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Chapter 3
Pedophilia as an Example of Norm-Deviant Sexuality and Concomitant Demand-Structures

In the following the "isolated minority syndrome" among sexually marginal groups and the social situation of pedophilically-oriented persons is broadly outlined and the heightened demand-structure connected with it is considered within a behavioral psychology conceptual framework.

These considerations involve assumptions which remain untested. As of this point, scientific studies illuminating the social situation of pedophilically-oriented persons and depicting the concrete, everyday problems associated with pedosexual relationships are nonexistent. The relevant literature from those affected does, however, yield some important clues.

(See, e.g., Leopardi, 1988; the journal "Pädos," 1996-1998; Engelmann, 1998)

Personality psychology results relating to the psychical condition of non-institutionalized pedophilic men – by Bernard (1982a) as well as Wilson & Cox (1983) – were documented in Chapter 1.

3.1 The Isolated Minority Syndrome among Sexually Marginal Groups

Fog (1992) [*] has entitled his description and explanatory model of the behavioral patterns of stigmatized social minorities the "Isolated Minority Syndrome." 

Fog, A., Paraphilias and Therapy. Nordisk Sexologi 10:4 (1992), pp. 236-242.
Fog, A.,  Sexuelle Abweichungen und Therapie. German translation (by Marianne W. Bayer) of the above.

As in the behavioral psychology's conceptual framework, he emphasizes in his presentations the relationship between the individual and the environment. Disturbances to the "metabolic process" between the individual and the environment are due, according to his model, to the lack of the ability to identify with a suitable sexual object. 

In contrast to the heterosexual population, due to conditions of isolation, learning and socialization experiences critical to the construction of an adequate sexual environment and self-concept either cannot take place at all, or do so only under very onerous circumstances. The phenomenology of the Isolated Minority Syndrome also springs, however, from the non-acceptance of one's own sexual stirrings as well as negative self-concept.


Among those members of sexually marginal groups who have little contact with others similarly situated, Fog (1992) observes the following, accumulative symptomatology:

an unrealistically lofty conception of the ideal partner;
the continuous search for information about one's own sexual peculiarities (literature, films, etc.);
addictive collecting behavior vis-à-vis the "object of desire" (from erotic image-material on up to actual pornography);
the intensified introjection of self-referencing information derived from outside sources (e.g., through therapy, the media), with the risk of an iatrogenic disturbance as well as a more pervasive act-orientation in the direction of self-fulfilling prophecy;
the expansion of sexual deviance into norm-deviant behavior in other spheres of life (the facilitation of anti-social behavior);
sexual frustration, low self-esteem, increased alcohol and drug abuse and suicide, as well as political extremism;
in isolated cases, the extreme response of the murder of the deviant sexual object (or the commission of extreme violence) in a symbolic attempt to annihilate one's own deviant sexual inclinations.

According to Fog (1992), the symptomatology ends up being mistakenly regarded as an intrapersonal quality specific to "abnormal" sexuality. In reality, however, what we are talking about here are the side-effects of excluding and stigmatizing sexual minorities. (See Goggmann, 2003.)

The assumptions in Fog's causal model have not been verified through empirical study. But his conjectures are certainly based on many years of practical experience working with members of various sexually marginal groups, and are, at the very least, of heuristic value.

Group therapy, and in particular, self-help groups, have proven themselves to be helpful in diminishing and overcoming the Isolated Minority Syndrome: 

"The formation of such organizations for all extant sexual minorities should be facilitated and supported, and every person who suffers from Isolated Minority Syndrome should be encouraged to become a member of such an organization and receive its publications." 
(Fog, 1992, pg. 238)

3.2 The Social Situation of Pedophilically-Oriented Persons

Due to its taboo character, and particularly because of the primary and secondary risk of harm to children potentially associated with pedosexual contacts, among all of the social norm-deviating sexualities, pedophilia looms the largest. 

With pedophilically-oriented persons, we are not merely talking about members of a sexual minority that is socially isolated. Under the labels of "child molester" and "child-fucker," they very probably represent the most ostracized marginal group in present day society. Perhaps only the social situation of transsexuals would appear to be problematic to a similar extent, although the concrete social problems of the two groups are substantially different from one another. Among others, Brauckmann (2002) provides some insight into "transsexual men's reality."

