Should pedophilia be prevented?

“It all started with a big …..”

Researcher James Cantor is trying to find out where pedophilia comes from. Are pedophiles born with their orientation or have they developed this in early childhood? He says the following on the matter:

Are (pedophiles) born with (pedophilia)? I am not sure they are born with it. It is possible that they are merely born with a risk. But if we can figure out which of these infants, pregnancies, young people are at risk for developing pedophilia to begin with….Well we know we can’t turn a pedophile into a non-pedophile in adulthood. But if we can find that early link, if we can find where the whole thing starts. Then not only will we be in the position to prevent the second offence, which is the reason we have the justice system, but if we can figure out what that first link is than we can prevent the first offence.

(See the video link below starting at 49:50 through to 50:28)


The reason presented here to prevent pedophilia seems to be to protect society. For this to be a valid reason you would need uphold the view that pedophilia inevitably leads to child sexual abuse. And there is strong evidence it doesn’t. The Dutch government published a research study in May 2014 stating that in The Netherlands 80% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are not pedophiles. Strangely enough Cantor himself acknowledges that child sex abusers and pedophiles are not necessarily the same thing (at 41.47 minutes). That makes his argument to protect society rather dubious. Can both his statements exist at the same time? If pedophiles are not necessarily child sex abusers than why should pedophilia be prevented?

Pedophiles don’t want to be a pedophile

@Nestorim1000 said on twitter that most pedophiles don’t want to be pedophiles. I don’t know if that is true. I don’t know of any research supporting that claim. In this case I can only speak for myself. Being a pedophile can be tough. The threat of societal exclusion and violence can certainly be depressing. The constant repetition of the stigma that pedophiles are (or will be) offenders is discouraging to say the least especially when brought forward by professionals. The taboo of the subject can lead to loneliness concerning either the sexual orientation or in general life.

KnipselBut being a pedophile can also be beautiful and surely rewarding. I call myself an active pedophile. I play games with children teach, play sports, joke and talk with them. Just no sex. I can also be deeply touched by the physical and characteral beauty of some boys. All this I really enjoy and I find it a treasure in my life.

Is a hostile society however reason to prevent pedophilia? Is it reason enough to intervene in the life of young people and/or their parents? Perhaps there are alternatives to lessen the pain and problems of pedophiles. These problems can be partially overcome by teaching society the difference between ones orientation and ones actions. There is also much to gain in strengthening social circles of pedophiles by more and better information, specialized professionals and self help groups. Lets start by educating teenagers in schools that pedophilia can be an orientation. Let us not forget that every high school has teenage pedophiles. Are we going to tell them it would have been better if they were prevented or are we going to tell them how their sexual orientation can have a meaningful role in their lifes?

Ethical debate is necessary

So is the psychological impairment, if you can call it that, of a pedophile enough to want to prevent it? If we as a society strive for a world full of normal people I guess that is the way to go. But before we start preventing pedophilia, which basically means preventing pedophiles from existing, I think we need a more balanced view on what pedophilia is. And in today’s mindset I think we are far from a balanced view on pedophilia and pedophiles. With the mere focus on societal safety, the constant unfounded stigmatizing claims that pedophiles will offend, I think that the call for preventing pedophilia cannot go without a thorough ethical debate. I dont have all the answers. But I will join a debate anytime with that one simple but powerfull question; Why? This is a debate no one should walk away from.


Definitions & Links

  • For this blog I define children by the age of consent laws in The Netherlands which is all persons below the age of 16.
  • Pedophilia is the sexual orientation of adults towards children. Pedophilia doesn’t say anything about the moral standards or the actual behavior of a pedophile. In order not to make this a highly specialized debate I combine pedophilia, hebofilia and efebofilia into one group and call that pedophilia. Much like mainstream society does.
  • A pedophile is a person with pedophilia as a sexual orientation.
  • I use the following definition of child sexual abuse: when an adult has sex with one or more children. There is certainly room to challenge this definition, however for this specific blog this definition will do fine.
  • The video of the ATSA Public Engagement Event with James Cantor:
  • The Nationaal Rapporteur published a research study on perpetrators of child sexual abuse. For now only available in Dutch. I know the Nationaal Rapporteur is working on an English translation. Coming soon.

6 thoughts on “Should pedophilia be prevented?

  1. You have raised some valid points. However, I believe you are reacting to metaphorical shadows cast on the wall, not the objects in the room. If the lighting is right, the shadow of a mouse can look like a monster.

    You asked:
    “If pedophiles are not necessarily child sex abusers than why should pedophilia be prevented?”

    If treated honestly, this is a large and complicated question, not something easily answered in a tweet or two. The obvious answer, as I see it, is for (A) the betterment of the lives of individuals as well as (B) the reduction of child sexual abuse. Clearly, as per your argument, not everyone agrees that “the prevention of pedophilia” will necessarily lead to (A) or (B), or that the ‘cost’ is even ethical, but there is plenty of time for debate on these topics. There are far more pressing issues for the MAPs that exist today and the MAPs that will exist tomorrow.

