Why pro-contact pedophile arguments are bullshit (by a pedophile)

Pedophiles (or MAPs) can be moral human beings who never hurt a child, despite their attraction. Don’t be suckered by those who say it’s OK to act on it or those that claim it’s inevitable you will.

Hi there, fellow MAP.

MAP stands for “Minor Attracted Person” and it applies to you if you have a sexual attraction to people under the age of consent: teens or children.

If you’re new to this and still working it out, I have some good news.

(1) The attraction you’re experiencing is not your fault

(2) you are not alone and

(3) just having this attraction doesn’t make you a bad person. If you don’t want to hurt anyone, you don’t have to.

People talk about us in a terrible way. They use the word ‘pedophile’ to mean the worst kind of people in the world; they believe that all pedophiles are criminals and abusers (because they mostly ever hear about the ones who commit crimes or abuse kids). Some people believe that even if a pedophile hasn’t committed a crime yet they inevitably will.

These ideas are false. Society is wrong to assume every MAP has to be evil.

But having MAP feelings is concerning, all the same. I’m guessing you’ve had the attractions for a while. Perhaps it took a while to recognise them for what they are. Maybe you have also had thoughts about what it would be like if you could act on these attractions. Maybe you even fantasise about it (or maybe you try very hard not to).

Thoughts alone cannot harm a child, but certain actions could. We (the writers of this article) are anti-contact, non-offending MAPs. This means we believe:

(a) child pornography is a terrible thing in which real children are abused, and anti-contact MAPs avoid it.

(b) Real-life children are harmed if they are exposed to sex before the age of consent by someone significantly older. There is a mountain of evidence saying so.

As you explore the reality of being a MAP and look around at what is written about this online, you are going to find that some MAPs believe that children can consent to sex and that it’s OK to act on the attractions. We call these people pro-contact MAPS. They’ve been around for a long time and will give you all kinds of reasons to justify acting on pedophile attractions.Below are ten of the pro-contact arguments you might hear, followed by why anti-contact MAPs think they are bullshit, and could lead to kids being harmed.

The arguments:

1. “Children are sexual beings; it’s wrong to paint them as entirely pure and innocent.”

This is one of the tricksier pro-contact arguments, because there’s some evidence for it: maybe you remember having feelings from quite an early age that you now recognise as sexual. And sure, who was entirely pure and innocent when they were a child? Nobody. However, that still doesn’t mean that it’s OK or makes sense for older people to be sexual with kids.

If you think about it, animals are sexual beings, but that doesn’t make it OK to be sexual with them because they cannot consent. Vulnerable people with severe intellectual disabilities might have the ability to have sexual feelings, but not have the ability to consent to sexual activity, so that would make it wrong to try and have sex with them. The exact same principle applies to children.

Most pre-pubertal children are primarily sensual and want to explore that in all kinds of ways. We all had desires to explore our own bodies, and even to masturbate, but this happens long before our ability to understand what it means to have an adult sexual relationship.

And most of us didn’t want physical sexual attention from an adult, period. Maybe a few of us did, but probably more for attention and love than from a desire to be used for sex.

Children’s sexuality is expressed in a different way than adults’. Most children are rather sensual and curious in their expression of sexuality. Young children might touch their genitals and enjoy the sensations it brings; older children will explore other children’s bodies, out of curiosity rather than eroticism.

More rarely, some children express sexuality in abnormal ways, such as compulsive masturbation or seeking sexual contact with others (including adults). This does not mean that these children are more mature, or are capable of consenting to relationships with adults. In fact, because they are physically sexually active but not emotionally ready or educated about sex, these children are more vulnerable than less sexually precocious children.

If you meet a child like that, the best you can do for them is check they have the support they need from adults around them so they don’t run into trouble they could regret for the rest of their lives.

Anti-contact MAPs believe that a responsible MAP protects children from the risks of sex, putting aside their own desires to achieve that.

2. “Sex feels good, therefore children have the human right to enjoy sex, regardless of the person they experience it with”

Certainly, children have some rights: the right to protection; the right to be safe and happy; the right to make choices that are appropriate to their age. The younger they are, the more they will need adult help and guidance in exercising those rights.