The pedophilic minority's social situation has gotten much worse since the end of the 1980s, beginning of the 1990s. But they have always been afflicted with and by problems and prejudice, and not only because of determinations laid down in the penal code. (Griesemer, 2003, 2004b)

This was made apparent, by way of example, in a study by Schmidt & Sigusch (1967) entitled, "On the Question of Prejudice Against Sexually Deviant Groups." As a given, they defined 'pedophiles' as follows: 

"Pedophilic men seek out sexual contacts with children and teenagers, thereby satisfying their sexuality." (pg. 9) 

With regard to "revulsion" and "antipathy," assessed by means of a polarity profile, the majority of the 643 interviewees were more sympathetic towards prostitutes, homosexual men, lesbians, exhibitionists, those who had sexual intercourse with animals, and even sadists, than they were towards pedophiles. Only the concept of the "sex criminal" was, in semantic pair-comparison with "pedophiles," evaluated marginally more negatively. (pg. 38/39) 
The demographic characteristics of the evaluators evidently had only a weak influence because the rejection was universal; only among students was it marginally lower.

Bernard (1982b) emphasizes that this demonization and great social pressure affect persons with this emotional/erotic/sexual preference very negatively. 

Hauptmann (1975) characterizes the social situation of pedophiles in the following way:

 "The enormous discrepancy between what has now become a completely inexplicable, boundlessly excessive degree of fear, rage and hatred among the populace towards 'child molesters' and the actual, graspable criminological facts is a virtual invitation to characterize pedophiles – with a grain of salt – as 'the witches of the twentieth century'." (pg. 66)

Bullens (1993) points out the situation of pedosexually-involved children is closely coupled with the situation of pedophiles themselves, or at least, is not independent of it. Strengthening the sex-crime laws could potentially increase the risk of primary injury to children by pedophiles, and would not be a suitable solution.

Schorsch (1989) is also of the opinion that pedosexuality is a phenomenon 

"ill-suited to the application of the hammer of the criminal law" 
because the hammer leaves in its wake 
"nothing but splinters and rubble on all sides." (pg. 146)

Jenkins (1998) as well as Silvermann and Wilson (2002) make reference to the inherent problems in the stricter laws passed in the United States ("Megan's Law") and called for in Great Britain ("Sarah's Law"). 

On a different note, Hauptmann (1975) and Baurmann (1983) caution against the danger of secondary traumatization involved in the cultivation of blame and neurotic anxiety. 

From the viewpoint of providing protection against harmful sexual contacts, a sexual education should go to great lengths to provide a differentiated picture of the sexual realities. Dubious reports in – and incitement to panic by – the media as well as the nature and manner of the often hysteria-driven abuse debate is more likely to detract from children's overall well-being than enhance it. Representatives of the media in particular, along with pedophilically-oriented persons, bear a large, joint responsibility for the secondary harm done to children. (Griesemer, 2003, 2004b, 2004c)

The severe rejection of pedophilically-oriented persons can essentially be traced back to the media-imparted stereotype of the "child-molester." (Griesemer, 2004c) 

Lippmann (1922) defines a stereotype as the simplified, schematisized, and distorted cognition of aspects of the social environment. 

According to Lautmann (cited in Schult, 1980, pg. 20), along with the dehumanization inherent in the stereotype and stigma of the "child molester," the following messages are also conveyed:

aggressive action by an older man ("old uncle" or other old man), with an association of the murder of, sadism towards, and rape of a very small child (usually a girl);
severe traumatization of the child due to the sexual acts, with lasting harmful consequences;
the perpetrator is a stranger, not a family member;
children's moral blamelessness and purity (the child as asexual being).

Griesemer (2004c) sees, in the rise and broad dissemination of the child-molester stereotype, an essential function as a scapegoat mechanism. The impression given by this stereotype of the stranger perpetrator acts as a projective outlet and is meant to divert attention from the high degree of sexual violence within the family. (See Jenkins, 1988.) 

Other authors also assume the existence of projective mechanisms, especially with regard to hysterically overblown societal reactions. 

