What is lolicon?
Lolicon is a genre of Japanese erotica covering sexual depictions of fictional children generally from ages 6-13.
Lolicon has been under attack for about a decade in a mostly-invisible war to fight against child sexual exploitation.
The proponents of a lolicon ban believe that fictional depictions of child rape may lower the threshold for someone with pedophilia to physically act on their urges on a very real child, while the opponents of a lolicon ban usually argue the opposite.
This list of arguments describe the perspective of a silent pro-lolicon advocate.
I don’t care what happens to the list or who uses it, for as long as it stays public.
- Fictional child pornography competes against legitimate child sexual abuse material.
Let’s imagine for a second, an offending pedophile consuming CSAM (material involving sexual harm caused to real children). That pedophile spends 2 hours every day delighting themselves with the video-graphic abuse of a human child to sate their urges.
Were we to introduce lolicon in their life, the CSAM-user would have to split their attention between CSAM and lolicon. They may now only dedicate 1 hour towards CSAM and 1 hour towards lolicon.
That’s still 1 hour of consuming CSAM too many, but that’s also 1 hour of consuming CSAM less, which is a massive improvement.
And this is an unscientific average-case, assuming CSAM isn’t fully phased out, period, whereas in some cases, CSAM consumers may cease their habits completely.
The world of CSAM is ultimately an economy. More demand begets more offer.
Legislators, no matter how oppressive their attitudes towards this subject, agree that this is the case.
- Illegalizing fictional child pornography incentivizes pedophiles to seek out CSAM
This is a similiar, yet very different, argument than the one above.
Child pornography is fought how, primarily? Deterrence.
The vast majority of child pornography possessions are invisible to the law, and they will remain so.
The way child pornography is controlled, primarily, is through deterrence and through guilt.
Let’s start with guilt.
Children do not get harmed in the creation of completely fictitious child pornography.
Children do necessarily get harmed in the creation of real child pornography.
By illegalizing both, we are alienating pedophiles. We are signalling to them that consuming fictional material where no child is getting harmed is morally wrong.
Someone with no urge to lust after small children may find this acceptable, but someone with an in-born or early-developed sexual identity that embodies them with this topic will inevitably lead to them questioning such morals.
You are equating something which is not inherently harmful with that which is inherently harmful. A pedophile may not receive this well, and may think to themselves after breaking the law and watching lolicon,
“Watching this video of anime girls touching each other didn’t feel wrong at all. Why is it illegal, then? Is society lying to me when it comes to child sexual abuse?”
On to deterrence.
A pedophile who has sworn off CSAM may see themselves drawn closer to CSAM, when you illegalize both.
The threshold lowers in that the incentive to solely consume fictional child pornography is broken down.
“If I’m doing something illegal, something that may land me in jail, I might as well do this other illegal thing, too.”
- The availability of fictional child pornography can be used to deter child sexual abuse.
In a medical article titled “Pornography and sex crimes in the Czech Republic”, award-winning sexologist Milton Diamond has made the observation, quote from the abstract,
“Of particular note is that […] [Czech Republic], like Denmark and Japan, had a prolonged interval during which possession of child pornography was not illegal and, like those other countries, showed a significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.”
Professor Diamond goes on to argue that, while legalizing child pornography again would be grossly immoral, virtual outlets may serve as a sufficient substitute to re-create the results of these observations.
Outside the world of CSAM, similiar correlations have been observed in regard to decreasing rape rates when adult pornography grew massively popular with the then-newly-growing Internet.
- The right to sexual expression is under threat, for pedophiles.
This may be the most important or least important argument, depending on where you stand.
While you may find pedophilic thoughts wholly perverted, deviant, disgusting and morally-abhorrent - it is still part of a pedophile’s sexual identity in that they can’t change it any more than you can change what you are attracted to.
One can argue that taking away a pedophile’s pornography is not unlike telling an adult, consenting straight couple that they can’t have sex. While this sounds outrageous,
How can porn EVER be equated to a fundamental right such as engaging in a consensual sexual relationship?
This is the reality of things for a pedophile. This is their “height of (safe) sexual expression”. Someone who is primarily or exlusively pedophilic may not have more to look for in their life.
The best that may be left for them is to develop a healthy relationship with whatever item or thought they choose to express themselves with, be it Japanese manga or a love doll.
This section is dedicated to countering any popular or strong argument provided by opponents of fictional child pornography.
