Attraction to Children
by Rüdiger Lautmann
Rüdiger Lautmann, Ph.D., J.D., is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Bremen, Germany.
His e-mail address is email@example.com
c. 1994 by Ingrid Klein Pubs. Inc., Hamburg
Cover: Peter Albers
Printer: Wiener Verlag, Hamburg
1 3 5 7 1 0 8 6 4 2
Looking at Hidden Sexuality 4
What Is a Pedophile 4
How I Came to This Subject 5
How We Will Proceed 6
Erotic Attraction to Children 8
The Child’s Essence 8
The Child’s Body 10
The Eroticisation of Transition 12
Age and Gender Dimensions 14
The Many Ages of Childhood 14
The Child Has a Sex 16
Girls and Boys Equally 18
Differences Between Boy- and Girl-Love 19
In Bed with Adults? 20
Sexual-Theoretical Positions 25
Five Sexual Science Frameworks 25
Parallels with Pedophile’s Lay Theories 27
Children’s Sexual Scripts 31
On Child Sexuality 31
Sexual Scripts 31
Sexual Consent Between the Generations? 40
Forms of Child Consent 40
Borderline Situations 48
The Sexual Facts of Pedophilia 52
General Reticence 52
Upon the Child’s Body 53
The Lover’s Satisfaction 59
The Sociohistorical Construction of Pedophilia 62
Pedophilia as Confession 62
Changing Childhood 66
In the Mine
7 (page number in original)
Looking at Hidden Sexuality
It's not just the sex that interests me - it's the whole kid. From the top of his head to the tip of his toes -everything, really. You can explain lots of things to him, you can enjoy all kinds of nonsense with him. One evening, for instance, he came and said that they had discussed mining in school. Me: “Mines are neat things, it’s quite an experience, going down into one, that is really something.” He: “We didn’t do that.” Me: “Okay, let’s go to Bochum, where the nearest mining museum is located.” Later we saw everything there. Many people certainly thought we were nuts. We crawled into the narrowest shafts - we looked like pigs. Then we poked sticks into the blasting holes to see how deep they were. There were drill bits, diamond bits, round and square bits. He picked up a borer and gave it a turn. So we really experienced mining and to see how much he enjoyed it was wonderful.
What Is a Pedophile?
The above story, with its enthusiastic and emphatic tone still ringing in my ears, overflows with sexual symbolism, even though it does not describe a single sexual act. The narrator is a so-called true pedophile, all of whose erotic feelings - which are sometimes acted on - are directed towards children. The relationship between any adult and child is, in a narrow sense, pedophilic, if it includes both feelings of love and sexual desire on the older person's part. It is he whose wishes, interpretations, and actions determine the pedosexual situation. Therefore, my research will center on the adult.
Sexual desire for children is not something that can be easily put into words, either by the researcher or his pedophile conversational partner. The prominence and indeed dominance of the abuse concept makes our undertaking seem almost a sacrilege. And yet, this is not at all a question of supporting any of my own pet theories; rather, I am concerned with the narrow question: What do pedophiles see in children? The imposing literature on the subject makes even asking this question difficult, if not impossible.
Common views in Germany regarding child abuse are less colorful and fantastic than those prevalent in the Unites States. Over there, such bizarre scenes as satanic worship involving ritual child sex, crimes by female as well as male caretakers, millions of seduced children and billion-dollar child pornography businesses are talked about. [F1] Perhaps it is only a matter of time before we witness such spectacles here. Certainly the social situation in Germany or any other European country does not lend itself to being interpreted as a jungle concealing every conceivable cruelty.
The current readiness to stigmatize any erotic signal received by children as “abuse” dilutes the meaning of the term. Unfortunately this means that very sensible distinctions as to content, intensity, and possible consequences important for understanding and making sense of things - and for preventive, legal, and therapeutic intervention - get lost. This is the fault not of sexual scientists, but of single-subject researchers and activists. From the very beginning, sexual science has looked at adult-child contact in a differentiating manner. The early author Richard v. Krafft-Ebing discussed the rape of pre-pubertal persons, without mincing any words. He spoke of the "bleakest and greatest horrors," but also thought that: “We feel it is impossible to consider such criminals against childhood innocence to be mentally normal.” [F2] Nevertheless, in 1896, Krafft-Ebing coined the term paedophilia erotica. This encompasses cases "that involved neither deep-seated moral, psychological, or physical impotence resulting in sexual needs being met through children, but rather...a psychosocial perversion." This relates to a primary inclination towards pre-pubertal persons, whereby powerful lust feelings are satisfied via less intensive acts; these perverts find no sexual excitement in adults. Krafft-Ebing regarded this as a paradoxical phenomenon.
Shortly before the abuse debate entered its current active phase, a new handbook came onto the research scene. Child molesters were divided into three types according to "discrimination potential" which require differing explanations and treatment. This exhaustive and authoritative work is based on a three-tiered typology of offenses against children: [F3]
- the true pedophile has a general interest in social contact with children, including a sexual dimension;
- the substitute-object perpetrator satisfies himself by using children as replacements, because he is unable to gain access to adults;
- the aggressive-sadistic perpetrator is pathologically driven to violence.
In this book I am concerned exclusively with the first type, which constitutes approximately 5% of all pedosexually active men.
How I Came To This Subject
How did I come to this subject, which is almost always avoided, and how did I become an empirical sex researcher? Around 1980 I began asking what were frankly victim-oriented questions regarding sexual offenses. As a result a number of people charged with offenses turned to me. As much as one was in agreement that the sexual abuse of children must be forbidden and published. just as evil was the situation of enlightened child-lovers. They generally supposed they had about as much in common with an abuser as a sexually active man has with a rapist. They believed their own erotic-sexual practices to be strictly and immutably proper; indeed, even good for children. Meanwhile, in court, this actually works against them: their acts couldn't have been mere slip-ups, but in fact had to have been committed systematically, and would surely be repeated. Only their sensitivity and generosity had kept them from being caught sooner. But now, draconian punishments and all sorts of supervisory measures are imposed.
What could I advise pedophiles—they call themselves this to distinguish themselves from abusers? They are rarely discussed in the crimino-political and sexual science arenas. On the contrary: Since the early 80's, a particular sensitivity has developed with regard to incest and child abuse. In the literature, only a few studies can be found that consider the social and moral potentialities of pedophilia. But because these studies usually come from obviously self-interested and well-versed authors, they can, at most, only be ascribed limited reliability. The fact that this bias was hardly ever openly acknowledged further fueled suspicion, which hardly helped the situation. Public opinion regarding child sex and pedophiles' own self-concepts could not be any more divergent. So, my advice is: If you want to be less bedeviled about things, you must be more frank. In this way, I will rely on the explanatory power of well-grounded scientific reason.
How We Will Proceed
The way this happened was that, in 1990, I realized there were sufficient funds available to embark on a medium-sized research study. [F4] The project began with one psychologist, two recent social science graduates, and my pre-existing study group, none of whom had any particular biases on the subject. It was called The Phenomenonology of Sexual Contacts Between Adults and Children, encompassing both men and women, girls and boys. The search for pedophilic women, though not completely without success, nevertheless proved so difficult that this portion of the project had to be prematurely terminated. [F5] It was with pedophilic men that we first initiated the above-mentioned conversations, later gaining access to interview partners - from quite varied backgrounds - whom we would never have been able to reach on our own. In addition to the somewhat self conscious boylovers, we also located the more secretive girl lovers.
This is the first German-language project to empirically investigate the socio-sexual aspect of pedophilia. The decision was made to go beyond psychiatric or criminological samples, which are inevitably limited by the fact that they are drawn from narrow populations such as patients, inmates in institutions, and convicts. Our project is aimed at the so called “dark number;” i.e., we shall describe a non-selective group. We distinguish between pedophilia, and incest and child abuse: The adult-child contacts do not take place within the family, do not represent any substitute-acts, and are not based on force or violence as an end in itself.
We interviewed sixty men. A continuous series of pedophiles led us to further informal conversations, or yielded written information. The several-hour-long interviews were therefore as open as possible. A guide that had been prepared helped to ensure that no essential aspects would be overlooked. Of those questioned about two-thirds were boylovers, one-third were girl-lovers, and a few evinced an interest in both sexes.
Skeptics will initially be inclined to challenge the validity of such studies, since the selection of those questioned would not be representative. Certainly, our cross-section was not drawn from the overall total of all pedophile men, simply because they are, of necessity, unknown. One useful criterion would surely be: What sort of sampling method would minimize any conceivable distortions? Typical studies employing criminological or psychiatric samples do not even attempt to weed out outliers involving convicted and/or therapeutically needy men. We, on the other hand, have constituted our research group via several different avenues: speaking to visiting groups, placing want-ads in local newspapers, advertising in nudist magazines, and snowball procedures that allowed us to obtain continuing referrals. Therefore, our cross-section was derived from the widest possible catchment area that we could conceive of and reach.
This study, which ran over several years, presented us with numerous ethical dilemmas. In a pedosexual encounter, the child turns over his or her genital potentiality to a man or woman whom the child either later does not desire at all, or does not yet desire. This contradiction raises many questions, even aside from any general moral considerations. How does the child assimilate the experience? This is an empirical question that has scarcely ever been investigated; in many western countries, investigation into it isn't even allowed. It is by no means a foregone conclusion, either logically or by way of developmental psychology, that the answers would be negative. Moreover, social and emotional discrepancies between participants in sexual situations
are also common in many other sorts of scenarios. One cannot be satisfied with the categorical
argumentation of David Finkelhor, the leader in serious research into child abuse in the U.S. In an informative debate about Theo Sandfort's much-read inquiry, Finkelhor felt that in the final analysis, the need to prohibit pedosexuality was not contingent upon the results of empirical research: "Some types of social relationships violate deeply-rooted values and principles of our culture concerning equality and self-determination. [sex] between children and adults is one of them." [F6]
Here, I would like to make a more concrete argument: The moral violation lies not in the pedosexual act itself, but in unwelcome importuning, exploitation, and taking advantage of another; i.e., in the damage to their personality development. Just where the autonomy violation begins is something that needs to be conceptually and empirically clarified, notwithstanding the fact that encounters between adults and children are not always logical. In any event, it is quite obvious that at least some of the relationships that occur do not require any intervention: The children cling to their lover; they could leave him at any time, if they wanted to.
About Looks or About Character
Erotic Attraction to Children
There are adults who do not merely have an erotic preference for children, but in fact desire them exclusively. This simple insight merits bearing in mind. If pedophilia is an erotic sexual preference, then it is inevitable that it will manifest itself. Overly subjective and hastily imposed psychiatric characterizations like “fixation” and “perversion” only serve to obscure the facts. That there are, in fact, adults who have a stable pedophilic orientation was demonstrated in the laboratory of the sex psychologist Kurt Freund. [F7] In the experiments carried out there, pedophilia was determined solely through genital response. For an operational definition in the research-technical sense, despite the fact that it will still leave some open questions, we will use as our starting point the following example: What does the erotic preference mean to the subject who is so oriented? The general discourse provides some answers for common sexual forms like male and female heterosexuality. As far as marginal sexual forms are concerned, on the other hand, literature and the mass media either remain silent, or distort the image with horror stories, moral campaigns, and dirty jokes. Kurt Freund rejected self reports as an information source because pedophiles rarely admit to their actual erotic fantasies. This judgment seems a bit hasty, though I too found that pedophiles' autobiographical writings did not go into great detail. In our undertaking, these led to further discoveries about their experiences and desires through the use of intensive interviewing.
The Child's Essence
At the center of the pedophile's longing stands “the right boy” or “the right girl.” He yearns for the exact qualities that typify a member of the generation coming up. It's not chronological age that's decisive, but rather a combination of physical and personal characteristics. Therefore, the pedophile takes seriously those young people with whom he could fall in love.
Anyway, I myself am much more attuned to children's personal essence. I myself am on the side of young people. Where children hang out, how they act, what they want - for me this is not only a sight for sore eyes, but a whole experience.
In my eyes a youth isn't some little kid who has to be protected, but rather, for me, a child is a person. I accept children fully, even when they are totally unreasonable.
I need little ones I emotionality.
This means that what's eroticized isn't immaturity, but rather the essence of a particular type. According to the pedophile's conception, the child is no empty vessel, into which culture is infused little by little until he or she has grown up; the child possesses instead an original nature, more worthy of love than an adult could ever be. At numerous times, those we questioned described little ones' sincerity and directness. And what is loved isn't the bud; it's the blooming of the flower that is the child-person:
The ages that attract me begin at eight years old, depending on how the child has developed. A girl can begin developing at eight years of age. She is at her most beautiful when she is ten or eleven, which is when she really blossoms. Then she is like a rose in full bloom.
The child of his preference - and there is a wide variation in tastes - literally enchants the pedophile. Many speak of a magical age. others, experience the special radiance of a child. Not only the prospect of sexual contact attracts them, but the whole natural association with boys primarily attracts them, the life in the aura of boys.
When asked to describe an actual loved or “ideal” child in greater detail, those questioned mentioned numerous characteristics. Individuals tended to name a small number of features, a characteristic mixture that continued to recur. Many mentioned that they were actually not aiming for specific characteristics. But I grouped the ideal-child features that did come up. Here are some examples: loving, affectionate; intelligent, open; bold and cheeky as opposed to well-mannered, quiet, or calm. Thus, opposing characteristics were also mentioned: cheeky as opposed to well-mannered, for instance. The pedophiles did not adhere to any sort of uniform standard. It is my impression that they see children just as clearly as any other member of society, and that, moreover, they observe them very carefully.
The men racked their brains regarding the difficult relationship between external and internal qualities, something which, by the way, in our cross-section only happened with the boylovers; regarding the girls, this did not appear to produce a conflict. There was also a faction who placed a stronger emphasis on communicative as opposed to aesthetic values.
Many of my boys were actually not particularly handsome. If what one wants is a steady friendship, looks are not the most important thing. Looks are always a nice plus. But the most important thing, in order to be able to be with a boy for a longer period of tine, is to have some things in common.
Whether he has black hair or blonde hair, is a brunette or has freckles, it's all the sane to me. If he's good-natured - if he's not a jerk or a smart-aleck - then I'll like him.
I know boys who, at first glance, aren't really handsome. But then when you talk to them, they suddenly became gorgeous, on account of their personalities.
There are times when I say, okay, you're nice looking but, no thanks.
The hunter employs different strategies in wild, open spaces than he does in the more intimate social arena. The expert pedophile doesn't just go for any child who happens to come along; first he sounds things out to see if the child would be more or less available. He has to take a good look. That's why so many of those we questioned said that looks were only what initially attracted them. They keywords are: looks - face - eyes.
Appearance is always the first thing. It is clear that's what one looks at initially. It is of course much later on that one finds out what the boy is really like. And when one does find this out, then even a handsome boy can suddenly lose his charms, and possibly no longer even be of interest. But looks do come first, which at least permits me to daydream.
What does a man like me look for in a boy? Appearance is the first thing you look at, and then when all the rest of it comes, looks are no longer as important.
In the contest between external and internal attractiveness factors, appearance enjoys a special status. On the one hand it gives immediate aesthetic satisfaction; on the other it provides indirect evidence of character, above all through the face. Pedophiles go back and forth on this, perhaps even more than we ourselves do.
The Child's Body
Prevalent scientific as well as lay opinion holds that pedophiles derive stimulation from children's special physical qualities, such as young bodies without pubic hair, developed breasts, etc. But the facts do not support such simplistic views. Simultaneous physiological and socio-cultural tracks are the hallmarks of all sexuality types. Physical characteristics are by no means the only things that interest pedophiles, as a British psychologist with a rather interesting research technique has also discovered. [F8]
As was already mentioned, we may take note of the fact that those questioned do find children physically attractive. Each of them mentioned at least a few features that characterize young people's exterior form - characteristics that are, naturally, exclusive to this particular phase of life. Therefore pedophilic desire is also directed toward a child's physical stature. Small ones, differentness, and the multiplicity of the adult’s fantqasies led most to speak of various physical characteristics, of different intensities and in varying combinations. When the palette is this broad, there shouldn't be any pedophiles who are unable to find a child that suits them; and also, no child who would always remain unattractive from the viewpoint of a pedophile. The old saying about there being a lid for every pot is also applicable here.
Is there a code by which pedophiles express their feelings of attraction? As it turns out, they employ the same words and meanings used by mainstream society to describe, classify, and evaluate children. It would seem that pedophiles have not developed any special language or ways of perceiving things. They see children as they are, accepting them - so to speak - at face value. To this extent, pedo-eroticism is not based on some sort of phantom; it is fired by its subjects' existing physical and emotional characteristics. What the little ones should be like is put bluntly:
I actually look for very small and delicate boys; so, not stocky ones.
I look, for example, for very thin boys.
I have always been attracted to soft and slender girls. Always. I can't begin something with a butterball. There really shouldn't be anything about them that sticks out.
She has to be as slender as possible, and she can't be muscular, heavy, or short: she cannot be a butterball. This is very important, because otherwise she just won't appeal to me.
Being fat is indeed often mentioned as a turn-off, sometimes rather categorically. But are these well-fed children always rejected by pedophiles?
Relatively corpulent boys are more problematic for me. If I notice such a boy and find him to be extremely likable, and he makes a great effort to reach out to me, then, I would be ready.
The hair elicits the usual degree of attention. Since all children still possess this particular ornamentation, the fantasy always revolved around color and amount, which also follows the old clichés.
She had beautiful long blonde hair, and blue eyes. I especially like such things.
Many other things were mentioned as being found attractive: the eyes, the skin, the voice, physical condition. There was nothing that could be termed pedo-typical. Different sexual aspects - often no longer present in adults and older persons -were also highly prized. Those questioned said little about infantile genitalia although, when this did come up in the interviews, it was explored in further detail. Little was said about either the penis or the vagina. They do of course have an interest in these organs, which they find sweet, and shower with attention. Though the genitalia were certainly valued, this was not manifested in any particular way. Pubic hair was another matter entirely. Through it is shown the advance of age. Boylovers say that, from the point of view of attractiveness, it is not, altogether, a good thing.
I love it when a couple of very light, tiny hairs begin to appear. But it's a different matter when there are three or four of them. At that point, one is likely to think there really shouldn't be any more.
When more do come, it shows you that the relationship might be drawing to a close. At any day it could come to pass that he says: “My God, what we've been doing is all well and good, but there is this girl, and I'm just no longer interested.”
The girl-lovers were even more dramatic-sounding. They worry about the attractiveness of their little sweethearts, drawing a particularly sharp line between them and adult women.
What attracts me is when they still have no trace of pubic hair. That is, I can fully see what's what. Her most beautiful spot has not fully sprouted. Of course it begins to at thirteen or fourteen; at eleven it's sparse, and at twelve you can really see something. Fine, a couple of pubic hairs, that doesn't bother me; but what I like the best, as they say in the vernacular, “naked pussy.”
For some reason or another I've developed a horror of pubic hair. Personally, I will also shave it. Consequently, with a fourteen year-old, I am no longer able to get it up.
Girl-lovers are, of course, also focused on the breast region. There's hardly an area they don't pay attention to. It's a question of magnitude. For those who favor the corresponding age group, that first step beyond flat-chestedness would do nicely.
For me the breasts must have started to develop a bit, yet still have a completely child-like shape to them.
I like barely-developed breasts; that is, when they're like little half-moons.
What's decisive for me is when the nipples are just like little buds coming out.
