe I was just gay. Maybe the people I liked would age up (or I would start to like women and be straight). Maybe I would grow out of it. Maybe it would just go away. Or maybe this was what being gay was and that’s why being gay was wrong (I come from evangelicalism).

Then I learned about POCD. I had some overlapping traits. I didn’t want my thoughts, I wanted them to go away. They caused me significant distress.

But these thoughts were also my only way of achieving sexual release, and when I was masturbating I really enjoyed the fantasy.

I knew I wasn’t really POCD, but I considered that I might be able to approach a therapist and tell them I had POCD. I thought it would be safer to seek therapy for POCD than for actual pedophilia. I never did reach out. I wallowed in shame and pain for years before I finally ended up here. And Virped was exactly what I needed.

I have talked to some people who experienced POCD, and it strikes me as really, really difficult in a different way than pedophilia. Sitting with something if you’re never quite sure if it’s really what you are strikes me as a very different kind of experience.

For me, though, there was never any doubt. For one thing, I don’t really have any other OCD symptoms. But really, when I was about thirteen, I discovered sexual attraction. It was only to boys, and only to those younger than me. I’ve never quite understood other people who have difficulty telling who they’re attracted to. For me, I can look at someone and decide if I think they’re hot or not, and almost everyone who I think is “hot” is a pre-pubescent boy. It honestly couldn’t be clearer.

I knew it was not OCD. I had always noticed boys when I was a boy myself, but thought maybe I was gay, which would not have been a good thing in my family. But men did not do it for me. I really didn’t understand it until I was a camp counselor and saw a bunch of 12 years old naked. In that one instance, I knew. I totally knew. It felt like my life was over. It wasn’t but it has been a long road. Keeping it hidden so long was a burden.

I’ve spoken to some people who have POCD. They spend so much mental energy worrying about a potential attraction to children, constantly checking to see if they have the attraction or if it’s just in their head, and display symptoms of OCD. I never had that, and there’s never been a doubt in my mind about who I’m attracted to. I have never thought “Oh am I attracted to children, is this really an attraction?” Instead, I’ve had the typical pedophile experience of discovering my attraction, and knowing full well that I was experiencing a constant sexual and romantic attraction to real prepubescent children, not just the random feeling for the one or two random children who I happen to see. I’ve fallen in love with some children, developed a deep emotional connection to them, I get butterflies in my stomach when children who I’m attracted to are around me. It has all the signs of a sexual orientation and none of the signs of OCD. That’s how I know.

I’m not sure if I would call it denial, but between the ages of thirteen and sixteen, I was aware of my attraction to children but it didn’t connect with me that I was a pedophile. I had very child-like fantasies that never involved penetration, plus I was quite young and there wasn’t that much of a gap between myself and the boys who I was attracted to. It was learning about the existence of VirPed, and reading about the experiences of others, that made me realize “Oh damn, so this is who I am, a pedophile.”

If an individual were to ask themself, “Am I attracted to children,” any answer but “Yes” almost certainly indicates that they are not. If there is enough doubt to even raise the possibility of purely obsessive compulsive disorder focused on minor attraction, that’s probably what an individual has. Of course, OCD doesn’t care about probable outcomes. By the very nature of OCD, if an individual does not feel completely convinced that a negative outcome will not occur, they will hyper-fixate on the possibility that it will—no matter how small it might be. Notice that this question is asking for “definitive” proof. Nothing short of definitive proof alleviates obsessive thoughts, but definitive proof of anything is (perhaps always) unattainable. This question appears to be an attempt at reassurance seeking, which only temporarily alleviates symptoms of OCD, but is actually detrimental in the long run. If there are any concerns about OCD, the very best thing a person can do for themself is to seek exposure and response prevention therapy (ERT) from a licensed professional.

Speaking for myself, I just knew. I experienced romantic , sexual and aesthetic attraction to boys. The thoughts were pleasant and made me want to fantasise about sexual activities. There was no “maybe I’m a pedophile”, really, just “yeah, this pretty clearly meets the definition” as soon as I stopped to give it some thought.

This is similar to another question we had on POCD. I was not even aware that OCD with a focus on obsessing about the possibility of being a pedophile even existed in this world until about 10 years ago, and I dealt with my attractions probably 15+ years before that. I had more OCD type tendencies as a teenager, but I fantasized sexually about children. I also developed a big crush on one girl 10 years younger than me as a teen. Sexual feelings are easy to compartmentalize and forget about, but crushes are all encompassing. I was never one to lie to myself, and so I had to face the horror of realizing I was a pedophile at that time. There was no mistaking it for anything else.

I spent my adolescence knowing exactly what I was attracted to and yet I still somehow convinced myself it was normal and everything was fine. At the time, I was under the impression that one day I would grow out of it or that fantasies involving much younger children were just things that everyone experienced at that age.

A few weeks after my eighteenth birthday, I’d gotten to a point in my life where I could no longer deny the reality that I was a pedophile. My siblings and peers were in relationships and I was being asked by my friends and family about my intimate life.

During those few weeks following my birthday, I accidentally came out to my parents after severely overindulging at a high school graduation party with some friends. When they first heard about the secret I’d been keeping for the past few years they were also in denial about what I’d just told them and my father actually brought up the idea of obsessive disorder having himself had experience with the condition. That was the first time I’d ever heard of the term “pocd” and learned that ocd had specific themes individuals fixated on.

I was, and still am, undoubtedly sure that my attraction to children was real so when asked about the possibility of having pocd I replied that I was very sure I really was a pedophile. My dad spent months doubting my claims and in a way it hurt me that he didn’t believe me. I think the reason I felt hurt was because I knew that if me being a pedophile was that difficult for him to accept, it made me doubt his ability to ever be able to understand me.

During the months after coming out to my parents, I spent countless hours researching pedophilia, pocd and, sex related topics and my curiosity led me to discover Virped. For the first time in my life, I felt understood and accepted by the people I met and gained a new outlook on life.

On Virtuous Pedophiles, I met many people and occasionally saw individuals come and go who clearly suffered from pOCD. People with pedophilia themed ocd seem to be in need of constant reaffirmation of whether their feelings are indicative of pedophilia and are generally more concerned with the nature of their attraction rather than the difficulties and implications surrounding it. I would watch as they asked series after series of elaborate questions about whether or not they were experiencing an attraction to children in an effort to satiate their worries. Around this time also, my father had done a lot of research of his own and realized I wasn’t experiencing ocd as I wasn’t obsessive over the nature of my attraction and much more concerned instead about its social and societal implications.

To me, my pedophilia has always been a part of my life and I’ve never been confused about how it manifests itself. I have no idea why I am the way I am, but I know it’s always been that way even when I denied it’s existence.

When finding out myself and realising my pedophilia, I had no idea that pOCD was even a thing. I never had any doubt that pedophile is what I was, and am. The feelings were just too strong and too real. I was however in a period of denial, that, I find very hard to explain. I had all the signs, and all the proof, but between like 12 and 17, I just shoved the whole idea of me being a pedophile into my back pocket and forgot about it. I was in love with and had sexual thoughts about children way younger than me, but I still just didn’t accept that as part of my reality. When I eventually did break out of that denial when I was 17, I knew for certain I was a pedophile, and there was no doubt about it.

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