(See, e.g., Hauptmann, 1975; Bornemann, 1985.)

With the strengthened re-emergence of the women's movement in the 1980s, the center of gravity was increasingly shifting to the far less significant extra-familial sphere. The stereotype of the "child molester" became very fashionable and has since 1987, under the alien conception of pedophilia, become a fixture in the German media. (Griesemer, 2004c)


Soothill, Francis & Ackerley (1998) ascertained that there was also a steady increase in the use of the pedophilia-concept (in the sense of a behavioral category) in the six largest circulation British newspapers between 1992 and 1998. 

(See also Soothill & Walby, 1991.) 

An especially strong gutter-press interest in this subject has existed in Great Britain since 1996.

There are a large number of examples of problematic media reports – from the "Dutroux case" to sensationalistic investigative journalism (e.g., Karremann, 2003) – which have contributed to a worsening of the social situation of pedophilically-oriented persons as well as that of affected children.

A high-water mark of "agitated enlightenment" (Rutschky, 1992) and influence was reached in July 2000 in northern England via the highly-promoted "Name and Shame" campaign by "News of the World," the largest-circulating British Sunday newspaper, following the sexual murder of a seven-year-old girl by the name of Sarah Payne. With reports of this coming in, a mob administered a sort of vigilante justice to "child molesters." 

For overviews of the role of the media vis-a-vis pedophilia, see Kreber (1999), Grandt & Jamin (2002), Silverman & Wilson (2002), and Griesemer (2003, 2004b, 2004c).

Since the early 1980s, both the word-choice (from "child-friend" to "pedosexuals") as well as the Zeitgeist (from an interventionist to a penalizing posture) have changed. Over the same period of time, however, with only a few exceptions, there has been scarcely any further substantial evolution in empirical science's status of knowledge relating to the subjects of pedophilia and child sexuality. 

This is partly related to the fact that this is a problematic field of research, as the reactions to the groundbreaking studies by Lautmann (1994) and Rind, Bauserman & Tromovitch (1998) have demonstrated. 

Okami (2002) came to the conclusion that: 

"When you write about paedophilia you must condemn it explicitly to be taken seriously and not be suspected of being a paedophile yourself." (pg. 492)

From the agitated reactions to serious sexual-science studies which have attempted to approach the subject in a differentiated manner, one is also able to trace how much the social situation of the pedophile minority must have changed since the 1970s and 1980s. 

Lautmann writes:

"The social pressure has never been more severe than it is today. The police and justice and youth authorities are always and unrelentingly on the alert. In addition to that, public opinion and morality have developed an ever-increasing consciousness of it. 

Though crushed by these controls just as grain is ground between millstones, these sexual desires survive as they always have, which is a reality that makes a truly deep impression. 

Can pedophiles be happy under these circumstances? In their love relationships: yes, absolutely. With their lives: no. 

The bad biographical luck cannot be separated from the intensity of longing and the occasional fulfillment of their desires. No one who doesn't have to chooses the pedophilic way of life. All have tried to find alternatives to it. Adapting does not work. 

The misfortune does not stem from the fact that the children eventually lose their status as objects of desire. Quite the contrary: the eroticization of transition is transitory by definition, and the liking continues on as before. The misfortune results from the extreme devaluation of it, which has grown even worse over the past eighty years. Particularly when they suffer from second thoughts about it, they react to it with self-blame and withdrawal. The dissonance between the inner ideal and social degradation can tear the soul in two." (pg. 85)

Stöckl (1998) came to understand 

"that the present situation of the affected children, as with pedophiles, is an untenable state of affairs which needs to he changed and rectified through intensified efforts at enlightenment and research as well as a more objective public discussion." (pg. 125) [40]

3.3 Balancing the Demand-Structure, Stressors, and Resources

The global characteristic of the demand-structure for pedophilic persons consists in negotiating a lifestyle of one's own under very difficult social conditions. The aggravating social factor is that, due to the potential danger of harm to the child, the sexual self-determination of pedophilic persons is environmentally constrained. 

The social attitude is, moreover, characterized by rejection of, abiding prejudice against, and hostility towards this marginal group. The social conditions can be regarded as ongoing stressors. 

