Virtuous Pedophiles... Surely our message is: Come forward! Don't be ashamed of who you are! Let the hidden pedophiles know there are others like them so they too can come forward!

That is the ideal message we would like to convey, but reality requires us to temper this a lot. You can come forward anonymously in an online group, but be very careful about coming out to close friends and family <>. People do sometimes lose valuable connections that way. Don't come out to the world at large unless you are willing to deal with hatred and possibly violence for the rest of your life.

In this post I explore the idea that there is also a fairly large class of pedophiles who might do well to not even come out to themselves -- to deny their pedophilia. The first criterion for this group is being non-exclusive. This is for people who can have satisfying relationships with adults. It's also for those whose attraction to children is not a great deal stronger than their attraction to adults. If they are clearly aware that their attraction to children is stronger, then denial is going to be hard. And of course it will be easier to engage in denial the older the children are that one is attracted to.

Under these circumstances, why should you care if you're really a pedophile or not? The first and strongest reason that will come to mind is the need to not molest children. However, this is a requirement that falls on everyone. Much child sex abuse is perpetrated by teleiophiles, and they must learn not to abuse children. Even those who are not attracted to children at all should avoid the appearance of impropriety. Don't do anything that could be misunderstood as sexual. One of the rules many of our members find helpful is, "Don't do anything you wouldn't do if the parents were there and watching." Those following that rule are unlikely to get into seriously tempting situations. But in any case, you can ignore stirrings of interest or sexual thoughts if they are not strong. If they are strong, verging on an uncontrollable feeling and accompanied by lust, that is of course a danger sign. It's unlikely you would pass the first two criteria, but this situation is worrisome and requires decisive intervention -- whether you are a pedophile or not. But for most of the people in my "candidate group", this won't happen. What you might feel in the company of children is a sense that they are special, maybe sexy to some extent. Or perhaps they just remind you of how sexy they will be when they grow up. Or perhaps they are showing some signs of the puberty that will turn them into sexually mature adults.

So those who are eligible for denying their pedophilia don't have a problem with not molesting children on that account.

Why else should you care if you are really a pedophile or not? I can't think of any good reason, and I can think of one excellent reason to deny it. If you want to enter into any intimate relationship, perhaps a friendship but most certainly a partnership such as marriage, it's wonderful not to have any big secrets. If you're a pedophile, and especially to the extent you think of it as part of your identity, that would be a big secret. You must either find especially understanding partners (or friends) or keep a big secret from them. This is a huge obstacle to intimate relationships.

Perhaps you think that you want to be honest and understand your true self. Are you a pedophile or aren't you? As I've noted, for some people pedophilia is an inescapable conclusion. But for others, it's not as if "pedophile" tells you anything other than that you are attracted to children. There aren't other symptoms or future developments that follow from that diagnosis. Ordinary folks are attracted to children to some extent, if nothing beyond, "She's going to be a really pretty girl when she grows up". Others might see a small boy's penis and naturally have the thought that it is a small version of the same organ that an adult has. That could cause a glimmer of a sexual thought.

Most of the people who write to Virtuous Pedophiles are clearly pedophiles and belong in our group. But we receive inquiries from more and more people who are worried they might be but who are not. In the full-blown form, this is Pedophile OCD -- people who are not pedophiles worrying excessively about whether they might be. Others worry but not obsessively. Along with helping real pedophiles live better lives by denying their attraction, my suggestion could perhaps help worrying non-pedophiles stop worrying.

In my original formulation of the ideal goals of Virtuous Pedophiles, I noted that coming out (online at least) helps young pedophiles realize that they are not alone, and of course denying you are a pedophile won't help them at all. However, there are plenty of pedophiles who cannot possibly deny it, and their presence online will serve as a beacon and comfort to the young pedophiles who are also clearly and unambiguously so.

As for the young teens who might or might not be pedophiles, they would be well served by starting out on the same path I am recommending -- not worrying about it. Approaching same-age partners without "I am a pedophile" front and center in their thoughts will be very helpful. Perhaps it is just a quirk, akin to whether they are deep down afraid of cats or whether they pick their nose a lot. It can be a small secret, not a big one.

Some 18-year-old boys write to Virtuous Pedophiles, very upset that they have found some 14-year-old girl attractive. It is easy to reassure them that they are not pedophiles. But what if the girl was 12? Or 11? Maybe we'd want to know how developed she is. But if my suggestion about denial has any merit, the answer might be: Don't worry about who you're attracted to as long as you're also attracted strongly to people your own age.


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