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Research: Nonsexual aspects

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Many researchers have pointed out that pedophilia often has a romantic and emotional element. A 2018 survey that focussed on MAPs with a low AoA appeared to reveal that falling in love with a child was very common.[1]

  • Okami, P. & Goldberg, A. (1992). "Personality Correlates of Pedophilia: Are They Reliable Indicators?," Journal of Sex Research, 29(3), 297-328.
    "Evidence further suggests that those persons whose primary sexual interest is genuinely pedophilic often exhibit a complex set of attitudes, beliefs, and perceived needs in regard to children of which sexual desire may be subordinate rather than superordinate (Groth, Hobson, & Gary, 1982; Howells, 1979, 1981; Lanyon, 1986; Ravitch & Weiss, 1962). Interactions between such persons and children sometimes have been characterized as "affectionate" and inclusive of many non-sexual components, some of which may be experienced by the child as rewarding (Groth et al., 1982; Howells, 1979: Ingram, 1981; Krivacska, 1990; Lanyon, 1986; Li et al., 1990; Money, in Geraci & Mader, 1991; Peters, 1976; Sandfort, 1984; Schultz, 1973)."
  • Wilson, G. & Cox, D. (1983). "The Child-Lovers: A Study of Paedophiles in Society." London: Peter Owen Publishers, 1983.
    "From Table 4 [of our study] it can be seen that both physical appearance and personality characteristics are claimed as important determinants of the appeal of children to the paedophile, with personality descriptions being given slightly more commonly than physical descriptions. The most important personality trait that the men find attractive in children is their innocence and openness, this being expressed in a variety of different ways (lack of inhibition, honesty, simplicity, curiosity, openness to experience, willingness to learn, spontaneity, etc). Their warmth, affection, friendliness, charm, softness and understanding were also mentioned, although this might have referred to the particular children with whom the men were able to establish some relationship. Other descriptions related to energy level, e.g. vitality, vivaciousness, enthusiasm, mischief, liveliness. [...]
    Answers to the question concerning the kinds of relationships with children that are engaged in are summarised in Table 13, with some of the more typical and interesting responses given verbatim in Table 14. The most common descriptions were in non-sexual terms such as affectionate, caring, loving, gentle, intimate, platonic and fatherly."
  • Plummer, K. (1981). "Pedophilia: Constructing a Sociological Baseline," in Mark Cook and Kevin Howells (eds.), Adult Sexual Interest in Children, 221-48. London: Academic, 1981.
    "The general problems [faced by pedophiles] are not distinctive to pedophiles but common to all people. For example, the problem of a lost love or an unrequited love may occur more frequently amongst pedophiles, but all people can in principle have such experiences. As one heterosexual pedophile wrote:
    "How can it ever be possible to convey to people that we can suffer the same pangs of jealousy, emotional distress, at being parted from a loved one, and suicidal tendencies (when it appears the child who is the object of affection seems to have vanished for ever) as "normal lovers" do. How can they understand the terrible loneliness of a crowded room because she is not there. Helpless, lonely, living in a world of hopeless frustration because the one you love is constantly absent and yet ever constant in dreams, awake or sleeping. How could we tell them of the tears that can be shed because a little seven year old girl is no longer there."
    Apart from the reference to a seven-year-old girl, that observation may be common to many people's lives, as may the following:
    "I get so desperately in love with these people. Any of them, you know. If I had any sort of relationship with anybody, in the first place I wouldn't have it if I didn't like the person, there comes a kind of possessiveness that nobody likes. I wish I weren't possessive. Nobody likes anybody who is possessive. But if you are by nature possessive you can't help being like that, and I always get very much in love with them. It sounds silly to express what you mean by being in love. I want that person all the time you know, and I don't find many people like that."
    Such problems could be illustrated many times. It is important to distinguish them because some sexually different people can see their lives being full of such problems, unique to themselves, whereas in fact such problems are widespread through many groups of society. [...]
    This is not to say that the adult loses interest in the child, it is to say that the erotic component now dwindles. Many pedophile relationships established in early years can continue till the twilight of life, but the eroticism ceases at puberty."
  • Schmidt, G. (2002). "The Dilemma of the Male Pedophile," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31(6), 473-477.
    "Pedophiles are men whose sexual wishes and desires for relationship bonds and love are focused either primarily or exclusively on children who have not reached puberty, whereby the relative importance of each of these three areas–sexuality, relationship, and love–may vary, as it does with other people as well."