    And with that in mind, my initial reaction to seeing your question(s) on twitter was not to think about the question itself (since what I wrote above seemed obvious to me) but to wonder WHY you found it an important question to ask to begin with.

    What did you expect would be gained from repeatedly asking Dr Cantor this question?

    “Dear @JamesCantorPhD, You say a pedophile is not the same as a child molester. Then why do you want to prevent pedophilia at an early age?”
    — @Pedofiel_tweets · Dec 12

    By other tweets you made later on, it seems you genuinely believe your question is “a normal rationally posed question” that should elicit “a normal response.” However, I don’t believe that question is as “normal” or “rational” as you seem to believe — not if you consider the context, anyway. Allow me to explain….

    By merely asking the question “why….” the way you did, you made an implicit declaration that you take issue with “the obvious answer” I outlined above. For sake of discussion, let’s analyze this deeper.

    Your tweet contained two sentences. The question part was “why do you want to prevent pedophilia at an early age?” The answer to that seemingly straight-forward question should be found in the video. In fact, it IS quite plainly found in the video. You even quoted it in your blog post!

    Dr Cantor said: “If we can find where the whole thing (i.e. pedophilia) starts….if we can figure out what that first link is, than we can prevent the first offense.”

    How can you claim to be asking a rational question if it’s a question you already have the answer to? It was clear to me the moment I read your question that you must have felt something was wrong with Dr Cantor’s answer in the video. I imagine he felt the same way, which was why he ignored you.

    As I said, your tweet contained two sentences. The latter one was the question, but the former one was a premise for the question. You didn’t merely ask “why do you want X,” you asked “If Y is true, why do you want X?”

    This question arrangement oversimplifies the relationship between X and Y. You seem to think that somehow the fact that “a pedophile is not the same as a child molester” strips the merit behind the (alleged) desire “to prevent pedophilia at an early age.” The opening paragraph of this blog post reiterates your belief that this is true. I challenge this notion.

    Dr Cantor’s presentation relied on the premise that “Pedophilia motivates child molestation.” I suspect he would not object to me clarifying this as “Pedophilia is a motivation for child molestation among pedophilic child molesters.” Of course, pedophilia alone doesn’t cause child molestation, but to deny that it can be a factor is not an honest approach either. It does not motivate you or me this way, but neither of us are sex offenders.

    Sex Offenders.

    The program Dr Cantor was speaking at was “Understanding Sexual Abuse & Sexual Assault: Causes, Consequences and Prevention” put forth by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. ( The particular section Dr Cantor was presenting a part of was titled “General Information about Sexual Abuse & Sexual Offending”. So, the context of Dr Cantor’s comments are clearly oriented towards discussing pedophilic offenders. In fact, Dr Cantor, when talking about prevention, talked specifically about the possibility of “prevent(ing) the first offense.” To me, this is not necessarily the same thing as “preventing pedophilia.”

    Now, there is ONE instance where Dr Cantor specifically mentions the concept of preventing “pedophilia,” but he does not do so lightly. He says:

    “Once you have the idea, even though we all very easily would sign on to the idea of eliminating pedophilia, what kind of social and biological control over other human beings are we talking about doing and are we wiling to do that? Now all of a sudden, we have two very important principals fighting each other.”

    As you can see, Dr Cantor is aware of the ethical questions surrounding the topic of eugenics, and is in no hurry to take sides. Reading your post gives me the impression that you feel Dr Cantor is ignoring voices like yours. Voices like mine. Perhaps you feel that way because he literally ignored you. I did not get this impression from him.

    And finally, I opened with a metaphor for a reason.

    We are nowhere near “preventing” pedophilia, let alone detecting it early on. We don’t even know if it will ever be possible to truly prevent pedophilia — this may be a technological feat we never reach. Of course, there are other reasons it may not happen — technology may not even be the limiting factor. The eugenics debate is a concern many people are concerned with. For example, members of the autistic community are just as concerned with potential applications of eugenics as you are. The debate over “eliminating” the existence of pedophilia in terms of an actual option will not take place in a vacuum. Other debates will be happening simultaneously. The understanding of pedophilia is still in it’s infancy. As we get closer to the possibility of preventing pedophilia, knowledge of pedophilia will increase. Perhaps the experiences of pedophiles that enjoy their pedophilia — people like you and me — will be more understood.

    As I said at the beginning, you DO raise valid points. I don’t disagree with most of what you say. I just think the bit of information you’ve chosen to focus on doesn’t warrant the concern you show. It certainly didn’t warrant sending Dr Cantor the dozen tweets that you did.


    1. Thank you Max for your reply.

      There is a lot going on in your reply. You wonder if my question should have been asked, should it have been asked using Twitter, you explain what mr Cantor meant to say and did say, that I shouldn’t worry so much cause we are nowhere near prevention and should I have spent a dozen tweets on the matter?

      Let’s begin with the subject matter which is most important to me. It is why I asked the question in the first place.

      In your reply you explain the quotes by mr Cantor. Pedophilia can be a risk factor for child sexual abuse (I agree) and his claims about the prevention of pedophilia should be seen as the prevention of the first offence. You found clues in his video presentation that substantiate your argument. Strong clues. I hope you are right. My doubts remain however. Partly because you seem to tamper with the evidence at hand. It is like interpreting some of the laws of the bible to what seems to be more fitting with modern day views.

