Ever wonder what makes a pervert a pervert? Did they choose to be that way and why in Heaven’s name would they stick their erection into… that? If you’re like me, these questions make up a large part of your thoughts. Years of pondering has lead me to many discoveries on the subject which I will gladly share with you. Get a drink and a snack, this is going to be long.
First things first, what’s paraphilia? It sounds like pedophilia. Pedophilia is in fact a type of paraphilia. Basically, paraphilia refers to sexual deviancy, i.e. not socially accepted behaviour or preference but that doesn’t make it necessarily immoral or unnatural in itself.The difference between paraphilia and a kink is mainly if it causes you (or the society in which you live) distress. Paraphilia is one of my passions though I myself am not a paraphile. A lot of behaviours that are now acceptable sexual practices or orientations were once considered to be paraphilia. A big example of that is homosexuality, but you could also fit in BDSM, anal sex, even oral sex even and much much more!!! In fact, one of the first cataloguers of sexual deviancies, Richard Krafft-Ebing, who travelled through Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire meeting paraphiles and recording their behaviours, believed that basically, as long as it led to reproduction, it wasn’t deviant. This meant that women were very rarely considered deviant. So even if a chick liked it when her partner restrained her and defected on her, if it ended in a creampie, it was okay. Krafft-Ebing also believed that perversions came hand-in-hand with how ‘evolved’ a person was; this was based on race and so by his logic. Black people were less perverted than whites. Although today we realise that being of a particular race doesn’t make you more or less evolved, I think we still stereotype certain paraphiles according to certain groups of people. If one were to think of the stereotype of a pedophile, they would probably think of a creepy middle-aged white man, whereas if one is thinking about a panty-sniffer and proponent of frotteurism (rubbing yourself against an unsuspecting person), then they would maybe think about a Japanese person and then if one was thinking more along the lines of BDSM and coprophilia (arousal to feces), then probably one would think of a German person.
For a long time I was under the impression that only serial killers or creepy people were paraphiles. As I read more true crime and watched more serial killer interviews, I realised that although some of these people were horrible psychopaths who were unworthy of forgiveness, many of them had horrible childhoods and didn’t seem any happier after committing these crimes either. That’s when epiphany struck: although these people committed terrible crimes, and they should have controlled themselves and been more empathetic; they didn’t choose to be monsters. No one actively decides, “hey, screw this heteronormative (or even homosexual-normative) world, I’m going to have sex with corpses/children/animals/etc.” Everyone who has a sex drive knows how powerful it is, it is a very difficult thing to repress. We’ve all heard about poor people from strict religious families who experience extreme amounts of shame and guilt for feeling ‘normal’ sexual attractions. Now think of someone who has a taboo sexual orientation, can you imagine how difficult it is to repress it. And yet many do. You probably noticed how I used the word ‘sexual orientation’. I will discuss the reasons why I did this in the section on pedophilia. I won’t be covering all paraphilias. It would be never-ending and unnecessary and I would be robbing you of the pleasure of making your own discoveries. The way I see it, if you can think of something weird (not necessarily sexual), the chances are that someone out there is already doing that novel thing you just thought about.
So without further ado:
Pedophilia as many people know is an attraction to children. Legally, it pretty much means being attracted to people under 18. There are 3 distinct categories:
- infantophilia which is an arousal to infants, not to be confused with infantilism, which is wanting to be treated as a baby;
- standard pedophilia which is from early childhood until puberty and;
- hebephilia which is from the onset of puberty to, let’s say, 18.
In this article, I’ll mainly use pedophile to make it simpler. There are people who are exclusive pedophiles who only like minors and then there is the non-exclusive kind who like people from different age groups. There is a current debate within psychiatry and psychology right now as to whether pedophilia should be considered a sexual orientation. The only sexual orientations we have now are related to gender: hetero, bi and homosexual. I haven’t been following the debate too closely, but basically, researchers don’t necessarily think that pedophilia is a pathology, rather that pedophilia is someone’s orientation and that they are otherwise normal people. However, that the consequences of acting upon their sexual desires can be disastrous. Also, some pedophiles are homosexual pedophiles and some are heterosexual pedophiles, but in case any ignorant people are reading this, of course, the overwhelming majority of homosexuals aren’t pedophiles (this also applies to straight people). So homosexuality and pedophilia are two separate things, but they can be present together.