The Eroticisation of Transition
When sprouting, growing, and budding are what one dreams of, as for example of a girl's breasts, the pedophile's longings are focused on the transition or change from one physical developmental stage to another. The passage into maturity is what kindles desire. This is somewhat different from, say, a culinary appetite for baby vegetables. The process of change - as opposed to the status itself - is what attracts. A girl lover:
For me, what has to happen is for these so-called primary or secondary attributes to be gradually manifesting their various forms. I get enthusiastic when I see the first signs.
Girl-lovers generally have more difficulty with coherently describing their tastes, and ascribing linguistic terms to them. It is precisely because they are at a certain stage in their self-understanding that they are, still, feeling their way around. Therefore free-flowing associations along these lines prove more informative, as the following interview segment demonstrates.
What attracts me, I think, is when the body is not quite developed. Something where the fantasy still has room to play itself out, so, as a person develops further. The person has not reached an end-status; and indeed, there really isn't one. I still have the chance to experience some part of their development with them. And this is something that's been important my whole life, including my mental life: I want to develop myself, as well as experience development. To me, staying the same in any way is a frightening thought. Therefore, to me, an example of a frightening thought would be owning my own home; to me this would always be like a coffin. I like to always keep roving. This also impacts the sexual aspect of the whole thing: What fascinates me about children is that through them, I can live out the fantasy of still being in transition.
Speaking strictly about pederasts, it turned out the older person always acted as a pedagogue for the younger one. As in the ancient Greek model, the Erastes was both lover and teacher. [F9] Some of the present-day boylovers also insisted that:
My goal is not to exploit or say like, the main thing is what I want, I'll have my fun; my goal is simply to teach him.
My dreams is perhaps the dream of all pedophiles, as I picture the ancient Greeks having lived out: to have a small boy to educate and bring up, even though the boy had almost reached puberty, and needed to be tutored in the arts of war.
The fascination with transition also has concrete manifestations in the sexual sphere.
It is wonderful to experience getting to know a twelve-year-old as he starts to mature. When you experience his first orgasm, when you experience his first ejaculation, when you explain everything to him that you possibly can. Indeed, this is also something new for him. It's lovely.
I like to see how he develops, on up to his first ejaculation. When I have a boy who is ten or eleven, I always want him to finally reach the point where I can be the first person to swallow his seed.
I would not begin a sexual relationship with a boy of fifteen or older. It's different if I knew him from earlier. I would also be interested to know if, by the time the boy turned twenty one, he was once again involved in things. It would be fascinating to see how he'd developed, and what his feelings were now.
Observing another person's development, staying by their side and caring for them are the leitmotifs of human relationships, love included. In the pedophile this tendency reaches new, almost unprecedented heights. Why is this so? Not all transitions are praised, particularly those which signal decline. Among society's basic values are (or were) growth and performance, all protests to the contrary notwithstanding. In puberty, children’s bodies undergo dramatic changes as they grow and perform, especially in the primary realm of sexuality. It is consequently no wonder that this transition is subject to eroticisation.
Girls, Boys, Men, Women
Age and Gender Dimensions
Are young people loved because they are not yet firmly fixed as being either male or female? Attempts are often made to account for pedophilia-in these terms. One thinks of the ancient love for the ephebe, and considers the charming statues of young men produced between the seventh and fifth centuries B.C. For Sigmund Freud it was "not the boy's masculine character but rather his physical resemblance to a woman, as well as his female mental qualities" that sparked the man's interest. [F10] And Camille Paglia calls the icon of the boy beauty "an androgyne, a shining simultaneity of masculine and feminine."
These assumptions mean well: They reflect a rich understanding of - and gently point towards - a therapeutic path to heterosexualization. But they certainly also lead to some absurd conclusions. For one thing, they scarcely address boy-love; they also fail to account for how females see males. Are young people then, aside from infants, sexually open, indeterminate, or double-sexed? No, and if yes, pedophiles would then be the perfect bisexuals: both sexes in just one desired object. That children and youth in and of themselves are eroticized is something that such theories cannot admit. They only see the avoidance of adult, different-gendered sexual objects. Pedophilia would, in the final analysis, be explained using circular logic; that is, as the failure to achieve a mature heterosexuality. For our part, we shall now examine how pedophiles demarcate their preferred ages, and how that in turn relates to preferred gender.
The Many Ages of Childhood
We know from biographical studies that age-norms are not (or are no longer) empirically sound: They do not impact the life course, and yield no socially valid schedule. [F11] Norms relating to age differences aren't controlling either. Ideas concerning precociousness or falling behind, “too early” or “too late,” are obsolete; it is now a matter of gymnast or computer-gamer, thief or beggar.
Pedophiles follow not age norms, but rather their various fantasies regarding girls or boys. It is not childhood, which is calculated as a numerical age of zero up to perhaps fourteen, that is eroticized, but rather a certain segment of it. In any event the age difference between the loving and the beloved person is large and undoubtedly present for both of them; it is also determined by them. For pedophiles the ideal age difference is almost as small as it is in other sexual scenarios: In a married couple the woman should be a few years younger than the other and so on. The pedophile must first come to terms with protective age limits.
Age limits actually traverse the very physical characteristics that are most important. If a 15-year-old already has all too hairy legs, then for me they're basically sexually dead. As for 16-, 18-, or even 20-year-olds who still look 12, then, I can still sleep with them. And going downward in age, there are 10-year-olds who are already relatively well-developed physically, and who therefore look just like 14-year-olds; but when 12-year-olds still have the figure of a 9-year-old, they don't interest me.
All in all there is a broad palette of age-spans that pedophiles are interested in. They also see the many phases that a child goes through:
Therefore I find that a 10-, 11-, or 12-year-old boy has many wonderful sides to him. A boisterousness, a gaiety, playfulness, uncomplicatedness - those are what make me feel alive. On the other side is the boy of 15 or 16 who thinks a lot about various matters, about himself personally, and about the world, etc., on an entirely different level.
Although we have addressed this subject many times, we have often had to content ourselves with merely approximate answers. Due to the need to protect themselves, those questioned didn't want to be too specific. They earnestly believed in the morality of their desires, and were not fixated on mere numbers as I had supposed, and as some accounts of age-preference would indicate.
I would say... six to sixteen. The question isn't how old, but how boyish he is.
Perhaps from five to sixteen or seventeen years old, somewhere in that area. Indeed, the important thing is that there's real communication and shared feelings. They're not yet there like this in a three- or four-year-old boy. Thus I also cannot imagine it with a baby or a two or three-year-old boy. I have a small child myself. Those are different feelings; there, the caring for feeling is expressed in significantly stronger terms.
Those questioned appeared to be predominantly interested in teenagers and the course of puberty; the boylovers, anyway. It is here that they experience a fascination with transition in the strongest terms.
So the earliest is from eleven on. I would regard anything under that as abuse. For me this is important: The boy must already be able to experience feelings of his own. You cannot make him have them. He must already experience feelings of his own in the intimate sphere, and he actually has to already know what he wants.
Regarding pre-pubescents, such men do indeed pay attention to, derive pleasure from, and have some erotic feelings for them, although they seem to hold back from actually having sex with them.
I take pleasure in just talking to a boy about this or that, even if, to me, he's too small to even think of going to bed with. But he's a very pretty boy, who also brings something esthetic, something visual. But I can't go to bed with some kind of pretty vase or 1ittle, pretty sculpture either. A boy who doesn't yet suit my sexual wishes, since he can't even ejaculate yet, is just a pretty boy.
I'm not interested in sex with children who have not yet been touched by puberty. I find them to be nice and cute and everything, and would be quite happy to go play with them in a corner or something; but that isn't what really does it for me. What really rings my bell is when puberty arrives.
Persons who are not - or do not look - young enough will not catch a pedophile's eye. Within an existing relationship, then, the sexual interest will decline and fade markedly. If the younger party doesn't simply stay away and the friendship continues, a different sort of relationship is negotiated. All sorts of physical am social signs are mentioned as indications that childhood is fading away: change of voice, macho behavior, hair, beards, and then interest vanishes. Mine and the boy's too, because then, you know, he'll go with a girl. Or with regard to girls: "As they turn thirteen, fourteen, I slowly start to lose interest. Then they start putting on too much make-up."
The Child Has a Gender
There is a certain habitual way of thinking which fosters the assumption that the objects of child-love are largely sexless. Before puberty set in, bodies would have developed few differences from one another. In the types and ways that the literature and media of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have portrayed the child, sex differences have been homogenized into a uniform construct. Pedophilia not only crosses the generational boundary, but also that between male and female. Such notions belong to the past.
James Kincaid, professor of English literature, has selected materials from literature, film, etc. in order to work out the nature and development of the love of children. It was a daring project that produced astonishing results. Kincaid asserted that children's gender had little to do with pedophilic fantasy, which aims instead to deconstruct differences, above all of age and status. [F12] The clearly noticeable preferences for girls or boys of the creators of, respectively, "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan" are explained away as the idiosyncrasies of their authors. On the other hand, those we questioned - authors as it were of present-day as opposed to Victorian pedophilia - have preferences which are noticeably gender-based.
Pedophiles' own reports do not support any sort of androgynous or gender-neutral theory. Quite the contrary: The question of boy or girl preoccupies them. They ascertain the direction of their desires through thought or trial and are, accordingly, well-informed about it. Though exceptions to the rule and deviations from the norm do occur, they do not cloud this clear finding: the desired child has a gender, in the sense of male or female. Pedophiles are, in most cases, either girl-lovers or boylovers.
Having pointed out this finding, I must add the following caveat: This is my interpretation of the interview materials. The responses of those questioned usually didn't differ by much. Although they were indeed focused on gender difference, their fantasies typically didn't exclude the possibility of contact with the other sex. It seemed to me they were usually clearly inclined towards a particular gender, as I gathered from their experiences and detailed descriptions. Although they were not always personally so structured and well-defined, they did characterize themselves as being exclusively inclined towards a particular sex. In a socio-historical sense, pedophilia may be a transition stage, in which the longed-for child, in the end, comprises only his or her gender. This is a diluted version of my own conclusion: For pedophiles, the child is not gender-less.
We will now look at how one of the men, a craftsman in his mid-twenties, discovered his own gender preference:
I have always imagined being with a girl. But a child - that was crazy. I can't be objective about it. The way I look at it is that I have really always liked boys, but thought that being with a girl would be more accepted. Now I no longer look at girls. I talked myself into this, because, a girl is just like a child. But now I know that it's not girls - it's just boys. There's simply nothing quite like a boy.
He who discovers within himself an inclination towards children has thereby already taken the biggest step. As soon as he gets over the shock of it, having forsaken and to some degree overcome normality, there are then further decisions to be made: How small and what sex is the wished-for child? Why this gender and not the other? First the boylover:
It's a mixture of a hunger for adventure and a need to be needed. The yearning for affection on the one side, and a "go get 'em" attitude on the other.
With a boy I can hang out. I have no idea how I'd be supposed to act with a girl. I could of course play with a girl, but from an emotional standpoint it's much easier for me with boys.
I find little girls real cute and everything, but they don't do it for me sexually; then, to me, something would be missing. I like playing with little dicks. And that's never going to happen with a girl.
Girl-lovers also emphasize their preference.
Therefore I like soft faces with pretty eyes. There are of course boys who have looks that are just as soft; in the final analysis one sees everything through the lens of his own sexuality. What attracts one person doesn't interest somebody else. I find girls' looks, certain kinds of girls' looks very attractive; and boys' looks, hardly at all. And when I do run across a good one, it's because he looks soft like a girl. The body is also completely different. Girls, eight or ten-year old girls, are quite differently shaped than boys, and from the rear they have entirely different bottoms, girls' being somehow rounded in that uniquely feminine way.
Boys really don't interest me at all. If I had a boy in bed with me for the night I'd just lay there, because there'd be nothing to do.
Not all of our conversational partners were so firmly fixed. Whether a child of the other gender might also interest them was something many had considered, especially the girl-lovers. But of course this remained hypothetical, and did not involve any sexual contact. Sex with a child who is actually not of the desired gender may occur, so long as the pedophile in question is still experimenting. Therefore, perhaps one day, in an “emergency”: “It happened once, when things were really tight, and I was stressed out about something. So I got together with this boy. Not that I wanted to team up with him.”
Girls and Boys Equally
Are there bisexual pedophiles? Three out of our sixty conversational partners stated that they liked girls and boys equally. Their experiences with children were very limited, and they had major difficulties with being pedophiles. They also have sex with adult partners. These multi-faceted persons knew no limits with respect to age or gender. Apparently their desires circulated through any number of persons. What for me remains unanswered is why their residual heterosexuality can't help them avoid the risks of a pedophilic existence.
Through my bisexuality, in a certain sense I pull up both tracks.
For me there's really no difference. I see naked men just as often as I do naked women. Everyone has their own needs and particular personal desires. For me this means men just as often as women, boys just as often as girls. Therefore I can meet someone from any of these four groups who by all appearances is enormously likeable.
The boundary between male and female can also become blurred here. The object of one’s desire becomes double-gendered, which might breathe new life into the earlier-rejected androgyne hypothesis.
There was a little girlishness to the figure. Slender and dark, relatively long hair. So not clearly masculine. It's always the girlish-looking boys that interest me.
One certainly must not over-generalize here. Then the men quoted here wouldn't seem like real pedophiles; nevertheless, their sexuality doesn't have much structure to it.
Suppose that two identical twins, a boy and a girl of a nice age, say ten, are standing in front of me naked. In that case I wouldn't be able to decide. They would have to talk to me, tell me who they are inside. From the outside, I wouldn't be able to choose. I still don't know what makes me choose one over another. There are times when a girl would excite me more, and there are times when a boy would. There may be influences that vary with climate, the weather, the time of year, or the people one sees on the street or had seen the day before yesterday for all I know. I always try to look deeply into myself; but I just can't figure it out on my own.
A more convincing explanation is that - emotionally as well as a matter of practice - they are certainly inclined towards children of a particular gender, and yet also have a certain appetite for venturing outside of that. This variety of bisexuality must not be condemned as a failure. A boylover with little experience of girls:
I once had this cute little girl. Indeed, I see a lot; there are girls who are as pretty as a picture, about whom I say to myself, she would definitely be a lot of fun. ..Girls have a completely different nature. The commonality is that my interest is in pre-pubertal girls. It's basically the same body type; they have a child-like quality to them. There are also prepubertal differences; i.e., girls with very wide hips, very womanly; they're okay looking, I don't jump on them. Actually there are more girls who could be just as good as a boy.
Differences Between Boy- and Girl-Love
With every scientific sex study there is this dilemma: How should I deal with the gender difference? Alfred Kinsey simply wrote two separate reports; one on men, one on women. Many male authors think in masculine terms; many female authors still refer only to females. No sexual act can be adequately characterized without referring to the gender(s) of its participants. There are always at least two versions of the event, of, for example, masturbation, same-sex love, or marital reality. On the other hand the sex itself cannot be cut into two halves. It belongs, as it were, outside of the gender divide, to human beings. In this book therefore, I will discuss the core commonalities within pedophilia in general before addressing the differences, some of which have already been mentioned.
When our conversational partners discussed their erotic feelings, they often employed terms that by definition describe young people of the male or female gender. The girl-lovers emphasized that the desired person must be girlish, and the boylovers spoke of boyishness. But this is by no means some insignificant and empty formula. Rather, those questioned left the impression that they yearned for a child whose physical and emotional characteristics conformed to a given gender. That is, gender clichés are eroticized. And gender characteristics overlap also. The girlish boy is hardly ever mentioned; the boyish girl, on the other hand, isn't rare at all. But so what? Does the possibility of this coexistence refute the assertion that the desired child has a gender which is undoubtedly his or her own? I don't think so. Then there are the “difficult cases” in our cross-section who characterize themselves as bisexual: chronologically the phase prior to becoming certain that one is a pedophile, as well as advocates of an asexual lifestyle.
Some girl-lovers used formulas like "boyishly-slim" in order to contrast the physically-desired type of person with a fully grown woman.
From the moment she becomes a woman, it's over. She must be a more woman-child, rather devil-may-care with a boyish character, but without hard features. So, actual woman have make-up and are all in your face - that bothers me.
Older interpretational models, according to which children are largely indeterminate, continue to cling to life. Here one also hears about the fear of a fully-developed, equally-entitled woman.
The girl or boylover values typical contemporary qualities. The self-defined pedophile raves about the properly-gendered characteristics of his child. Moreover, whereas boys are more likely to be described in terms of their behavior, girls are more often described in terms of their appearance. The attractive boy is a “burst of energy,” “not tied to his mother's apron string,” and is “no angel” but instead a “rascal.”
The attractive girl is described using terms like pretty, beautiful, sweet, and cute. This is a remarkable difference relative to the description of the ideal boy. Certainly this esthetic vocabulary is applied to them as well, but much more rarely, and hardly ever in terms of good looks being the primary cause of attraction. Sometimes boylovers will even explicitly reject the handsome ones. With girls, however, there is the stereotypical celebration of superficiality:
In purely visual terms girls are much more attractive, only because of their clothing, their outfits. I have also fallen in love with just a face. There was this girl on the merry-go round that I kept filming, who had jeans on. She was still small, so I would guess six, seven. She had a wonderfully pretty face, an angelic face.
All of these characteristics that are seen as typical of girls or boys are obviously based on nothing more than familiar clichés. It's not the tender boy in the spotlight but the conqueror; not the dashing girl but the esthetically pleasing one. One could not, however, be annoyed at this; pedophiles are not in the vanguard of female and male liberation. They're merely doing what all sexual forms do: relating to established meanings of gender.
Differences between girl- and boy-love show up first as pre-sexual manifestations. The play, liveliness, and adventures that bring such joy to many pedophiles don't so much stoke lust directly, but rather provide the initial erotic spark. Such platonic pleasures are clearly experienced by the boylovers. But they are, on the other hand, rarely mentioned by the girl lovers. At the risk of over-generalizing, the difference between pedophiles vis-a-vis desired gender may be summarized as follows: Boy-love relates to the love of a young man, and knows something of the man he shall become (“Pederasty” model); girl-love looks at the forms which precede young womanhood (“Lolita” model).
Such asymmetry has just as little impact on the overall internal cohesiveness of pedophilic desire as do the amorphous constructs of homo- or hetero-sexual desire on their validity. The latter, of course, do not transgress generational boundaries. Therefore the individual sexual forms have at their disposal what are, undoubtedly, the rather circumscribed dimensions of gender and generation; and yet, wherever boundaries overlap, continuities and admixtures thrive.
Into Bed With Adults?
So, that clumsy question one is always itching to ask about pedophiles would be: Why can't they just be satisfied with permissible sexual partners? Formerly there has been an unpleasant tendency to raise one's index finder, talking of over-satiation, depravity, or even moral confusion. Today, one is more likely to accept the fact that sexual orientations have certain inevitabilities and immutabilities to them. But that now raises some new questions: How authentic is the erotic attraction to children? Have pedophiles tested out their sexual response to non-children?
Sexual experiences with other adults was not a central topic of our inquiry. When the conversational partners did express themselves on this subject, it happened casually and spontaneously. Therefore we do not have a whole series of answers concerning this. We are, admittedly, unable to compare these fragments with one another, or even enumerate them.
Comparing sexual experiences with child versus adult partners might be a good starting point for getting to the bottom of the origin and function of a pedophilic orientation. However, our data should not be used as a source of ideas for possible therapeutic regimens; the questioned pedophiles simply describe their tastes side-by-side with the potentialities for adult oriented sexuality. Several kinds of them typically crop up.
There are men who take note of the relevant desires within themselves, and yet do not personally define themselves as pedophiles. They (perhaps still) keep their forbidden longings in check, approaching and stepping over the bounds of permissibility by simply stroking a child, without actually abandoning normality.