The fact that something feels pleasurable doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences or negative after-effects, nor does it make something morally right. Taking drugs is pleasurable, but often has negative consequences and often results in harm. Adults who experienced sex before they were ready often suffer from guilt, flashbacks, asking themselves ‘was it my fault?’ and ‘why me?’. Children’s right to a future free of these feelings is more important than their right to have sexual experiences.

This is obviously more true the younger the child is, but it’s still true even if they’re only just below the age of consent.

Anti-contact MAPs believe that children’s rights should be seen in the round and with care for their futures, not just picking out one ‘right’ because it seems to justify sexual behaviour toward kids.

3. “Kids can consent, they know whether they like or don’t like something and therefore they can say no to what they don’t like — if they don’t say no, it’s because they’re liking it and therefore it’s good for them.”

The idea of implied consent (‘They didn’t say no, so they like it.’) is not a valid excuse for rape in a courtroom, and certainly should not be applied to sexual situations involving children. You don’t have to have followed #MeToo to realise that.

Not saying ‘no’ can’t be read as a clear signal from a child, and you can’t be sure it indicates their understanding of what you might anticipate is going to happen. Children are often afraid to speak up and risk an adult’s disapproval or rejection, and they’re used to going along with an adult’s ideas and suggestions, trusting they will not be landed in a confusing world of concealment and lies.

Children should not be expected to understand or anticipate the risks of a sexual relationship, such as sexually transmitted diseases or the physical or emotional complexities of being ‘involved’ with an older person with their own emotional needs. They are not equal in power or understanding to you as the older person.

Any association between an adult and a child — or between children of significantly different ages — contains a power imbalance. If you’re the older person, especially a young adult closer in age to the child, this might not seem really significant to you, but if you listen to victims of sexual abuse, you start to realise how significant it really can be.

Anti-contact MAPs believe that relationships can only be moral if they don’t have a power imbalance that allows for abuse, and we believe this is forseeably the case in any adult-child relationship that turns sexual.

4. “There is no inherent harm in sex, the harm is caused by the way our society makes adult/child relationships a terrible secret”

Harm from sex can indeed be from a number of different causes both directly to do with the sex or following from it. Children can be hurt with manipulation, self-blaming, shame, physical pain from size differences, chemical changes in the brain, sexually transmitted diseases or infections and other factors.

Regardless of where that harm comes from, it is still harm, and there’s a very high risk of it. Playing with that risk with a child is like playing russian roulette with that child’s life.

Would you really want the object of your affections to become suicidal, to feel guilty about ever knowing you, or to self-harm or need therapy for years? If not, the choice is really clear: be anti-contact.

Anti-contact MAPs understand that someone who interacts sexually with a child is someone who is not taking the risks seriously.

5. “The age of consent is an arbitrary line, and doesn’t always make sense. There’s no one logical age when it’s exactly right for everyone. Abolish it and let people find the right solution individually.”

First, it isn’t completely arbitrary. Below certain ages no child is physically capable of sexual behaviour. When they’re a bit older, there is still a limit to their understanding of what sexual behaviour means.

At an older age still — say, during puberty — there’s a limit for when they could safely handle dating someone older. That someone would have a lot more life experience than them, and might turn out to be a creep or predator. Kids need the smarts that come with age to deal with that, smarts that they tend only to get by the time they’re close to or in adulthood.

It is true that there isn’t a single international age of consent and also that everybody is different in when they are ready for sex and different kinds of relationships (in extreme cases, some people are never ready). Like a lot of laws, the age of consent is an acceptable compromise between different factors.

But the fact it’s a compromise doesn’t undermine the fact it’s a good idea to have an age of consent.

A lot of pro-concact pedophiles also tend to focus on what they see as good consequences from lowering or abolishing the age of consent. They tend to ignore the likely bad outcomes. Even if most MAPs were ‘good MAPs’ who would only date people who were ready and never exploit them, there would still be people who would happily take advantage of the benefit of the doubt in a world without clear-cut age-of-consent laws, and might get away with acting abusively.

Sure, there can be arguments about which specific age — 18, 16, 14 or something else — is best for the age of consent. As MAPs, though, we know that people will assume we have a particular motive for suggesting whichever option we favour. Sitting this debate out is probably the best course of action for us.