As far as I know, people cannot be punished for “thought crimes” yet, so why should we discriminate against a pedophile for having these kind of thoughts? Unless he/she acts upon them, they are not criminal. That being said, I doubt very much that even if pedophilia becomes recognised as a sexual orientation there will be any pride parades. People will always be suspicious. There are many pedophiles out there who are aware of the consequences of acting upon their desires and in no way want to hurt a child. In fact, some of them aren’t only sexually attracted to children, they can also sincerely fall in love with a child, and they just can’t help but feel the way they feel. Now when some fall in love, they misinterpret the friendly signals given by the child as actual attraction… and some straight out ignore their better judgement because they are horny.
I remember reading an article (but I don’t remember which article) that mentioned that some pedophiles have a lower I.Q. After having read this, I do however remember watching Louis Theroux’s A Place for Pedophiles. In the documentary, Louis meets a pedophile who is due to be released shortly. The man is playing with a train set. Now, I am not saying that all amateur miniature train enthusiasts are childlike, but this man struck me as being a child in a grown man’s body. This made me think that maybe some pedophiles are actually children in their minds, but once they become sexual, they are of course attracted towards playmates of the same mental, though not physical age as them. If you are attracted by a certain group, then wouldn’t you need to have something in common with them? That is why there are cultures that develop around certain sexual orientations; they are still unique individuals, but it is still possible to form certain stereotypes based on certain general trends.
In fact, there was an article in the LA Times, which was then discussed in another article in the Huffington Post, that stated that out of the 100 people Toronto Police had caught committing sexual crimes against children, all but one of them was not a hard-core Trekkie. As a Star Trek fan and as someone interested in pedophilia, I decided to ask actual pedophiles in a therapy forum what they thought of the correlation. Some said that there was no correlation and that it was just the media trying to create a kind of boogeyman myth about pedophiles (as much as I like Star Trek, the Trekkie stereotype is not a positive one). One person thought that there wasn’t so much a correlation between Star Trek and pedophilia, but rather the connection was between Star Trek and those offenders who were caught distributing child pornography. These people tend to be computer savvy and so, it isn’t a far leap for a computer nerd to also be a Trekkie. Another thing the user brought up which I found interesting, but that I wouldn’t investigate myself, was that he noticed that in forums about child pornography there seemed to be a culture of anti-government and intellectual superiority. Not only that, but I contacted a psychologist who works with pedophiles and she told me that social isolation is an important predictor of sex offending. Social isolation fits with the Trekkie stereotype too. So no, Star Trek is not a pedophile thing, it is an awkward nerd thing.
Most people think that if someone is a child molester than they must be a pedophile. This is not the case. I don’t know what the actual percentages are regarding who commits the most crimes. Some people molest children because they are sadists and want control over the person and/or have bad impulse control and a poor sense of boundaries. Not only are not all child molesters pedophiles, but not all pedophiles are child molesters. According to an article in the Norwegian paper Morgenbladet (30.01.2015 – 05.02.2015), there could be up to 20 000 pedophiles in Norway. That’s a lot for a country of 5,5 million and no, they aren’t all in prison. I know for a fact that a lot of people in their self-righteous fury would want all of them behind bars, heck, why not executed even if they haven’t done anything? Remember, thought crimes don’t exist yet, so what are we as a society doing to rehabilitate those that get out of prison and what are we doing to help those that haven’t acted upon their desires yet, but fear they might lose control?
First off, to be diagnosed as a pedophile, you have to go through some tests. One test, the penile plethysmograph, consists in having little elastic band tied to the man’s flaccid penis. The man is then exposed to pictures of children and adults doing different things and then, if their penis hardens at the sight of a particular picture, it is registered. There are some ethical concerns regarding this test. I am not quite sure about the nature of the pictures shown, but I think psychologists do not want to indulge the person in their sexual desires, so encouraging a person to get a boner at inappropriate things is not really that ethical. There is also another test (though I forget the name and cannot seem to find it, it is an acronym starting with A), wherein the participant is exposed to pictures. The pictures arrive in a timed sequence, but a machine measures how long the participants gaze remain on certain pictures. What is great about this test is that you don’t need a penis to undergo it either.
By the way, I only think they do these tests in prison, not if you haven’t offended yet and are seeking help.