Sometimes I picture having such a relationship with a little girlfriend. But then I always say to myself, that doesn't fly in this world, even if others are doing it. But I'm not that perverse yet. And besides, I don't know if I'd have the courage. And I also wouldn't have the slightest idea where to begin. This is only one kind of erotic adventure...I would like a little girlfriend for myself, but am not the type who would look for a woman who has kids just so I could gain access to them.
Sex with an adult woman is also out of the question. I still have three weeks before my divorce is final. Being around children gives me sexual satisfaction like nothing else does; even for just a moment, it's so nice. With a woman I soon become dissatisfied. So I try to be completely normal. I also know exactly how children can be harmed.
Many employ legal disguises to hide their pedophilic tendencies. An interview partner with a preference for girls around eleven:
I am also able to love a same-age woman. To be sure, I limit myself then to those who look wild, beautiful, and have a really child-like body to look at. But then again, most women have lots of people asking for them, and are usually already busy elsewhere. At the moment I have marriage plans with a woman from the Philippines. I can scarcely believe how I came to live with a 23-year-old. The more time passes, the more doubts I have.
Others do indeed allow themselves to get involved with adults, but have to think about children to get an erection, as the following example of a boylover who lived with a woman for nearly a year demonstrates.
It only worked when I picture her son, for example. I also cannot take the initiative by coming up to her and saying, I want you right now. Whereas with a boy, I would know right away how I needed to proceed. When it's no problem for the boy, it's no problem for me. Whereas with a woman, I have to think about what I'm doing. But then I also realize I'm holding something back from her.
On the path to intimate communication with an adult partner are erected hurdles, on which the longings of these men become caught and sustain damage. Certainly the road to the child is also paved with perils and troubles, though no more so than others that occur between adults.
I have also had relationship with women, which were also pretty nice. I absolutely have had so-called normal relationships, but children, girls, have charms that adult women don't have. For some reason or other I haven't gotten on as well with women, was a bit shaky, and so also didn't have much success. I'm unsure of myself. With girls it's entirely different; I'm completely sure then.
Sometimes, non-primary sexual feelings help with sexual potency:
I've taken a detour past the gay scene. Then I've made myself fall in love with a girl, but at the moment, if I were to try that again, it might bring us both down together. Up to then I had wondered whether it might really be boys. I can do it with men and I can do it with women. It's crazy that I do find them desirable; I'm proud of myself. Therefore, I "can;" however not because I need to, but because that's what's required. It doesn't thrill me, and I could just as well do without it.
Many set out to try to get permissible sexual partners, even though they know they're pedophiles.
I have also slept with adults, because for several years I’ve tried desperately to get away from it, and have always thought I should at least try it out; I'm already used to it with adults. Since I was thirteen, I've known that boys are what did it for me. But I have now tried it with two women and three men. Of course it's all nice and everything; but I couldn't do it for more than two nights in a row - I just find the whole thing so hopeless.
One attempts to lead two radically different lives; to both meet the societal demand to start a family, and lead a passionate, sexually-fulfilled life. On one side is his desire for boys ages five and up; on the other is the wish to have a wife and one's own child. But his strenuous attempts to square the circle are not successful. Married men who become aware of their pedophilic tendencies usually find it difficult to continue following two separate tracks, particularly when the partner senses a change and begins to hold back herself.
More than a few pedophiles explained - and this probably required some courage on their part - that they are incapable of having sexual relations with adults.
For the last four or five years I have been completely impotent with a woman in front of me Consequently I can only achieve satisfaction through fellatio. When it comes right down to it, I just lack the desire.
There's no problem here as far as liking goes. I've also chatted, flirted, no problem there. Or necking. But please, don't ever ask ne to get in bed - there'd be no point. Again and again I've suddenly broken off relationships with women. Nothing happens with a prostitute either, absolutely nothing at all. I had always wondered, maybe.. .no, that couldn't be it, of course you're not gay. I'd tried it; I once got in bed with. a gay guy; no reaction. That was nothing also.
The boylovers, if anything, put even more emphasis on their lack of sexual interest in adults.
I had a school-friend, and we were together an awful lot. At fifteen years old we knew - without actually admitting it to one another - that we were both gay. So at thirty, we tried going to bed together. It was a disaster. To him I was the same as I'd always been; but to me, he was no longer the person he once was; he'd become old, and already had a beard. It hadn't gone well at all, so at that point we gave up... I have several friends who would be happy to start a relationship with me or go to be with me, but I'm just not interested. What does it for me is youthfulness, and boys.
Actually, a considerable portion of boylovers would be more likely to start something sexual with a woman than with a man. This should be put more precisely: The boylover would be able to respond sexually to a woman more often than he would with a man. The generational difference is weighted more heavily than the gender sameness. Homosexual partners' “adultness” extinguishes desire.
Again and again I've had the experience of feeling a kind of disgust towards men. It's enormously amusing: A homosexual man who finds men disgusting. But that's how it really is. When for example I'm in a swimming pool or a sauna and see naked men with big dicks, it can really sicken me This is also true for homosexual behavior. When you get into bed with a homosexual, there are all these rituals you go through. Things have to click, your dick has to get hard fast. It's all very goal-oriented, and you're under immense pressure to perform. I don't like this at all, and then, I'm really no longer able to do it. For my part, I find that boys are different. More affectionate, more natural. Then, I'm never afraid I might mess it up.
Of the sixty self-defined pedophiles in our cross-section, there wasn't a single case where someone had failed to explore the possibility of sexual intercourse with adults as opposed to children. All have tried, without success, to go the route of women and/or men.
I respect women, I also like them. But I can't consummate an act with a woman, it's just not in me. I was married briefly, but that just didn't cut it for me. You can't shake it off. This drive, it's a part of you. The day I no longer have it in me will be the day I die.
If sex is uniformly a given, then what distinguishes sexuality with children from that between adults? We asked those who had experience with both, and got numerous answers. To some there's a difference in the intensity of feeling. Others describe a different kind of course of action, whereby some aspects of children's erotic radiance reappear, as were already discussed earlier. The men usually view their pedophilic experiences through the prism of a standard model; i.e., intercourse with a woman.
Some girl-lovers criticize their experiences with women as goal oriented, ritualized, and genitally-fixated, instead of spontaneous like they are with girls, even when sexual intercourse with the latter would not be possible. The boylovers differentiate them from each other in even stronger terms: Here the mechanical and orgasm-driven aspects of coitus with a woman, there the exciting and affectionate moments in sexual play with a boy. Only a few felt that their experiences - however different - were of equal value.
I can sleep with women - it doesn't bother me. I've also gone down on a girl, to be quite honest. It's also pleasurable and beautiful. It's actually advantageous to bang a woman, because you can go in nice and clean. Everything's very tender, very soft, very elastic. There's a certain acceptance of the techniques here. And the other thing is that I of course liked these girls. But I can do without this - I cannot do without boys.
I could even picture myself sleeping with women, and often. But that genuine feeling of happiness, that real pleasure, that emotional elation; those things I would not have. It would really only be a feeling of sexual pleasure. When I'm with a boy, it's both the feeling of sexual pleasure and an absolute love for and liking of the boy. And I have no connection with adult men.
At the beginning of this section we posed a question: Is the notion of a pedophile's directional drive being fixed and tested one that many men would have to agree with? This shows the comparison between sexual experiences with adults and those involving children. For those among our conversational partners who reported actual or potential sexual contacts with adults, the real passion they experienced on the pedo-erotic side remained a constant. The adult side obviously only activated a general sexual potency, in order to conform to the norm. The vast majority of such sexual acts that were mentioned involved women rather than men. Here, pedophilia as inclination and heterosexuality as duty go together.
"There are men who love boys," begins Mark Pascal's apologetic book, "and there are boys who love men." [F13] There are two assertions imbedded in this: mutuality and similarity of feeling; of which, only the former can be right. What boys bring to men is completely different from what the pedophiles feel. Now, this theory of a congruence of feelings is, undoubtedly, merely intended to refute the assumption of sexual abuse: and yet, it's equally nonsensical. Not even on the level of purely sexual exchange do both sides develop the same feelings. So long as the partnership does not cause any explicit harm; in any event normal love between woman and man is itself dependent upon incongruous feelings.
When I explained the idea of our research project to Eberhard Scorsch in May of 1987, he responded that it would be really good to have more - and more precise - information about these phenomena, in order to better understand them. Admittedly, even with this blessing, I had still not escaped the following ethical dilemma: How can one - should one - describe a sexual form that is defined by such a gross power imbalance as that which exists between adults and children? The answers in the sexual politics arena range from passionate defense on up to murderous rejection. The fact that opinions are so torn is actually a hint that we should first examine the observational positions and by various perspectives to present such data, reserving judgment until later on.
Five Sexual Science Frameworks
Whenever yet another coupling goes sour one cheerfully says, in seriocomic despair, that men and women just don't belong together. No one would smile at this joke if it didn't contain a kernel of truth. The literature which takes great pains to show it is the gender difference that man and woman together erotically negotiate would fill up a very considerable library. This also has a kernel of truth to it. It is against the striking surface between disparity and complementarity that the entirely normal chaos of love is lit. [F14]
We have now speculated about such impossibilities and inevitabilities for two thousand years. The basic model has remained constant: Only two people who are of different genders and the same generation can love one another. Two additional dimensions, similar social and ethnic milieus, play only a subordinate role. The pedophilic ideal runs aground on the basic model from the very start, and into many such attitudes within sexual science as well.
That adult persons do direct their sexual desires towards children, and not at all rarely, is more well-known today than ever. Sexual science has at the ready four options for examining such acts:
- Control-Theoretical: Criminological and psychiatric samples make up the lion's share of all publications; well over ninety percent.
- Biographical: Here the interest is in the life-course of pedophiles and the psychological function of their sexual orientation (more about this below).
- Advocacy-Friendly: The oppression of non-violent sexual contact is reviewed, as in the 1988 book edited by Angelo Leopardi, "The Pedosexual Complex."
- Discursive-Theoretical: Highlights the types and ways in which pedophilia is handled socially, via "agitating enlightenment" (Katharina Rutschky), or as the social problem of the "sexually at-risk child" (Michael Schetsche). [F15]
Almost completely absent is a fifth option, which operates outside of any criminal proceedings, therapeutic, or meta-sexual analysis. This new approach would need to shine light on the sexual events themselves, difficult as that may be. Until now this has only been done by Theo Sandfort, from the children's point of view; our project endeavors to do this from the men's point of view.
The primary guiding principle of all of these approaches is as follows: Children's right to sexual self-determination is to be respected and protected. This has a certain degree of consonance with the criminal law and with a strong current of the zeitgeist. But autonomy as a basic principle can lead to some quite different kinds of consequences. The above quoted options quickly diverge from one another here. At this point they are united only in their rejection of the advocacy friendly route. To be satisfied with a sort of simple consent along the lines of the old saying... “she did say yes'- that's just entirely too naive. I would indeed take a child's “yes” seriously, but only after I knew exactly what it covered, and how it came about.
According to the prevailing line, consent to pedosexual acts simply cannot be given. The American sociologist David Finkelhor had already formulated this line back in 1979: Children don't know what sex is. They are acquainted with neither the social meaning of nor the rules by which sexual relationships are carried out. In either the legal or the psychological sense of the word, children do not have the freedom to say yes or no. Adults control the very foundations of children's lives - food, shelter, money, and freedom itself - and consequently exercise great power over them. For Finkelhor the classic arguments no longer matter: whether adult-child sexuality is unnatural, whether it would prematurely sexualize the child, or even whether it would harm the child. Of course these arguments have always remained controversial; there are counter-arguments still in existence. First of all, there is contradictory evidence; for example there are known cases in which the consequences of the sexual encounter have to be appraised as positive. But with the inability to consent, there was found a conclusive and all encompassing answer, which always would brand even a presumed love for children as a case of abuse. Since then, the campaigns against “child sexual abuse” have profited from the strictness and simplicity of this principle, including in Germany. From a sexual science standpoint however this is unsatisfactory, because it is based on deductions from normative foundations, absent any intention of looking at the actual events in question.
The psychoanalytic-biographical approach permits much more realistic insights into pedophilia. The Hamburg School of psychoanalytically oriented sexual psychiatry founded by Eberhard Schorsch describes the pedophilic act as a “fusion with the child-like alter ego.” A complex "interplay of simultaneous identification - on, the one hand with one's own needs, projected onto children, and on the other with quasi-ideal nurturing parent figures" produces an unrealistic, sexualized dream-relationship. [F16] In light of the encumbered research situation - those who have been criminally convicted are provided therapy there - it's astonishing how much of the group Schorsch has been successful in relating to, and what a differentiated picture emerges. For me just one question remains open: Can the boundary between “normal” and “perverse” be so readily maintained? Then the psychological course, how it's laid out here for pedophilia, all those complicated identifications and projections, fundamentally part of every sexual motivation, including waking dreams. What exactly constitutes pedophilic experience now, how unrealistic the relationship fantasy really is, could be illuminated still further via psychoanalytic interpretation.
Scorsch is no longer involved with this. In a later article, he could only take note of how much the social assessment had changed recently. He even found himself boxed in: between activist pedophile groups, demanding to be taken at their word, and the child-protection crusade, which attacked him. It was not a good time for psychoanalytic seclusion. Therefore even Schorsch was forced to clearly renounce value judgments. And so he put it in simplified terms in his book: Child-love is neither categorically good nor categorically bad. It is encumbered by a disparity in desires and sexual aims - this did not, however, mean that they are inevitably harmful. [F17] The message is a significant one: Only the individual case can be evaluated, not pedosexuality as a whole.
Of course there are also generalizations on the psychoanalytical side. In 1932 Sandor Ferenczi had already characterized the incestuous relationship as a "contradiction in terms." The desire for affection on the child's part did not mean he or she wanted to become a sexual object. The adult who allows himself to be carried away and engages in such sexual acts is confusing childlike horseplay with the passionate desires of a mature person. Many others have since adopted this view. Martin Dannecker continues to emphasize this “mis-match” in sexual development. It is only following puberty that the former merely pre-disposed and pre-formed sexual object becomes definitively centered. The pedosexual relationship therefore lacks a reciprocity of objects. [F18] From the very beginning of a contact the sexual communication is one-dimensional, going merely from the older person outward.
Viewing the situation in terms of this mismatch, German sex research has consistently staked out the position that pedophilia represents a failure to achieve critical potency. There is simply no denying the fact that children's ability to engage in sexual acts is only partially developed, and that their own sexual objects and aims are still in the process of forming, but not yet fully consolidated. Ideal communication between sexual partners requires a kind of equality of weaponry, whereby the greatest possible depth of common experience helps to ensure a fair playing field. Being sure of one's own instinctual urges guarantees that as the situation develops, the needs of one do not become hopelessly subservient to the needs of the other.
Parallels in Pedophiles' Lay Theories
To the extent possible we had an open-door policy with pedophiles. Among those we questioned there were many ideas that were similar to or even looked a lot like results from sexual science. But the ways in which our conversationalists expressed these were an entirely different matter, for hardly any of them had read or even heard of the relevant publications; therefore many surely wouldn't have been able to understand a word of it, even though their own experiences and broodings had undoubtedly made them wise. Scene-specific interpretations have probably evolved only in recent years.
Terms like linguistic differentiation, non-simultaneity, etc. find parallels today in the language of laymen. It should perhaps also be noted that those questioned were not expressing their views about pedophilia in the abstract, but rather, regarding their own actions. Consequently the statements quoted have a certain strategic aspect to them. They likely represent, however, pedophiles' own authentic philosophy. Many believe that children below a certain age are too young for sex with a lover.
I'm interested in small boys, but not on a sexual level. I'm also quite happy playing with little ones. I recently met a five-year-old boy. One could almost say it was love at first sight, though it didn't occur to me that something sexual could happen. With that age one could of course use manipulation to make it happen, but that's something I totally reject.
When Ferenczi talks about linguistic confusion he means something nonverbal: What the child articulates as a need for affection is answered by the adult in passionate terms. But pedophiles do know the difference between feelings and expectations.
At the moment I have a nine-year-old friend. There's no sex. But when we're together, he's completed fixated on me. I've rarely experienced such an intense look. I can sit together with him for hours on end, talking about all sorts of inconsequential matters; it's not boring, to him or to me. He asks me what I was like before, when I was his age, what I was up to back then, and so forth. Usually I haven't a clue, so I just make up something. He asks the same question ten times in a row, and I try to slap something together. But there's nothing boring about it to me, because there's such an intense connection there. But to me, just by his nature, he's too young for sex. At some point or another one will stroke not just the hands or the belly, but also, somewhere else. So, very slowly, steadily, and entirely naturally, I'm paving the way for future possibilities with the boy. It's extremely important to me that he personally be a part of this.
It turns out that, for various reasons, it's more difficult for girl-lovers to find a language in common with their children. They had little to do with girls during their own childhoods, let alone having actually lived inside their skin. Of course there is also a great deal of linguistic confusion between the sexes from very early on. These pedophiles also tackle this difficult, perhaps virtually unsolvable problem:
For me the ideal thing would be to establish a love relationship with an eleven-year-old girl. What inhibits me is that I never know how far you can go with a child. I don't know how far you can go with a child. I don't know how extensively a child's sexual fantasies have developed, how extensively she'd want to. Better thrice shy than to once go too far. It should of course be fun for both, and above all, young girls' things. She should have her own interests and likes. The more I see the girl coming out of her shell, the more I can come out of mine. If I go too far I'll startle her, and then the friendship will be over. Do like she does; if she enjoys it, it's alright.
Pedophiles are confronted with this non-simultaneity or “mismatch” whenever they notice that children experience sex in a completely different way than they themselves do. Only a thin sliver of commonality remains to aid the intimacy of the encounter: on both sides the need for physical closeness and touch, and with some children, a precocious desire for sexual experiences. In a pedophilic pairing there are bound to be various filters at work; though the degree of mismatch may be reduced, it will never disappear altogether. The most important filters are already driving their very first contacts: with the older ones the glance to pick out the one who would be most inclined to fulfill his wishes; with the younger party the decision to either maintain or reduce the distance between him/herself and the man. All of the details concerning how those we questioned viewed the initial encounter and subsequent coming-together are described in an upcoming analytically-framed study by Rainer Hoffman. (Ed. This study was never published.)
An example of experienced non-simultaneity:
It was love at first sight. Then I slept with him in the same bed. He's given me a lot. Not sexually, because I simply have no interest in going to bed with a six-year-old. That's because I'm used to thirteen-year-olds. With a thirteen-year old, I've found, he really has a desire for it.
The notion that it is not until puberty that the individual centers his/her sexual object - by becoming conscious of and mastering it (Martin Dannecker) - is reflected in the commentaries of our conversational partners.
One has to deal with it, one also can deal with it, because it is certainly the case that a boy of that age is not, in any meaningful sense, gay. He could eventually turn out to be gay. But in principle it is completely undetermined. When you lovingly take a ten or twelve-year-old in your arms, it really just comes down to what you make of it. Could be a man, could be a women, could be another girl or another boy. It's undetermined, because at that age sexuality isn't yet set. 'Til now that's always been my experience.. .Fixed in the sense that he is only able to do it with one sort: so at 15, 16, 17, and earlier he is simply not set; therefore to him, under the right conditions, everything's fun. It depends, you see, on how you handle him.
"Under the right conditions, everything's fun" is, of course, the pedophile's version; but looking at it objectively, it's clear that this "fun" is not synonymous with adult sexuality.
Linguistic differences and non-simultaneity lead directly to many - probably most - pedophilic friendships remaining fanciful and genitally distant. Well-grounded sexuality is passed over.
