Rants, can'ts, shan'ts, dance…

Is Pedophilia a Mental Illness?

There is a post going around about the self-proclaimed pedophile who wrote an article about pedophilia. He received quite a bit of hate for it (of course) and wrote a follow-up article entitled, “I’m a Pedophile, You’re The Monsters: My week inside the vile right-wing hate machine.” I’m not going to name the guy or link anything; if you want to find it, you can. However, my concern was with the comments on some of the posts about it. There seem to be way too many “pedophile apologists” on the internet for my liking. The main thrust of the argument seems to be that pedophiles need to be treated, not hated. I have a few problems with that argument.

The biggest problem is that pedophiles have been trying to use the homosexual platform for years, but anyone who points this out gets shouted down as a homophobic bigot. What’s being largely ignored here is that it’s pedophiles who are making that comparison, not anybody else. It seems that no one ever wants to acknowledge that. They want to pretend these so-called right wing religious extremists are comparing pedophilia to homosexuality, but it is pedophiles who are doing that. Pedophiles have essentially attempted to co-opt homosexuality for themselves; they portray themselves as ardent gay rights supporters in order to be accepted by the homosexual community and then engage in deliberate confusion of the issues, trying to make gay rights and pedophile rights seem like the same thing. They are not. Homosexual behavior involves consenting adults. Pedophilia does not. If any so-called homosexual behavior does not involve consenting adults, it’s pedophilia in disguise. Period. Same with heterosexual behavior. The gay community needs to come together and oust these wolves in sheep’s clothing if they do not want to be associated with them, because it is they who are creating the association.

Pedophilia is not a fetish. It’s not a paraphilia and it’s not a mental illness, any more than homosexuality ever was. If homosexuality is not a mental illness, neither is pedophilia. Homosexuals are not attracted to people of the opposite gender. Pedophiles are not attracted to adults of either gender. Both of these have been (and in some cases, still are) considered “outside the norm” for human sexuality. Therefore, we are faced with either agreeing that pedophilia is also a sexual orientation, or agreeing that homosexuality is also a mental illness. It can’t be both things because in the world of psychology, the age of the desired “partner” doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the desire exists is outside of (or in contrary to) the norm of “normal” human sexuality. Hence, either both are sexual orientations or both are mental illnesses. You cannot classify one as a mental illness and not the other based on the fact that having sex with children is illegal. In terms of classifying mental illness, this doesn’t really matter. We all know that homosexuality is not a mental illness, but people are very hesitant to say that about pedophilia. It’s probably because admitting pedophilia is a sexual orientation is how it’s getting lumped in with homosexuality and other “accepted” sexual orientations. It’s how pedophiles are using the homosexuality platform to try to advance their own agenda. It gives the pedophile platform traction, and some are using that to try to legitimize it. However, it doesn’t. What you are has nothing to do with what you do, and it is no excuse either way.

It is because of this hesitance to call pedophilia what it really is that people don’t seem to understand (or are refusing to admit) that treating pedophilia does not work. Even castration does not work. Again, pedophilia is a sexual orientation. Could they treat you and cure you of being heterosexual or homosexual? No, they cant. It doesn’t work. As an aside, it’s funny how people don’t realize what they sound like when they keep saying this. They sound like the people who were advocating “curing” homosexuals of their “mental illness” 50 years ago. “We can help them be normal!” No, you can’t. They are what they are.

People might argue that after some pedophiles are treated, they don’t reoffend. Others say some pedophiles never offend at all. First of all, I wouldn’t bet my life on that if I were you and second of all, a homosexual person can go through their entire life never having sex with someone of the same gender and that doesn’t mean they’re not gay. It means that for whatever reason, they are controlling their behavior. It’s the same thing with heterosexual people. You can force a person to stop acting on their desires but you cannot make the desires go away. We are talking about correcting internal drives vs correcting external behavior, and they are not the same thing. You cannot make a homosexual man become attracted to women, no matter what you do. You cannot make a heterosexual man become attracted to men, no matter what you do. You cannot make a pedophile become attracted to adults of either gender, no matter what you do. These thingscannot be changed.

In other words, you can possibly correct a pedophile’s behavior but you cannot cure him of being a pedophile. Some might say that’s enough – and maybe it is – but don’t call it what it isn’t. These people are not cured. They will never be cured. Now, there are some people who aren’t true pedophiles; they are predators that will just prey on anything weaker than themselves: men, women, children, animals… These particular people could be “cured” of preying on children if the consequences for doing so are severe enough, but there is a difference between a pedophile and a predator. Pedophiles can be predators in addition to being pedophiles, but they are not the same thing. True pedophilia is a sexual orientation. A pedophile is only attracted to children and only desires sex with children. (Not all children – just as gay men aren’t attracted to all types of men and straight men aren’t attracted to all types of women – but only children.) A predator, in contrast, will take advantage of whomever is convenient and weak. Predatory behavior is about the other person being a victim, not their age. However, as is the case with pedophiles, predators cannot be cured of being predators, either. In my considered opinion, both of these types of people are walking time bombs. It’s only a matter of time until something terrible happens.
You cannot cure a dog of being a dog, you cannot cure a pedophile of being a pedophile and you cannot cure a predator of being a predator. It’s what they are.
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