Once you’re done with the test and diagnosed as a pedophile, then it’s important to know whether you are an exclusive or non-exclusive one. If you’re non-exclusive, then they will try to help you develop your social skills so that you can interact with people in an acceptable age group in the hopes that you will form a relationship with them. No matter what kind of pedophile you are (or even paraphile for that matter), they will work on impulse control and on developing empathy (realising why what you did was wrong, in case you didn’t already know). You’ve probably heard of some paraphiles being castrated. First off, castration doesn’t necessarily solve the problems. Some pedophiles (even those not in prison) request themselves to be put on chemical castration because they have obsessive sexual thoughts and that allows them to sort of get over it and hopefully once they get off the medication, they won’t be as obsessive in their sexual thoughts. There are many health risks to taking chemical castration medication over a longer period of time such as osteoporosis. There is also physical castration. I’m not sure how effective that is though, I’ve heard stories about eunuchs still able to get it up, and even if they aren’t able, some argue that the mental pleasure is greater than the sexual one and they might still offend.
By the way, and this I do know, sex offenders have some of the lowest recidivism rates. In the US, the statistics might be a muddled considering that teenagers caught looking at pictures of their peers can be considered sex offenders as well as people who just became adults who had consensual sex with an minor. One could also argue that maybe the sex offenders became better at hiding their offenses, but that could be said about any criminal. That being said though, sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rates even in many reasonable countries which don’t consider what I just mentioned to be crimes.
So what are we doing for those who haven’t offended yet regardless of paraphilia? Nothing! Or almost nothing. In some places, even discussing the issue with your psychologist/psychiatrist can mean that you will be reported to the authorities, so you’re left to fend for yourself on support forums. In some more enlightened countries such as Germany, they have programs like Projekt Dunkelfeld which allows people who suspect they might be pedophiles to get anonymous counseling. I hope they will extend this service to all paraphiles and all over the world. I think that all pedophiles who are celibate are unsung heroes and glad to know that there are support groups online. The fact that we demonise these people means that a lot of people aren’t getting help and they are given the message that they are worthless people. And what do people who feel worthless do? They’ll band up with people who accept them, such as other criminals. Why try to be a member of society when society doesn’t want you? This ties in with what I was saying earlier about how supposedly people who distribute child pornography view themselves as these sort of rogues who are above stupid societal rules. There are now groups of pedophiles who are sick of being discriminated against and are grouping up to fight back against society. Though there seem to be a few different approaches to this, some of them are sick of hiding, they haven’t offended, but they don’t want to feel shame for being who they are, whilst others are trying to normalise and diminish the impact of the act on the younger partner.
“So what?! Are you saying we should feel sorry for these sick fuckers? What about their victims? Haven’t they suffered enough without some ignorant ‘alternative’ rape apologist bitch telling them that their abuser, who ruined their life, also is suffering?”
Ouch, but I was expecting that, I get that reaction a lot whenever I discuss paraphilias. The thing is, we can’t have an honest educated discussion about the subject because everyone starts to be offended from the get go. Wanting to understand an issue does not mean that you approve of it. I think wanting to actually listen to these people and understanding will lead the way to finding an actual solution that will appeal to both parties. I think I am going to write an article about this later, but I absolutely hate moralising and think that lecturing people gets us nowhere. I also want to put it out there that I am for the death penalty. My main argument of favor of the death penalty is: Josef Fritzl. I think some people are past rehabilitation, that they are scum down to the individual cells making up their body. Anyone who abuses another person sexually is 100% responsible for their actions, do I really need to repeat my stance on this? That being said though, the fact that we see the offender and the victim in a totally black and white view is damaging also to the victim. Some victims, especially those who were abused in their childhood, think that they didn’t do enough to resist their abuse. This is accompanied by feelings of shame and guilt. Others are made to feel damaged in some way. You should also read this link: here.
There has also been a lot of censorship and misinformation about pedophilia. Academic careers are ruined for politically correct reasons and some people even get in the way of the development of rehabilitation programs (if those people are going to be eventually released, wouldn’t you want them to be rehabilitated?) Also, sex offender registries don’t keep people safer and place stigma on people for the rest of their lives (and it’s especially fucked in the US since as mentioned earlier, even teenagers can be considered sex offenders because they were sending naked pictures of themselves to their partners (of the same age group… people they are supposed to be experimenting sexually with).)
One gets the impression that paraphilia mostly concerns men. I haven’t seen actual statistics on the matter, though it is correct that there are fewer female paraphiles. Like with a lot of things, women sometimes express things differently than men that is why people aren’t always as good at recognising certain behaviour in women. That also explains why ADHD is often underdiagnosed in women. When we do hear about female pedophiles, it is usually about a high school teacher who slept with one of her male students.