It's important to me that I don't surprise my Italian friend with it. We've known each other for three years, and we've also slept side-by-side often enough. But I've more or less missed his most beautiful three years. I met him when he was twelve; and he was a good fifteen before we had sex for the first time. I'd just as soon wait, even when it seems like things are just plodding along. Because to me the relationship is just so much more important than me having some sexual adventure. I was, for example, going on a vacation with a boy from Nuremberg, and had already pictured myself doing all sorts of things. It was an FKK (naturalist) vacation, but it almost didn't happen. Because I was already disappointed and sad. He'd been absolutely passive as far as sex went, indeed, studiously so. He wanted, for example, for me to do something with him, but I just didn't feel like it. At the age where he himself is more and more interested in girls, he comes up to me and says: "Can't we just put in a video?" By “video” he meant a porno video. So I got him one and played it for him, hard as that is to admit. I would say, he's actually absolutely heterosexually-inclined. Nevertheless he's liked it and allowed it. And when he comes over today, we're still able to watch a porno together. Nothing happens between us anymore - we only touch ourselves; but there's also a familiarity between us.
If the theories of linguistic confusion and non-simultaneity remained the last word in sexual science, it would be impossible to account for the sexual importance of pedophilia. Not even pedophilia as an idea would constitute a proper sexual form. And what pedophiles actually do on this side of the line would, without exception, be placed under clinical and/or punitive control. So says too the nearly unanimous opinion of the population, politics, and science: pedophilia is abuse and is harmful; pedophiles are sick and deserving of punishment. When I myself resist making judgments and ask others to defer judgment as well, it is chiefly because we know too little about the reality of the situation. What we have experienced as horrible truths regarding child abuse and incest do not necessarily apply to actual pedophilia. It is this different kind of reality - not founded upon force, disappointment, and unwillingness - that I want to study as a form of two-way communication; yet looking first at the child, and then, at the adults.
Often they're just like little rascals
Children's Sexual Scripts
When it comes to genital immediacy, children do differ from adults. "It gets rubbed, and then you laugh about it. Sometimes there's even something else being done at the same time. It's not always terribly deep, but there does always have to be fun involved. If it's too serious, then they might not do it."
On Child Sexuality
What little we do know about sexuality in the child life-phase is constantly being recycled; original research into it is, of course, conducted only rarely. [F19] Any idea of a para-theoretical sort obviously has a correlate in child sexuality. Such concepts range from, "There's nothing then - it develops only when sexual maturity arrives," the noble version of which is "childlike innocence" (J.J. Rousseau) - still influential today, to psychoanalytically inspired phase models.
Sexual-biographical collections, combined with retrospective narratives and observational studies using mothers' own reports show, however: Genital pleasure is present from the very first year of life, and knows no interruption by a so-called latency phase. It is merely that these sexual reactions, self-manipulations, and interactions are probably not equated with those of adults. They are undoubtedly sexual, alike - as this concept is defined - and yet, not of exactly the same kind. Reactions correspond to whatever developmental status has been attained, as we are very familiar with in, say, intellectual, moral, and emotional development. An eight-year-old child, for example, can figure things out, deal with rules, and establish friendships at his own level, which of course can vary across same-age peers.
Sexual competencies are also learned gradually and haltingly, based on the foundation of innate physiology with its countless possibilities, and in proportion to post-natal experiences. As in other fields of human endeavor, nothing here happens in a vacuum. Curiosity and sensate needs drive the child to seek out information and create experiences. On the other hand there is only so much room for development, variation, and precocity. The components of knowledge, feelings, and values have to be balanced with one another. This includes ideas about bodies, genders, people who are different, and one's own place in an overall context that can be difficult to make out. Growing up means developing one's own abilities, under the conditions of one's position, into a livable personality. It's unfortunate that as far as sexuality is concerned this happens so aimlessly, and is steered by fairly random messages from parental, peer, and media circles. The fact that sexual socialization has never been rationalized certainly ensures adult-child sexuality's taboo character.
What's a sensible way to talk about a child's sexual experience? Generalizations like "All children have..." or "No child can..." are obviously incorrect, even if they are still widely believed. Physiological sexual maturity is not what initially creates the ability to engage in a sexual act; nor is the pre-pubertal child simply awaiting the opportunity to do so. Our trusted intellectual icons, from Sigmund Freud to Lawrence Kohlberg, see life as a kind of obstacle course; at crucial places, hurdles must be overcome. In this way age limits and generational groupings serve prescriptive and proscriptive functions. This view of maturity and progression is certainly open to question.
As with anything a person is able to bring into their world, they develop their sexual side, indeed, all the time; this affects physical capacity, emotions, and intellectual control. Developments and their outcomes differ by individual, age, and country. The conditions under which one grows up determine what one attains, and where any given girl or boy is in their overall situation.
How a person's sexual competency grows gradually might be best understood via the concept of sexual scripts. With this concept, one is able to describe how individuals in different life-phases and milieus come to master situations they either create or simply find themselves in. The script or scenario supplies helpful hints regarding the right course of action, and helps to make sense of everything that happens.
The British sex sociologist Kenneth Plummer writes that, for a child, nothing automatically translates itself into a sexual meaning. In the first place, then, the content of human sexuality is symbolic and socially created, irrespective of its foundations in physical and external behavioral maturity. An organism's experience as a small child, later at elementary school age, in adolescence, in adulthood and so on means something different each time, in spite of superficially comparable physical reactions. It would be an unpardonable mistake to apply unconditionally the typical adult view of early life. [F20]
At this point I must pay very close attention to the fact that our own data of course also comes from the mouths of adults. Obviously their age-conditioned viewpoint colors their perception of children's behavior, quite apart from their interests as pedophiles. As always in matters of love, projection plays a role. And yet those we questioned reported hard facts, not mere conjecture, regarding the children's feelings. It's implausible that these facts - children's reactions in word and deed - are just wishful thinking pulled out of thin air; they had clearly been experienced. The pedophiles characterize themselves as relating to the child to a certain extent, as making an effort to look at the world from this vantage point.
Moreover the participation of others, as in almost all sexual forms, is an aspect that receives almost constant attention. To this extent the child is always seen not only as an object, but also, as a sexual subject. So, resigned to the fact that my present approach was going to cause irritation and provoke ridicule anyhow, I decided to allow the pedophiles to say something concerning the children they have contact with. At the same time, I don't take everything they say at face value; I simply quote them word-for-word. We will have to decipher it.
Kenneth Plummer asks: How and when does a child acquire the language to be able to interpret his or her bodily experiences as sexual and make the connection to the outside world? By what means do they personally come to understand themselves as sexual beings with a gender and definite sexual desires? The child traverses a long road of broadly proto-sexual situations before he or she will have sufficient mastery of them.
Childhood sexual scripts are acquired in a piecemeal fashion from various sources: from carepersons, playmates, and the media, as well as through the assimilation of their own gradually accumulating biographies. Plummer names some characteristics common to western countries at the current time: the absence of the parents during these events, value-ladenness in a negative sense, the keeping secret of sexual matters as well as the social uses of sexuality, for example, to confound adults, secure gifts, exploit others, etc. By these means and just through growing up generally, one acquires the rules by which the boundaries of his or her sexual world are demarcated.
In therapy sessions the American sex educator Joan Nelson would routinely ask for sexual histories, including childhood experiences. She found, often only after extensive probing, that contacts with adults had occurred, including those of a more exploitative nature. And yet, frequently, the powerless child had not experienced the event as exploitation, indeed - for wont of an early sex education - not even as sex. [F21] Therefore in addition to the non-simultaneity of sexual identities, there is also one of interpretations. The younger party in a pedophilic relationship experiences and evaluates the sexual aspects differently from the older one: as sexual pleasure and narcissistic acknowledgment, yes, but not as confirmation of one's identity and the bond of love.
Do age and gender influence how the act-scripts evolve? It would certainly seem so, although no one has yet investigated it. Since generation and gender, along with class and race, function as fundamental dimensions of personal identity, it is also within this framework that a person defines him/herself as a sexual being. However because we do not thoroughly regulate the long period of childhood - a whole dozen years, after all - in its sexual aspects, there is no guidance upon which the maturing person can rely. The consequence is a wide variability with which children develop their sexual act capabilities - according to the influences of their experiences and situations.
One cannot say: This is the age class from zero to nine years old that do such and such; this is the age group from nine to eleven that does that. It depends very much on to what extent the child in question had already had any kind of experience, with his or her own body or with friends. It depends on the child's curiosity, on the adjustment to his/her own sexuality and sexuality in general. One cannot set it in stone by saying, "their age is so-and-so, I can do such-and-such with them." You can really fall flat on your face that way. And then you meet another, who is substantially younger, and you think, better not lay a finger on that one; and then, they seduce you.
Sexual scripts differ by gender at least, and indeed, not just in adulthood. That boys are typically encouraged to separate from their mothers earlier than girls, that different games are offered to them; these also have an effect on sexuality's course. The Australian sociologist Terry Leahy made the striking observation that the girl-lover is far less able than the boylover to be able to count on the child's voluntary participation. Women and men learn early on the dominance and aggressiveness associated with one side; girls usually come to fear men, and scarcely desire sexual contact with them. Gender-specific upbringing is too successful. The boys adjust themselves accordingly. [F22]
Our own inquiry found otherwise: Here both boylovers and girl-lovers reported that children were accommodating. However it was, above all, the observations and thoughts of boylovers from which references regarding children's sexual scripts were made; therefore, the conclusions will not always apply equally to both genders. My rendition here cannot compensate for the lack of a long-overdue study of children's sexual scripts. Obviously not, for we of course only got to hear a bit about those boys and girls whom the men questioned were able to become intimate with.
Curiosity. It was very often reported to us that the children wanted to know what a man's body was like, including the genitals and surrounding areas. The thirst for knowledge related both to appearance and to sexual function.
The curiosity of these twelve-year-olds is what leads to the initial intimacies. It started with masturbation; she wanted to know how it worked, and she wanted to carry it out personally. Then she wanted to have proper intercourse. It turned out to be almost a biology lesson. Nothing passionate. Moreover she wanted to know what one feels, and that I have to tell her about everything.
One time I go to take a shower. Immediately after the water comes on I calmly look around at everyone which, I find, is perfectly normal. You dry yourself off, including your genitals, and she wants to take a peek at everything. Then both of us are in the children's room, clothed, and, in every case, she comes up to you and wants to look at it once more. I pull it out and show it to her. Then I have to explain that she is a girl and I am a boy. Her: "Yours is much bigger than papa's." This tells me she would be very receptive to sex.
Discovery. The first steps are taken out of curiosity. The following happened to our interview partners while they were on family visits:
In the morning a six-year-old girl came right over and got into bed with me. The parents looked right at her and saw her laying there. And because it's morning, I have a nice big boner. I stand up, she stands up also and says: "Man, you've got a big one." Then she takes hold of it and rubs it; I thought, I must be crazy. She already knew that it gets long for sex.
The whole first night there was no sleep to be had. He kept shining the flashlight under the bedspread, exploring me. Shined it everywhere, in every orifice, just so he could find out. He wanted to know what is that down there, moving the foreskin back and forth. Then came the next thing – he very quickly wanted me to touch him also. On the first night he wanted to find out things. By the second night his interest had already waned. By the way, he also wanted condoms; which he tried out on me; but that was enough - he'd already seen it once.
Experimentation. Especially with regard to boys, it was reported that some of them want to try out particular sexual practices. They are, so to speak, touring the grounds of their genital possibilities. Therefore, as a rule, just one time will suffice; then the thing's checked off. A report about a twelve-year old Turk:
He wanted to know what getting sucked by a woman is like. So I had to do it with him once. We had known each other for a total of seven weeks. Each time he wanted to learn something new. He had scarcely any interest in me personally. I've done practically everything with him, up to and including sexual intercourse. We tried it, but it didn't turn out so well. Then he even wanted to know how kissing worked. So I gave him a kiss, also with my tongue; I kissed him for about thirty seconds, and he enjoyed it. On the next day he no longer wanted all that - he wanted a woman. So, that was the end.
Tenderness. They are affectionate with one another, stroking and cuddling, but not merely in a strictly sexual sense.
All kinds of petting. He would rather have a manual sort of contact, as opposed to body to body.
He always thinks, when you're being affectionate, that's sex. It's quite remarkable. I've explained to him any number of times that this is not sex, but he always gets them mixed up. He gladly lets himself get kissed on the neck, which tickles so nicely.
If the boy is still young, say eight, nine, ten, then he'll probably like affection more than actual sex.
It might not be as important for him to become aroused, as it is that he has someone to hold in his arms. Besides, if he just had sex, he would feel like it didn't mean anything.
Stimulating Oneself on Another Person's Body. As might only be noticed by pedophiles, regarding girls it was occasionally reported that: They press and rub their vaginal area lustfully against virtually any part of another person's body, as this example demonstrates:
I was sitting in a soft, low easy chair, knee-high. The little one comas up, in pajamas, and leans herself against my knee. She leans with her vulva region against my knee and then slowly begins to rock back and forth, talking with me, telling me stories, and then migrates very slowly, but obviously, above the knee, until she sits herself on my thigh. That's exactly what happened. And at the same time she's moving herself around. Today I have no doubt that she had rubbed herself to orgasm. Because the legs of my pants were very damp when her mother shooed her off.
Now and then, when she's on my lap, she takes my arm and grabs it between her legs; she puts herself right on my arm and rocks. When I move my hand, she holds onto it. In certain ways then she is receptive. However one has to be very careful; three-and-a-half is an age when they must not be shocked.
Playing With Genitals. Children are already interested in adult penises, without a directly sexual meaning being connected with it.
And then one time it just happened - she looks at me and takes hold of it. It was all quite harmless; it was none of my doing. This happened spontaneously. I simply let it happen. ..First time looking at an erect penis, and grabs it. So for her it was play. She wrote all over it with a felt pen. Consequently for her it was just fooling around, afterwards with soap, that sort of thing.
He says to me: “Then there's a spot, where I could pinch you.” Me: “Then I'll just close my eyes.” Then he pinches it briefly with two or three fingers, grinning. That was the thing for him. He was amazed that it was actually a possibility.
Masturbating With Others Present. Many boys do this, each one for himself, but together. Although the script covers children with one another, the pedophile can turn it into something else.
When my longest-standing friend visits me and we look at a porno together, he knows it's really not the hetero porno that interests me but rather him, still. When he's had an orgasm he just keeps lying there like he was, and then I can get myself off with a beautiful sight still alongside me. My Italian friend will also lie there like that, and I can just stroke him again while I, for example, get myself off. This is all right with him, and when I'm finished, we then say our good-nights.
Playing With Fire. Even prior to puberty, some boys' fantasies appear to be so heated up that they impulsively push beyond the boundary of active involvement. The world around them gives them so many sexual signals; latency can scarcely protect them anymore.
Sometimes I think boys are oversexed to such an extent that they're actually playing with fire. They're constantly talking about sexual topics, and see sexual associations everywhere. They tell you what's been said about sex in school, that they saw a picture there, or about something they'd said. They ask concrete questions about practices or about experiences I've already had personally, very directly. It's also happened that boys have grabbed me by the pants.
Challenging a Grown-Up. From, for example, the child's side of things, generational distance is not always maintained. With all kinds of provocations and offers, often certainly not meant seriously, the attempt is made to bridge the gulf. As improper as the word may seem in this context, pedophiles like to refer to this as seduction.
At twelve years old she already knew what's at stake, how it's done. She's always been turning men on. She already knew how to make herself attractive. And that she was also attractive to men, as she of course noticed at the time. It's not that I myself thought a couple of years no longer made much difference. That it was a forbidden thing - that was clear.
When they get up at about six in the morning, the two nine and ten-year-olds get into bed with me to cuddle and chat. I also pay no mind to whether I get a hard-on from it. I've sort of encouraged this a bit. For some reason or another they found it very amusing that they could incite such feelings in me. Of course they also really took hold of my penis.
Being With a Big Strong Friend. The pederastic scenario of protection and instruction occasionally has a correlate in the world of children. A smaller person, then, attaches himself to a bigger person. In his probably autobiographical story “The Lost Soldier,” Rudi van Danzig impressively describes the experiences of an eleven-year-old who, separated from his parents by the upheavals of the war, gets to know a soldier of about twenty. In the epilogue the author speaks of the “embraces and touches which I did not like and yet, like a madman, craved.” It is possible that a difficult living situation might lead a child to seek shelter.
He's actually been with girls; during the entire time he also had contacts with girls and always had a girlfriend. For him I was just a big fatherly friend who had rescued him from home. That sounds stupid now, but in the final analysis that's how it was. Thus, he himself thought: “As long as it's so much fun and I find it nice, I'll keep doing it.” I've always found that it comes back to me. For him I'm the big strong friend. That's enough for me; I have no interest in him finding me sexually attractive.
Having a Friend All to Myself. At times, those we questioned felt that their little friends were jealous, and saw themselves as having become mere possessions. This scenario corresponds to a certain extent to the childhood model of close friend.
Then when Jan is there and we want to talk with each other, Dieter's right there between us, chattering away. One time when I'd gotten to know soma other boys while swimming, he was always very jealous; always stayed extremely close to me. What he wants most of all is to have me all to himself. Of course that doesn't always work. I know many other people, but sexually, it's only with Dieter.
Wanting to be Stimulated by Another. Many children are already familiar with the intense feelings that are evoked when another person touches their genitals. We do not know from whom and under what circumstances they have gotten to know them. Meanwhile the pedophile, with his friendly openness, can easily get together with a child who is so motivated. A recently divorced man, for example, observes that an acquaintance has a pretty eleven-year-old daughter. He sleeps on the couch in the living room:
At night this little girl climbed into bed with me. At first, she was masturbating herself, and said: “Look, this is really fun.” Then she took my hand, and I was supposed to do it. So the little one made up this game.
We sat on the sofa with this friend, the three of us enjoying ourselves. Then the friend went into the kitchen to fetch something to drink. During the conversation I had quite unintentionally - because I was taking a long time to explain something - laid my hand on his knee; so right away he said: “Should I unzip my pants or what?” Me: “Don’t – he’s coming right back.” – “Oh, he will probably take a while.” Therefore the boy was surprisingly horny. to put it plainly.
The interviewee described this incident as an atypical experience. So it is rare, but it does happen. It is certainly often deplored that children are interested in sex just for themselves, and indeed, only in their own fun.
Lying Back and Enjoying It. This is a related scenario in which the child is genitally stimulated without taking an active personal role.
There are boys with initiative who will take matters into their own hands. There are others who, though quite passive, nevertheless signal that they're actually waiting for it, that I should keep going, and even that I should try out all sorts of things. Now, I couldn't say which is more common and which is rarer. It also changes; it might be that maybe the first experience is determined entirely by me, but then by the second tine, the boy himself becomes the driving force.
One would, understandably, be bound to find the notion of "lying back and enjoying it" rather dubious; nevertheless, it would not be appropriate to discuss that issue at this juncture.
He preferred to just enjoy it. It's not like that with all boys.
At first, children only consider their own needs.
In my experience, it doesn't happen automatically. Maybe because they're more likely to put themselves in the gay category, than if they just passively let it happen.
Turning Macho. Many children act out drastically exaggerated versions of adult clichés. We do not know whether this reflects mere playfulness, or something akin to early self-training. Girls may already aspire to full womanhood. Along these lines we heard the bittersweet story of a twelve-year-old, suffering from an incurable terminal illness, who, in her final two years of life, wished to have and did have caresses and sexual intercourse with one of our interviewees, who was twenty when it ended. Other stories related to little boy-studs.
