15 July 2013

Happy Birthday, Virtuous Pedophiles!

An important, if controversial, new mutual support group just celebrated the first anniversary of its founding. For most people, pedophile is a synonym for child molester, but they are very different things, as the Virtuous Pedophiles demonstrate (www.VirPed.org). 'Pedophilia' refers to the sexual interest in children, whereas 'child molestation' refers to the actual behavior. Despite the common notion that pedophiles are all child molesters in waiting, very many—perhaps even most—pedophiles know they cannot express their sexual interests and work to be celibate, for their lifetimes, with no support from anyone. These are the Virtuous Pedophiles, and they deserve every credit and support we can provide them.

All our current science indicates that men don’t ask to be attracted to children any more than anybody else asks to be attracted to whatever they’re attracted to. Most of us are born destined to have sexual attractions we can enjoy and share. Some of us are born with sexual attractions we can enjoy, but take some work or creativity. But some of us are born with sexual attractions we can never express without risk of harm to someone else.

The media are rife with broadcasters and editorialists who capitalize on the anger and hate that can puff up ratings. Rarely discussed are the crimes that don't happen and the people who are in a position that most of us could hardly imagine. With all of my science and all of my research, I have not been able to find a way to turn pedophiles into non-pedophiles, and I am not sure when or whether any human should ever wield such power. But I do believe that, until there is such an option, it is the Virtuous Pedophiles who are doing what is ethical and what only few of us can imagine. I congratulate them, their sense of right and wrong, and their humanity. I suspect that only few people could pass the test we demand of them.

Happy Birthday, and I wish I knew better how to help.


  1. Thank you for the good wishes, Dr. Cantor.

    I agree with you 95%, but it is of course the other 5% that is worth anyone's time to read.

    I note there is a trade-off between how much sympathy we are due and how numerous we are. If only a few people could pass the test demanded of us, then it seems less likely that many (or most) both undertake the work of lifelong child celibacy and *succeed*.

    I figure it's not so hard for the non-exclusives among us, as we can manage relationships with men or women of legal age. And in an approach-avoidance conflict, the deterrents that arise as the moment of truth arrives would seem strong -- avoiding ostracism, prison, and (hopefully strongest of all) potentially harming a child.

    Yet we don't know about ourselves as a population much better than anyone else, as our organization is a sample subject to severe selection biases. I don't know how many succeed. I do know that those in our group spend far more time talking about how to overcome severe depression than how to keep from abusing children.

    Within the wide range of possibilities, I would prefer to be thought more numerous at the cost of some sympathy.

    Ethan (one of the co-founders of virped.org).

  2. As a "virped" myself (having never once acted on my desires), I thank you for standing up and realizing that we're people too, worthy of love. Most days I feel like giving up, and it's SO wonderful to finally see a beacon of hope, light and love at the end of my tunnel. It's so easy to demonize us, and so difficult to understand what it's like to live this way.

  3. I'm a member of the virped group. Thanks for you support words. I truly know that the truth shall free us. Thaks for showing society not all pedophiles are child molesters. Society has to acknowledge the existence of celibate pedophiles. People like me, who know the potential risk of sexual interaction with a child. I feel proud of myself when I know I can challenge the mainstream view of pedophilia by remaining celibate. I can repress my feelings for the sake of children. This makes it easier to manage the views society has towards people like us. Although reading the comments many people post on many websites can be devastating .

  4. By the way, your work has been indeed helpful. You're already helping a lot.

  5. I was meant to see this blog. I am a student of psychology about to enroll into graduate school and my area of interest is sexology/sexual addiction. Many of my friends blush when I tell them about my area of interest but their timidness about the topic quickly mutates into an inappropriate indignity when I begin to explain to them how I feel about pedophiles. Thanks to this blog, I can now refine my argument by emphasizing on the distinction between the pedophile and the child molester; I have never seen the topic discussed so simply but elegantly as Dr. Cantor has done here. Good thoughts to all of you who are part of virped.