Does Pedophile Love Equate Abuse?
Love or Morality: Chapter Seven
“The Tao of Love”
“Toward a Functional Understanding of Love”
“On the True Nature of Human Sexuality”
“The Demonization of Adult-Child Erotic Love
“The Commercial Exploitation of Abuse”
“The Patriarchal Love Bias”
“The Truncated Account of Adult-Child Erotic Attraction”
“Does Pedophile Love Equate Abuse?”
“Is Pedophilia a Sexual Perversion?
“The Legal Split in Child Protection”
“The Violence of Morality”
“The Roots of Violence”
“The 12 Angular Points of Social Justice and Peace”
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Child-Adult Sex vs. Child-Child Sex
Possible Etiologies of Child Rape
Pedoemotions are Universal
Aesthetic and Poetic Childlove
Affectionate vs. Sadistic Childlove
Does Pedophilia Equal Child Rape?
Free Choice Relations for Children?
Lover vs. Offender
In the present chapter I am asking if pedophile love equates abuse, as it is most often argued in our culture?
Well, I would like to wrap the question up differently, asking you if love, for you, equates abuse? Don’t laugh, for I seriously believe this society automatically assumes that all love is abuse. It’s just as in modern medicine where everybody assumes that all life, one day, ends up in sickness.
It is common knowledge that in high civilizations of the past, the exact opposite regard was prevailing, namely that all life, if lived correctly, is producing health, and more health, not an automated pattern that leads to major sickness. This is perhaps simply a matter of self-fulfilling prophecies. While in the old traditions, people were thinking on the lines of ‘life keeps itself healthy,’ today, because of various reasons, people rather argue in the opposite way, affirming that ‘sickness is inherent in all life.’
If this is so, the question if pedophile love per se equals abuse, while it sounded so ‘regular’ at first, assumes another taste, another fragrance, and another color; it assumes a flair of perversity, not to say that the question in itself is perverse. It is perverse because it is suggestive, manipulative.
The answer is clear and simple. Of course not. Pedophile love is love in the first place, as any other love is love in the first place, and not abuse. To repeat it, when a child chooses an adult over a peer, this decision must be respected if one day we at all grant children free choice relations; as a result, we cannot honestly assume a qualitative difference between the relation child-child, on one hand, and the relation child-adult, on the other, that can possibly emerge from this freedom of choice.
Hence, the dichotomy of child-child sex vs. child-adult sex, so common in our present media debate is a fake equation because on a normative level, there can’t be a difference in these relations; if the child’s free choice is the decisive element that triggers either of these relations, they have to be treated equally, both on a social and a legal level, and within the framework of permissive education.
— Permissive Education is where all educational measures and activities are humanized and made fit in the daily little critter of relationships. I have faced the worst educators in persons who are high-strung idealistic and have a lot of theory in their heads, and the best in those who are simple-minded, but attentive to detail, fresh, loving, innocent and spontaneous. What is the character structure that fosters permissiveness? It goes without saying that it’s a character that is neither neurotic nor sadistic, but loving, giving and emotionally mature. In my own terms, I would say it’s a person whose emotional flow is intact and where desire is conscious, or has been rendered conscious through building emotional awareness.
My historical survey has implicitly shown that adult-child loving relations were always part of the love game in our culture, if not worldwide, and the accounts we have, which are predominantly negative, and which are the only proof that historians present to us, cannot be taken for the whole truth.
They are accounts of accidented relationships, accounts of hurt, that report abusive customs and relationships, and perhaps even, an abusive mindset regarding children. But they cannot be taken for the whole of the story, for the whole of adult-child erotic interactions over time.
In such a situation, where evidence is lacking, or the evidence present in court is biased, as a law practitioner, you are not supposed to take any definite conclusions; in such a case, the court will either ask for more evidence, or dismiss the case because ‘doubt is in favor of the accused.’
I use this as a metaphor, of course, because we are not evaluating legal evidence here, but historical evidence. What I am saying is that historians, and psychohistorians, should be subscribed to a professional ethics; when I apply the ethical rules of the law profession to historical research, I must conclude that in the present case, no definite answer can be given and we have to say, sorry, we can’t get to know the whole truth because of lacking evidence, and the evidence we do have is one-sided and biased.
As a result, we cannot go as far as Lloyd DeMause, Florence Rush or Alice Miller and conclude that all through human history, children were invariably abused, raped, tortured and infanticided, or used as amuse-jesters and night-pillows. And a step ahead, this means we can’t conclude that history ‘has proven that pedophilia is damaging for children,’ which is the usual conclusion taken from such historical research. Here, what we are facing is not scientific conclusions but demagogy, not search for truth, but propaganda that serves the system in which children have to shut up and keep their emotions in check so that they do not disturb ordained consumption without reflection.
My argument is corroborated by the fact that etiologies of pedophilia and of child rape are clearly distinct. Our media refuse to make that distinction and thereby breed more confusion than clarity about the true nature of pedophilia.
Child-Adult Sex vs. Child-Child Sex
The pedophile movement argues that children, in the typical case, desire sex with adults as a natural and intuitive choice. Well, after studying native cultures, and among them especially the Trobriand culture that was subject to important field studies of both Bronislaw Malinowski and Margaret Mead, I question the truth of this argument. When looking at these natural tribes, it seems that children relate first of all to peers for experiencing their first steps into body pleasure and sexual curiosity.
The parents, in these cultures, are practicing an active form of non-intervention in their children’s love life. Interestingly enough, homosexuality and pedophilia are practically non-existent among these natives, and sex crimes are virtually unknown. Also the low divorce rate of only 4% simply is astounding. What also astonishes about Trobriand culture is the fact that they are much tougher than our culture for safeguarding the incest taboo. In fact, children live from age three in special dormitories in which where parents are not supposed to go at night, as we know this from Israeli kibbutzim.
— I heard about these Kibbutzim night rules in a reportage on German television on Israeli Kibbutzim years ago. That particular Kibbutzim practiced what they called the common standard of modern child rearing in Israel, and it was clearly stated that from the age of three, children sleep in dorms supervised by trained psychologists, and not by parents, and that parents have no access to their children at night. The why and how of this rule was justified, inter alia, with preventing incest. An exception was made only, it was stated, when the child was sick and insomniac, and would then be allowed to sleep with their parents for the time of their sickness.