He is eleven and totally macho. Has girlfriends, two on each finger, and also plays the big shot. He himself is only into fucking. He also tried to fuck me; but his penis wasn't quite long enough to reach.. .He is certainly typical of today's children and youth: for them sexuality only consists of fucking. Fucking women. He wanted to be sucked, since then he could fuck me in the mouth, but as far as any kind of tenderness, there's not a trace.
Rejecting Sexual Acts. As a rabbit behaves passively before a snake, i.e., stays still out of fear; such reactions are reported by countless rape and incest victims. Something completely different obviously holds true for pedophilic situations. Our conversational partners observed and described their young friends' reactions quite precisely. Rejecting reactions are registered early on.
There was one boy who had no interest whatsoever in that direction. He wanted to sleep somewhere else, other than beside me. He also wanted to put on additional clothing before climbing into bed. He bathed with the door closed and locked. When I put my arm around him it was clear from his reaction that he was more surprised than pleased about it. He'd turned his shoulder slightly. A boy who likes it doesn't turn his shoulder but instead relaxes it, leans back, and rests his head on it. The boy who doesn't like it, on the other hand, moves away, and goes off into the distance.
Putting an End to It. Knowing how to get out of an intimate relationship is also part of a capability of engaging in sexual acts. As might be imagined, the child's closure script is easily employed: just stay away. This was very frequently reported to us as the way the relationship ended. Sometimes only the sexual part ended, as the child withdrew from the lover. Boys probably master the script particularly well: “I don't want to do that with you. Because I don't have a hard-on for that anymore.”
Winning a Boy's Heart
Sexual Consent Between the Generations?
“I would like first of all to have won the boy's heart, to laugh and cry with him, have an easy-going relationship with him, because it is only then that the second stage is lined up” - sex that is, which is so coyly alluded to here. What sort of heart does a child have? How and to whom can this heart be given? What's lost and what's gained by this?
The justification for the pedophilic demand to be able to practice a worthy sexual form in its own right hinges on this question: In spite of their incongruence, can the sexual scripts of a man and a child interact in such a way as to result in a situation that's agreeable? A situation is “agreeable,’ then, if afterwards the participants do not wish that it had never happened. Although there absolutely are children's sexual scripts, however immature - which we became acquainted with in the preceding pages - only the adult would reasonably be able to tie the incompatible action-patterns together. He would bear the responsibility. Our question is therefore: Are the plans of a pedophilic man carried out in such a way that a high degree of emphasis is placed on the child's needs and potentialities?
Forms of Child Consent
As much as the average man should already be reluctant to buy into the old saying “it takes two to tango,” it is even more important for pedophiles to re-examine this presumption. Without exception, those we questioned have indeed done so. They are clearly conscious of the dissimilarity in sexual dealings; this knowledge is at the core of the pedo-erotic sexual form.
Every pedophile looks for a kind of natural consensus with the child whom he comes into contact with. Whether the thus attained external agreement is also normatively observable is another matter. Instead of dismissing outright what the child-lover has to say about the manifestations of a child's will, I propose that we look at their reports. At that point, we will still be able to make the judgment that “in any case that won't do.”
Our conversational partners described very different kinds of paths and goals in their consensus-building. I shall leave out the handful of cases in which the person questioned believed he'd been seduced by a highly-activated child; usually this happened their “first time.” For some, one should really hear the other side of things; for others, I believe the “seducing” child was more likely an accommodating child, or followed one of the scripts described in the previous section. One should not go as far as many apologists and ascribe to the child a constant interest in having sexual experiences, with adults no less, in front of whom children learn early on - as a rule -to hide their sexual impulses. Dieter Richter, whose specialty is children in literature, says of seduction from Goethe's Mignon to Nabokov's Lolita: From here come the traditional depictions of the demon- and witch-child as motifs for the seducing little girl. [F23]
I likewise take the affirmations of some of those questioned - that they were only carrying out the child's desire for a little sex - with a grain of salt. Here it would appear there was a shifting-over, so they wouldn't have to discuss their own desires. This is precisely what characterizes the bottomless denial that Martin Dannecker has spoken of. But of course this is how desire always works in sexually active individuals, pedophiles included. By the way, it does not by any means seem to me that pedophiles would want the roles to be reversed by projecting initiative and responsibility onto the children, one day even coming to think of themselves as “victims.” In the narrative torrent of the intensive interviews, they always discussed the situation in much the same way as they prefer to portray it in apologetic publications.
It was always intense; it was during the past year that the sexual contacts first took place. I'd just been waiting for him to take the initiative.
For me what's important is not what I would like but rather, what the boy desires. And if the boy does wish to do something sexual, then it brings me joy to do whatever he wants.
When the children are younger, I usually let them determine the course of things. Anything else just wouldn't do. I must always attune myself to what they want, which isn't always so easy to do.
“Initiative,” “want,” “determine”: the series of such words could be expanded quite substantially; but this does not mean that the pedophile himself behaves passively. He simply waits, establishes trust, and looks for a crack in the door. In the final analysis it is he who wants and initiates the sexual aspect of the relationship; this is, however, done within the limits of what the child will allow and is ready for. And another word on this: The pedophile treats the child as the subject, not the object, of a sexual act. So say, at any rate, his ideals, and so say most of the individual histories that were reported to us.
Now, what does consent between a big person and a little person look like? I hardly find the following models to be of use in analyzing sexual consent: hooker/john in prostitution, master/ slave in the S/M scene. Also, since time immemorial, marriage has been a contract, and the sex within it a marital duty. The concepts of civil and legal consent don't help much either. Lover and child enter into a complex, asymmetrical relationship in which sexual, ideological, and material goods are exchanged. We will begin with some formulas that pedophiles use as guiding principles in their dealings.
I want the boy to respect me. I've never forced anything; I myself have just let it all happen. Naturally one must respect the child's wishes. One must not extort or compel him.
Never again will I ask anything of a boy, unless he is personally ready to give it.
As a matter of principle I only go as far as they boy wants to.
The girl-lovers put things in quite similar terms.
I never have and never would do anything the girl wasn't agreeable to. I also would never do anything without knowing that the girl knew what was going to happen there. Everything that I do with the child must not merely be tolerated, but wanted.
From the moment when a girl says she doesn't want to anymore, I also do not try to persuade or compel her, because I accept that. When I like a girl, it's okay to me if she says no. And what's fun for both is, I think, okay, whatever the girl's age.
The course of action becoming apparent here sounds simplistic at first. But of course it establishes merely the outlines of a complex phenomenon, allowing many variants, and requiring numerous individual decisions. If a child's sexual autonomy is to be taken seriously, these manifestations of will must be investigated with the utmost care. Does it require a clear “yes,” or is it satisfactory for an adult to simply wait and see if a “no” is going to come? To assume that silence implies consent would be quite improper here.
I pull back immediately if I notice the other person doesn't react to a particular touch. Then I also don't react anymore. And I don't do anything further. When a response does come, then of course I go along with it. But when the other person doesn't go along, then no.
The wished-for consent may be given in various forms. This begins even before contact is first established:
I looked at him with great interest, really nice attention, and already I had to listen to: “Stop staring, you gay pig!” You have to be prepared for that.
Sometimes I get them to change clothes with me. I no longer ask this directly. But then when I move my hand close to their genitals, they usually won't stand for it any longer.
I felt her thigh, and then she said: “That tickles.” She means this in a negative sense. She'd only said, that tickles. But it didn't take a lot of logic to figure out what she meant. Of course, she'd also said it real loud.
The wish that the other person would give a clear “no” requires a certain strength, within, really, the respectful posture that children have towards adults. The pedophile must have some finely-tuned senses at his disposal to be able to notice the refusal signals of a five-year-old.
What usually happens with me is that I tickle her one time, and while playing around I stroke her bottom, also once between the legs. Then at that point I'll wait, holding off: Will she seize the initiative or won't she. If not, there's no point; she has no desire for it. Then she'll move my hand away. You can still tickle her then, but you probably shouldn't touch her in any other way.
I also seduce a little, but only very cautiously and tentatively. If your hands get brushed away, your approach is too crude already. I observe the overall situation. When a boy doesn't want to, you can feel it. Then I stop right away. It also doesn't do him any harm, because I force myself to be very conscious of what I'm doing. It's
crazy how you second guess everything; much more than a person would normally have to reflect on it.
If consent is denied, or the child expresses refusal through his or her behavior, then no sexual act takes place. The small proviso “as a rule” always needs to be born in mind with general statements like this; it is my impression that the exceptions to the rule here are no more frequent than in other sexual scenes, for example between adults or married couples.
For my part, I'd sooner just give up than push her into anything. To me the most important thing is the friendship between my nine-year-old friend and my daughter. Under no circumstances can this be jeopardized. That comes before all else.
I refuse to force things along the lines of the motto: “You're now twelve, I like you very much, so the rest must happen.” If he clearly lets me know that he doesn't want to, then nothing happens. While we are wrestling, I also don't try to grab him roughly between the legs or anything like that, because to me that's just rude, stupid. I don't control everything. This is an approach that's served me well. I can personally justify absolutely every contact I've ever had with a boy. That it was okay for me and also for the boy.
Often, when sex comes about through pressure, a refusal is expressed. In the wake of the rape debates this would be an especially thorny issue for girl-lovers; this is so because, whereas young women particularly need this protection, a young man obviously was and is all too accustomed to resisting outside pressure.
I'm not one to push. I may have done this once before, even entirely at the beginning, but it really doesn't achieve anything. It's unpleasant for both sides.
Each one has done something with me; but this was more the joy of discovery, this exploration of my body. Once this thirst for knowledge was quenched, the desire to do something with me would no longer be there. That doesn't bother me; it is not of course a woman that I have in bed with me, but a child. I can't bring my own needs into it. In my eyes that would be oppression, which I don't like.
I was in the Child Protection Federation for some time. I was already for child protection, and against violence and abuse against children - no question there. And at that time I simply wanted to commit myself to it.
I would never even consider doing violence to a child or forcing one to do something. To me, that's as good as murder.
Seen in linguistic terms, pedophilic consent can come about in three kinds of ways: explicit, nonverbal, or intuitive. Among adults, direct and blunt discussions to assess sexual readiness are unusual and taboo. The flowery phrase “your place or mine?” actually passes for verbal high art. Sexually competent adults have at their disposal numerous scripts for “making a pass.” For a
child, none of this will work. Perhaps this is why it's frequently the case that indications of agreement - indeed of a nonverbal sort - are solicited often and explicitly. This scenario is commonplace in everyday sexual routines: touching - observing - more intimate touching, and so on. One might call it the trial-and-error method. A college graduate in his early forties, obviously with many experiences with boys from seven on up, describes how he casually tests the waters:
When I put the question, “And where would you like to sleep?” I glance over once at such-and-such place, and there's also a spot here by me, then the reaction is always, “I'll sleep here.” Since I basically sleep with nothing on, this tends to separate the wheat from the chaff. Either the boy also finds it interesting, in which case he too undresses himself, or it strikes him as strange, in which case he leaves his pants on. Then perhaps the first weekend goes by with nothing happening at all. By the second weekend, he too leaves his pants off, and cuddles up to me. That's exactly how it is with boys - the cards are laid on the table: If the situation is enjoyable, he will quickly respond accordingly. Without words. Then I trace his entire body with my hand, and see whether or not the boy likes my hand being where it is.
Such a mechanistic yes-no code doesn't always work so beautifully. We communicate nonverbally primarily through our eyes, through which we try to ascertain what our partner is thinking.
I myself still remember something like a spark or jolt from the first visual contact that was very strong. In any event, it happened so automatically; I'd started to stroke his face, and even asked whether it tickled. Him: “No, ssshh.. .keep going.” He had a pretty good smile on his face the whole time. “You can also stroke a little lower.” By then he already had a hard-on. From then on everything was completely clear. With this sliding down of ten or twenty centimeters, that didn’t cross any boundaries yet.
Explicit and nonverbal means of communication of course ensure a harmony of wills; according to our conversational partners' detailed descriptions, this is scarcely open to question. Some virtuosos prefer to rely on their own intuition, begging the question as to whether their method is free of errors.
You get a feeling for it. In each individual case you have to figure out what the boy wants, where it's too much for him, and what he does not want, emotionally speaking. And it may be that it is only pedophiles who really have a feeling for this. It's similar to when one normally assesses a woman's circumstances, and also gets this feeling quite naturally: I can do it with the woman, or, I cannot do it with her.
The analogy is misleading. In any event, there are protests on the female side today against men rashly assuming willingness.
From the point of view of the child's autonomy, what's dangerous about an intuitively presumed consensus isn't that one will incorrectly assume a refusal on the other's part. A false-no
is easily corrected. A false-yes, on the other hand, violates the right to self-determination.
Fortunately no such cases were reported to us; really, none of those questioned relied solely on intuitive consent. Nevertheless, intuitive recognition figures prominently in all situations where pedophiles and children interact. This notion is deeply embedded here. With practice, a pedophile's glance can distinguish between accessible and inaccessible children. Before an approach really starts to become erotic a pre-selection is made, through observation of play behavior and/or a brief verbal exchange. Without being able to quantify it at this point, I believe that the vast majority of children have no interest in pedophiles.
You can't take everyone. It's like a magnet. You can tell as soon as one speaks to you, or you speak to him, and he gets into a conversation with you. Then you can already say that you will eventually be able to do something with him. If there's nothing along these lines, he's going to ignore you anyway. I myself have suffered this; so then I lost interest, which was fine.
A series of girl-lovers would shore up the intuitive pre-selection with a certain solicitousness toward the child. Because an adult man can't easily join in with girls in a play situation - with boys it's a different story - common ground is scarce. On the other hand heterosexual attraction is already well-developed in a young woman. So, remarks such as the following were made repeatedly:
Some girls begin on their own. A major portion of them, maybe half or so, began approaching me erotically on their own initiative. They say, “Now I'd like to see you naked,” or, “I'd like to touch you.”
With as young as ten, eleven-year-old girls I have strongly felt this attractive force; that is, mutually. They've articulated that they want me close by. Even in class, but really after the lesson; then they stayed after and straightened things up in the hallway, wanted to play and talk with me, wanted to sit in my lap.
We have now seen that there are at least three distinguishable ways in which consensuality is negotiated. The pedophile obtains the consent of his beloved right away, soon, or very gradually. The interviews show very clearly how varying amounts of time are required for consent. Immediate consent would appear, at first glance, to be quite dubious. How are such different generations able to come to agreement so quickly? Being able to get an erection instantly is part of the male sexual fantasy. The spontaneity, playfulness, and ephemerality on the child's side may feed into this somewhat.
Only once did I have such an experience. In a public pool, I met a boy who snatched away my bathing cap. I ran after him and grabbed him. He jumped up, and I came into contact with his genitals. Bam - we had sexual contact right away, in the changing room. I encountered him once again after that. I would've liked to have kept in contact with him, but. then, he wasn't around anymore.
Quick contact, well-received: With the exception of stroking, these are rather rare, and probably remain superficial. Presumably this consists mostly of so-called petting; therefore few intensive sexual acts. Though this sort of consent is indeed given soon, it is not, however, offered immediately.
I'd asked him once at the very beginning, and he said to me he was afraid to. Then I explained to him how it had been with me earlier. After this happened two or three more times, he was prepared to do it. Seen from my side, it was practically a seduction.
One interviewee swore by the motto, “Either soon, or never.”
During my life I've made a couple of attempts to get boys to look at me; but then nothing ever came of it. Nowadays I have a clearer sense of things. In my experience, that first feeling, that very spontaneous feeling, has never betrayed me.
Strongly or loosely partnership-oriented pedophiles allow themselves whatever time is necessary to win the child's affection. The child isn't too young for a sexual encounter; the relationship is. What will the child agree to? This would be the objective dimension of pedophilic consent. If we could, just once, analyze this with cool detachment, we would see that there's a three-fold decision-making process at work here: whether a sexual act will take place at all, which acts will be allowed upon the child's body, and what acts the child is prepared to perform upon the adult's body. Until now I've spoken of whether, and have, above all, investigated what allowance is made for a child's “no.” It is my impression that the antennae of a pedophilic man are more finely-tuned. As soon as he can assure himself that he has the go-ahead, it's then a matter of what and how much.
The boundaries beyond which a touch is considered a sexual act are drawn narrowly today, more so than ever. The criminal law defines these boundaries, public opinion accepts them, and child protective campaigns work for their propagation. Pedophile feeling reacts indifferently to these boundaries: also stroking, looking at, photographing. etc., satisfying many pedophiles, even though these are generally considered as directly sexual. But having taken the seemingly forbidden approach, having obtained a general consent seems, again, to suffice. Our conversational partners expressed little interest in being able to carry out more extensive activities with their young friends.
One's own body is a ticklish issue in pedophilic desire. Many of those questioned report that although the boys enjoy their own sexuality, they have little interest in making sure that all of the older partners' sexual needs are met. Aside from some innate aptitudes, children do not yet have a suitable sexual script at their disposal; this is only learned - hopefully -after puberty. Some men negotiate this with them before that.
It was often the case that you had to take weeks and months, until everything really played itself out, also before you personally got a return on your investment, and before the boy learned to also do something for the other person's pleasure. He was of course so timid at first; he didn't know what he was supposed to do with it.
This failure to “click” is probably reported as often as it is because pedophiles find it so frustrating. Perhaps successful reciprocity in stimulation is seldom highlighted because it, of course, is equivalent to the standard interpretation of what sexual coupling means. A series of interviewees made it clear that neither the body nor the lustfulness nor the orgasm of the older partner meant much to the children. Sometimes the children found the ejaculate disgusting. One makes a virtue of necessity. Then their own fulfillment is not so important, or becomes incidental to something else:
When I lick a vagina, it's not necessary for me that my penis get sucked. Anyhow, this already brings me to climax. I don't need to worry about my business at all. I would like only to give pleasure.
From the point of view of consent, any expectation that the touching would be reciprocated must be abandoned; the pedophiles have had to come to terms with the fact that their love relationships cannot be mutual in the way that is idealized by adults. The illusion of fusion can be maintained for at most a few seconds, but never over the long run. A calm harmony is contrary to the unruliness of children. Once a pedophile has come to understand he cannot expect something similar from his young friend, then on a new level he will find some possibilities for establishing a mutually-binding partnership. A relationship of their own kind is, from its inception, based on the exchange of heterogeneous feelings. No one can readily describe their love relationship without lapsing into clichés. What our conversational partners sketch out with their own little intimations is no substitute for an allegedly impossible love. It's not even sex; it is, rather, pedo-eroticism.
Is the picture I am painting perhaps too rosy? Is the pedophilic man so thoroughly considerate, unselfish, and easy to please? Certainly the members of a marginal group would want to be seen in a favorable light by the interviewing research team. We were prepared for this, and have paid attention to equivocations, pauses, and embarrassment. We always reverted to this position in a friendly yet uncompromising manner. In any event the narrators were acquainted with their own rules; therefore it wasn't so easy to leave out, whitewash, or falsify anything without it being noticed by a seasoned listener and questioner.
In so-called narrative interviews those questioned float along a sort of narrative river, in the course of which the essentials of the subject are articulated. The intention of leaving a good impression fades away in the course of a several-hour-long exchange. Then the more difficult incidents, as well as their own doubts, also casually flow into the conversation. Thus, for example, experiences with prostitutes and trips to East Asia were also forthrightly reported to us, often towards the end of the interview. An intensive interview is not the place either to sing the praises of pedophilia or to hone one's speech-making skills. From the beginning we asked about events and experiences, not assessments and justifications.
