The message that is most often offered in defense of celibate pedophiles is that they have an attraction they did not choose and cannot change, but they can and do control their behavior. Controlling behavior is essential to the very concept. The other two are a way of building sympathy. OK, the pedophile shares society's belief that their attraction is disgusting, but they didn't choose it. If they had chosen it, skeptical people would surely say, "Why did you do that? If you did, then you brought on yourself any stigma or harsh treatment!"

Even more important, if they could make it go away, replacing it with an attraction to adults, the skeptics would even more strongly say, "Well, why don't you then? You've even had a chance to see how much stigma and hatred you get. Don't complain to me, change!" But we head off that criticism by saying we cannot change it. Decades of trying by dedicated professionals and highly motivated pedophiles have not revealed any promising avenues for making it go away. Previous offenders may get to the point where they are in no danger of molesting a child. Some are aided by  so-called "chemical castration", by means of which their sexual desire is sharply curtailed. But still, when they see a child, they are aware that she or he is attractive. The fundamental attraction has not changed. By the same token, when they see an adult, they remain aware that she or he is not attractive.

Among the members of Virtuous Pedophiles are a great many who despise their attraction and despise themselves for having it. They feel they should in no way express or give in to their sexual desire for children, even in private fantasy. If they do give in, they feel it was a lapse. Others take a more neutral view, figuring that sexual desire is strong, and some private fantasies now and then using legal materials are healthy. Bottling up sexual desire completely is (in the view of many throughout society) not a good thing.

But there are others in our group. One long-running poll is titled, "Would you take a Pedophilia-be-Gone pill?" The totals change somewhat as time goes by, but looking at it today, 48% support an unqualified "yes". That is in line with the story we like to tell. But what about the other 52%?

There is 32% support for an unqualified "no".  Others assent to some version with a form of bargaining. "I would take a PGB bill only if it kept my non-sexual affection for kids that is beyond what ordinary people feel" gets 11%. "I would take it only if it also gave me a full attraction to adults" gets 10%. If we assume those bargains are not available, that would come to 52% "no".

What do we make of this 52%? One explanation for some people may be a version of "sour grapes". If you can't change something, try to bend your thinking to like the situation you can't escape from anyway. If the pill actually came on the market, they might reconsider.

One poll option  that gets 21% specifically mentions the idea that identity is at stake: "I wouldn't take any pills because attractions are part of making a person who he is." This is sensible -- I have this disgusting attraction, but it's part of who I am and if you changed it, I would no longer be myself. But the option is also consistent with feeling just fine about your attraction.

Let's distill all that down to the assumption that 35% of respondents to the poll are at peace with their attraction. Some of them even see something positive in it, yet they are solemnly committed to never acting on it with a child. How could anyone want that? What equivalents might we find among teleiophiles (ordinary people)?

One is people who decide that any sort of sexual expression with another person is for them an absolute impossibility. Perhaps they have developed a physical condition that renders sex impossible or so difficult that they retain zero interest. Paraplegia might produce that attitude in some people. Now assume an ordinary man who has always viewed most adult women as attractive. Would he now want to change so that he no longer felt anything at all when he saw one? Life might have less frustration if he no longer wanted to do the thing he no longer can do. I would guess that a large proportion would not want that, because finding adult women attractive is part of who they are.

Another group are people who believe they are so unattractive that no one would want to have sex with them, even if they are physically capable in the usual fashion. Perhaps they have zero interest in any form of prostitution. Whether true or not, the fact that they believe it puts them in the same boat as those with the physical limitations. Would they want their attractions to cease? I think a fair number would not.

Another example might be someone who has married and is unshakably determined to be true to their marriage vows. You sometimes hear married people say, "My wife/husband is the only person I find attractive." Perhaps that is sincere, or perhaps it relies on a different definition of "attraction" from what I would use (see "Thought moralists"). I suspect others are fully aware that they have a gut-level sexual attraction to other women or other men. Would they actually want that to disappear? I guess that a fair number would not.

To complete the picture, another portion of the 35% might find a fantasy-only sex life appealing enough to offset the negative of being unable to act on it in person.

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