As with the Trobriand natives, the parent-child separation is put up as a precaution against incest; in the kibbutzim, children, from age three, sleep separated from their parents in dormitories that parents are forbidden to enter at night, and where specially trained caretakers look after the safety of the children.
The question that comes up is if child abuse and pedophilia are perhaps the result of repressing children’s erotic peer relations while at the same time overdoing the emotional closeness between parents and children in the nuclear family setting? My research on child abuse indeed is conclusive to the hypothesis that it’s the lacking development of autonomy in modern child-rearing and resulting parent-child codependence within the nuclear family that is the root cause of child abuse and pedophilia.
The present split in the discussion of the subjects of so-called childlove and child abuse results from the fact that in our society, it is not scientific research that forges public opinion, but the necessarily partial views of the most powerful interest group. Yet it appears that truth cannot be found on the basis of group interests and group perspectives since they are always partial. They represent keyholes. Only an approach that enables the reader to form their opinion in a state of quiet intuitive insight, without being influenced or manipulated by pro-and-con propaganda will eventually lead to a better understanding of the complexity of sexual desire in general, and desire for the young, in particular.
A few years ago, sending some mail to a group of boylovers that exposed their ideas on the Internet and presenting in that mail my project for this book, they replied they could not understand any sexual attraction for little girls since they considered boylove being a form of role modeling; such role modeling is in their view impossible to occur in a relationship between a man and a little girl. Besides the fact that I question why men should only be role models for boys and not for girls, there are recurrent arguments in the rhetoric of both pedophile and homosexual interest groups. Their principle argument appears to be that their sexual orientation is inborn and cannot be changed.
I question this and believe there is no either-or in emotional and sexual attraction. If a person says that he or she can never and in no circumstance be attracted to a person of either sex, the person is either dishonest, ignorant about the pleasure function, naive or emotionally blocked, which means neurotic.
The nature of pleasure, in general, and of sexual desire, in particular, is not such that it creates exclusivity in partner choice. To believe it is infantile despite the fact that it is one of the strongest polemic arguments of the homosexuals. They have used this argument in order to gain a residual form of societal acceptance. However, in my exchanges with homosexuals, I found that this argument is but a rhetoric. Most of them admitted that exceptionally, they could sleep with a girl if only the girl was ‘beautiful and responsive enough.’ And in their life stories it was obvious that they had just not found that kind of girl, and one day stopped searching. And as a result of stopping the search for a viable mate of the other sex, their sexual energy retrograded and inverted. You may argue that among heterosexuals the same should then apply since love proceeds always in trial and error and that for that reason, many heterosexuals would have had to turn into homosexuals because of frustration in heterosexual love.
The answer is that because our sexuality is not instinctive, the mating game is actually a matter of taking chances and voting for options. In a situation where I feel rejected, living through a depression that was brought about by a frustration of my sexual desire going along with a momentary hurt of my self-image, I may naturally react in reasoning out options. This may not be mental. It may be subconscious or it may be on a feeling level. I may decide to give it another try, or I may dare into getting ahead sexually with the other sex or another age group.
My point is that, in doing so, one by no means becomes homosexual, pedophile or gerontophile. The fact to get stuck in some sexual orientation or the other has emotional reasons and reasons related to personal power. It is not primarily a question of sexual orientation, and still less of any pretended initial sexual orientation of the kind ‘I’m born a homosexual.’ There is abundant sex research showing that homosexuality is well-established among mammals, but only under certain conditions, the primary being a lack of females in the group. It is also known that among primates, sodomy is practiced on young animals from the part of older and much stronger ones. Thus to cite nature for forwarding a mechanistic view of sexuality of the kind ‘male jumps female of same kind, same age and same size,’ as this is very common with ignorant and fundamentalist people is an ambiguous way of arguing. This is so because there is a lot of variety in nature regarding the mating game, much more than those simplistic thinkers, who typically deny erotic complexity, want to believe and accept. Some ants, after copulating, eat their husbands …
Naturally in all matters of pleasure we try to compensate for pleasure we fail to get after repeated trials. We then look for a temporary surrogate pleasure, an ersatz. We do this because of the fear that our original sexual longing may be socially rejected. Fear of living our genuine sexual longings impairs the high potential of creativity that is inherent in sexuality. It means to be afraid of the moving nature of life itself and its constant change. Sexual anxiety and all inhibitions that flow from it are manifestations of a general fear of life that, as Alexander Lowen showed in many of his books, is firmly rooted in the Judeo-Christian cultural base setup, and of course equally established in orthodox Islam and Hinduism.
— See only Alexander Lowen, Fear of Life (2003).
Krishnamurti said that sexuality is creativity. However, he added that for most people in our non-creative culture, sexuality has become the only form of creativity; and that this caused a lot of strife and obsession. In Education and the Significance of Life (1978), Krishnamurti writes:
— The intellect, the mind as such, can only repeat, recollect, it is constantly spinning new words and rearranges old ones; and as most of us feel and experience only through the brain, we live exclusively on words and mechanical repetitions. This is obviously not creation; and since we are uncreative, the only means of creativeness left to us is sex. Sex is of the mind, and that which is of the mind must fulfill itself or there is frustration. Our thoughts, our lives are narrow, arid, hollow, empty; emotionally we are starved, religiously and intellectually we are repetitive, dull; socially, politically and economically we are regimented, controlled. We are not happy people, we are not vital, joyous; at home, in business, at church, at school, we never experience a creative state of being, there is no deep release in our daily thought and action. Caught and held from all sides, naturally sex becomes our only outlet, an experience to be sought again and again because it momentarily offers that state of happiness which comes when there is absence of self. It is not sex that constitutes a problem, but the desire to recapture the state of happiness, to gain and maintain pleasure, whether sexual or any other. (Id., 118)
People who experience high artistic, scientific or intellectual pleasure find it less of a problem to sublimate sexual feelings than those who lack out on deriving pleasure from those pursuits. It’s a fact that when sexual fulfillment is temporarily not available, art, science, design or any other intellectual pursuit can become a temporary investment for sexual energy. In that sense, sex could be called a residual form of creativeness, one that steps in when all other outlets have become dysfunctional.
