What isn’t pedophilia?
The best way to describe pedophilia is to talk about what it isn’t. There are as many ideas about what pedophilia is as there are pedophiles, but one thing all pedophiles can agree on is that pedophilia is not child molestation or abuse, or coercion, or grooming. Pedophiles react with the same disgust and shock that anybody would at the thought of children being abused or mistreated, and perhaps even moreso because they are more conscious of it than most people.
This distinction is probably the most important aspect of pedophilia because pedophiles are typically childlovers, and there’s a lot of misunderstanding about pedophiles floating about. The reality is not all pedophiles abuse children, and not all child sexual abuse happens at the hands of a pedophile. Childlovers are pedophiles who do not abuse children. In fact, they abhor child abuse in all its forms. They don’t make excuses for child abuse because they abhor it.
What is Pedophilia?
Pedophilia in the form of childlove is the love shared between an older person (usually an adult), and a child. What society misunderstands about this, and why it is hated and feared by so many, is that many people don’t even know it exists, or only know what the media has told them about it. The common misunderstanding is that pedophilia is child molestation and that pedophiles are child molesters. As stated earlier, that is the opposite of what pedophilia is. Childlovers is a wide group of humanity banded together to stand against child abuse, to support each other, and help pedophiles struggling with their sexuality to NOT sexually molest kids.
Most of all, Childlove is about private persons providing a positive role model for kids in legitimate ways. It’s true that some actual child molesters have claimed to be childlovers after being caught committing crimes, but they do not represent Childlove, nor do childlovers support them or anyone who abuses children. Pedophilia is not a crime, but child molestation is, and should be. Loving children is all childlovers advocate.
Who are Childlovers?
The second thing that is true about all childlovers is how different they are. Childlove is a wide cross-section of humanity and exists all over the world, in every race, sex, age group, class, sexual orientation, and belief system. Some childlovers aren’t even pedophiles in the clinical sense, but just love kids. Some childlovers are exclusively boylovers, and some are exclusively girllovers, and many love both.
Some childlovers are attracted to younger children, some to older children, some to teens, and some to all of the above. Childlovers can be homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, and every other sexual orientation in between. Most childlovers maintain committed relationships with adults and may even have kids themselves. Basically, Childlove exists as a part of a childlover’s identity, it doesn’t define them.
History of Pedophilia
Pedophilia has been around since times immemorial, and many pedophiles observe the practice of pederasty in ancient Greece to be an early example. In ancient Greece, pederasty was the practice similar to a typical mentor/pupil relationship carried out between teen boys and grown men. Evidence of pederasty exists as depicted on jars and in historical texts, particularly that of the relationship between a young soldier, Alcibiades, and the aged philosopher Socrates. According to the story, their relationship was homoerotic and the age difference was typical in such relationships in the culture of Athens. The elder imparted wisdom to the youth, and the youth imparted vitality to the elder, and this was considered a beneficent symbiosis of young and old.
Young male beauty was highly respected in ancient Athens, as evidenced by the many Kritios Boy statuary. Greek myth even tells the story of Ganymede, a shepherd boy of such beauty that Zeus, so taken by his beauty, snatched him up and carried him away to be the cup bearer for the gods in Olympus.
Much has changed since ancient times though. Not only have certain things changed for the better, such as the concern over child abduction, but western culture has also become far more afraid of child beauty. Childlovers understand why abduction and forced compliance with sexual favors are no longer as tolerated as they were in the ancient world (where even there such practices were not without critics), so the tradition they carry about the importance of elder investment in the life of a youth continues into the present.
It has been argued that British writers Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll had pedo-erotic interests in the 19th century. Oscar Wilde writes on such “boy” encounters as commonplace between the upper class social scene of the time, despite the widespread condemnation of such things in Victorian culture. Lewis Carroll was fascinated with young girls and often used them in his writings. These are arguable connections, but they have been alleged and debated.
In the 20th century, notable sexual revolution advocates in Europe, such as Fritz Bernard and Edward Brongersma, argued on behalf of consensual minor/adult relationships, and organizations such as the Danish Pedophile Association, MARTIJN, and the Pedophile Information Exchange fought fruitlessly to enact changes in public policy.
In the 1970s, an organization called the North American Man-Boy Love Association splintered off from the gay rights movement and argued on behalf of “Man-Boy Love,” but faced the same overwhelming criticism and sabotage by law enforcement, even to the point where any child abuse case was linked to the group whether there was a connection or not. Poet Allen Ginsberg was an avowed member of NAMBA and often spoke at their rallies.
In the 90s, the Childlove community as it is known today sprang up online in message boards like BoyChat and Free Spirits. Online activism for the cause has been fractured and unsuccessful, so the community mostly exists for the purpose of member support and therefore preventing child sexual abuse. If childlovers feel like they don’t have to offend, the likelihood of abuse decreases. To show that these aren’t just mere words, an organization sprang up in the last decade called B4UAct, a collaboration between mental health professionals and childlovers meeting annually to bridge the gap of misunderstanding, provide more adequate treatment for those struggling with their sexuality, and decrease child molestation.
So You Think You’re a childlover…
The most important thing to take away from the existence of Childlove is that not all pedophiles commit crimes. The ones we all hear about, the convicted sex offenders, are reported on the most, so therefore, all others are stuck in the same boat. But just like the news doesn’t report on planes that don’t crash, you’re never likely to hear about any of the good work that actual childlovers do. Many have professed to be childlovers and then gone on to break laws, but they are no more representative of Childlove than men who rape women are representative of all heterosexual men. Childlove by itself is not a sickness, it can’t be cured, but it CAN be managed!
It is impossible to know how many people are pedophiles because many either don’t notice their attraction or repress it. If you are reading this, you’re probably someone who has noticed. If you chose to repress it and live normally, you are not sick, you are simply responsibly “managing” who you are for the good of others, and that ought to be commended. If you choose to express this portion of who you are, the Childlove community is here to remind you that there are beneficial, pro-social ways to manage your attraction so that no one has to be harmed. There are responsible, legitimate ways to make a difference in a child’s life, and to direct your energies into doing something positive. Being a creep though is not one of them, as you probably are aware. That’s one thing we all can agree on.
If you feel like you can’t manage your attraction without breaking laws, the Childlove community is here to tell you to stop and think about what you are doing. Before doing anything, seek help. Whatever may happen to you in the cold world of mental health is nothing compared to what will happen to you in prison after you break laws.
If you can save a child by managing your attraction or seeking help, that is more commendable than anyone will ever give you credit for. Such is how most childlovers have found ways to be normal, respectable human beings, regardless of whether anyone recognizes their efforts. The children come first, and that’s why it’s called Childlove.
- Special thanks to Crake for providing this article.