I believe that pedophiles - or more accurately, those whom we questioned - do expend a great deal of effort to obtain the child's consent, and also, take “no” seriously. At this point, I cannot resist making the following dig: A major portion of heterosexual men would do well to employ such carefully developed consent strategies with women. The credibility of our conversational partners is further confirmed by the fact that they did not hold back painful and embarrassing things from us. There is a whole series of double-edged situations in pedosexual contacts, such that some shades of gray can now be added to what has heretofore been a starkly black-and-white picture.
Seduction can go too far with any form of ars erotica and with everything that human beings have found to satisfy their instinctual desires. And yet, what is seduction for? In order to be together with another person - not, however, for the purpose of turning into another person through, for example, a change in sexual orientation. Now, the word “seduce” has an ugly ring to it: employing questionable means, taking advantage of inexperience, etc. Many pedophiles explicitly distance themselves from this. But talking a child into a sexual act does cross their minds. For example, resistance might be overcome through eloquent persuasion. Sexual contact is not like door-to-door salesmanship, where one buys something that really wasn't wanted, and is then annoyed with oneself. Armchair persuasion is surely harmless, and is to a great extent necessarily tied to verbalization in the pedophilic bargaining process. If the pedophile would like to be touched, this obviously requires some encouragement.
However you slice it, at the beginning, it's still about persuasion. If you make it clear that it matters a great deal, and that the relationship wouldn't be as close if it didn't happen. In this transitional phase, into which one must first bring a boy, then I just don’t know to what extent that is pressure, at least psychological pressure.
In the following we hear from a young man who, on the one hand, daydreams about how, “The minutes when I have been together with little girls, ages eight to twelve or so, are the happiest moments of my life” is, on the other hand, quite able to take firm action. At eighteen he meets a girl who's not yet twelve; after a few days, he reaches the petting stage.
Initially she was only a little turned on. Me: “Come on now! Of course you love me! Now just do it; there's really nothing to it.” Her: “Okay, fine, I'll just do it.” Me, a while later: “Come on, right now, no stalling.” At that point she was even more turned on. Indeed I'd taken her hand, simply brought it over, and said: “Now come, do it one time now.” I'd taken my pants off, and she did it right to the end.
Coitus happened for the first time on her twelfth birthday. This mixture of persuasion, pestering, and resolute action would seem repulsive, if not for the fact that this is often precisely what still goes on with teenagers generally.
How believable can a subsequent consent be if the child initially resisted? Does the lover have to regard a first “no” – including an implicit one - as final, or may he bet on a possible change of heart?
I asked him whether I might be allowed to suck his penis. He dsai no. But then we did it anyway. The sexual contact continued over several years. He was six or seven when it began and it continued until he was eighteen.
The first “no” may arise from a certain perplexity and hesitation regarding the unknown,
especially in light of the fact that one has heard such contradictory messages about it. Such a
refusal could, under certain circumstances, be revisited. Our conversational partners have not definitively expressed their view on this critical clarification and bargaining phase. It appears to me now that the research group was not ready to discuss this sensitive issue.
When I notice that the boy basically likes being with me but has inhibitions - i.e., doesn't have the confidence because the situation is of course completely new to him - then in that situation, I myself feel that I should take away his inhibitions. In that case maybe I'll caress him with my hands a little more actively than he does with me I'll also guide him a bit. But this is a transitional situation. Then the boy will either find that what I'm leading him toward is pleasurable, or he'll find no pleasure in it.
Assessment of the borderline cases described so far hinges on the extent to which the eventually attained consent can be regarded as sufficiently normative. This is open to debate. What is not open to debate is when some interview partners tell us about isolated incidents where the boundaries of exploitation or sadism were transgressed. These interviewees also are true pedophiles. But the unacceptable things they did report do not alter the overall impression I have gained of the pedophilic sexual form. There are men whose pedophilic act competency is limited. But I must hasten to add: One finds this gradation of competency in all sexual scenes.
I grabbed the twelve-year-old's breasts from behind, and then she got into the pool, so that I could feel her breasts nice and proper. But it didn't go any further. One, who was thirteen, who really wasn't developed, had neither breasts nor any pubic hair. But at the pool, she cries out: “I already have breasts, I already have hair.” Me: “Prove it. Come, let's go into the changing area.” At first she really didn't want to, but then I convinced her and she undressed: I touched her pussy a little. She immediately put her legs together. I never got any further with the girl. So with me, this is how it works: Conversational contact first; you lie down together on a towel. brush up against each other, put suntan lotion on one another, and then, if your hand slips somewhere else...
Now, does this fellow merely come off as dashing, or is he doing something that will hurt the girl? Consent is not always solicited in this sort of “pushy” physical contact, which, by the way, should not be unquestioningly referred to as “sexuality.” In any event, if the little one opposes it, the man will stop. Now, is his behavior more playful or, above all, more repulsive? It is perhaps only because I have already embarrassed myself that I'm even able to ask.
One will also be irritated to hear how this same man has been with a different girl from this same youth group for three years now, beginning when she was seven years old.
I wanted to photograph her, and she agreed. She knew what it was for. It was important to me simply to have such pictures for once. She was a little shy at first, but then she came right up and joined in. Then when I said, “Don't you want to take your panties off?” she took them off, and just spread her legs wide. Then I stroked her a 1ittle. With her, I'd noticed she was interested in approaching me. One day I simply took her in my arm and, over her pants, stroked her pussy a bit. She didn't
resist, didn't scream.
This interviewee did not express himself clearly or in sufficient detail as to whether the girl had truly agreed, in the sense of her “natural will.” When she gladly showed something, this did not mean he was allowed to stroke there or stick a finger in. Such a high threshold for a child's refusal would lie far above anything that could even be considered to be consent. Nevertheless, this man can picture living together with the little one, even over a long period of time. In any event, he does still appreciate the girl when he meets her again as an adult. This means that he sees in the girl the woman to come, and in the woman, the former girl.
Where an interview partner reports no reaction on the child's part indicating approval, I presume the consent is unstable or incomplete. With some girl-lovers, the little one stays, as it were, mute: he then concludes that her remaining silent indicates a "yes." Their own security interests are discussed in far greater detail.
Besides, I still have pretty much superficial relations, where I will stroke the girl, her breasts, indeed very warily; I don't want to go too far. If I do something, then I must be completely sure that the girl won't say anything. I've also said to her: “If this ever gets out, I will be in big trouble, and you will go to a group home.” This works. I always say, “You of course have your own will, and I also have mine. I consider you a full partner, even though you're a child. You have exactly the same say as I do.”
This man evidently believes in children's willing participation; and yet, his description is inconsistent. There's too much traditional male thinking going on here. Less educated interviewees were particularly likely to still speak in paternalistic terms, probably in their interactions with young women also. For the pedophile who turns to girls, his masculinity stands in the way. Hegemonic masculinity (Bob Connell) goes along with its gender programming, everywhere bent on getting its own way. What only indirectly disturbs the communication between a boy and a man - both, in the end, wink at the prize of dominance - is a cause of real concern as far as girls are concerned. The girl-lover not only possesses the superiority that comes with being an adult; he is also obliged to be dominant towards all females. If he's looking for a loving relationship, he will have to unlearn all of his traditional notions of gender. Heterosexuality's close ties to hegemonic masculinity already make this extremely difficult for him.
Prior to the end of my most important chapters, I will attempt to provisionally summarize the results so far: Sexually speaking, how is a child's consent obtained? The pedophilic sexual form has at its disposal an unusually differentiated concept of consent, at least compared to common sexual forms. In linguistic, chronological, and factual ways, the lovers structure their approach. They themselves no doubt want sexually active children; nevertheless, they will content themselves with whatever contact they can get. The dissimilarity of feeling between the two parties is recognized and addressed. The overwhelming majority of the encounters and friendships described to us appeared to be based on an agreement as to what would happen sexually, whereby a “no” was respected by the adults as a legitimate expression of will. The borderline cases, insofar as they were reported to us, do not decisively taint the overall impression.
Upon re-reading the interview transcripts, two additional considerations emerge to show why the findings were what they were, and could not have turned out differently: there is no way a different kind of true pedophile could exist. For one thing, the lover must think of his own safety; and, once his sweetheart has been won over, he wants the relationship to last a while.
I always conduct myself properly with children I have sexual relations with. I ask beforehand, mainly so as to avoid any possible misunderstandings. One certainly can ask a question in such a way that the other person will misunderstand it. Then things could turn sour for me.
Even better than strategic calculations, sexual feelings help guarantee that the child's autonomy is not violated. Again and again our conversational partners stressed how much value they place on the child's voluntary participation, not only on ethical grounds, but also from a sexual motivation. Without consent, pedophilic desire seems to fail to appear.
I really wouldn't enjoy it if I felt that the boy only did it because it was inevitable.
Certainly the initiative comes from my side. But when I sense that someone doesn't feel good about it or doesn't want to, then really, I am no longer able to respond.
For me it's extremely important that the boy be on the ball, and that he's able to concentrate on me; otherwise, nothing will happen with me either.
My dream is a boy who caresses me.
“And if you are not willing, then I will use force” is clearly no pedophilic formula, but rather, a fearful projection. On the contrary - the child encounters a sexually tentative adult. To this extent, the little ones are not confronted unconditionally with the full complement of feelings that adult sexuality encompasses. In many cases the pedosexual encounter is actually aimed at what Michael-Sebastian Honig has defined as the goal of child-love: a playful satisfaction of the need for tenderness which does not rule out genital excitation.
Already I see you frowning and hear your murmuring: harmlessness! Also, how can one successfully separate the description of such a risky sexual form from an evaluation of it? I actually just follow our data, although the author's moral dilemma is ongoing. Perhaps the following chapter - which I by the way see as being much less important than many of the others - will provide further clarification: What, and how much, is now taking place?
There's nothing the two of us don't do
The Sexual Facts of Pedophilia
“Agreed! Even if you put together a whole series of pedophiles, it still amounts to little or nothing genitally speaking.” Regarding type and number of sexual acts, those questioned spanned a wide range of depth and quantity of experience, in this spectrum between all and nothing.
If you feel that the sexual facts are especially important, or you went straight to this chapter in the book, let me ask you this: “What's the nature of your interest here?” Throughout this entire report, I have taken pains to avoid being carried away by the public agitation and polemics surrounding child abuse. For the sake of objectivity I intend to remain faithful to this approach. But only to a certain degree: Being appalled by the ways in which an avowed pedophile's sexuality manifests itself and then stigmatizing him has a criminal makes about as much sense as attempting to de-sexualize genuine pedophilia and putting it in educational and edifying terms.
In a text from 1990, the Swiss author Beat Meier called for “love of children” and “sex with children” to be considered two separate phenomena. Sexual impulses are not always the driving force behind, nor do they always lead to, sexual acts. This certainly holds true on a general conceptual level: love, eroticism, and sex are clearly mutually distinguishable. Yet present-day forms of loving and living push each individual to interpret erotic inclinations as also being sexual, and to - insofar as possible - combine the two. Today sexual identity also includes sexual orientation; successful self-representation also requires the integration of sexual experiences. The celibacy discussion provides confirmation of this. The feats of sublimation of a Lewis Carroll could scarcely be pulled off today.
At a sexual science conference in 1980, I put together a working group in which men were supposed to report on their erotic fascination with children; they remained disappointingly silent. A Berlin team - the authors of a book published in 1976 entitled Sexuality Is More (Michael Baurmann, Ralf Dose et al.) - had discussions over several months with one self-declared pedophile. A theme here sought its way into the wider world, people who thought through their sexual desires and took their childish partners seriously, reflected on this concept. At that time, guilty consciences and fear of prosecution condemned them to a kind of reticence.
Ten years later, pedophiles were undoubtedly still shying away -even more so. Considering its sexual components, the language of love - and this is a fundamental problem - is actually quite dry. The play of the body can be filmed, painted, sculpted, written about, and even set to music. And yet, when we actually try to describe it, we might as well be in the middle of the desert. Roland Barthes, who must know about such things, thinks that the delight one experiences in sexual practices cannot be put into words. Language is only able to pursue, encode, and provide thumbnail descriptions of the acts. [F24]
In the same way, the dreadful poverty of adequate words for this will immediately become glaringly apparent, as I begin to address the subject. Of course, the curiosity I attacked a little while ago is precisely what you're going to hear about now. Western civilization defines sexual acts in terms of what parts of the body are involved. Moreover, just three regions and types of activity come up, which are always described in similar triads: external bodily - mouth - lower body orifices. Sexologically: masturbation - cunnilingus/fellatio - manual/ oral/coital penetration. Colloquially: rubbing - licking/ blowing - fucking/banging. The language of pedophiles and youths proceeds along these same lines, except that, here, “rubbing” means manual activity only. Because our interview partners talk about the sexual events - including that third portion - in these terms, I have no alternative but to depict them this way. Admittedly, this means that we will see sex in terms of its most banal aspects.
Upon the Child's Body
What happens with the child genitally-speaking? Actually, anything mentioned in the above chapter introduction could occur. Everything that happened was far less dramatic than I personally - not to mention many of our excitable contemporaries - would have expected prior to the study. As to the quality of the acts examined here, it was mostly stroking that took place; this obviously rules out the more unusual practices. To this extent, I am able to put your minds at ease a bit: There are no Fausts in boys' clothing, no six-year-old dominatrixes with whips; none of the well-known perversions. Not today at any rate, not as of yet - who would want to rule out the possibility of future changes to anyone's sexual scene?
Maybe we have too many predetermined assumptions about what adult men are, by nature, like. This, in turn, leads to some fundamental polarizations. Some see children as sexually inexperienced, and adults as dangers to their healthy development. Others talk about the child's sexuality, and the adult as potential partner. Both positions deplorably overgeneralize and ignore the many other types of relationships that go on.
In the following, when I quote some interview excerpts in which the sexual acts are discussed directly, I will not be adding any of my own interpretations. The reader may obtain an impression from the text, but no more than that. There is no more a standard model of pedophilic genital activity than there is for adult sexuality. Pedophiles' desires differ from one another quite substantially; children are distinguished from each other in terms of age-stage, developmental status, and personality. Because there are so many possible pairings, we cannot count on there being a uniform pedosexuality. My orientation here will be commonly accepted ideas regarding sexual contact intensity, progressing from the seemingly less serious on up to the more serious cases. As in the previous chapter, description and evaluation can scarcely be kept separate from one another.
Sexualized Play. A man sees a ten-year-old in the pool, who, while changing his clothing, exposes an erect penis. The man begins a conversation with the parents, and proposes that they all get together two days later for a swim.
Then there came a time where he was hanging on my neck, from the front, with his legs wrapped around me. The first kiss soon followed. We were so close to each other, we had to look at one another and laugh, because at the same time the sister was so close by. That was a really tender moment. It was lovely. Then before long, he had a hard-on. We were almost motionless in the water then for a half-hour.
My first friend liked to be massaged and tickled on his back; after that he was openly lustful.
My friend from last summer was clearly open to kissing. He'd always be coming up and making such eyes at me. Then all I could do was plant a kiss on his mouth. When we were alone it often went further, because he'd get a hard-on right away. I've observed this in the pool: When I get within one or two millimeters of his mouth, bam, the thing stands right up.
Most pedophiles like kissing, and the initiative almost always comes from them.
There are boys who will very gladly kiss you. It actually varies from boy to boy. Many don't like it at all: "No, one does this only with girls, not with men.”
Such boys, who in this scene are frequently young Turks, fear like the plague being considered gay. In this and other cases, one starts out not with an affectionate but with a sportsman's-like approach.
It usually got going casually with some horseplay, shoving each other around, things like that. Then he'd get on top of me, and it would begin.
The girl-lovers told us little about their approach. Presumably, because of the heterosexual training on both sides, things go easier for them. Therefore, many here have already found fulfillment.
Spontaneity plays a big role in sexual encounters with children. Indeed, I haven't slept with this one ten-year-old girl. So it's stayed in the realm of much more limited kinds of sexual play, with a sort of game approach. But these thoroughly spontaneous situations appeal to me more than consummated sexual intercourse with an adult woman does."
Manual. Girl-lovers who have also had relationships with women aren't the only ones who satisfy themselves with simply touching - boylovers do as well:
It's merely the result of children's games. You play doctor in the usual way. Almost everyone does it of course. I don't think it's anything particularly special. Actually it's nothing more than heavy petting, along those lines.
Because it was just petting. Playing with and stroking his penis. Just feeling the skin. This is so amazingly beautiful. Nothing else; but it definitely still does count as a sexual act. Besides, the boy was just wild about it; again and again he'd want it. For him, for a long time, it was just about trying things out; when he ejaculated, how good an orgasm is, how he likes it. Then he examined his penis: Look - it's already a
little longer again. It was interesting when he got his first little hairs. We were actually preoccupied with it. I found it just as exciting as he did.
Masturbating the boys was undoubtedly the most frequent activity, even if not practiced by everyone. Also without orgasm, because even a thirteen-year-old may still be too young for that. “Jerking them off really isn't complicated at all.” Many times, the masturbation script is already familiar. In this way, many boys likely write off what the lover does with him as an experience in self-satisfaction.
Oral. Some children say no to this.
It wasn't oral sex; he thinks that's foolish. When he discovers it, he'll gladly let himself be sucked. I told this one boy: “Man, it's just like it is with a girl” He'd experimented with a girlfriend when he was eight, and he had to have liked it.
He liked getting his balls licked. Then I knew - he'd gladly let himself get a blow-job. He thinks it's real nice; it makes him lustful. Then he places his hands on your head, to make sure you keep going.
For the girl-lover cunnilingus may have greater importance; perhaps it's also even more welcome.
What she liked best of all was when I'd kiss her down there. As far as she was concerned, this could go on forever. When I'd give her a good-night kiss then she'd say, “that's not all,” rocking her lower body up and down. A sort of wild hunt would often take place, when she'd say: “Catch my pussy!” Then I'd try to kiss her pussy, as she would try to get away.
Anal. Penetrating a boy was mentioned perhaps occasionally. It goes without saying that under no circumstances is this ever forced. Even pressure isn't used to bring it about. In any event, many boylovers rule out this sort of coitus, because it doesn't personally interest them.
No fucking - I really don't have anything to do with that... Okay, with a grown up, that's an entirely different matter. But a child - that's no good. Not that I dislike it; it just doesn't excite me.
Those who did to some degree like this immediately pointed out that it really doesn't work, which is why it rarely happens.
That's very rare. Out of every hundred there is perhaps one who would be glad to get fucked. But they do exist.
For a long while I didn’t want to do that, because I think that would be painful for the boy. But today I know when a boy wants this, and it won't even cause him any pain. So today, I too like doing it; but it's not something that I expect. Because the boy has to actually come and say, “do this.” I still haven't really done it yet - I've only tried it out.
There's one thing he doesn't go for, which I'm actually already accustomed to: fucking. He's said he won't do this, and then I'll say, “Oh come on, of course you will.” But he held firm. This is the most sacred part of his body; I am not allowed to enter his holy of holies. Perhaps later on. For better or worse I have to respect this. But that's also a very beautiful thing. So, we've gotten together pretty regularly.
There was one remark that stood apart from the others: "Most boys, once they've overcome their fear, will gladly allow themselves to be fucked." One pedophile, who had been involved sexually with over a hundred boys, says of anal intercourse:
So far I've only had one boy who liked it, who also personally said to me: “Come, I want to now.” It's a psychological problem the first time; when one allows himself to be fucked, one is then in the role of the female, and the loser. And then there's also the physical aspect, that for most, it's anatomically impossible to do without some pain involved.