With child-focused sexual desires it is no different than with desire projected upon adult mates, as from a functional view of sexuality, the mate one chooses is not ‘defining’ one’s sexual apparatus; the latter, namely, is setup by nature. The streaming of the sexual energy is not different when desire is projected upon children, infants, peers or elders. This is an important observation to be done in addition to current sex research. So far, sex research was not able to really elucidate the true reasons and motivations behind the loving erotic attraction to children.
Research on love may be difficult in general as love cannot really be defined. We have to see also that research never helped us to love more, to be more tolerant and more understanding for the variety of the human experience which also always is an emotional experience and therefore, by its very nature, difficult to measure in the laboratory.
People do not change their beliefs because of scientific research, because beliefs are not rational. Ivory tower studies serve those who sit in the tower, not those who live outside of it. The latter, and that is all of us, must feel things emotionally; that is however only possible if we take down our shields, our armors, our set opinions, our defensive assumptions, and open our heart to the streaming of emotions, and the wisdom of intuition. While science only can touch our intellect, art inspires and transforms our whole being. Truth then, has to be searched for holistically, in an experience that combines the emotional and the intellectual sides of our nature, which connects both hemispheres of the brain, so that, according to the Renaissance ideal, art and science, in a synchronistic kind of movement become philosophy.
If we want to know and understand love, we must get away from the rigid assumptions and prejudiced opinions of the mass media and formulate our own individual quest for truth. I can be argued that poetry, literature, music and art represent more reliable sources of the multi-faceted reality of childhood over time than any scientific study on the matter. A scene drawn on a Greek vase that depicts a Greek warrior playing with the penis of a boy while both he and the boy look each other straight in the eyes says more about the possibility of loving adult-child sexual contact in that culture than any so-called historical case report.
I go beyond history as a garbage science. I say that we have to begin hic et nunc. If we want to know if children experience sex as positive and joyful or as negative and humiliating, we have to ask them. And since we cannot ask the children of the past, we have to begin asking the children that surround us here and now. Depending on the cultural conditioning they are submitted to, they will either say the truth, or lie, or keep silent. In my experience, the reactions of children are quite predictable.
— Children from sexually repressive, punitive and highly religiously doctrinaire cultures will keep silent or lie. They are not likely to tell the truth about their feelings or they have repressed them to such an extent that they do not even know what they feel. These are the children who fake to consent, out of fear or false respect and sometimes later betray their lovers or just keep silent until they are grown up;
— Children from non-repressive yet patriarchal cultures tend to make up stories about early sex, especially boys. They tend to make believe to have had all the girls or even boys in their neighborhood which may be true to the extent that heterosexual and homosexual play is frequent among children in those cultures although it is hidden to the foreign observer;
— Children from non-repressive and semi-patriarchal or postmodern semi-matriarchal societies are likely to tell the truth, in a straightforward, unashamed manner, even if they hurt the feelings of an adult who tries to please them in order to get their consent to sexual play. Thus, they can say no, when they mean no. And, by the same token, they can say yes when they mean yes.
This is only a general structure, of course, and there are a number of variations within one cultural model or another, depending on a variety of factors, such as religious belonging of the family or father, provincial setting or metropolis, low-class environment or middle or upper class setting. The reason why we research on childhood is that we want to know what children need so that we, as a society, can more effectively meet that need.
When we agree about this objective, we have as yet to define which tools we are going to use. If history, for the above-mentioned reasons, is a rather untrustworthy source of knowledge and thus a bad tool, we have to look for better sources of information.
Let us thus first inquire into the quality and trustworthiness of information we get from historical and psychohistorical sources; let us then evaluate if this information is really useful for answering the following questions: ‘What can we know about the quality of adult-child sexual contacts in the course of human history? Is there any prevalence contained in this information for childhood sexual experience to be predominantly negative, predominantly positive, or negative and positive at the same time, depending on other factors?’
This is a possible theoretical and pragmatic framework for research on the topic of childlover over time. Research we have collected so far on this broad topic is far from being impartial, if it is not bluntly negative in its general outlook.
At present, we are in a phase of collective awareness building regarding the quality of childhood over time. It seems that modern civilization, perhaps because of now almost a hundred years of psychoanalytic enlightenment, is beginning to get sensitized for the true needs of children.
It is impossible to prove that really childhood has always been negative or abusive! To repeat it, I intuit the account of positive erotic child-adult love over time was truncated for reasons of political correctness, with the result that today the overwhelming part of the literature on childhood, as far as history is concerned, traces a hopelessly negative picture.
However, if we add to these sources personal biographies and autobiographies, novels, poetry and the creations of our great painters, this picture becomes more diversified and more positive. And as a matter of fact, not everybody has got a bad or abusive childhood — fortunately so. There is always the danger to generalize one’s own personal experience, and even the most objective of historian or psychohistorian is not free from this tendency. It is a fact that generally people take the pen to write their story because they suffer from high inner tension as a consequence of problems or of abuse suffered, not because they feel great. When we feel great, we tend to expand more on the outside level, take action, get things done, make money, make love, engage in sport or travel around the world.
Many poets admit that it is rather in a state of melancholy, confusion or depression that they feel inspired for great poems, and not in the other case that they feel good and sober. From my own experience as a writer I know that this is true. Most of the time when I sat down to get my soul out on the paper, it was because I suffered so much and the inner tension resulting from all the hurts and humiliations I went through became just unbearable! As a matter of fact, the years in which I wrote poems were by far the most difficult ones I had to cope with in my entire life, and writing poems helped me tremendously to clear out his inner confusion and tension. This is the principal reason why world literature and art treat the unwelcome and hurting aspects of life rather than the welcome and pleasurable ones. And if this is true in general, it is so much the more true for childhood stories.
This simple truth may be the reason why we find by far more negative childhood descriptions than positive ones in world literature. Besides that, my intuition tells me that people who always see the bad and negative in life and who have an over-protective attitude toward children have a high anxiety level and are generally blocked against acknowledging complexity. They are locked up in a fascist mindset that comes up with simplistic answers about all and everything, and that, worse, pretends to know everything. These parents tend to tell their children ‘Shut up, what do you know about life?’ So the child very early, and very consistently learns that listening to one’s inner wisdom is a sin, because it equals being disobedient to one’s holy father or mother who, pretendedly so, know everything or for the least know better than stupid little child.
