My last writeup on the topic raised quite some controversy, and as such, I was hesitant to post this. I changed my mind, however, and this is the result. Before anybody decides to ask; No, this is not a fictional interview.
I met "John" on a forum I was moderating for an internet newspaper I worked for in January. I asked if I could interview him, and he accepted. The original interview was in Norwegian, and this is a translation - as true as possible to the original - of that interview.
"I am a paedophile"
Paedophilia is one of the last remaining taboos in society. We talked to John. A sympathetic, sensitive, gallant, normal man who likes swimming, computer games, golf, web design and young boys.
John is a 30 year old man who works in the computer industry. He has grown to learn the hard way that it is not easy to be a paedophile – even in Norway, a country that is highly liberal in most other respects.
"When I realised that I liked young boys, I simultaneously realised that I had done so for a very long time", says John.
"Most of my young life I walked around waiting for 'something' to happen – that I would some day become interested in girls, just like everybody else", says John.
But that never happened. All of his life John preferred boys around twelve years of age. Even though there are hundreds of theories about his sexual preference, John is not looking for a 'miracle cure'.
"The question regarding the cause of paedophilia – whether it is genetic, acquired, or something else – might be interesting from an academic standpoint. Personally, I think it is completely irrelevant. I am a paedophile, and I have to find out how I can live with my sexual preference", says John.
"'Paedophile' is not the same as 'child molester'"
Of all the problems John has met, he believes the prejudice is the biggest threat to him as a person.
"For some reason, when somebody says 'paedophile', most people hear 'child molester'. I think that is a bit odd. When you tell somebody you are heterosexual, nobody automatically assumes you are a rapist. When I tell somebody I am a paedophile, this is the first thought that strikes people", says John
John believes that society's 'solutions' regarding paedophilia are a result of misunderstandings:
"People who do not know anything about paedophilia seem to believe that 'people like me' should never be anywhere near kids." Says John.
He thinks they are wrong, and explains how he sees his young friends as human beings, and not as sex objects.
"I really do love them," he says, "and I do all I can to make sure they are okay"
John tells us about how many child molestation cases that are in the media have little or nothing to do with paedophilia, and that the cases are invariably very wrongly depicted in the media.
"Often, for the molesters, these cases are far more about power and control over the young people, rather than paedophilia as such. It also seems that many people think that paedophile sex per definition includes anal sex. If you imagine a big, hairy, old man who sticks a huge dick into the bottom of a young child, it isn't strange that people believe it sounds horrible", John explains.
John has had sex with women of his own age. He says he thinks it was a physically enjoyable feeling, but that it gives him nothing beyond that.
"For me, sex with a boy is something completely different. It is about love, closeness and shared intimacy", says John. "Walking hand in hand with a young boy feels infinitely stronger, and it gives me a lot more, emotionally"
Trust is everything
"The best advice I can give parents regarding interaction with paedophiles, is trust. Focus on trust between you and your children, on openness, honesty and a healthy upbringing. If children do not feel they have to hide anything, they will learn by themselves who they have to be sceptical towards.", says John.
He believes that children are capable of setting limits on areas that are important to them – including sex.
"When it comes to other topics than sex, children are very good at saying what they feel. Adults could have something to learn from this. There is no reason for why the same should not be able to apply to sex as well", John says.
John thinks that society as a whole does not open for the possibility of seeing paedophilia as something positive.
"With the laws and rules that apply, children are not allowed to say 'yes' to sex, regardless of if the child would want to have sex or not", John says, and explains how he feels that society would do well if a higher degree of understanding and tolerance was shown.
"I think the paedophiles who do commit child abuse do it because they become frustrated, because they have no realistic opportunities to have an outlet for their emotions. It is impossible to legally have sex with children, but it is also impossible to speak open-heartedly about these feelings with people. You can ask any psychiatrist about this; It is a recipe for disaster."
"I am paedophile"
To come 'out of the closet' with any other sexual preference than heterosexuality is difficult, but John believes that paedophilia is one of the hardest preferences to get out in the open;
"When you introduce a homosexual friend, you might say 'This is Thomas. He is a good photographer, he is a fabulous skier – and he is gay.'", John says.
Somebody's sexual preference is not the same thing as your personality. Elton John and George Michael are remembered for the music they made, not because they are homosexual. When you are paedophile, the situation is vastly different;
"When I tell somebody I am a paedophile, suddenly everybody seems to think that is the only thing that is important to me. As if I walk around in my own little world, and as if I do not think about anything else but shagging children"
John has told his closest friends and family about his preference;
"Most of the people I tell think it is strong of me to come out like this. I have hardly had any negative reactions at all. When I tell people that I am paedophile, they may get a bit surprised, but mostly they realise that it is correct. They see I am the same playful and slightly childish adult they have known all along. They don't re-think me when I tell them, but they rather re-think their views of what it is to be paedophile", John explains.
Paedophilia on the Internet
"Through my contacts on the internet, I have grown to realise it is possible to live with this sexual preference, but still have a good life. The 'internet social circles' I frequent are more interested in how it is possible to live with this sexual preference in a way that is best for everybody – not just for me personally, but also for the boys, and society otherwise", John concludes.