Figure 6 provides a schematic overview, in which the presence of a pedophilic orientation is classified within a behavioral psychology framework.

Figure 6 

Characteristics of individual-environment relationship 
given the presence of pedophilia

[* Specified by and based on Schröder's general model; 
2001b, p. 34]

The social framework essentially constitutes the political and media culture, crimino-legal conditions, quantitative socio-sexual conditions, and the establishing of norms for diseased vs. healthy sexuality in the classification systems (DSM IV-TR and ICD-10). The 
basic social conditions have an influence on the characteristics of a person's socio-ecological life-sphere. The meso-level, in turn, closely interacts with a person's individual tension-sphere.

In this study, subjects provided self-reports of the given life- and conflict-spheres based on their significance. Depending on the demand-structure, stressors, and resources there evolved either a more saluto-genetic or a more pathogenetic lifestyle, which is centrally moderated by a person's individual act- and master-competency.

The existing, basic social conditions are, without exception, decidedly to pedophilic persons' disadvantage, compelling feats of adaptation that non-pedophiles would scarcely be able to imagine. (Griesemer, 2003)

Admitting to oneself the existence of a pedophilic preference requires sensitiveness and courage. Although a portion of those concerned are initially successful in repressing the sexual orientation, there comes a point, typically between the ages of 18 and 25, when it can no longer be ignored. A strong but unfulfilled longing for security, tenderness, closeness, and sex with a boy or a girl becomes an everyday fact of life. But it cannot be lived out, except in a very limited way, without violating the law ("a half- or one-quarter solution"). 

A pedophilically-oriented person has, in the final analysis, a choice between an erotically/sexually-abstinent lifestyle, or violating crimino-legal determinations, with the potential risk of primary and secondary harm being done to the child. 

For the "human sexual being" (Kentler, 1988), an erotically/sexually-abstinent life means an almost superhuman feat of renunciation. A pedophile has no right to sexual self-determination, setting in motion various efforts at compensatory self-stabilization that will be inquired about and described in this study.

A general capacity for mimicry and/or self-isolation in one's everyday life appears, to a certain extent, to be necessitated by the mere existence of the feelings, as opposed to being a central aspect of pedosexual relationships per se. Due to the danger of being found out, everyday activities and "small talk" at work

(e.g., exchanges with friends etc. regarding preferred films, novels, leisure interests, and so on) 

are considerably encumbered and constrained. The adoption of a "second face" is obviously indispensable. 

With the closeted pedophile, when things turn sour on him or he feels dejected he is not allowed to let it show. Due to the necessary outward posture of caution, he often cannot provide honest answers to corresponding questions. Because of this "quasi-outlaw" status, the requirement for and experiencing of general human closeness with and warmth towards other adults becomes much more difficult, if not impossible.

Those concerned sometimes deny their own sexual feelings in front of people whom they care for and love and withdraw from them (friends, relatives). Even children are sometimes consciously avoided, in order to get away from any sexual temptation. 

(See Leopardi, 1988; the journal "Pädos," 1996-1998; Engelmann, 1998.)

With pedophiles, we are talking about people who are frustrated in meeting some of their most basic needs 

(and not only with regard to their sexuality). 

On top of that, as demand-structure and stressor, is society's dehumanized and distorted image of "pedophiles." 

It starts with a permanent injury to the pedophile's self-concept via the generation of self-referencing information. Devaluating self-referencing information gains – due to self-isolation for self-preservation and also by staying away from the unfamiliar – in self-worth-diminishing importance, and probably contributes to heightened experiences of guilt, shame, fear, despair, as well as thoughts of suicide among the men concerned. 

In a 'light number' study by Raymond et al. (1999), two-thirds of the pedophilic patients interviewed evinced secondary depressive or anxiety disorders. 

Paranoid tendencies are also detectable among pedophiles. An excessive mistrust of the overall environment represents an additional, executable adaptation to reality and serves a self-stabilizing function, for the fundamental posture of the life-environment is threatening, even hostile at times. (Griesemer, 2004c)

And so, the reality at this point would seem to be that scarcely any social resources are available to pedophilically-oriented men. With a few exceptions, essentially no community-based resource centers 

(e.g., competent counseling centers for men) 

exist that are able to offer pedophiles and over-taxed family members competent counseling as well as the possibility for orientation and reflection.

