In Meagan Ingerman’s recent article ‘It’s black and white!’, she says that, “to the best of our knowledge, [pedophilia] is an unchosen, unchangeable attraction”. This is something that I have seen mentioned several times before by several different people. But I am not convinced that this is in fact true, and I am speaking as a pedophile myself. Rather, I believe that pedophilia is a road that someone can end up on for various different reasons, many of which I believe are psychological. I believe that as we go through puberty, the various experiences we have cause the ‘wires’ in our head (things like who we feel most comfortable being around, who we feel attracted to etc) to end up in the wrong ‘sockets’, so for example, the attraction ‘wire’, which should normally end up in the ‘socket’ for people our own age, ends up in the ‘socket’ for children.
In my own case, I was a very quiet, shy, introverted child growing up and I never really got on with other kids or felt like one of them. I had an older brother who was always critical of me and condescending towards me and that effectively stripped away my self-confidence and made me feel like I was worthless. Being told at age 18 that I was eccentric - which is a word I’d always associated with much older, stranger people - and the weirdest person that one particular person had ever met didn’t help either. I ended up believing that I’d never be good enough for anyone my own age and that no-one would ever like me.
At the same time, and no doubt because of the above, I found that I was much more comfortable around younger kids than people my own age, and it’s been that way ever since. When I was 16, I’d spend far more time with the 10-year old brother of a friend of mine than with my friend himself. After school, I spent time working at my church’s youth group and at a summer camp. I realised that I was far happier being around kids than being around adults because kids are usually far more accepting and far less likely to judge or reject you. I figured, why would I want to be with people my own age, people who I feel nothing like and no connection to and who’ll probably just think I’m crazy anyway, when I can rather be with a kid who’ll accept me for who I am? Sure, a kid isn’t an adult, but then, I’m not quite an adult myself, either.
So it totally made sense to me why I felt safer around kids and why I preferred their company to that of adults. Unfortunately, my dabbling in pornography just twisted things up even more and by the time I realised that it was a very bad road to be on, the damage had been done, because I believe that it was then that I started to sexualise boys. I started to fantasise about the boys in the youth group which in turn made me more and more attracted to them, even as I kept telling myself that it was wrong. I eventually quit the youth group because I couldn’t handle the conflicting emotions anymore.
After that, things just slowly got worse. I tried to stop thinking about boys, but couldn’t. Every time I saw a boy, be it on TV or walking past me at the mall, I felt a jolt of desire go through me. I eventually decided that the only real option I had was to cut myself off as much as possible from the rest of the world, both to try and keep the conflict inside as painless as possible and to lower the risk that I may ever cross a line, be it inadvertently or on purpose.
The point I’m trying to make here is that I do believe that there is choice involved. I may not have had any control over the kind of personality I ended up with, or the fact that my brother was nasty to me, or maybe even the fact that I feel more comfortable around kids than around adults, but I chose to start fantasising about boys knowing that it was wrong. I did not have a sexual attraction to kids until that happened. And now it’s too late, because I’ve been going down that road ever since, going further and further away from the norm, constantly reinforcing the desire to be intimate with a boy with every fantasy. It’s no wonder that I am now all but obsessed with boys!
So I’d like to know from the experts here, given all that I’ve said above, if you still think that pedophilia truly is unchosen. Or can it not perhaps be the result of a number of psychological issues that affect us growing up?