- Lolicon normalizes child sexual abuse in the minds of its consumers.
This is probably the most popular argument one will inevitably encounter in a two-sided discourse on this topic.
It is based on a “mountain of evidence” that correlates the possession of lolicon with either the possession of child pornography or an actual act of sexual violence with children.
This is a fundamentally flawed way of perceiving the situation.
A study that claims that someone has had lolicon saved on their computer before going on to commit a crime- Yeah, that’s akin to saying a rapist had adult porn on their computer before raping a woman, which is to say, everyone watches porn, including pedophiles.
It’s also not unheard of for someone to go so far as to rape an actual child, that they’d also possess the “criminal courage” to consume child pornography, fictional or not. It’s a “chicken or egg” problem, except all of us more or less watch porn, anyway.
Furthermore, a government study in Denmark has admitted,
“We have had to acknowledge that there is no evidence that the use of fictive images of sexual assaults on children alone can lead people to conduct sexual assaults on children,”
when it attempted to illegalize such content.
Someone could argue it’s convenient to base prohibitions on actual scientific research, but that’s neither here nor there.
- Lolicon is used to manipulate children into thinking sex with adults is okay.
Child sexual abuse is complicated. The visual image of a small child tied up in ropes by a 6-foot tall silhouette does not represent the average case of child sexual abuse.
Rather, most abusers are more deceptive, using psychological tricks to earn the trust of a child.
Some sexual abuse victims claim that they have been groomed by relatives showing them fictional erotica downplaying the damages of CSA, before getting tricked into having intercourse with them.
Would banning lolicon decrease the amount of children “groomed” by lolicon? Probably.
By how much? Probably very little.
If you go so far as to meticulously plan grooming a child to have sex with you, you’re probably also the type of person who doesn’t mind risking having access to forbidden lolicon content on the Internet.
In fact, some of these groomings already happen with actual child sexual abuse material, as described in “The National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction”.
Finally, anything can be used to manipulate and/ or coerce a child into doing sexual acts with adults.
Child sexual abusers may trade “sexual favors” by giving gifts, money, sweets, video games in exchange for sexual acts with victims.
- Anyone who enjoys lolicon is a pedophile.
I personally think with pedophilia, it makes much more sense to view it as a “spectrum”, similiar to the kinsey rating.
While enjoying lolicon can predict where you land on that spectrum, oftentimes you’d be at a spot where it doesn’t really make sense to call you a pedophile, as pedophile does not just mean “having pedophilic interests”, but primarily having pedophilic interests, similiar to how we don’t identify bisexual persons as gay.
Many lolicon watchers do identify as pedophilic, but many also do not and consider themselves “opportunistic consumers”.
Many lolicon watchers self-reportedly do not feel aroused when near children, relatives or otherwise, and self-reportedly do not have an urge to fantasize about real children.
There are many reasons why lolicon are attracted to the things they are, including associations made with the art style, the fact that anime children look too disconnected from real children, or maybe they’re just into “cutesy” things.
This sounds weird, but it really shouldn’t be. What we are sexually interested in can be very complicated and our stimuli for self-gratification can be misleading.
For instance, 62% of women reported having erotic rape fantasies at least once, up to 14% of women reported having erotic rape fantasies at least once a week. Do these women want to get raped? Obviously not. Rape, no matter the context, carries a very high risk of inflicting mental trauma.
Just because you enjoy the fantastic scenario of getting raped, does not mean that you conflate that fantasy with what you would want from a real-life sexual encounter.
- All child sexual abusers are pedophiles.
No. A pedophile is someone who is sexually attracted to a pre-pubescent child. A child sexual abuser is someone who sexually assaults a child.
About half of all child sex offenders aren’t considered “pedophilic”, diagnostically.
“But why would someone sexually assault a child if they’re not a pedophile?”
Counter-question, why would someone sexually engage with someone of the same sex if they’re not homosexual?
In this government report on sexual violence in prisons, quote:
“Women inmates perceived that 70.7 percent of inmates engaged in homosexual conduct; men
inmates perceived that 42.3 percent of inmates engaged in homosexual conduct.”
Let’s call this “deviating sexual behavior”.
Deviating, as in, the kind of sexual behavior deviates from what the person is used to.
There may be many reasons why a totally heterosexual prison inmate may engage in a homosexual act.