The girl-lovers largely renounced coitus, though not without exception. They have to struggle more intensely against the way that intercourse involving a penis and a vagina is normally carried out. So, one might be dumbfounded by the virulence with which they express their renunciation of it as a matter of course. Many of these pedophiles erotically sense within the girl an already nascent woman, but are nevertheless able to separate the two sexually. Perhaps their pedophilia also bespeaks the fact that prevailing heterosexuality is missing something, as the many complaints about the pressure to perform and the potency requirement would seem to indicate. One of our conversational partners appeared to live up to our interviewer's expectations, when she asked him what it was like with a girl.
A girl is so soft and small, so dear, to me an angel. Therefore I couldn't do harm to her. Right, sexual intercourse must not be implicitly associated with pain or torment; one can also do this in a loving way. But I don't know whether at eleven or twelve they would be physically mature enough yet that this would be possible. They are of course not only physically, but also psychologically still not at all mature. The desire for it isn't there at all yet.
The repudiations predominantly came spontaneously, and sounded sincere.
Yes, just with my wife, but God willing, not with children. Not to mention the fact that never before have I even tried to do this; also, this isn't how I operate at all. Not to mention the fact that in that case, force would have to be used; it probably wouldn't even be physically possible to get it in. For me, drawing the latter conclusion would not be a good idea. The most beautiful thing to me is cuddling.
We've kissed each other allover. Slept together properly, like adults do, and therefore I would have penetrated her, but we didn't do it because I knew that would hurt her. This should always be a tender thing.
Particularly firm renunciations were articulated by men who had little or even no pedophilic experience under their belts; therefore, they never had to put this to a real test.
I am not for penetration at all. The anatomy involved would already make this impossible.
Then I also would have hurt her, which I wouldn't have wanted; that would not have been any pleasure for me. I think that if you force yourself on someone, you're a lesser person for it.
And yet, the fact that only a few cases of consummated coitus were reported needs to be looked at more thoroughly. Many girl lovers of course even get married. As far as the present data is concerned, with the exception of the previously-reported borderline cases the children involved in coitus were twelve and thirteen years old; therefore under certain conditions, provided that she was described in sufficient detail, it would be reasonable to refer to a young woman as a partner. Some cases go back several years and, for the man, likely constitute the one and only time he's had an affair with a young person. All relativizations aside, the fact remains that with pedophilia, coitus with the girl is not ruled out with absolute consistency. One thirty-year-old had been quite close to a twelve-year-old girl for some dozen years, which he describes as a classic example.
The second night, I tried to sleep with her properly. But I only got it part of the way in, since she was still a virgin. The hymen seemed unbreakable - it would've hurt her. I had also asked her beforehand: “Do you think we should give it a try?” “Yes, but very carefully.” And I did try to take every precaution; it was pretty tight. I would have fit into it, but she was still a virgin, and I couldn't deflower her.
Some others did. A then eighteen-year-old was asked by a twelve-year-old whom he'd known for several months:
“What's it actually like when one sleeps with a man?” Me: “I could show you, if you like.” And then I showed her how to kiss, how to stroke each other, and so on. It was consensual. In any case it got to the point where I had sex with her very slowly, so she'd see what it was like. So this went on, then, until the end of the year. You have to be very careful. You have to be able to have a lot of self-control, so that you don't hurt her or do harm to her. I'm a person who's real empathetic; consequently I pay attention to others. If she's at an age where it doesn't click in this way, fine, okay, what you should do, you go over to oral sex. The experience is just as beautiful for a girl as it is for a man. When the deflowering is happening, that also is a very beautiful thing. How beautiful it can be, if you handle her very carefully, very tenderly. Then she too will actually get something out of it, at least I think. Today when you read about a girl really having felt nothing her first time, then there was either no tenderness or mutual understanding, or it happened too quickly. I don't understand it, how people are unable to provide any tenderness.
The following case also occurred between a man just barely of age and a twelve-year-old. Consequently this would again be a teenager sort of situation.
“The Glory of Love” was playing, the title music from “Karate Kid;” since then, whenever I hear it, the music has great meaning for me. So as this is on, we've gotten into bed and tried sexual intercourse. I didn't get it in too good at first. Finding the opening wasn't so easy. It's rather idiotic when you haven't got any experience with it. Then I said: “Now help me out here. You know the way better than I do.” Then
she immediately did so - grabbed ahold of me and stuck it in the right place.. .In the Morning she's always crawling into bed with me, or I with her. The parents were in agreement now about our necking and petting, which they were so liberal about. the mother had said, “Petting is okay, but please hold off on the other thing for a while yet, until she's older”...We'd been doing it every day at that point, sometimes twice a day. She enjoyed it.
It is not out of the question that many of our conversational partners may have held back somewhat when the discussion turned to sexual intercourse, especially if they were interviewed by a woman. On the other hand, our hunger for knowledge was so openly obvious that, in the several-hour-long conversation, almost all of those questioned couldn't help but put their cards on the table. The interviewees usually did not go easy on themselves in an attempt to impress us. And so it is with the following extraordinarily contradictory report. He is a university graduate in his forties, who has had actual sexual intercourse with many girls.
I am absolutely positive that the girls get no sexual enjoyment, pleasure, or satisfaction out of this. This is what I've perceived. I also know that it hurts at the beginning, no question about that. The girls also knew that it was going to be unpleasant the first time, Perhaps even quite painful. I've struggled with myself for a long time as to whether this is really something I wanted: actual sexual intercourse. As I realized that this was something important to me, I really didn't give any consideration to whether or not I would in fact have sexual intercourse. It wasn't open for discussion. Then I caught on to the fact that there was and is a controversy going on among so-called like-minded people regarding whether it is something that one is able to justify. I have had my fill of such experiences, and have come to a decision: that girls of ten or eleven derive no pleasure from sexual intercourse and have no erotic sensation; I'm absolutely sure about this.
This interviewee appeared to be under a lot of strain. He felt guilty, like “a real scumbag.” He felt that his sexual desires and actions were dirty. He is one of the few borderline cases in our sample. What he said and what he did required intervention, which was also the advice we gave him.
Comparing coital practices involving male vs. female children, it appears that the girl-lovers' actions were the most risky overall. Intercourse between the genders was simply less respectful than that between members of the same sex. An entire ideology, which says the woman should be submissive to the man, already weighs heavily on girl-love.
The Lover's Satisfaction
Contrary to traditional sexual science and commonly-accepted approaches, my analysis separates the body of the child from that of the adult. The two seem too little integrated as a sexual couple, the events having to be steered by the pedophiles too much, for the bodies to be able to meld together in desire. In the pedophilic relationship, compared with adult sexuality, the older person obtains satisfaction in ways that are clearly different; without, however, having any different techniques at his disposal.
For his part, what can the pedophile expect in terms of orgasm? The few coitus cases, as yet for their part managed only with care and concentration, amount to very little numerically speaking. Many men are able to report particular situations in which they did obtain their orgasm in the child's presence:
This past Tuesday we were again in the shower. He was actually making masturbatory movements, indeed, not exaggerated or excessive movements, but regular stimulation, which I hadn't suggested to him, but which he came up with on his own. This for me is really the best. Because I flip out whenever I have a boy so close by, or when a boy embraces me. And then, before long, it was my turn. He looked up and said: “Now are the nice feelings coming yet?” My God, I thought to myself, of course you can see that. It was crazy.
It always comes down to the fact that, afterwards, most boys will no longer be into it; except, maybe they'll touch me down there with their hand, stroke a little, etc. One out of every ten, let's say, is also prepared to do something to me with their mouth; but this is very rarely the case.
But even in the bathtub the girl had said: “What've you got there then? Why is that so and so?” She was just full of the devil at that point. Me: “Something could also come out of there.” Then I showed her how to do that. She clearly enjoyed it the first couple tines; then some of the fun went away. The girl usually did it with her hand.
Mostly at the sane time as I was kissing her down there. I had said: “If you stop, then I too will stop.” Then she tried, insofar as possible, to not let up.
Even with a four-year-old something can happen. The pedophile of course wants his penis to be stimulated manually or orally. Only rarely will the children comply with this.
As a rule they have no great desire to do it, and also no great skill at it. It's also basically not real important to me.
Maybe it was too awkward. Actually, I rarely or hardly ever have an orgasm when I'm together with a boy sexually, but make up for this later on, if I remind myself about it.. .If the boy gets something from me pulling mine out also, and he grabs ahold of it, I have nothing against that. But it's not like he has to do God knows what-all just to satisfy me I say this not out of modesty, but because I simply would rather concentrate on the boy.
I know that a feeling of this type and in this way doesn't exist on the other side. As for type: Because the lustiness of two people bounces off each other and wants to be relived as quickly as possible; I know nothing of this. It's always one-sided, which I must then try to conceal from myself.
It was frequently mentioned that children remain passive. Visions of the sexually active child - active relative to an adult - are probably only realized in a limited number of individual cases; these absolutely do exist - a fact easily overlooked. Everyday reality, though, looks like this:
He hadn't serviced me, and I hadn't asked him to. I'd also never implied that he should do this; I did, though, wait to see if maybe he would do it; but he didn't.
Of course he usually left it to me to take care of myself, and would only report back if something didn't suit him.
An orientation to the child's readiness as well as the acceptance of all refusals are part of the know-how of the pedophilic way of life. The usual and oft-mentioned way out of this is masturbation. Particularly when it can take place in the immediate vicinity of the object of desire, it's no longer a “substitute” in the usual sense of that word. This perhaps resembles a woman's finishing-off strokes following coitus. The tyranny of having to come to a mutual climax does not encroach upon the pedophilic situation.
All of these restrictions do not mean that a pedophilic life is devoid of pleasure. Being successfully stimulated up to the point of orgasm does seem to be rather rare. The situation of being together and the child's nearness in general are what give pleasure. The man is still responsible for controlling what are frighteningly referred to as his “urges.” The blending of a semi-formed sexuality with a greater overall satisfaction by a man who loves ten to thirteen-year-olds.
In the first place there's stroking, mutual stroking, masturbation, oral intercourse. On my part. It can also happen the other way around, though that's quite different. There are practices that a lot of boys don't like at all and also will not engage in, whereas many others are really wild about them. But predominantly it's petting, holding in your arms, stroking, cuddling, kissing, French-kissing too, also heavy petting even, and then last but not least, masturbation.
Orgasm doesn't always have to be part of the equation. I can just as well do it later on, when I'm by myself. When I kiss a girl, this is virtually already the climax. That's usually enough for me. Often it's already enough for me when I'm able to see how beautiful she looks between her legs.
The analysis of the sexual facts confirms the results already found in previous chapters: The child encounters in the pedophile a sexually tentative adult. Even if he doesn't entirely do without them, he still relies on genital activities far less than other sexual actors do. It would be empirically false for us to draw an analogy between what are known as homo- and heterosexuality and pedophilia. Among mature persons, sexual wishes are declared and then negotiated. The feelings are asymmetrical relative to the child. The older person knows that going too far would put the relationship at risk.
My wishes don' t go beyond what he's willing to do: I actually like cuddling the best. So with me, sex doesn't depend on whether or not I ejaculate. This is okay, but it must not be implicitly required.
It would be a crass error, and downright heterosexist, to see pedophilia as failure and shortcoming relative to adult sexuality. What we have here is not a deficient but rather a differently-configured sexuality. Our interviewees have mentioned repeatedly that they would even be glad to be a child, or to once again experience their own growing-up. This harking back fantasy is probably also what induces pedophiles' peculiar sexuality.
Between the Generations
The Historical-Social Construction of Pedophilia
One - we didn't ask for their names - who was about thirty, who had lived heterosexually for a long time and now maintains casual friendships with boys, explained to us: “I believe this is a sexuality which is right for both the boys and the adults.” Is this man, perhaps, crazy? And if we were to listen to him, would that mean we were giving credence to absolutely everything he uttered?
In a sense, child-lovers have something that goes far beyond the bleak landscape of particular sexual acts. Child abuse still overshadows true pedophilia in terms of intensity. Incestuous and exploitative acts - they make up more than nine out of every ten cases of sexual acts with children - which have to be regarded as “slip-ups” are actually, in the case of pedophiles, part of the very structure and center of their sexual personality. It is precisely for this reason that they do not want to be - and should not be - lumped in with the abusers.
Pedophilia as Confession
Pedophiles develop a self-understanding in which their yearnings are seen not as a harmless accident but as just the opposite: the thing of most importance. They don't apologize for their actions, but rather demand toleration or even acknowledgment of them. They don't feel they themselves are bad, though they may feel bad about certain things. With regard to another fairly fashionable word: strictly speaking, pedophilia corresponds to a sexual identity. In their mind's eye is the idea of an erotic-sexual relationship which - to the extent that conditions permit - they seek to make a reality. An idée fixe is neither sheer madness nor crime, however abnormal or incapable of being realized it may be.
Pedophilic identity claims the rank of a way of being. Certainly only the outlines of this sexual form have yet been sketched out; its contours were not laid down long ago. To this extent current public opinion and prosecution campaigns may still lull themselves into believing they have "nipped this in the bud" -assuming, of course, that they are not based on an illusion.
The pedophilic identity may be recent or long-standing.
I haven't consciously been a pedo for very long yet. I've repressed it, not wanting to admit it.
My liking for boys goes back a very, very long way. I can recall that at eight years old I was already daydreaming about boys. This chain has never been broken.
It is not difficult to imagine how problematic the route - I almost said the climb - to pedophilic self-understanding must be. So-called “coming out” is a process of realization and becoming conscious which has to go through the thick filter of doubt and a forest of billboards prohibiting it.
I was very inexperienced. I had no one from whom I could learn about this. I've figured it out little by little through books, magazines, and so forth.
For me this has been a long, painful road; so it was a long stretch before I could be relaxed about it, which today I am. I laugh about it today, but I used to have terrible fears.
Boy and girl-lovers by the way hardly ever use the terms homo or heterosexual to describe themselves. The literature, however, does this often (Kurt Freund for example, who was already mentioned). This is quite nonsensical, because what's at issue here is relationships not among adults, but between different generations. And it puts things on the wrong track, because the four phenomena have clearly different configurations. This doesn't leave a great deal of room for different kinds of couplings, or for the possibility of blended categories. For example, when asked for their preference as far as adults are concerned, many boylovers named women - not men - as their second choice.
Identifying oneself as a pedophile means arriving at one's own desires. I sketched out some of the coordinates of this sexual form in the second and third chapters. What becomes eroticized about the child, what becomes sexualized in playing with him or her: it appears that these are only at the disposal of the true pedophile. These don't constitute some surrogate - it is intercourse with adults that would be the substitute.
You can't even imagine what an encounter, including a sexual encounter, between a boy and a man can look like. It's like a strange planet. You can't imagine a strange planet if you haven't set foot on it. People simply see only the sexual act, and associate this with the dirty movies they've seen, with this peddled and marketed sexuality which is simply repulsive in its form. They don't know any different.
How firmly convinced they are of being pedophiles was spontaneously underlined, by many of those we questioned, with confessions. The true pedophile pays homage to someone who will look him straight in the eye via a confession. When I recall how I came to produce this research, I keep thinking about the admitted pedophiles whom I first met around 1980. Their thoughtful demeanor, open self-confidence, and external needs had impressed me at the time, and sowed the first doubts into my image of the sex criminal. A sexual way of life which manifests itself in a sexual identity always deserves an unbiased investigation. For example this case of a close friendship with a thirteen-year-old, which the police were looking into at the time:
Throughout the entire relationship, I've never had any pangs of conscience. I would like to go up to the judge and ask him what this whole shit is really about. There has never been any abuse, there have never been any acts. There's just this relationship. And the judge can't jump over his shadow any more than we can.
Anyone who has struggled through the realization of their desires - in this case pedophilic ones - tends to remain rather stable in this regard. New orientations, as always, stay preserved, especially when social pressure calls for it. The internal psychological structure of pedophilia, which is certainly particularly striking in this section, is beyond the scope of our study; my
observations are not based on any sexual-psychological model - there are others better suited for that. Describe the inter-personal aspects of our phenomena, not their interior psychological foundations. What our interviewees tell us about their careers and perspectives demonstrates strikingly: The pedophile's coming-out is, in a sense, a discovery process, whose outcome is the result of a hard-fought struggle that continues to impact his sexual biography.
Although psychotherapy was indeed frequently mentioned, none of the clients reported having openly discussed their pedophilia. But much of the treatment received by these patients probably did give them back some self-confidence, including with their sexual inclinations.
Because I wasn't ready for it I took refuge in a religious delusion, an imaginary spiritual cocoon for myself; it went so far that I was finally driven mad attempting to talk myself out of sex. I'd been to a psychiatrist three times. The third time I said, now I have to try something, and I looked for a therapist. He said: You are healthy. This helped me with my self-confidence, with which I sit here today.
The pedophile's social situation today is almost like that of an outlaw. Everyone likely has it in for him. Surviving under this threat and maintaining self-confidence requires a strength which we non-pedophiles would have difficulty imagining. Part of this also involves a positively-articulated counter-ideology, manifested in the giver role: “The boys I know are all doing fantastically well.”
The quotations in this chapter so far come from boylovers. This is no accident: girl-lovers do not evolve a comparable identity. Putting this in more precise terms: Their sexual identity develops in a far more fragmentary way than boylovers'. Certainly they do find their own individual voices. And yet, this would never have been sufficient to permit me to speak of a pedophilic identity. While the majority of these interviewees talked about pedophilic experiences, none spoke of their own personal pedo-sexualization. Given that their actions run contrary to so many values and regulations, they feel there is little about themselves that is clear. They ascertain the direction of their drive only haltingly. One man in his mid-thirties, married, told himself for two years:
What are you really hiding? This goes on for years, you actually being at odds with yourself. Not only do you hide your feelings fran the outside world; you also act so distant. What I myself am trying to master now is not only gazing at a child, but also smiling at one just once.
You feel a little like an outsider, a pervert. You have to be perpetually anxious about your very existence. I haven't been any big success in this world, and celebrating my birthday - that's blasphemy.
Some early signs of a pedophilic identification are recognizeable in the girl-lovers as well. Admittedly, the one or two who did talk about themselves as pedophiles had essentially no sexual experience. One describes his coming-out: “It was as if something had clicked in my head. I was twenty-one then.” Another one defends his orientation: “I'm against child mistreatment; I'm really against violence against children in any form. I really like children. Everything which is done voluntarily, on an affectionate basis, really should be experienced.”
Regarding this, the avowed pedophiles instruct us that we cannot use words and phrases like lewdness, abuse, or violation against the right to sexual self-determination to describe lustful child-love. Last but not least, the way they describe their passion also makes sense to me: the rapture of success, the sorrow of loss, the dejectedness of being alone.
He was a boy who I actually loved at that time, if people really are able to love. I clung to this with all of my feeling, with everything by which one can cling to another person. I have been able to realize every wish. Well, in one case or another, when my hand got slapped away real good, when “no” was said to me, I didn't want to let it go; this was, of course, a momentary frustration. But in general, I can truly say that I have led a full, satisfied life through and through. Sexually as well as emotionally speaking. I could also be morosely unhappy, if such a bond went kaput. These would be absolutely existential crises for me.
Girl-lovers also inspire themselves, only less clearly and, sometimes, even unintelligibly. In any event, no one among us knows how to clearly and spontaneously put our longing for love into words; for we usually delegate this task to lyric poetry. Or we switch to an abstract level, like one of those we questioned, who spoke of his so-existence, and called it a whole fundamental life-feeling.
To many ears it probably sounds pretty absurd; and yet it's true: Child-desire as a differentiable sexual form does have an ethic associated with it. Although we hadn't explicitly asked about in the interviews, it was nevertheless addressed by almost everyone: how the child's wishes and views are to be taken into account, how much devotion, care, and supervision one should provide, what part to play in their up-bringing, and how thrifty one should be with money and gifts.