When people see life as static, instead of perceiving it as a total and intrinsically dynamic experience, they tend to focus on the ugly and hurtful aspects of life. Thus, from their biased approach to the dark and light sides of life results a very fundamental and fundamentalist kind of prejudice: they emphasize the dark side of life while not giving enough attention to its light and joyful side. On the other hand, children do not have this kind of bias and that is why they tend to see sexual pleasure as something enjoyable that is related to a deeper experience of love, provided they are allowed to experiencing love at all.
Possible Etiologies of Child Rape
On the other hand, this insight could also give us some hints to explain violent sexual behavior. My hypothesis is that violent behavior is a consequence of the absence of affection; it may be that affection is blocked or otherwise repressed as something that contradicts the person’s self-image. Typically, in those relations the adult does not identify himself as a childlover, but uses one or the other macho stereotype to explain his somewhat unusual sexual hunger. The process starts with sex fantasies involving children that mentally stage forbidden sexual behavior and that the person subsequently represses under guilt and shame.
These fantasies, then, are acted out in a compulsory movement and often after the consciousness barrier has been lowered by alcohol, consciousness altering drugs or other external stimuli. The problem in child rape is abuse of power which is not primarily a sexual problem or a question of sex relations, but a question about how a particular person is able or not able to handle frustration and depression in their lives.
While it has been proven already by researchers like Nicholas Groth that, in general, most rape cases are either anger rape or power rape cases, these insights are so much the more valid for child rape in that the child, because of their weaker, smaller and more innocent appearance, is an almost ideal projection object for those repressed and retrograde love energies.
— Nicholas A. Groth, Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender (1980).
However, we should bear in mind that in order to understand childlove it’s awkward to find out about it by researching on child rape.
While this exactly is the strange turn that Western science has taken regarding childlove, it is absurd when you look at it. This namely means that we try to define health from what we have seen is sickness. However, to know what sickness is does by far not mean we know what health is, simply because health is much more than the absence of sickness. To say, childlove is much more than the absence of child rape. If a heterosexual lover affirmed loving women was good just because it is characterized by not raping women, he would certainly be contradicted in public with the argument that love is much more than the absence of rape!
Pedoemotions are Universal
The path for the future, in my view, is to foster and encourage sane emotional relationships with children within a social framework of accepted pedoemotions, so that adult-child erotic relations can be lived in constructive and non-harmful ways. Only if we get at coding childlove as an essentially social behavior, we can say that we eventually take the responsibility we have as a society for saving all the children still to be raped, tortured and killed if we deny action now and remain with the ineffective and socially destructive paradigm of a total child sex taboo.
One of the biggest problems in childlove is the shared responsibility between childlover and love child, which in many cases may turn out to be a heavy burden for the child, especially when the parents of the child are ignorant and supposedly or outspokenly against the love relation.
From this burden of secrecy, depressions, insomnia and other psychological problems may result. It is for this reason not astonishing that one of the most extensive studies, that of the Dutch psychologist Theo Sandfort from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, examining twenty-five boy lovers and boys, came to the result that psychological problems were present in the cases only where the parents were ignorant or against the man-boy relation, and that they were totally absent in the relationships where the parents of the boy fully consented to the relation — which was the case in about one third of the samples. However, even in the relations where such burden existed because the couple had to hide their love, the exams showed that neither of the boys had any serious or acute psychological problems or hangups. This is astonishing news for traditional child psychology since it proves that the psychological make-up of a child is much more robust than Western child psychology tends to admit.
Aesthetic and Poetic Childlove
Today, it is to hope that despite draconian punishments and general child abuse hysteria, poetic and non-sexual childlove has still its privileged and discrete corners in the holy or not so holy family of our times. The wholeness of the family is exactly demonstrated by the fact that it can tolerate and assimilate adults who give the children that form of eroticized affection that is typically not acted out upon through actual sex, but that the parents often neglect because they confuse nutritive tactile care with erotic love.
When I met the French psychotherapist Françoise Dolto in her Paris apartment in 1986, she told me in that interview that she was supportive of eroticized adult-child relations outside the family since it was a way to lower the incest problems within our highly incestuous nuclear urban family structure. This was so, she explained, because the child, especially during the Oedipus Complex and later in adolescence, could project their incestuous desires upon loving adults other than their parents.
This view that was shared, at that time and even more so before (during the 60s and 70s), by many psychologists and psychoanalysts, now belongs to the intellectual dynamite mainstream society tries to conceal by all means. It has to be seen that Françoise Dolto, when talking about eroticized relations did by no means imply relations where intercourse is taking place. Hence, we have to be attentive to this subtle yet distinct difference.
To respond erotically to a child is according to Dolto a sane reaction; to pursue that erotic interest up until actual intercourse with the child is not, according to Dolto, a sane reaction.
Today however, the child abuse paranoia resulted in a much less distinctive regard. Research has been suppressed, funding taken away or has been directed into other channels, for example those of the child protection industry.
It sounds somewhat out of the air when child protectors claim the sexual innocence of the child or similar hypotheses that were shown to be myths already at the beginning of the last century. But anyway, this debate is not of much relevance for the poetic childlover because he or she abstains from approaching the child sexually. Loving children poetically, without acting out on erotic feelings, was not at any time in human history regarded as a dangerous behavior, until child protectors declared that even erotic feelings for children were a potential abuse case. To show how biased this view is, a general study or monograph about the aesthetic value of childlove needs to be written.
Presently photographers seem to be more active than writers to invoke, through associations and a very sensitive way to exhibit children, a foretaste of what I would call the aesthetic value of childlove. I primarily think of Jan Saudek.
Saudek is special in that his message is clear, yet subtle and non-obtrusive, and therefore acceptable also for non-pedophiles. The message is honest in that it does not fake to show an objectivized child or a post-modern version of Rousseau’s Émile, but a decorated child that is voluntarily and humbly seen as a projection container. In fact, it is illusory and moralistic to judge depraved our need for the child to being a fetish and receptacle for our dreams, our Sehnsucht for a better world, our poetic fantasies of a lucid tenderness that is not male or female, nor otherwise fragmented, but androgynous, whole and truly innocent, divine and eternally lovely.
