When people ask me for recommendations of what to read/watch to understand sociopaths better, I tell them, among other things, the film The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon. In it he plays a "recovering" pedophile who struggles with his urges as he tries to form a "normal" romantic attachment with a woman and stumbles upon another predator like himself. Un-acted upon pedaphilia was recently addressed in a Dan Savage column. when I read it, for "pedophile," I substituted "sociopath," for "sexual attraction to children," I substituted ...
Let's say, theoretically, I'm a pedophile.The money quote for me: "Unfortunately, science doesn't know much about pedophiles like you, pedophiles who haven't done anything, because the social stigma is so great that most nonoffending pedophiles never seek treatment."
I'm not stupid or evil, so I'm not gonna DO anything. I'm not even gonna look at porn, because the production of it involves child exploitation. I don't even look at kids in public places.
So what the fuck should I do? Chemical castration? But I haven't DONE anything and I don't plan to. Am I obliged to tell anyone? Good way to lose friends. Can I keep babysitting my friends' kids when they need a hand? After all, if I were into adult women, people wouldn't see anything wrong with leaving me alone with a couple of those.
What the fuck do I do? Live alone and hope Japan starts producing affordable sexbots before I'm too old to care?
You know, theoretically. If I were a pedophile.
Knows It's Wrong
"My heart goes out to people to whom nature has given something as powerful and as distracting as a sex drive and no healthy way to express it," says Dr. James Cantor, a psychologist and the editor in chief of the research journal Sexual Abuse. "Pedophiles are not the only folks in this position, but they are by far the most demonized, regardless of whether they have ever actually caused anyone any kind of harm."
My heart is going out to you, too. As I've written before, we should acknowledge the existence of "good pedophiles," people like you, KIW, who are burdened with a sexual interest in children but who possess the moral sense to resist acting on that interest. It's a lifelong struggle for "good pedophiles," and most manage to succeed without any emotional support—to say nothing of credit—whatsoever.
Unfortunately, science doesn't know much about pedophiles like you, pedophiles who haven't done anything, because the social stigma is so great that most nonoffending pedophiles never seek treatment. And what research has been done, says Cantor, isn't very encouraging if you're looking to free yourself from your attraction to children.
"There is no known way of turning a pedophile into a nonpedophile," says Cantor. "The best we can do is help a person maximize their self-control and to help them build an otherwise happy and productive life."
"It is true that a regular heterosexual man is not going to commit an offense against every woman he finds attractive. However, most women are capable of recognizing when an interaction is just starting to go south and of getting out of the situation. Most children are not. So although there is every reason to believe that there exist cats that can successfully be in charge of the canary, it's not a very good idea for the cat to be the one making that call."
"I wish I had better news," concludes Cantor. "I also wish that more people did good research on this so that one day I could have better news to give."