A smaller portion of these guidelines pedophiles have come up with themselves also apply to them personally. Not taking by surprise or demanding too much of the child is already a prerequisite due to the need for caution. But the rules for behavior do not boil down to a simple cookie-cutter recipe. Who says, then, that ethics exist only for others? And if the pedophile conspicuously withholds opulent gifts and plentiful pocket money he is not merely pursuing some aim; for example to avoid the appearance of standing there like a suitor, or testing the genuineness of the child's devotion.
Pedophiles have actually developed a kind of code for themselves, although there is as yet no authority to help them enforce it. This is all the more astonishing given their position on the social sidelines; one would more likely expect a complete absence of obligation. We could make comparisons to the pederasty of ancient Greece, where extremely strict boundaries were drawn,
as the present-day antiquities scholar Kenneth J. Dover and others have shown. In that ancient time, the ethics of the love of young men even stood, along with gender, at the very center of social discourse, as Michel Foucault also thought. The relationship rules of modern pedophilia are, of course, not rooted in ancient pederasty. That tradition has been buried for far too long, and the emotional contents as well as the socially marginal conditions are much too different.
When many pedophiles impose such perceptibly certain forms of self-discipline on their desires, this would appear to be the fruit of an understanding among one another. Since the 1960's, if not even earlier, persons, publications, and organizations have appeared to articulate a love of children and attempt to get rid of the image of the counterfeit child-friend. The most distinguished spokesmen for these self-organizations (a social movement in the strict sense has not been able to be initiated) are the lawyer Edward Brongersma (b. 1911) and the psychologist Frits Bernard (b. 1920). These two Dutchmen, writing anonymously at the beginning, are patiently and untiringly developing social arguments in favor of a pedophilia that will be able to demand social acceptance. The most important works of both of them also exist in German. [F25] And both men have often spoken publicly or in front of interest groups in our country. Their human credibility and solid argumentation have helped to effect a lowering of the so-called protective age limit in the Dutch criminal law. A whole series of younger men, likewise with corresponding training and ethical claims, are walking in the footsteps of Bernard and Brongersma, especially in the United States, England, and Germany.
To us standing on the outside, explanations from interested parties always seems apologetic; like intellectual means sanctifying profane ends. This remains an open question. Inwardly, however, the leading figures absolutely are able to exert a truly ethical influence. The many individuals who doubted the moral worth of their inclinations suddenly find that there could be a way out of the dilemma between senselessness and ecstasy. These spokesmen authenticate a desire which initially appeared to be leading to imminent disaster. In the tension between desire and danger, pedophiles' internal communication allows that self-discipline to develop.
Other sexual forms which are likewise despised have by no means come as far as this has. The prostitution and pornography scenes for example remain ethically mute; instead of responsibility, it is the crude mechanics of the market that reign here. Also, male homosexuals have been living in a normative vacuum for a very long time. I have left in my drawer an essay I wrote in 1980, "Homosexuality and Ethics," as the AIDS crisis broke out and gays were subjected to a high degree of moral pressure. Meanwhile, in the context of AIDS, new forms of association have begun to evolve: taking more responsibility in the sexual encounter, solidarity with infected victims, the desire for partnership, etc. Some of the currently most commonly-used keywords - Bureau of Vital Statistics and Army, for example - are, admittedly, rather likely to evoke laughter.
In human sexuality, deplorably little is given, e.g., by nature. Also, the creational order has to be reconstructed from theology. In view of the fact that people have such incredibly varied ideas about sex, the permutations would seem to be inexhaustible. How do all of these sexual forms originate, and why do they vary? Pedophilia also has its own premises and history. It's these that I wish to discuss.
There are two approaches to analyzing what underlies present day events. In one, we look for similar events in different countries and epochs and compare everything, for example the pederasty of the ancient Greeks and relationships between boys and young men in Papua New Guinea. Human universality and core anthropological truths would thereby be revealed. In the other approach, we examine the output premises of current-day pedophilia, asking about the cultural, political, and economic marginalities of this sexual form. Then we would come to know the contemporary historical and sociological particulars.
I will now take this second approach, and ask: How is it, today, that children radiate erotic attraction, and pedophilic men behave like confessors? Every appearance of pedophilia, whether praised or oppressed, is not a constantly recurring and always identical phenomenon; on the contrary, they are closely connected to our current ways of life. From the noble statements of love of a Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll from a hundred years ago, to sex with children today, pedophilia truly has changed. Indeed, in the second half of the nineteenth century, an evolution of this sexual form began to be established that differed from sexual abuse and incest in all essential respects save the characteristic of age.
Adults' view of children has changed, as has their social character. Over a long period of time only bodily development and contingent intellectual-mental abilities remained invariant, although remarkable changes over ten-year intervals were already being measured in long-term growth and pubertal onset. If childhood indeed has not always remained the same, and perhaps had even been first established in our culture, then we can and also must ask about the “invention” of pedophilia. Using key words, I will report on how in terms of the present-day status of knowledge, new ideas about and images of what it means to be a child have arisen.
The thirteenth century saw the beginning of a development that would rearrange the life-course of European people. The process of what Philippe Aries has called “the discovery of childhood lasted until well into recent times. [F26] The first section of the human biography became a discrete life-phase in its own right. By the way, ”youth” was added still later - also a construct in the social shaping of life. Nearby, now, was the notion that these discoveries would create a new object of desire, consequently one which could be eroticized in its own right. This would not have been possible under its predecessor - the small unfinished adult. Whatever a bigger person may have done with a smaller person sexually, without a child-image that aroused longing, there could be no pedophilia, no sexual form. Of course also, the criminal law of this early time really had no age protections. Sexual intercourse with girls was punished as rape and the anal penetration of boys was punished as sodomy; but only very rarely. [F27]
From biographical construct to erotic attraction: How can we re-create this curious career of “the child?” Train your thought processes to picture, for a moment, those cultures in which old, fat, and otherwise different people are erotically-sexually highly prized, which would simply amaze modern western tastes. What aspects of childhood make it possible for the stature and essence of grown-up persons to become objects of desire? In what way are children not merely imperfect, half-finished entities? Do they have something adults have lost? Pedophiles provide an eloquent answer to this. And here also lies a keyto understanding their desires.
Demographic developments have changed the nature of children's existence: In the nineteenth century the birthrate began to drop, and since the end of that century, more newborns
have been surviving past infancy. Compared to previously, children now have a relatively guaranteed life expectancy, have relatively few siblings, and emerge more strongly as individual personalities. [F28] Restrictions on child labor and rising compulsory school attendance have changed the content of childhood. When children and adults live in spheres with their own set-ups, screened off from one another, children and their world are then able to become objects of mental and relational attention, which manifests itself intellectually, ethically, esthetically, and even erotically. Myths and utopias revolve around the image of the child. It carries the hope for a better life. The paradise of early years resists the harshness of modernity.
Children can now be seen as individuals: They have more than merely the characteristics of a sort of small people: at the same time, it would be extraordinary if a little person were also able to kindle love. So long as the young creature was seen as emotionally indifferent, which was the case up until about the seventeenth century, a child would have left older persons erotically cold.
In 1762 Jean Jacques Rousseau, a classical author on modern education, fashioned an idea of the child that remained dominant for two hundred years. It originally held sway over innate motive powers and natural passions, which got covered over through education and of course had to be eradicated. Only when the young person grew up in innocence, therefore without becoming aware of those appetites, is he able to proceed freely and be a good citizen. [F29] That people have the power to change themselves from “naturalness” to “civilization” and yet, socialization itself corrupts people. Since 1789, there have been in-school political programs which work towards turning the younger generation into people who will bring the revolution to completion. Through this discourse the child's status improves considerably, he is no longer the bearer of original sin but rather of human rights, and society's future. The child is assigned a redemption task: The natural strengths which appear to have become extinct in adults get localized in him. [F30]
The “new person” is not subject to the old ways; grown-ups are. This increase in status - almost even a purification or "sacralization" - frees the child from traditional determinations. A cornerstone is thereby laid, upon which an image of child autonomy can be erected. What is ascribed to children's “naturalness” and “directness” produces at the same time the idea of their "purity," and thereby also their need for protection. It's almost tragicomic how this repression is, itself, the very reason why pedophilic desire is even possible.
Children's new social role removed the indifference with which they had been regarded up to that point. Pedagogy and a full complement of child-rearing institutions place the child at the center of attention in a multiplicity of ways. Adults are preoccupied with children; not merely their own, and by no means only professionally. It evolved into a norm - loving children; whether the double-meaning was indicative of something remains an open question.
The re-interpretation of childhood was accompanied by a polarization of gender images that occurred around 1800. According to this, women were supposed to possess an innate morality, which appeared to make them particularly well-suited to child-rearing. With the separation of the gender worlds, children were subsumed into the female hemisphere.
Coming to the end of our own century, a wealth of child-related experiments have now been
carried out, which may soon fade along with it. We remind ourselves: At the beginning of it there were attempts at racial hygiene, soon followed by ideological experiments. Educational reforms alternated with one another in quick succession, among them such likable and attractive ones as that of Rudolf Steiner or the still-running experiment in providing a compensatory education for everyone. The differentiating-out of childhood that was carried out in the nineteenth century was hereby delimited once again. When the child attains the key to human perfection, then the child-like nature and the difference between child and adult disappear.
For many, then, turning to a child could also mean choosing a person of greater value. In fact those we questioned, to the extent they reasoned through it, clearly expressed disdain for adult personalities.
Formerly children's lives were defined by work and chores; only in the twentieth century do play and learning come to the foreground. Serious learning requires a lot of drudgery. Play, however, is fun under any circumstances. Joyfully excited and charmingly dressed little persons - to say nothing of all of their other qualities - embody some of the sensual aspects of our world; at any rate, this is how children are staged today. Pedophilia brings to light something which no one had intended, but which objectively ensues from the tendency to beautify childhood. Idealizing an individual type paves the way for sexual fantasy.
The interpretational model of child-like innocence is woven into the fabric in which sexual desires, on the one hand, originate at the individual level, and on the other hand, collectively alter themselves. Looking back: In the not-too-distant past children were still considered shameless, and were therefore also included in adults' sexual fun; people played with their genitalia, spoke lewdly in front of them, and didn't even try to hold themselves back. This was no pedo-sexuality; it was of course believed that prior to puberty, sex would be foreign and of no consequence. [F31] Gradually, in the seventeenth century, the idea of child-like innocence came into fashion. On account of their weakness and purity one had to look after them, become accustomed to providing strict life guidance for them, and treat them with decency.
Pedophilia had no chance in either of these epochs: Getting together for a sexual encounter with the “asexual” child was unimaginable, and one could only mean to violate the “innocent” child. Meanwhile these barriers have fallen away. In the course of the twentieth century ideas about child-like ways have changed repeatedly, and at the same time have been massively sexualized. I am reminded of how the statements of Freud and Kinsey were initially met with such shock. In addition, since 1950, some historically new themes have emerged: the equality of the child, the child as personal partner, and non-dominating parent-child interaction. [F32] Sexuality no longer loses out to prohibitions on communication. The generations thereby move together so closely that intimacy between them becomes imaginable. At this point, pedophilia would have to become a possibility.
So this long-term ascendancy of childhood - perhaps, then, there will no longer be many further developments - is today crossed with a counter-tendency. The media critic Neil Postman draws a line from the publication of sexual secrets to the “disappearance of childhood.” The thesis no doubt remains speculative, and it also doesn't convince me; that author wants, above all, to warn of mass media's dangers. And yet, his observations could explain why pedophilic
desire is differentiating and expressing itself today. Postman deplores the abolition of many secrets that, until recent times, European adults had kept from children; not merely - but above all - in the sphere of sexuality. An evolved sense of shame - as even the ancient Romans had seen - was what separated children from adults. Without it, there could be no childhood. When illness, violence, incest, homosexuality, and so forth are no longer hidden, but rather, all of the details are publicly distributed, then they are no longer sources of confusion. There is no question, according to Postman, that the laying open of these subjects jeopardizes the future of childhood; for the dividing line between big people and small people becomes extraordinarily thin.
Adult men surely would have felt a longing for post-pubertal girls at some point in their pasts; however, this desire remained a secret. Television brings everything to light, such that “the open, if also symbolic use of children as ‘material’ for satisfying the sexual fantasies of adults is, meanwhile, generally accepted.” [F33] Postman is referring here to twelve and thirteen-year-old girls in television advertising.
Eventually children will be increasingly seen as little adults, which the rise in their sexual activity itself indicates - more and more and ever earlier. The media does contribute to this by demolishing the differences between child and adult sexuality. Postman cites figures for early pregnancies and venereal diseases among teenagers. He cites figures for criminality and drug consumption - all unmistakable signs of “adult children.”
Many a person offering such descriptions may be being overly dramatic and severe; and yet this points to a fork in the road, at which we momentarily find ourselves. The origination of childhood was really what first made it possible for little ones to be erotic objects. A disappearance means: in the process of disappearing. Childhood is still there, but the character differences are gradually reduced, and normative boundaries become permeable. Pedophilic desire once again becomes more likely.
New interpretational models change one's view of the world; then children are seen differently also. And the secret eye, always looking out for erotic qualities, may awaken desire. In the current catalog of any mail-order company, I will find any number of little Lolitas and Rambos, from age six on up. Today it is not only pedophilia but also everyday culture and average parents that put children in an eroticized framework.
Pedophilia as sexual form, as opposed to individual slip-ups must, as something historically new, itself be seen as evolving. To this extent, all-out moral condemnations and abuse campaigns are merely requisite background music. When the collective organization of sexuality itself changes, then fundamental and certainty-giving orientations are thrown into confusion; an entire world appears to be in danger. On the other hand, nothing ever changes without there being heavy resistance to it. The obvious thematization, and to a certain degree even the persecution functions, paradoxically, as an incentive to the newcomers' growth: people become attentive, sort out their desires, do this together with one another, and make themselves visible to others.
When does pedophilia become confession? This depends on the tendencies of childhood. I see three forces at work: family and school are no longer the primary places where childhood is formed, keyword: child's right to freedom; the spreading fear of child-monsters, keyword: ungovernability; the deluge of reports of children being abducted for sexual purposes, keyword: abuse. Who is going to stop these trends? If they continue unabated then childhood's idyll will perish, taking with it the pedophilia described here.
1 For more on the discussion scene in the U. S., see James R. Kincaid, Child-loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture , New York, 1992; David Finkelhor et al., Eds., Nursery Crimes, Newbury Park, 1988; Pat Califia, "Feminism, Pedophilia, and Children's Rights", Paidika 8 (1992), pp. 53-60.
2 Richard v. Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis (first pub. 1886), 14th ed. 1912, pgs. 413, 415. Along with the following, ibid., pp. 416-420.
3 Raymond A. Knight et al., "Classification of Sexual Offenders," in: A. W. Burgess, Ed., Rape and Sexual Assault, New York, 1985, pp. 222-293.
4 Project support from: German Research Society, File No. Ia. 245-8; University of Bremen. Institute for Empirical and Applied Sociology.
5 Results reported by Marina Knopf, "Sexual Contact Between Women and Children," in: Journal of Sex Research 6 (1993), pp. 23-35.
6 See David Finkelhor, in: Journal of Homosexuality 20 , Nr. 1/2 (1990), pg. 314. The book by Theo Sandfort (Dutch and English, 1981) is also published in German: Pedophilic Experiences, Braunschweig,1986.
7 Kurt Freund et al., "The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children," in: Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 18 (1992), pp. 34-43 (35).
8 Kevin Howells, "Sane Meanings of Children for Pedophiles," in: M. Cook et al. (Eds.), Love and Attraction, Oxford, 1979, pp. 519-526 (525).
9 Compare with Gundel Koch-Harnack, Boy-love and Gifts of Animals, Berlin, 1983, pp. 38-48.
10 Sigmund Freud, Study Edition Vol. 5, Frankfurt/M., 1972, pg. 56. Also compare with Camille Paglia, The Masks of Sexuality, Berlin, 1992, pg. 144.
11 See Werner Fuchs-Heinritz et al., Ed., Fixed Schedules through the Youth Phase?, Opladen, 1991, pgs. 9ff., 235ff.
12 In addition compare with Kincaid (Note 1), pgs. 13-16, 64f., 364-375.
13 Mark Pascal, Ed., Varieties of Man/Boy Love, New York, 1992,pg. 8.
14 Compare with Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gersheim, The Entirely Normal Chaos of Love, Frankfurt/M., 1990.
15 Katharine Rutschky, Agitating Enlightenment, Hamburg, 1992; Michael Schetsche, The Sexually At-Risk Child, Pfaffenweiller 1993; same, "Sexual Contacts Between Adults and Children as Social Problem," in: Social Problems 4 (1993), pp. 56-77.
16 Eberhard Schorsch, Gerlinde Galedary, Antje Haag, Margret Hauch, and Hartwig Lohse, Perversion as Criminal Act, Berlin, 1985, pg. 46.
17 Eberhard Schorsch, "Child-Love," in: Criminology and Criminal Law Reform Monthly 72 (1989), pp. 141-146.
18 Martin Dannecker, "Remarks on the Crimino-Legal Treatnent of Pedosexuality," in: H. Jager & E. Schorsch, Eds., Sexual Science and Criminal Law, Stuttgart, 1987, pp. 70-83 (77-80).
19 Compare with Michael-Sebastian Honig, "On Children's Sexuality," in: German Youth Institute (Eds.), Something for Children, Munich, 1993, pp. 182-194; Bettina Schuhrke, Bodily Discoveries and Psychosexual Development, Regensburg, 1991.
20 Kenneth Plummer, "Understanding Childhood Sexualities," in: T. Sandfort et al., Eds., Male Intergenerational Intimacy, New York, 1991, pp. 231-249.
21 Joan A. Nelson, "Intergenerational Sexual Contact," in: Journal of Sex Education & Therapy 15 ( 1989), pp. 3-12.
22 Terry Leahy, Paedophilia and the Construction of Childhood, pub. ms. 11 pgs., 1992.
23 Dieter Richter, "Witches, Little Devils, Difficult to Manage," in: German Youth Institute, 1993 (as in Note 19), pp. 195-202 (200).
24 Roland Barthes, Foreword to: Renaud Camus, Tricks I, Berlin, 1987, pp.9-14 (11).
25 Edward Brongersma, The Painted Sex, Dutch, 1961, Munich, 1970; Loving Boys, 2 vols., Amsterdam, 1986/1990 (Vol. 1 German, Frankfurt M., 1992). Frits Bernard, Pedophilia: On the Love of the Child, Dutch, 1975, Lollar, 1979.
26 Phillipe Aries, History of Childhood, French, 1960, Munich, 1975, pp.92-111.
27 Martin Killias, Youth and the Sexual Criminal Law, Bern, 1979, pgs.
28 Irene Hardach-Pink.e, "Childhood in Motion," in: German Youth Institute, 1993 (as in Note 19), pp. 35-42 (37).
29 Compare with Gerhard Vowinckel, "Childlike Innocence -- The Rise and Fall of a Child-Rearing Ideal," in: Journal of Socialization Research 11 (1991), pp. 256-277 (260-262).
30 Compare with Hans-Christian Harten, "History of Childhood as Utopian History," in: German Youth Institute, 1993 (as in Note 19), pp. 43-50.
31 Aries,1975 (as in Note 26), pp. 175-182.
32 See, in addition, Vowinckel, 1991 (as in Note 29), and Jiirgen Zinnecker, "Childhood, Up-Bringing, Family," in: Shell Youth Studies, Vol. 3, Opladen, 1985, pp. 97-292 (193).
33 Neil Postman, The Disappearance of Childhood, English, 1982, Frankfurt/M., 1983, pg. 108.