— See, for example, June Singer, Androgyny (1976).
Poetic childlove is unlimited in its dream-like dimension, in its poetics. It is somehow associated with the belief in fairies, in supernatural powers, in animated nature, and a God Pan — that had his place in the Greek Pantheon, and that wishes to be respected by humans for his conquests of innocent little girls.
— Pan is the Greek god who watches over shepherds and their flocks. He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a satyr or pane. The parentage of Pan is unclear; in some myths he is the son of Zeus, though generally he is the son of Hermes. His mother is said to be a nymph. In universal mythology Pan is associated with the male sexual drive, and sometimes with sexual desire for young girls.
There are many poetic writings that are the result of childlove, such as the Peter Pan story or Kim, by Rudyard Kipling which describes a wonderful love relation between a magician and a little British boy in India, the Petit Prince by Saint-Exupéry and many others, but they leave open the question of a possible sexual relation, or leave it over to the reader’s fantasy. The whole of modern child art production including Walt Disney is the result of childlove, yet of a childlove perhaps voluntarily restrained to its poetic and platonic dimension.
One may argue in the forefield that these productions may not comply with my rather exact definition of childlove as an erotic form of love. However, I argue that erotic intelligence is not per se to be acted out sexually, through sexual behavior of any kind, but can remain a world of fantasy, and live its erotic dimension in the poetic domain.
To begin with, I find our society’s definition of sexuality a joke, if not an aberration. We are sexual in a much larger dimension than monkeys mounting each other as a game of instincts. We humans are not instinctual, but consciousness impacts on our very genes as has been shown by both quantum physics and psychoneuroimmunology.
— See, for example, Candace B. Pert, Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine (2003), Richard Gerber, Vibrational Medicine: Energy Healing and Spiritual Transformation (2002), Donna Eden, & David Feinstein, Energy Medicine (1998), Amit Goswami, The Self-Aware Universe (1995), Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe (1992).
There are to be found less friendly childlove productions as well, often by anonymous authors, such as the Diary of a Gentleman, which I mentioned earlier on and which was one of the Victorian bestsellers. However, the cynical sadism typical for this kind of productions cannot really find an audience among true childlovers. The author, a noble living during the Industrial Revolution in England, and frequenting young prostitute girls from the poor worker milieu in London, exhibits a strange form of pride in raping these girls literally to their blood, deriving from his conquests a deep manly satiation that almost totally misses out elements of empathy, compassion and shared pleasure. My heart was bleeding when I read his accounts that were republished in Florence Rush’s book about the sexual abuse of children.
My reaction to that stuff was visceral and immediate, and not the result of reflection. It was as if my whole body and soul revolted. Yet in modern culture sadism is so deeply ingrained in general morality, which is only logical because morality is sadism, that people tend to take such sordid adventures for granted and argue ‘Well, that’s exactly what pedophilia is about and that’s why it’s abject.’ And here’s the error. There are also heterosexual lovers who have not made the transition from the mute sex communication called rape to explicit sex communication that manifests through shared intercourse. Rape simply is a form of silent masturbation, where the partner is not present in her total reality, but only on the fantasy level of the lover.
I am not for that matter spreading illusions; pedophile desire strives for fulfillment as any other form of sexual desire, but orgasm and fulfillment can be achieved in many other ways than by penetration. I do not deny that penetration gives an additional thrill, whatever a man’s sexual preference be, but a caring childlover will know to avoid harming the child. Research statistics have shown with an astonishing constancy over the years that most pedophiles do not attempt to penetrate a child against their will, nor in the case when a child is well willing to be penetrated, but because of inexperience doesn’t really understand what this implies. In such a case, when proceeding to penetration would obviously be painful for the child, caring pedophiles would abstain, and achieve fulfillment in non-harmful ways.
This is actually a matter of common sense, and there is no reason to believe that pedophiles have lesser common sense than other people. Besides, it’s also a matter of sexual experience. It has been shown in clinical reports that most of the men who do harm to children by penetration or in other ways during the sexual encounter, are either sexual virgins or have had very little sexual experience with children.
In most cases, and where sadism is not part of the game, the childlover will try to find viable compromises between his desire for fulfillment and the child’s interest to being hurt as little as possible. There are many ways to achieve orgasm in tender ways, without any penetration needed, for example, between the child’s legs, or through masturbation while caressing the child’s naked body. Most children are more readily available for such kind of activity than for example doing fellatio or kissing; most small children do not like to kiss, while there are exceptions.
I have seen parents from Spain and Belgium french-kissing their children, while I do not have reason to assume that they were in any way sexual with their offspring. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that french-kissing does trigger sexual arousal, generally, and in this case, probably both in the parents and the child. However, it has to be noted that erotic attraction between parents and children is, without actual sexual follow-up is not felt as illicit in many cultures of the world, Spanish and Belgian cultures among them, while the same activity would be felt as almost criminal in British and American culture.
In my experience as a babysitter, babies really like to french-kiss with parents and caretakers but most parents and nursery teachers teach babies that such behavior is indecent. This early wet-kiss taboo is probably the reason why many children are apathetic to mouth-to-mouth kisses. Some children are even really allergic against it, and childlovers have to understand all this, and much more, if they want their love children remember intimate communication and embrace as a positive, empowering and enriching experience.
After these explanations, it may hopefully not come over as a propagandist statement when I argue that the before-mentioned pamphlet of a Victorian gentleman anonymous is by no means to be taken as a representative pedophile publication. In fact, much of the material commonly cited in bibliographies and link lists about pedophilia is of that kind and has thus little value for research on childlove, the loving, empathic and emotionally balanced, and not chaotic or sadistic erotic attraction for children.
To find cultures that bestowed on erotic childlove an aesthetic value, we have to go way back before Christian times. Christianity never made an attempt to understand childlove, even though the Vatican Library is reported to contain abundant material depicting and reporting sex stories between priests and minister children. Depending on who was the person in charge or the Pope, these cases were persecuted with more or less rigor.
