Understanding and addressing adult sexual attraction to children

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Feierman (1990: 51), looking only at men, suggests that 'the central tendency in evolution is to produce heterosexual males by producing an optimal amount of masculinisation and defeminisation of the male brain in utero.' When the levels of masculinisation and defeminisation are slightly skewed, homosexuality, paedophilia (to either males or females) or transsexualism will result. From this model, Feierman predicts that, in any given population of men, paedophiles will be more common than homosexuals who will in turn be more common than transsexuals. [...]

First, paedophiles exist. This is a scary thought and something many people find difficult to accept. [...] Adults sexually attracted to children probably form something like 2 per cent of the adult male population and no doubt form a relatively high percentage of those who choose to work in settings with children and young people. They may well not be exclusively sexually attracted to children; they may form relationships with women, join families, form new families, and parent children. Without getting hysterical about these facts, we need to soberly asses them. How should we respond to this? [...]

My second main conclusion is that policy, media and charity approaches which demonise paedophiles make the situation worse. It may be a good strategy for getting votes, selling newspapers and raising funds to send out messages about 'stranger danger' and portray paedophiles as evil monsters lurking round every corner, but it is not a good strategy for protecting children effectively, which surely should be our most immediate priority. [...] Both practitioners and policy-makers need to pursue methods of child protection which are sensitive, which do not make assumptions, and which focus primarily on what people do without being blinded by who they are. [...]

My third main conclusion is that current criminal-justice interventions do not work. If they did, we would not still have rates of child sexual abuse running at epidemic proportions (Itzin 2006). Criminal justice interventions are a blunt tool. If the only option available is to 'grass' on a perpetrator (who may also be a family member or friend) then many people prefer simply to ignore the abuse and thereby also avoid the shame and embarrassment of the public process of a trial. This means that children are not protected. It also means that, if the only response is punitive, adults who are concerned about their own or a loved one's sexual attraction cannot get help and support.

source: From the book 'Understanding and Addressing Adult Sexual Attraction to Children - A study of paedophiles in contemporary society' by Sarah D. Goode; Routledge; London and New York; First published (2010 in book but that is incorrect); 2009