Psychologists coin this as “situational homosexuality”: homosexual acts solely considered due to circumstances independent of their sexuality.
If you’re interested about this topic in particular, here is a scientific article on “Sex and Sexuality in Women’s Prisons”.
Back to pedophilia.
One very surprising detail that is rarely brought up in sexual abuse stats is that over a third of all child sexual abuse is child-on-child sexual abuse. More than half of that group is under 14.
Reasons why this number may be so high are varied, motivating factors for prepetrators include,
- coping with sexual abuse conducted on them by an adult,
- opportunity for sexual gratification by forcing someone with much less power than you,
- general ignorance of the law,
- general ignorance of personal boundaries
The reasons as to why an adult non-pedophile may rape a child is similarly varied.
- Most pedophiles rape children.
You will not find a single professional institution that will agree with this claim.
When we talk about “non-offending pedophiles”, we are usually not talking about some small minority of virtuous people who decided to go against the grain, but the vast majority of pedophiles, period.
This annual review puts the figure of total amount of clinical male pedophiles at “less than 5%”, which is a very unspecific number, but it goes to show that there does exist a very significant part of the population struggling with these.
Combine that with the fact that about half of all CSA prepetrators don’t fit the medical definition of pedophile, and the numbers for this claim just isn’t adding up.
Look at it like so, most pedophiles already know that CSA is wrong and traumatic for the child. They already know that sexual interactions with children are analogous to adult rape.
Just because you’re attracted to someone, does not mean you want to rape them. Whether you’re straight, gay or pedophilic, most people don’t want to rape.
- Pedophilia is a mental illness.
This misconception is much more contentious, but it highlights a barrier in understanding the actual mindset of a pedophile, which through public discourse, can lead to worse outcomes when we discuss ways to reduce child sexual abuse.
The DSM-V (short for “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”) is agreed upon to be the most legitimate standard for understanding basic qualities attached to any mental disorder.
In contrast to the DSM-IV, the DSM-V distinguishes pedophilic interests from pedophilic disorder.
The manual goes on to call pedophilia in itself a “sexual orientation”.
This is different from “pedophilic disorder”, in that pedophilic disorder necessitates pedophilia, but pedophilia does not necessitate pedophilic disorder.
Why exactly is this differentiation important?
Take this excerpt.
“However, if they report an absence of feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety about these impulses and are not functionally limited by their paraphilic impulses (according to self-report, objective assessment, or both), and their self-reported and legally recorded histories indicate that they have never acted on their impulses, then these individuals have a pedophilic sexual orientation but not pedophilic disorder.”
Someone suffering from pedophilic disorder thusly, is someone who has acted on or at the very least feels a heightened level of distress concerning their sexual interests to the point of delibitating their personal life.
This differentiation gives us an insight as to the different kinds of pedophiles who struggle at different levels.
Some pedophiles are constantly on the edge when near children, spend a lot of time ruminating on sexual thoughts with children and may regularly consume CSAM.
While other pedophiles have come to terms with their attraction; they know it’s wrong, yet do not obsess over nor negatively engage in pedophilic behaviour that may put them at a high risk of traumatizing a child.
All this is to say that, every pedophile is different. Pedophilia is not a personality, the same way being straight is not a personality.
There is no singular, universal solution on how to treat all pedophiles, and we should not treat treatments like so.
You may disagree or agree with any number of arguments, but the point of this list was not to give definite proof why lolicon is going to save the world from child sexual exploitation.
Instead, it’s to point out how nebulous the benefit vs. loss calculation really is.
It’s not as clear as day whether lolicon helps facilitate or prevents CSA.
You may still be skeptical, and that’s absolutely fine.
What’s not fine, in my opinion, is to harbor a stance as strong as
“We should definitely ban X because there is a small chance that it may help children”,
when it may also blow up in our faces with even more children getting abused.
And besides, this is a personal thought, but we should really stop trying to accept any solution, rather than the correct solution.
The quality of life of actual pedophiles is at immediate risk.
And if you don’t care about that because you feel ingrained disgust towards people who didn’t choose who they are attracted to, consider that these restrictions will further empower the government to enact harsher artistic freedoms, from this totally-taboo barrier today, to a less-taboo barrier tomorrow.
If there is any, or if there are any arguments that I should add, please put them in the thread or send me a message.
Added another counter-argument to “Lolicon is used to manipulate children into thinking sex with adults is okay.”
Added 3 new misconceptions.