There were minority voices that stated pederasty between priests and young boys to be beneficial for both the priest and the boy. It was argued inter alia that a priest was committing a lesser sin by having sex with a child than with a woman. I do not know what the opinion was regarding small girls but I tend to think that the taboo on homosexuality within the Christian belief system is stricter than illicit sex with a virgin since in the latter case it is believed, according to the Genesis, that the woman, though small, is always the beginner.
On the aesthetic level, the Church has definitely not contributed to integrate childlove in its paradigm. Its position is similarly defensive as the official positions of Islam or Buddhism while, here as well, sex relations between religious officials and children are reported in the literature. While those events are simply taken as abuse or, in a less aggressive way, as ‘weakness of the flesh,’ I could so far not see an effort within organized religions to come to at least an open discussion, a paper, a research or otherwise a creative way to deal with the fact that children have a sexual side, and that it’s okay, and a plus for them, when they are sexually attractive for adults. In ancient times, that was rather different.
In the meantime, almost everybody knows that pederasty was practiced with the Greeks and the Romans, but few people looked deeper, to see that in those cultures, pederasty was already on the decline and had taken low and abusive forms. Where we see childlove blossoming without such abuses, and without the sadistic component, is in still older cultures such as for example Minoan Civilization, pre-pharaonic Egypt, ancient Persia and Turkey until, still farther back in time, the Sumer civilization. The abuses came about through slavery, later on, and were not originally contained in the custom of loving children erotically.
First of all, lovers are not per se abusers. This is so for all love, not only for childlove. Lovers are those who live their love in conscious awareness of all its implications. Abusers are those who repress their love or are unconscious about a drive they do not understand and not really try to handle. This is true for both adults and children, for children can be lovers, too. They have been pushed in our culture into the role of the passive ‘sufferer’ in the love relation which is an ignorant reduction of their total ability for love, and sexual love.
In ancient cultures, children were not yet seen as beings of a second class, but as adults’ possible love partners. Sexual relations with children were widespread and they were socially regulated. Ancient societies, unlike our present postmodern industrial cultures, were aware of the immanent sexual attractiveness of children — while incest was effectively prohibited, and much more effectively than today, because every father could easily hold his fingers off his own offspring by finding willing children in temple prostitution and brothels. That is why it was easy for parents to comply with the incest taboo; they could effectively restrain from seeking sexual favors from family members. This may have been one of the reasons why ancient society regulated childlove; religion, at that time, was a foremost social regulator and was able to provide the social institutions for that purpose. One of the main outlets was temple prostitution. Temple prostitutes were young boys and girls, and in a great variety, so that every lover could find what he needed for his individual taste.
I do not know exactly from which age the children went there, but I suppose it was from the usual age of consent at that time that was 7 years with the Hebrews and the Egyptians, probably lower in Sumer — supposedly three years and one day, if we are to follow the information on ancient clay tablets.
Childlove and copulation with children had an aesthetic value at that time and was on the same level as religious service, while men who frequented temple prostitutes were not marginalized in any way; in fact, most of these men were married and had a family. The children did the work as a religious service as it was believed that intercourse they granted to men who desired them sexually was actually intercourse with the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite or a similar goddess according to their tribe or society.
Ancient cultures bestowed to temple prostitution an aesthetic, artistic value. Poets chanted childlove, and what we still have in Plato’s Banquet or similar writings can be considered a tiny leftover of the original abundance of this kind of creations that we lost over time through the ruthless art vandalism rampant in later moralistic epochs, and especially the Barbarian attitudes against erotic art that orthodox Christianity and Islam practiced over many centuries.
The youthful energy of Hermes, God of the Merchants and Thieves was that of young boys around puberty, who irradiate a youthful bliss that is able to charm the hardest male into complacent friendship and love.
The myth is probably much older and the archetype of the eternal youth, a never-aging adolescent, is one of the oldest myths of humanity, represented, for example, in the astrological sign of Gemini or the Peter Pan story. Its female counterpart is Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, for in ancient representations she is not depicted as an adult woman but as a young girl, driving men to the worst of love crimes with the sweet passion she inflicts upon them.
Affectionate vs. Sadistic Childlove
It appears that with one group of men sex fantasies involving children tend to be affectionate, and with another group of men fantasies take on violent and sadistic forms. It has been found that sex fantasies are important for integrating our desires, especially when their fulfillment meets societal disapproval.
Until now it could not be demonstrated by research if erotic fantasies initiate sexual acting out or rather avoid it through a non-targeted energetic release of the fantasized-upon content in masturbation. The literature on the subject is hopelessly controversial. The only thing that experts appear to be agreeing upon is the universal existence of sex fantasies within every human being, child or adult. The crucial question, it seems, is how we cope with such fantasies, while the question much more interesting for the psychologist is why we have such fantasies at all and what their function is in our psyche?
First of all, I think erotic fantasies or, more generally put, love fantasies are an involuntary production of our psyche and a form of creativity that is induced by the loving current or psychic energy that we constantly exchange with others. The fantasies could represent ways how we respond to loving energies received from others and they could be ways to mirror this love transfer back to the person that emitted it. The particular characteristic of love fantasies is that they are thought forms that contain love wishes, specific ways we wish our love and desire to be fulfilled physically and, often, sexually, with the other person as a mate and partner. I want to focus here only on sexual fantasies while there certainly are also many non-sexual love fantasies.
Sexual fantasies can be classified into affectionate and sadistic. While in affectionate sex fantasies, sex is fantasized upon as a form of loving sexual exchange, involving or not penetration or intercourse, sadistic sex fantasies contain elements not contained in the merely affectionate sex fantasy. These fantasies regarding the sexual mate are characterized by the mate being tricked or dragged into the relation, fooled, corrupted, degraded, perverted, entrained, kidnapped, beaten, spoiled, hurt, damaged, victimized, overwhelmed, raped, gang raped, assaulted and to the very extreme, tortured and killed. While in the affectionate sex fantasy, the love game is an exchange with the sexual mate, in the sadistic fantasy there is typically a one-sided debasing action that is inflicted upon the mate. In the first case we encounter empathy, in the second, hostility.