I will only touch on this briefly now, maybe one day I will get around to writing an article, but the age of consent is an interesting discussion topic. Until what age should parents or governments be allowed to control their child’s sexuality? What if an underage teenager is a gerontophile (sexually attracted to the elderly) wants to have sex with their elderly partner, should they not be able to experience their sexuality like their peers who are into people their own age? Obviously, there is a practical answer to all of this: leave it at 18 and if you are different tough luck. I think this is actually reasonable enough, but still worth thinking about.
Ouf. Okay, enough about pedophilia for now. You’ll realise that a lot of what was written about them can apply to other paraphiles, so the other sections will not be as long fortunately.
Alright, first things first, what is the difference between zoophilia and bestiality? Zoophilia is a sexual orientation. Zoophiles are not only sexually attracted to the animal, they are also emotionally attracted. Bestiality refers more to the act of engaging in sex with animals, but it is purely about physical gratification. Some people might enjoy sex with animals or watching people have sex with animals because they enjoy either the dominance over the animal or the humiliation of having sex with an animal. The animal is simply an sexual object. On the other hand, zoophiles can experience a bond with the animal, fall in love, want to give it pleasure. They claim that the animal has given consent.
Let’s try a thought experiment for a minute. I am sure everyone has had their leg humped by a dog. Technically, the dog was sexually abusing you by engaging you in a sexual activity against your consent. People are annoyed and grossed out by the behaviour, but no one really gets mad at the animal. Its intentions weren’t bad, it was just horny or showing dominance. It was enjoying humping your leg. So, in fact the dog here was engaging in interspecies sex. The animal doesn’t have the same moral hang ups as humans regarding sexuality. So, is it such a stretch to think that provided the animal is of the right size and have the right relationship with the person, maybe they can experience pleasure with a human? They might not be able to give spoken consent, but let’s be honest here, most humans don’t give spoken consent to sex and I think someone can tell by the animal’s reactions whether they like it or not. Like, if a dude is having sex with an adult mare and she doesn’t want to, she is way stronger than him and can communicate her message very clearly with some powerful kicks.
I’ve also read that bestiality is more common in the countryside. This is unsurprising. I’ve also heard of people breeding dogs and training them just to have sex with women. This is disgusting.
“Why is it more disgusting than zoophilia?”
Well, I suppose this is me applying a human filter to the situation because I regard that to be sexual slavery. The dog might not realise that and he might even enjoy it. That might be true, but I would rather the animal be respected in the relationship.
“But what about the balance of power? It’s not an equal relationship like among humans.” Hahah… like there are no imbalances of power in human relationships? There will always be people who abuse their spouses and there will always be people who abuse their animals unfortunately. In the documentary Animal Passions, it was mentioned that maybe we are uncomfortable with the idea of zoophilia because animals have a rather strange status. We eat them, use their leather, keep them as pets which we love as much as our own flesh and blood and yet, we are uncomfortable with having sex with them? I thought this was an interesting remark, but just look at people: some cultures have cannibalism, all cultures have war (we kill each other over something as abstract and retarded as religion) and we have sex together. So, it is fine with our own species, but not with others? Why are we imposing our moral values on them? I’m not against moral values (what a statement!), I am just saying that it’s not always logical and people suffer due to that lack of logic. Obviously, PETA is against zoophilia. I think there should be absolutely no sex trade involving any sentient being, but I can see ZETA’s point and I think you should visit their website: here.
Ahhh necrophilia. It is what got me interested in paraphilia in the first place. Personally, I find necrophilia to be the most difficult to wrap my head around, but also, in a strange way I can understand the appeal in an abstract way and only in certain circumstances. Oh yeah, for those you don’t know what necrophilia is; it is a sexual arousal to dead people. First of all, I just wanted to say that I have seen only two movies that cover the subject of necrophilia. One of them, Nekromantik, was a horrible German B movie that I thought was more about being gross (in that cheap wannabe edgy B movie fashion (sorry, I know B movies have cult followings, but I never really got them)) than about actually exploring the mind and thoughts of a necrophile. However, another movie on the subject, in fact the best non-Trailer Park Boys-related Canadian film, Kissed, is actually a really beautiful movie about an ethereally stunning female necrophile.
