Types of pedophiles:

Some pedophiles molest children and have no regrets about it unless they are caught. They make the news, and they are the example that comes to mind when people think "pedophile".

Others are celibate, but loudly argue for a change in society's attitudes and laws so that sex with children should be accepted. They see no inherent problem with the activity.

Others, like me and many others at Virtuous Pedophiles, accept that adult sexual activity with children is wrong. We can hope we seem less alien than the two types above because with respect to our views of the nature of children and what sexual activity is likely to be harmful for them, we are much like the average person. However, we feel OK about our attractions. Attraction to children is just part of who we are, and as long as we never engage in such activity, we think we're good people. That may still seem alien.

A large class of pedophiles you may not have considered are self-hating pedophiles. A great many write to us at Virtuous Pedophiles. The basic message is, "I know I am never going to abuse a child, but I am attracted to children and I hate myself for having that attraction." Now, some ordinary people hate themselves -- they might have serious depression or self-esteem problems arising from a troubled childhood or difficult life experiences. But there is no reason to think that these pedophiles have any psychological problems. As far as we can tell, they hate themselves for one thing only: that they are sexually attracted to children.

I bring them to your attention to show that pedophiles aren't all that different from the rest of society: Much of society hates pedophiles simply for their thoughts. Lots of pedophiles hate themselves simply for their thoughts. Once more, we cover the same range as other people. Given the natural tendency of people to think well of themselves (known as <self-serving bias>) it wouldn't be surprising if a lower percentage of pedophiles hated themselves than the percentage in the population at large who hate them. But there are still a lot who hate themselves.

In the list of categories above, only the first abuses children. There is another category of interest: offenders who also hate themselves. I think in society's mind, the pedophile child molester is at best someone who doesn't care about children or think what he has done is wrong. But those who work with them also report a great many sex offenders who know what they did was wrong and want to stop. They didn't control themselves when they should have. They are also in the category of self-hating pedophiles. Like someone who commits armed robbery to support a drug habit or someone who kills in the heat of a passionate rage, their desire led them into serious crime -- but they think their action was wrong just as much as you do.

I would like pedophiles to stop hating themselves for their attractions, just as I would like non-pedophiles to stop hating them. The groups are alike in sharing beliefs I would like to change.


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