How can sex be linked, then, to positive, affective feelings, on one hand, or to negative, hostile, degrading and even hateful feelings, on the other? The secret is that sexual urges can get linked to every possible feeling because it’s not sexual urges that decide about how those urges are lived out, but non-sexual emotions and, first of all, the way we handle personal power. When personal power has been smashed early in life and the person has an overwhelming power need, there is a tendency toward compensating for this lacking power by abusing of power over others. If, by contrast, a person has been able to built an adequate level of primary power, self-power or soul power early in life and did not feel smashed or crippled in the realization of their ambitions, power typically is lived positively and not as a vacuum to be filled. In most sexual problems, especially in cases where sex becomes a weapon to subdue and humiliate others, the true problem is not sex, but a power hangup that triggers a destructive hunger for power, and more power. These are very strong urges.
Sex, then, becomes the specific pathway or tool this power hunger is going to be satisfied on the expense of another and at the cost of his or her discomfort. In sadistic pedophilia, this pathological thirst for power is particularly harmful wherefrom result the violent social reactions against such crimes. The whole pedophilia discussion is actually overshadowed by this single very important but rather marginal aspect of pedophilia.
Of course, no cause and no endeavor is pure. There is always a perverted form of it to be found on the human agenda, but the manipulation and the social hate campaigns are to be explained by the fact that the few marginal cases where pathological power thirst becomes linked to child-focused sexual longing are taken for the ‘normal’ picture of pedophile love. The fact that every kind of love can be lived both constructively and destructively does surely not mean that humans should restrain from loving. This, however, is in last resort what the nonsensical argument of the majority and the media in matters of childlove boils down to! Seen from this angle, its absurdity is more shocking than the absurdity of abuse. For if abuse is a perversion of desire, the allegation that certain forms of love were nothing but abuse is a perversion of life!
Sadistic childlove, on a fantasy level, is a necessary counterpart of affectionate childlove. Fantasies are not actions; fiction is not reality. That sadistic fantasies get acted out is because social norms and attitudes do not provide an outlet or sufficient outlets for constructive affectionate childlove. Sadism is a denial reaction of the bioenergetic system; its root cause is the pent-up sexual energy and emotional stuckness, and not the natural and flowing sexual tension. It originates in love denial and is a direct consequence of moralism and collective love prohibition.
Research with heterosexual men has shown that even among socially well-adjusted subjects once in a while sadistic sex fantasies involving women are experienced. More detailed research has shown that, typically, sadistic fantasies come up if either the sexual object is not available or that she refused to be a sexual mate, or that generally jealousy or anger is part of the experience. Every porn sex site on the Internet or, in general, heterosexual pornography proves this fact as the overwhelming tenor in heterosexual porno is that the female is shown as an object, and that rape-like acts by far dominate the scene. Thus, sadistic fantasies can be said to be socially accepted when they are situated within heterosexual love.
This research also showed that in the great majority of cases, sadistic fantasies are discharged by masturbation and are not resulting in sexual assaults against the women that were the subjects of the fantasies, or other women. I cannot see why, when such phantasms involve children instead of adults as sexual objects, they should be considered differently!? My hypothesis is that sadistic fantasies involving children come up primarily because of a lack of tangible love possibilities and the more or less prolonged sexual frustration.
However, the present public discussion suggests that sadistic sex fantasies serve no purpose or are an indicator for the perversity of the desire itself. As shown above, fantasies also exist with heterosexual lovers who have no homosexual or pedophile interests. In addition, to respond to this argument, we should begin to see clearly what perversion is and what it is not.
Perversion appears to be produced by fear. And it is equally true that psychological fear is perversion, an up-side down of the élan vital, a retrogradation of the love energies, an obstruction of the life force.
The most important thing to know about perverse desires is that they come up through the repression of original desires; thus, the perverse desire kind of replaces the original desire and compensates for its lack. In other words, the perverse desire has two functions, a replacement function and a compensation function.
Perversion, we could attempt to define, then, is a strongly distorted form of sexual love, a sexual desire that is mutilated in a way to result in its very contrary. Instead of love and life, what comes out in perversion is hate and death. In the Freudian terminology, we would say that perversity is not a manifestation of libido but a variant of the death instinct.
One may argue that rape is a perversion from natural mutually consenting love, and I think much speaks for that view, but it does not help us any further in our regard on pedophilia.
Does Pedophilia Equal Child Rape?
Instead, the question stands in the room if pedophilia equals child rape? To repeat it, one may consider rape as an act so hostile and so far removed from normal love that it has to be considered a perversion; but we have to see also that this is by no means a criteria to be applied only for pedophilia. Surely, some pedophiles rape, but also some heterosexuals rape, and some homosexuals rape. Rape has reasons that are not related to one’s sexual orientation. It has primarily power reasons.
— This is the tenor of a widely published and influential rape researcher, Nicholas Groth, in his book Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender (1980).
Rape is a form of compensation for feeling powerless that uses sexuality as a weapon against another rather than a loving exchange as it is in affectionate sexuality. I think once we seriously consider these implications, we can learn a lesson about human love considering its very contrary.
Krishnamurti often said in his talks that we cannot define love while we can define and look at all what is not love. Looking this way at perversion, we can see that in all perverse behavior is to be found a residual form of thwarted love that, if it was not so tragic, would certainly be considered as clownish in some way, or scurrilous. When we look even deeper, we encounter fear, much fear. We can then see that it is fear, and nothing but fear that originally distorts love into perversion.
In love there is no fear; love is carefree, love is abundant and it is giving. Perversion is paranoid, it is avaricious and heavily focused on an exorbitant need for self-gratification; in its inability to yield, and to give, it is utterly narcissistic. Love is sharing, and shared pleasure, while perversity is egotistic and lonely enjoyment at the cost of another, even at the cost of his or her life. Thus, while in love there is always natural care, perversity typically is little or not caring about the mate.
What are the fears that distort natural love into perversity? A generalized answer does not exist. There are complex reasons, individual and collective. I always found our culture unnatural and perverse in its very roots. To prohibit the child to live their natural emotions and sexuality is perverse. There is no argument to be brought up against that. This millenary practice in itself is a flagrant violation of nature in its most tender origins.