      Before I explain I need to say a few words on my feelings towards mr Cantor. Some people seemed to think that my question concerning the prevention on pedophilia had to do with a personal dislike of Cantor. Although I think he was arrogant in ignoring my question this is not at all personal. My question originates from genuine interest and an honest belief that he is contradicting himself. Although scientifically educated I am not a scientist. I work in a completely different field. The only relation between me and mr Cantor is that he studies pedophiles and I happen to be one. With the risk of sounding condescending I think his research and his statements are focused on in depth fact finding and connecting the dots rationally while steering clear from politics. I am glad he is researching pedophilia. Solid research is scarce. Research on pedophilia probably isn’t easy in today’s climate.

      Since mr Cantor himself remains silent on the issue we have to make do with what he made available to us. By the way: this is the stuff that gods are made off. But in this case I take his words seriously. When he implies that he is looking for “the first link to pedophilia to prevent the first offence” I take that literally. You don’t. You take context into account and look for other quotes to interpret his statements. A solid approach. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be critical. And I think that you are not critical enough in interpreting the context. To seem to tamper with the evidence in order to substantiate your argument.
      The premise of his presentation is, as you put it: “Pedophilia motivates child molestation.” However you redefine that premise of the presentation saying that he meant to say: “Pedophilia is a motivation for child molestation among pedophilic child molesters.” Maybe you are right and that is what he meant. You found some clues suggesting that could be the case. But I rather take the words as they are presented. Mr Cantor is an experienced researcher and speaker. He knows what he is talking about. Maybe his words were clear form the start for you. They were not so for me, not then, not now. So if in doubt about what he actually meant: ask. Which I did.

      I am sure mr Cantor knows about the ethical implications of preventing a sexuality. Yet, here he is, positively glowing at the thought of making prevention real. Are these words meant to justify his research to more conservative forces he has to deal with? I don’t know. I just know he seems to imply pedophilia can and should be prevented. If he can only find that first link. Your interpretation of his words certainly holds some ground. I am sure it is not as black and white as I presented it in my tweet(s). However, you changed the premise of his presentation. In my ideal world you shouldn’t be filling in the blanks. He should.

      I am well aware that the prevention of pedophilia isn’t real any time soon. But just as my unreal fantasies have been challenged by many since the age of 16 so too can I challenge the wet dreams of others.

      You say that a question about the prevention of pedophilia cannot be answered honestly in a tweet or two. This is true for the majority of questions. Should we leave all matters of complexity to professionals with ample time? Well…welcome to the 21st century and to Twitter. If one can post a video implying to prevent pedophilia , if one can favor tweets with one’s own quotes than one can surely find a way to reply to a question on Twitter.

      Prior to my question I quoted mr Cantor in 4 tweets. He favored two of them. Encouraged by him favoring my tweets I immediately thereafter put my question to him. I repeated the question twice in four days. That is hardly the dozen tweets you mention. He then blocked me. I used three tweets to express my disbelief. And I wrote one blog.



  2. I have meant to reply earlier, but haven’t had the time. I know many pedos personally, around a dozen. Most agree that it’s a burden to have a feature that carries a stigma, is hated and is viewed in a prejudiced way. Even if these are not caused by the orientation itself, many also are exclusive and are depressed about having to live without a partner.

    I am convinced that most of us would choose a normal life if there actually was a simple choice. I think most would choose to be hetero instead of gay, too – if there really was such a choice before a corresponding identity has formed.

    But this is of course a completely theoretical question. In practice there would probably be some kind of sacrifice or risk in the choice. In current society, a forced choice would be made with prejudiced reasoning. If possible victims were the only consideration, it would be very selfish reasoning, and inhumane and discriminating against pedophiles.

    But we know it cannot be chosen. Because we are what we are, we should enjoy our lives as what we are.


    1. Thank you Nestori for your comments. It puts the tweet that I quoted in a more in depth context.

      I too know the burden of being a pedophile. Nonetheless the burden is not at the core of how I feel.
      Given the choice at an early age is indeed hypothetical. But present me a blue or red pill (The Matrix) now and I wouldn’t make that choice lightly. I would certainly want to try being a heterosexual for a day or two. Just to know what that feels like. There is a big chance I end up in a bar trying to pick up women. As many as I can 🙂 The idea you can try to pick up anyone you like seems an exquisite luxury to me.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Would he detect the paedophile in me?…Because I like adults and children!
    “If we can figure out what that first link is,Then we can prevent the first offence” So your biology is your first offence! As someone that is pro-contact(providing there’s no coercion or force)we’re going about this the wrong way;But that’s my opinion.
    Can you imagine a DR proposing to find and eliminate the Gay gene! After all,many people feel bad and/or suicidal about their homosexuality.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jens Wagner from the german program kTw says that 1 in 5 child molesters is a pedophile, the others are not. Taking 4% of all men are pedophiles, then the probabilities of a pedophile molesting a child are diminishing.


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