  • Li, Chin-Keung (1990). "The Main Thing Is Being Wanted," Journal of Homosexuality, 20(1-2), 129-143.
    "Pedophilia is not primarily a matter of sex, but of love, of being wanted, of childhood enjoyment, of things that the adult world cannot provide. […] Whether they feel that they are born pedophile, or that pedophilia is a normal and legitimate variation of human sexual expression, most of my informants have stressed the experience of love, affection, or closeness in their encounters with children. The sense of emotional contact with another human person is as important as, if not actually more important than, the excitement of sex. Among these informants, four have explicitly articulated their experience with children in terms of romantic courtship and love. […] To some pedophiles, their relationships with children are constituted by an intense love and affection."
  • Lautmann, Rüdiger (1994). Attraction to Children. Ingrid Klein Pubs. Inc., Hamburg. ISBN 3-89521-015-3.
    "It's not chronological age that's decisive [for pedophilic attraction], but rather a combination of physical and personality characteristics. Therefore, the pedophile takes seriously those young people with whom he could fall in love."
  • Crawford, D.A. (1981). "Treatment approaches to paedophiles," in M. Cook and K. Howells (Eds), Adult Sexual Interest in Children. London: Academic Press, p. 184.
    "For the majority of pedophiles, however, the notion of excessively high levels of sexual drive and overpowering sexual urges motivating their offences seems inappropriate. The feelings they report towards children are more often ones of love and tenderness, emotions which are not reportedly eliminated by castration." (Quoted in by Dennis Howitt.)
  • Bailey, J. Michael (2009). "Was Michael Jackson A Pedophile?," scientificblogging.com, July 1.
    "Hebephilia and pedophilia are sexual orientations, just like normal heterosexuality and homosexuality. Also like normal sexualities, they are not just sexual. Not only do straight men have sex with women, they also fall in love with them, court them, bond with them, and sleep in the same bed with them, often without anything overtly sexual occurring. There is no reason why hebephiles and pedophiles would not also have feelings of love and attachment, as well as sexual attraction, towards children."
  • Seto, Michael (2012). "Is Pedophilia a Sexual Orientation?", Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 41, p. 233.
    "Some studies have found that some pedophilic sexual offenders (in particular, those who select unrelated boys) score higher on measures of emotional congruence with children than other sexual offenders (Underhill, Wakeling, Mann, & Webster, 2008; Wilson, 1999). Finkelhor (1984) defined emotional congruence with children as the extent to which sex with a child fulfilled emotional needs. Emotional congruence can also include the degree to which someone prefers the company of children, enjoys child-oriented activities, and feels his emotional and intimacy needs can be met by children (Wilson, 1999). Some pedophiles not only seek sexual contacts with children, but seek romantic relationships with them. For example, Li (1991) interviewed 27 pedophiles and found that many characterized their contacts with children as part of loving relationships. Wilson and Cox (1983) interviewed 77 members of the Paedophile Information Exchange in the United Kingdom, and found that more respondents characterized their relationships with children as affectionate, loving, intimate, and 'close' (n = 25) than as genitally-oriented (n = 18). Some respondents claimed their relationships with children were platonic, suggesting that sexual attraction was not the primary motivation."
  • Vaerwaeter, B. [Pseudonym] (2022). The Pedophile as a Human Being: An Autoethnography for the Recognition of a Marginalized Sexual Orientation Controversial Ideas 2 (1). DOI:10.35995/jci02010003
    "[...]it is important to recognize that there is such a thing as pedophilic love, that fits in the spectrum of feelings that are generally denoted as romantic, even though falling in love with a minor is peculiar in some aspects.[...] pedophilic love may be more related to how adolescents experience love and romantic attraction, than to long-lasting feelings of love for someone who has been a partner or a soul mate for an important part of one’s life. What is more difficult to demonstrate, but must nevertheless be considered, is that pedophilic love may show some characteristics of the affection that is felt by parents for their young children; a concerned and protective reflex that is associated with strong emotional involvement, which is only partly reciprocal. Apart from being less reciprocal, pedophilic love clearly is also more ephemeral than love between adults, since the advent or progress of puberty inevitably has a profound, even destructive, impact on such feelings. But the fact that it is so short-lived is not bizarre or unethical by necessity: it could easily be viewed as an accelerated version of the common case of a couple separating because one or both of them feel that at the time when they started their relationship, their partner was very much a different person."

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