Free Choice Relations for Children?
I contend that child sexuality is such a controversial issue only for one single reason: people intuit that allowing the child to be emotional and randomly sexual will deprive them of a powerful tool to control children.
Sexually enlightened and experienced children have little in common with the dull and insensitive consumer rats brought up in our repressive modern culture; and they are not easily blindfolded. They will not throw themselves onto every new merchandise because they have a naturally gratifying relation with their bodies.
In addition, people intuit that they would not be able to maintain their violent and projective attitudes toward pedophiles, simply because a number of children would demand emotional and sexual relations with adults who feel randomly or exclusively attracted to children. Thus, they fear to lose even more control over their offspring.
Here, we have the true psychological reasons why child sexuality and pedophilia must logically be banned from a consumer culture that functions through manipulating the individual into consumption, and more consumption. Let me give an example.
There is in Cambodia a stringent campaign against child sex, since about 2004, which was initiated by the United States government, UNICEF and NGOs from various European nations. The standard UNICEF poster that is displayed at strategic locations carries the header:
— Sex with Children is a Crime.
My suggestion is simple. The Cambodian government should fund and carry out a second campaign that is addressed to children and that is promoted under the header:
— Sex with Adults is a Crime.
Seeing the whole propaganda under this perspective, it appears absurd. Why does it appear absurd? Because no government in the world would do that? No, not for this reason. It’s absurd because it reveals the whole falseness and the extreme bias of the propagandistic plea to demonize adult-child sexual relations. If children were informed in the same way to be forbidden to have sex with adults as adults are informed to carry their hands off children, questions would be asked, and these questions, then, would reveal all that is presently hidden in the media rhetoric about so-called ‘international pedophilia.’
It would namely become obvious that the plea of child protection is a no-namer, if not an utter fake; the protection of children deprives them of their right for free choice relations and erotic self-determination.
In one word, such a campaign or the very thought of it reveals that the true reason for the pedophilia taboo is the enslavement of the consumer child, and no other reason.
Lover vs. Offender
The media discriminate very little between the one who is in for love, and one who is in for offending society. Not only is there no discrimination, but the media even suggest that there is only the latter type of person, extrapolating this character and by implication saying that this is what is called ‘the typical pedophile.’ The media suggest that these men who clearly are a minority —
— are perverse in their sexual setup;
— are representing the majority of pedophiles;
— are organized in worldwide rings;
— are speaking in public pro domo the childlove cause;
— are justifying violence, abduction, and penetration of the child.
The two types or characters are easily recognized. The obsessed schizophrenic and chaotic type, that by far dominates most of the media reports, has a facial expression that is mask-like and lacks expression of emotions and of empathy. These men appear to have done a deal with society, a devil’s deal one may say: they have taken the revenge position, the position that says, I’ll take revenge at society by using that child as an assault-receiver.
Here, the child becomes some kind of sacrificial object for the chaotic unconscious of the perpetrator-rapist. These men are regularly very little educated and have a definite macho-mindset, typically unaware of their feminine side, their anima, which makes that they usually are rough if not brutal with the little mates they tend to abduct from home or school.
The detail of abducting the child is an archetypical element that is really important. Without the fact of abduction, these offenders would probably not find the thrill they need, because then the collective ‘revenge’ aspect of the assault is not strongly enough expressed. Some of these offenders have a political agenda in the sense that they use the child as a sacrificial goat and poison container for actually assaulting society at large. In this sense, they do not really belong to the group of sex offenders, but the group of what is nowadays called terrorists and that was earlier in history called anarchists.
Cases of this kind have in common that offenders do seldom display signs of empathy or emotion, and that they are outspoken and sometimes bluntly honest. Some even seem to derive pleasure from the fact to be hyper-explicit, shocking, and accusatory, instead of being defensive and vulnerable.
This type of offenders appear to actually retaliate at society for being marginalized with their love, and this may explain why they turned violent. These offenders are not the ones who commit passion crimes but they are among those who do reflect upon what they do, and who have a philosophy behind their crime, or the crime even is used as a strategic tool for political reasons in their hidden agenda.
In such kind of cases I cannot speak of love because the character of the deed is intently to hurt society by hurting a child; thus, what appears to be the case here is a sort of ‘sexual terrorism,’ targeted at violating the emotions of many people who really suffer from the idea that a helpless child is brutally raped; by deeply penetrating in children’s bodies and souls, these offenders inflict hurt on a collective scale.
Masaru Emoto’s water research has shown to what extent vibrations can affect our thoughts, bodies and emotions, so perhaps it’s not too far-fetched to say that those crimes can act like real bombs, which is why I use the analogy of terrorism to describe these cases.
I think if the general public or at least journalists were not really confused about this, they would not as easily put these cases in one pot with cases where adults are in for having had sex with a child within a love relation.
So, analyzing this carefully, it appears that these people are not childlovers because their primary intent is not love, but various non-sexual motives that have to do with hurt, with being hurt themselves when they were children and with taking revenge at society at large, using the victim as a sacrificial goat. Unfortunately so, the very zeal of the child protectors for ‘fighting perversity’ is what drives these people so deadly furious in counter-attacking society, virtually sacrificing children for their abysmal cause of hatred and revenge.
It is significant here to point out that in these cases, both society and these sadistic child abusers are defending an ideological cause. It’s a vicious circle altogether. Here we speak about ideologies, not about love.
Not only from my own research, but as a conclusion of the abundant forensic, clinical and psychiatric material I went through over the years, I found that those who label themselves childlovers or pedophiles tend to have a different set of character altogether.
First of all they are emotional, which can be seen on their faces. While sadistic, chaotic and schizophrenic offenders tend to have mask-like faces where emotions are banned from getting at the surface of the personality. Consciously pedophile men and women tend to have faces where emotionality and empathy are present; while some of them may suffer from a narcissistic hangup, they generally seem to be more vulnerable as a group than sadists and suffer more from enforcement procedures taking against them compared to the often astounding stoicism of the sadistic or schizophrenic type. In fact, they are able to cry which is something surely defended by the character set of the hard-core violent abuser types. What we face here simply are different kinds of people, while law enforcement treats them as one rut.