These days, most people who study pedophilia consider it to be an orientation and not necessarily a disorder. This isn’t a topic I like to get into much discussion or debate over because, to me, on a personal level, it doesn’t matter much. I am a pedophile and I will always be a pedophile, whether I like it or not. (I don’t.) Also, I think the specifics over what defines something as an orientation can become a bit semantical, especially in a debate.
To me, if I am unintentionally sexually oriented towards a given type of person and nothing else, that is my orientation. Oriented-Orientation. That’s pretty simple. Pretty black and white. Whether or not the manner in which I am inexorably and immutably sexually oriented, (therefore being my orientation), is at the same time a disorder is something I’ll let people who are wiser and more well educated than I figure out. If it is a disorder, it’s an incurable one, which leaves me in the exact same place at the end of the day, disorder or no. So, whatever.
However, even the current experts on pedophilia will tell you that while pedophilia is an orientation, it can be a disorder as well, depending on a few criteria. Apparently, someone is defined as having pedophilic disorder if they have trouble resisting the urge to act on the attraction in a hands-on sense, or if their pedophilia causes them to feel distressed.
That last part is the bit that I am curious about, because I think most pedophiles feel distress over their attractions at least once in a while, or certainly at least have at some point in their lives. I suppose the question I would have for a professional is, how much distress would a pedophile have to feel over his or her attractions to be defined as having pedophilic disorder? Also, how can that even be quantified? How do you measure distress?
Perhaps I’m projecting my own shortcomings and my tendency to be a basket case onto others too much here but, if a fellow pedophile tells me they never feel distress over their attractions, ever, my inclination is to think they are probably lying to themselves to some degree. As in, what planet are they a pedophile on?
Hell, even most “normal” heterosexuals have probably felt distress over their sexual attractions at some point or another. Such as when someone they’re attracted to keeps rejecting them, or when they’re married and someone they’re attracted to keeps attempting to seduce them into an extramarital affair, leaving them badly tempted, frustrated and ashamed. Is that not also distress related to sexual attraction?
That having been said, I would love for the type of distress one feels when they are rejected or tempted to cheat to be all I have to deal with as an exclusive pedophile. Throw in the complete inability to ever have a sexual partner I’m attracted to, the ability to fall back on porn not being an option, and the need to keep my sexuality hidden from most people, and that’s just for starters. How the fuck am I not supposed to ever feel distress surrounding my pedophilia?
We all feel distress in our lives at some point or another. I think most people feel distress in an over-all sense to at least some degree just dealing with modern life in general. For happier, more well adjusted people, that general level of distress is probably fairly low, but l imagine still there.
If I had to rate my over-all distress level on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d probably put it at about a 7 or 8 on most days. That doesn’t all have to do directly with my pedophilia, but without it, I am as certain as the day is long that number would be much lower. Probably closer to a 3 or 4. Does that make me a candidate for being diagnosed with pedophilic disorder? If so, fine. I have pedophilic disorder. I’m not going to concern myself with or lose sleep over the label. However, I would contend that the distress I feel is just an inevitable byproduct of living with an exclusive pedophilic orientation in a world that is not compatible with it. Or, maybe I’m just more fucked up than even most pedophiles.
Be it an orientation, a disorder, or somehow both at the same time, these are all things that can ultimately be coped with, I suppose. I write that as I sit here doing the Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas impression I do mostly every weekend, but it can be coped with, maybe even treated, I guess.
However, if one’s pedophilic attractions causing them distress is what separates a person who simply has pedophilic orientation from someone with pedophilic disorder, I’d just like to know where the line is from a diagnostic standpoint. Not that it could or will make much of a difference in my own life one way or another, but it’s something I’ve been curious about.
Either way, all I can do is go on living and coping in what ever way I can with my own disorder and/or orientation. Could that perhaps be called a disorientation? Meh……