Anyway, when most of us think of necrophiles, we think of Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer, and any other deranged killer. Some necrophiles are extremely socially awkward (Gein, Dahmer) and cannot interact with women (not only that, but Gein seemed to want to be a woman). Dahmer seemed to have some sort of mystical thinking, I think that is a characteristic of Schizoid Personality Disorder, he wanted to build a temple with body parts; he also wanted total control over people and well, a corpse is a pretty powerless person. Certain necrophiles are spiritual people. They see their love-making as a union between life and death. I can’t recall the culture, but I think there was one where if a girl died a virgin, they would arrange a sort of wedding for her and her husband would consummate the marriage or something like that.
There are multiple types of necrophiles and even then some people might disagree as to whether these all count as necrophiles. We tend to think of necrophilia as just having sex with a corpse, but what about emotional attraction? Some people don’t even consider necrophilia until their wife dies and they cannot deal emotionally with the loss. Some people are necrophiles by opportunity: there’s a sexy corpse and no one watching, why not try it? Some people are exclusive necrophiles, others are only into role-playing necrophilia with their partner, some people are homicidal necrophiles, some prefer fresh corpses others seem to nor be bothered by the smell (in fact, it used to be believed that necrophiles had no sense of smell) and some people are necromutilomaniacs who are into gore. If you want to read more on the subject, I recommend you read this book by Dr. Aggrawal.
One thing to remember is that necrophiles too can control their impulses and just because they might have access to a corpse, they might ‘respect’ it by not touching it. They are individuals too and not all of them are deranged which I think is worth mentioning. Necrophilia still seems to be a fairly rare paraphilia, but it could also be because in a sense, it is a victimless crime so it is underreported.
By the way, if you were browsing the interwebs in the early 2000s, please tell me if you too came across Rob’s Necrophilia Fantasy Website which was hosted by ‘Burknet’. It’s no longer online, but he had an interesting biography. He was a man in his 50ies, married with adult children and he waited until his 50ies to tell his wife about his necrophilic fantasies… and then they got a divorce. That is where I found out that somnophilia (arousal to sleeping people) was a cousin of necrophilia.
A final thought on non-homicidal necrophilia:
Sadism & Masochism
Throughout the last three sections, we have covered how some people are true pedophiles whereas others molest children for control, or true zoophiles vs. people who practice bestiality and the same can be said about necrophilia. Some people like necrophilia for the control (mainly the homicidal ones) and some are sincerely emotionally involved with that dead person.
In the book I suggested you read on necrophilia, Dr. Aggrawal makes no distinction between those who do it sincerely and those who do it for control, but I have seen on forums some necrophiles be offended by those who are solely into the control aspect, claiming that they are not real necrophiles just how not all child molesters are real pedophiles. I think the reason psychologists are more willing to make the distinction in the case of pedophiles is simply because they are more familiar with them and maybe also because, and I am speculating here, but maybe necrophilia is considered to be/is more pathological. Necrophiles are hard to come by. However, Dr. Aggrawal does specify that some necrophiles are also sadists. So what is sadism as it seems that it can be seen either alone or coupled with any other paraphilia?
Sadism is sexual arousal to the pain and humiliation of a non-consenting person. Wikipedia refers to this as Sexual sadism disorder. This isn’t the same as BDSM wherein a couple or group will consensually engage in play where one is dominant and the other submissive. Anyway, the word Sadism comes from the Marquis de Sade who was a French aristocrat, philosopher and an overall pervert as his books cover a range of sexual behaviour that would be considered deviant at the time and even today. People with this disorder can be very dangerous regardless of their sexual orientation. Usually it is coupled with another mental disorder like psychopathy and these people will not seek treatment. This is a situation in which the person themself doesn’t have a problem with their paraphilia, but the rest of society takes objection to it… not for moral reasons, but for very legitimate safety reasons.
Then there is the opposite disorder, Masochism (or sexual masochism disorder) wherein the ‘sufferer’ enjoys precisely that: suffering either physically or through humiliation and abuse. People like this can mainly be a danger to themselves. They’ll put themselves through pain either by sticking pins into their skin, electrocuting themselves, be urinated on, some might auto-asphyxiate themselves, others might provoke situations in order to get beaten up and the most extreme example was that case in Berlin a few years ago when a man consented to being killed and eaten by this Armin Miewes.
It’s a strange world, isn’ it? I wish I could discuss some more issues and nuances, but I think that is enough for today and if you are sincerely interested, you can check out the links or explore on your own. Next time your friends get on their moral high-horse about paraphilia, you can share these facts with them. It probably won’t make a difference, but you tried.
Talk to you later,