Anti-contact MAPs favour following the legal age of consent where you are, and not wasting time looking for loopholes.

6. “Other societies in history have practiced pederasty or sexual rituals involving children, such as the Ancient Greeks.”

Uh huh? Let’s look a little closer. Pederasty (as the Ancient Greek practice was called) was not what we today would recognise as consensual. It was a system in which adolescent males (not little boys or girls) became sexual partners to older, more powerful men. The older men penetrated the youths, never the other way around. It was supported by some people in Ancient Greek culture, but condemned by others, and it wasn’t widespread at all.

The idea was that the younger male would get educational benefit out of his intimate relationship with an older more experienced one. Maybe so, but arguments that this needed to involve sex are kind of sketchy. Why does the education of a young adolescent boy need to involve having sex with his teacher? How come the Greeks didn’t apply this to girls too? What’s supposed to happen with youths who don’t feel any attraction to their teacher? Is it still good for them then? All in all, it looks like a convenient way for older men to get sexual satisfaction without the risk of getting someone pregnant. Nice one, Ancient Greeks!

There are other examples too, such as sexual acts performed by older males on younger ones as part of initiation rituals in various parts of the world, as recorded by anthropologists. But we’re not talking in this case about anything consensual as we’d understand it. The fact that some societies have unusual customs doesn’t imply they’re a great idea in other societies.

And none of the above really have much to do with what pro-contacts think is possible: one-on-one intimate sexual contact and romance between adults and much younger people, chosen freely by both parties. We basically don’t have any examples of that being widely accepted in any society in history in the entire world. Anti-contact MAPS believe this is for good reasons.

7. “There have been studies in which children who had sexual contact with adults have said that they enjoyed it.”

Surprisingly, yes, some studies like this exist, although none of them support a general conclusion that sex between adults and kids is a great idea.

All the same, some studies have found examples of certain people who say on record that they had sexual contact with an adult as a child, and that years later they did not feel like they were traumatised by it.

But not so fast, just because this evidence seems to support pro-contacters, let’s look further and more widely at the whole of the evidence available. Plenty other studies provide plenty of examples of people who say the exact opposite about their experience — i.e. that it was traumatising and felt wrong.

There are also examples of people who as children felt they were consenting, or didn’t know anything was wrong, but later as adults felt they had been abused. Here is one.

Basically, this is about picking out little bits of evidence and ignoring the rest. The studies that pro-contact MAPs like to quote (usually only the first kind) do not study enough people to get an accurate idea of how the majority of children respond to exposure to sex.

Not only that, but no studies have found a clear pattern for the type of person that is traumatised and the type that isn’t. In other words, there is no way before sexual contact of being sure which child would be traumatised by it for the rest of their life and which wouldn’t.

We think a good MAP just wouldn’t ever take that risk if they really loved kids.

8. “Pedophiles are normal, nice people, not like the monsters they’re portrayed as. The media’s scary stories about child abuse are exaggerated or even invented.”

You know what? It is definitely true that a lot of pedophiles you will meet, whether pro or anti-contact, are going to be basically nice people, not at all the ravening beasts that the media likes to portray. (The media like to do this because (a) in a world where the truth is complex, people find it easier to believe in evil monsters and (b) sensational presentation of the facts gets more clicks than the actual truth.)

So, yes, a lot of what people believe about us is a distortion of the truth, as you will know because you’re probably a nice well-intentioned human being yourself.

But being nice or normal is not a guarantee of angelic behaviour. Nice people can do wrong things, sometimes even with good but misguided intentions. A nice person could go wrong because they want something so badly that they overlook or minimise the harm it could do.

Unfortunately, sex is one of the areas where nice people are particularly prone to mistakes or irrationality. Maybe it’s something to do with how all human brains are wired to try and get sexual satisfaction, even when it’s a pretty terrible idea.

Anti-contact MAPs believe that pedophiles are not monsters, but like everyone else, they’re human and fallible. We also acknowledge that the consequences when a pedophile gets it wrong can be really horribly devastating. We have to take responsibility and make sure we really are good people in action as well as intention. All the time.

9. “When you think about it, the child has far more power in an intergenerational relationship because their word could jail the adult, whereas they would be protected.”

