Twitter banned the discussion of sexual attraction to children

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Historically, sexual attraction to minors has been conceptualized as a deviant sexual interest, one that develops of out of traumatic childhood experiences and/or poor parenting practices (e.g., Finkelhor et al., 1986). More recently, sexual attraction to children has been proposed as another form of sexual orientation. Conceptualizing sexual attraction to children as a sexual orientation remains contentious and would require a significant theoretical shift. Seto (2012) challenged the dominant perceptions with respect to pedophilia by illustrating the parallels to the characteristics that are associated with accepted sexual orientations such as gender orientation. Seto (2017) later expanded upon this subject, suggesting that sexual attraction to children falls on the sexual orientation continuum of age orientation. Despite the term age orientation, this research program and other literature suggest that utilizing the Tanner stages and assessing sexual attraction to specific developing body morphology may be more useful when differentiating subsets of sexual attraction to children (e.g., Stephens, 2016). Seto (2017) outlined how age orientation fits within the concept of a chronophilia, which involves sexual attraction to individuals of a specific age range.

Despite such emerging results, researchers, including me, have been accused of "normalizing" pedophilia and/or supporting the sexual abuse of children by suggesting that sexual attraction to children is a form of sexual orientation. It is critical to note that acknowledgement that sexual attraction to children and/or adolescents meets the developmental trajectory of a sexual orientation does not presume or suggest that acting on such attractions is ever appropriate. To use homosexuality as a parallel, not an equivalent, there are individuals who for religious reasons choose not to express their sexual orientation; to do so would violate their moral and/or spiritual values. This is but one circumstance in which an individual may choose to avoid engaging in sexual behaviour with their goal object.

Despite the importance such research, the discussion of sexual attraction to children as a sexual orientation has recently been banned from social media and other resources (e.g., podcasts). Specifically, Twitter banned the discussion of sexual attraction to children as a sexual orientation in their terms of service in October 2020 [url Twitter's terms of service]. Twitter is an area of congregation for minor-attracted persons, where they can connect with researchers and clinicians with regards to the research. Removing the ability of such researchers to converse with those who provide them with critical information further impairs the uptake of related knowledge and services.

source: Research 'Pedophilia as Age Sexual Orientation: Supporting Seto's (2012) Conceptualization' by Crystal L. Mundy (University of British Columbia);;; November 2020