Q. I’ve known this for about 13 years. I am 30 years old now. I had a brief (few months) relation with a boy 12 years ago that was ended and then confessed to the parents of the child. Since then, over the years, there have been recurrant thoughts and indulgence in certain types of media and, for a short time, online chatting. This has all stopped, and I am in therapy now (having revealed all of the above to the therapist, who informed me of her legal obligations and professional concern…everything addressed as it should be), of my own volition. I have also brought this up to my circle of friends, and thereby lost most of them. My life is very difficult right now, but I’ve so far been able to keep myself from the old habits and look into ways of changing. What I’m glad about is that I’m doing this without being forced to. As thrilling as it was to have a dirty secret, it’s worthwhile for me to not feel like I’m hunted and a monster. I’m glad that, even though technically, I could be jailed for whatI’ve done, I have brought this into the light without getting caught and thrown away. I’ m doing this, not because and the state says I must, but because I say I must. I’m glad that some people have been very understanding and supportive. I am still loved. What worries me are three main concerns: Firstly, I wonder about myself. There were times in the past when I decided to give it up, but I started looking at stuff again (the almost-entire majority of this thing was looking at pics/vids) and then that would continue for a while. I know I have to change. It’s either move forward on the path I’m on, or end up perpetuating a cycle that thrives on the exploitation of those who don’t comprehend exactly how they’re being used. It seems like many things in my life…many grand ideas…get left behind like forgotten toys. I don’t want that to happen with this. I’ve heard of the recidivism rate of offenders and it’s a bit daunting. My prime hope is the theraputic process. But I’ve only had three sessions of psychotherapy and I don’t have all that much money, so I’m worried that I have to skip appointments so I can pay my bills and such. It’s depressing.
Secondly, I worry about society’s blind fury crashing in on me and sending me to Hell. Let’s not kid ourselves here…going to a penitentiary to be further dehumanized including frequent gang rape and beatings can only make the situation worse. After that, I’d probably be thouroughly convinced that the best way to handle things is to be a more convincing liar…or I’d lose all ability to be MY OWN keeper, relying on Mother System to punish and nurture me. The reason I’m on my third therapist (who I haven’t seen yet, because I’m waiting to get the money for the initial consultation), is the first two referred me. The second one called CPS to report possible danger to both my then-roommate’s kid (a five year old girl who didn’t even live with us) and my then-girlfriend’s infant girl. I understand the logic of this. My roommate’s girl is in the range I’d be attracted to, but I’ve specifically blanked any thoughts of her that might lead to anything dangerous, instead, on the few times we’ve interacted, playing or talking with her as a little sister…a purely RESPONSIBLE way of thinking that I find mostly incompatible with sexual feelings (I’ve never felt much like the “Daddy,” even in my dark fantasies. My former girlfriend’s infant is so far from being an attraction to me, it’s ludicrous to me to think its a danger. I’m not a “nepiaphile,” even though I had access if I wanted to, to that kind of media. Still, I understand. I worry that, the more I repeat myself and the more I come forward with what I’ve done, the more I risk someone choosing to PUNISH me. I’m CERTAIN that this is why most pedophiles NEVER come forward unless they are caught offending. We are viewed as the ultimate debased evil by sooo many (even those who have it in them, too).
Thirdly, as messed up as this sounds, I want to have a family. I did not ask for this. I never took “Becoming a Pedophile” in school. I look at this as I would a chronic disease like Alcoholism or Schizophrenia. I have to believe its treatable and controllable. I want a normal life!! I just wish sometimes I could blank my mind and reformat it without this thing. I would rather lose a limb or a sense than have this thing in me any more. Be honest, Doc – can a pedophile ever become a parent or a step parent? I would give ANYTHING for that. I will go through hell and give up whatever I need to. Just…I gotta know…will this world let me if I will? Is it possible?
A. Thank you for your honesty. Your narrative is similar to what other pedophiles describe, maintaining this is not something within their control and they must be stopped, treated and controlled.
Changing your sexual proclivity towards children is extremely difficult and some researchers say it’s nearly impossible without drastic measures. While therapy can help you to control your urges and desires to some extent, outcome studies show it is not successful in changing your orientation towards children. It would be like giving therapy to change someone’s homo or hetro sexuality—it simply has not been proven to work. Some researchers advocate chemical castration as a treatment—taking Depo-Provera to decrease testosterone levels. No uniform treatment is mandated in the United States for those convicted of molestation.
No one knows for sure what causes molesters to molest but more and more research shows pedophilia is not easily cured, if ever. Without drastic medical procedures or continuous supervision of you and your child, I would strongly recommend not having children so that you are not faced with desires that you have described as predominantly uncontrollable. It would not be fair to any child given your history and what is currently known about pedophilia.
You also mention the unfairness of society’s reaction towards the pedophile. I think it is most important to realize that nothing is more unfair than the molestation of a child. The child is the ultimate victim and you must control yourself or have society control you with what ever means necessary to protect the sanctity of the child. I wish you the very best of luck in this process.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Nov 2005
Randle, K. (2005). The worst thing in the world. I’m a pedophile.. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 28, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2005/11/02/the-worst-thing-in-the-world-im-a-pedophile/