Well, pro-contacters, in the first place, the reason the penalties are so great is because the adult has the power, and they used it against someone with less power.

But also this is a simplified view of life, that having power is all about what the law says and that every bit of wrongdoing can always be easily reported and the victim believed. The reality of abuse is that children often do not report it because the process of reporting is scary (and it can be fallible).

The older person in these situations is often someone who has won the child’s trust over a long period of time, only to betray that trust after years of grooming. The older person might have thought the child ‘understood’ that the adult wanted a romantic, sexual relationship, even though the adult never made that clear from the get-go, and the child just sort of felt they should go along with it.

We’ve all had situations where a long-standing friend does something we don’t like and rather than dump the friend, we feel trapped by loyalty to them instead. Well, imagine that feeling multiplied by all the influence that the older person has, and all the uncertainty and confusion that the child has when they have an older friend who is mostly really nice to them but keeps doing or suggesting uncomfortably sexual things.

Maybe the child knows it’s wrong but doesn’t like the idea of their friend going to jail. Far from feeling powerful and confident, the severity of the punishment puts the child off from saying they feel uncomfortable, and that tips the balance of power back where it always was, in the hands of the older person.

Anti-contact MAPS believe that you should never put a child in a position where they have to choose between feeling obliged to please you somehow or going through the life-changing stress of getting you into court.
10. “Well, I wanted sex with adults when I was a kid of thirteen. Others must want that too, right?”

Just because some adolescents feel they want sexual love from an adult, doesn’t mean everyone else does, or everyone of any age would

But yes, it’s true. Adolescent crushes happen. However, adolescent crushes or fantasies are not the same as a mature relationship of equals. It’s a stage of desire we all go through on the way to figuring out what is possible and realistic and desirable in romantic or sexual partners.

What teenagers might imagine in their bedrooms with pin-ups on the wall would not feel at all the same as if they had the real-life person there having sex with them.

If an adult appears in a child’s fantasy, that adult is a fictional character, entirely under the child’s control. They’re not going to do anything unexpected or unwelcome because their behaviour is completely in tune with the child’s imagination. And the child can just turn off the situation when they want without worrying about that fictional character’s feelings.

With a real person it’s a completely different situation. If something doesn’t feel right, they need the confidence and the knowledge to say so, and they couldn’t just make the real person disappear by opening their eyes and thinking about something else.

And besides, adolescent crushes require the object of the crush to live up to impossible ideals. Let’s be honest, you can’t, and at your age, having been through your own adolescence, you hopefully realised that by now and you wouldn’t try.

Anti-contact MAPs believe that children’s sexual desire is always best explored with their peer group, and the only role for adults is as objective, calm support. Parents, teachers or professionals may intervene directly where there is potential for harm. If you’re not one of those, that is not your role.

So what‘s better than contact?

You’ve read our rebuttals to common pro-contact arguments. We haven’t included all of the evidence that backs us up and we admit we don’t have room to include all the rebuttals-to-the-rebuttals that pro-contacters have thought up over the last few decades, we’ve just given you ways to think critically about what the pro-contacts are actually saying. We hope to add some further links at the bottom so you can have more information in the future.

Like we said at the beginning, just because you’re a MAP doesn’t make you a bad person. You’re attracted to minors, but you can live that way without ever harming a real kid.

Here’s some things you can do that avoid the pro-contact trap:

Use your imagination instead of porn or real kids. There’s no law anywhere against harmless fantasy that stays only in your head. Make it about fictional kids, rather than real ones.
Spend time exploring where your attractions might have come from and what they mean to you. Professional help is great if you can afford it, but if you can’t…
Join a community of anti-contact MAPs (if you’re old enough) so you can get help and advice from people who know the territory. There’s Virtuous Pedophiles, for a start, and other sources of support are beginning to spring up.
Join anonymously. It’s not yet safe to be ‘out’ to the internet at large.

You’re not a bad person, and you can pursue a good, meaningful life.

It isn’t easy when you’re a MAP. You will have to keep it a secret from quite a few people and you probably have very strong feelings around your attractions that you need to process.

The good news, though, is that this is a moment in history when it’s more possible than ever for you to reach out, get some help and gudiance, and improve the quality of your life without harming anyone else.

There is hope. Good luck, and don’t get led astray.

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