Just how unchosen and unchangeable is pedophilia?

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?

It could be the other way around. Did you feel comfortable with younger people because of pedophilia?. Did pedophilia make you interested in illegal porn? Did pedophilia make you aroused by boys? This sounds more likely to me.

That just doesn’t work for me. That’s basically saying that I am not responsible for any of my actions related to these issues ie it’s not my fault that I feel comfortable around kids, it’s not my fault that I looked at porn, it’s not my fault that I get aroused by boys. And that’s just not right. We all have to take responsibility for our actions. I fully accept the fact that the things I did ended up causing me to sexualise boys.

Further, I don’t believe that the feeling that I’m worthless, that I’ll never be good enough for an adult, that I’ll never be accepted by an adult and that I only feel safe around kids, can possibly be because I’m a pedophile. That all sounds purely psychological to me.

Getting aroused isn’t a choice. You can be out shopping or at the beach or walking down the street and feel aroused. But deliberately hanging around those places and ogling at people is a choice. So it’s a fine line. I’m not a scientist, I just work with scientists, so I’m not qualified to weigh in on the etiology of minor attractions. But I do think it’s plausible that there are different pathways to experiencing similar thoughts. It’s definitely true that for some people who are not attracted to minors per se, scenarios of underage sexuality (like school roleplay) can still be arousing for different reasons, because they evoke a time of life when they experienced their own sexuality in a different and perhaps more “exciting” (for them) way. So you may be right that you have ended up with the sexual interest that you have in a different way than most.

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I’m very wary when I see this phrase now as there is a troll around Twitter who is trying to spread misinformation in just about every area related to this. It is easy to spot as they throw out every stereotype in the book like “they all enjoy watching kids getting raped and killed”.

They then proceed to cite multiple drugs (not even the right drugs from quack theory lol) and “conversion therapy” which is supposed to “cure” it.

Someone once mentioned there was an ocd where someone may compulsively think certain thoughts, it isn’t the same as an attraction and should be distinguishable from it, otherwise it would seem that you “discovered” what your brain really liked at a very particular moment?

Puberty also pushes people to explore, it is very common and most people look at some sort of pornography. I’m not enough of an expert to peddle more info for you.