say, theoretically, I’m a pedophile.
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. Hell, even porn that’s just drawn
pictures—perverts drawing smut for perverts with no kids or
anyone else involved—is illegal in a lot of places. I don’t
even look at kids in public, and anyone of whatever orientation
who’s been to a crowded beach knows how hard it can be not
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 and get the shit kicked out of me.
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.
They certainly wouldn’t assume I’d molest them.
My sex drive was put together wrong, Dan. 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.
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, KIW. 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 non-offending 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.
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.”
The psychotherapies that are available, says Cantor, “were
designed to assist people who have already committed an offense
to prevent a ‘relapse.’ These therapies have less to provide
to people who already have the skills and drive to keep themselves
from ‘acting out.’” Your best option, according to Cantor,
may be the one you’re clearly not too enthused about (and
who can blame you?): “Castration, both chemical and physical,”
says Cantor, “can indeed be used to eliminate or take the
edge off one’s sex drive.”
If castration doesn’t “take the edge off” a man’s sex drive,
I shudder to think what Plan B is. Back to Cantor:
pedophiles have told me that chemical castration has given
them considerable relief,” Cantor adds. “So it’s unfortunate
that we use the term ‘chemical castration,’ which evokes all
kinds of emotions. When you get right down to it, we are talking
only about taking the same medication used by, for example,
prostate-cancer patients—some cancers are accelerated by testosterone,
so blocking testosterone is part of the treatment.”
And as for babysitting . . .
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.”
So no babysitting for you, KIW—to protect the kids, first
and foremost, but yourself as well. If it ever comes out that
you are a pedophile and you were in the habit of babysitting-without-touching,
your friends are unlikely to take your protestations—you’ve
never touched a child—at face value.
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.”
One of the reasons given for the nomination of Pope
John Paul II for sainthood is that he “whipped himself with
a belt, even on vacation,” according to a new book about the
pope. If that’s what it takes, why isn’t David Carradine a
saint? What is the link between Catholicism and sadomasochism?
As a former seminarian, Dan, perhaps you can explain this.
Holiness Is Painful
I was in the preparatory seminary—a high school for
boys considering the priesthood—not a full-blown seminary,
WHIP. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some of my classmates
were fully blown seminarians—there were an awful lot of priests
around—but I didn’t go on to the full-blown seminary myself.
(I stopped considering the priesthood when it dawned on me
that I could still wear dresses, fuck boys, and live in a
big house filled with Catholic kitsch without becoming a priest.)
As for the link between Christianity and sadomasochism, well,
considering the way Jesus died (whipped, verbally abused,
crucified) and the gruesome deaths of so many early Christians
at the hands of Romans, what other choice did Christians have
but to view suffering as evidence of divine favor and personal
virtue? And I suspect that two thousand years of hearing about
how Jesus suffered and died for our sins—whether we wanted
him to or not—couldn’t help but have an impact on the erotic
inner lives of the faithful. But taking sexual gratification
from the infliction of pain predates Christianity—go read
your ancient-Roman sex comedies—so you can’t pin all the kinksters
out there on the Catholics.
Speaking of whipped saviors: Mike Gerle was International
Mr. Leather in 2007—and, yeah, his last name is pronounced
“girly,” what of it?—and he’s had it with the goody-two-shoeing
of the gay BDSM scene. Leather bars are hosting more fundraisers
than dark-and-cruisy beer blasts, and the guys entering leather-title
contests today seem more interested in raising money for charity
than they are in BDSM sex.
has got to stop,” Gerle writes on Leatherati. “If for no other
reason, it is driving the kinky men I want to hook up with
out of the few spaces we have left. This is cock-blocking
on an enormous scale.”
My two cents: I think the demise of the anti-BDSM bigotry
once so prevalent in the gay community—yes, in the gay community—and
the advent of the Internet have done more harm to the gay
leather scene than all those Toys for Tots drives combined.
Kinky guys don’t have to sneak into leather bars and pray
that their friends don’t see them anymore; they can post personal
ads at sites like Recon and GearFetish—and they do, in droves.
And thanks to the destigmatization of kinks generally, and
thanks to concepts like GGG (you’re welcome, kinksters!),
kinky gay guys don’t have to limit themselves to other kinky
gay guys. They can date guys they’re into—vanilla or not—with
a reasonable expectation that their kinks will be indulged.
Still, Toys for Tots drives and platitude-spouting leather-title
contestants are contributing to the general lameness. Gerle
has thrown down the gauntlet on Leatherati. And in Minneapolis,
a young gay kinkster, disappointed by the leather scene, decided
to do something about it. Check out his blog at tynanfox.com
a new Savage Love podcast every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.