An accepted, heavily frequented counseling institute for pedophiles and their relatives does exist in Switzerland. Community-based counseling is also made available by the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform (NVSH) for those affected by pedophilia. The central goal is to help the client to find a reflective, individualized lifestyle.

Due to their taboo nature and because they take the pedophiles' side, neither of these resource centers receives any official backing. On the other hand, however, the possibility should be borne in mind that these sorts of institutions, accepted by those concerned, are precisely the ones that are able to perform meaningful preventive work for all involved, including, indirectly, for children.

In the opinions of Fog (1992) and Gieles (2001), sensible offers of therapy or counseling for pedophiles will recognize that the clients are to be supported in accepting their sexual feelings, and that an attempt will be made to enhance self-esteem. 

A group setting is considered to be especially advantageous for this 

(e.g., Griesemer's cognitive-behavioral-oriented anti-depression group training in Frankfurt; see also Lessen, 1990). 

If the self-control of an affected person is clearly limited, an additional, medicinal treatment with urge-dampening pharmaceuticals (e.g., Androcur) would seem to be adequate. (Seikowski, 1999) 

Voluntary or legally-imposed forms of counseling or therapy which attempt to convert profoundly ego-syntonic feelings into ego-dystonic ones carry a risk of iatrogenic disturbances. 

"This brings about not a self-acceptance of the whole person including their pedophilic feelings, but rather their suppression and denial. Indeed, the person is thereby estranged from his own self. But this is not healing; it is the splitting and the destruction of a person." (Gieles, 2001

Helpful counseling/therapy must be premised on the therapist's acceptance of the pedophilic preference; they should not attempt to change it. (Griesemer, 2005, in press)

Two essential resources are available to pedophilic persons: the Internet, and self-help groups. Internet forums and chat rooms offer a simple and quick way to establish contact and interact with others similarly situated (e.g., http://www.jungsforum.net/). 

According to Fog (1992), Steinacher (1999), and Gieles (2001), self-help groups are of great significance to those concerned and represent the most important single resource. Conversely, they are just as important in protecting children from violence. 

The function of pedophile self-help groups essentially lies in their consciousness-making and personality-stabilizing effect. Meetings of self-help groups are often held at locations where, for the first time, those affected can share their needs and inclinations in a protected setting, without fear of rejection or repression; they are thereby able to realize that they are not alone. 

Participants see that their self-consciousness is enhanced, and experience social support. Moreover, through the group, participants get the chance to reflect on their own behavior towards children and, if necessary, to change it. (Steinacher, 1999) 

Meanwhile, there is a detectable trend in the direction of separate self-help groups 

(homosexual pedophile vs. heterosexual pedophile self-help groups).

Some pedophile self-help groups are run under quite improvised circumstances. Lesbian and gay community centers which can be found in any large city, out of fear of social hostility and the problematic issue of the harm with which it is associated, keep their distance from this sexually marginal group, and usually do not make space available to it.

An additional, growing resource in the English-speaking realm

(e.g., Canada and Great Britain., but also in the Netherlands) 

are so-called support circles. What we have here are groups of people, frequently from free churches, who provide a social outlet (cooking together, excursions, movies, the theater, etc.) to persons with considerable life-difficulties (especially former convicts). 

(See Feierman, 1990; Gieles, 2001; Silverman & Wilson, 2002.) [*]

[* See also: Kirkegaard, Hugh & Northey, Wayne, The Sex Offender as Scapegoat, Vigilante Violence and a Faith Community Response; Emory.edu/College. - Ipce]


At the same time, those affected emphasize the positive feelings and types of experiences that go along with a pedophilic orientation. There is no imprinted suffering due to the pedophilic preference per se – on the contrary: this is usually experienced as pleasant. The potential for intra-personal conflict is low; inter-personal conflict, on the other hand, is very pronounced.

According to Engelmann (1998), the world within which pedophiles exist is like a prison cell. Its size is measured by its empty space. The title of his novel, "Empty Spaces," also touches on this: 

"After all, a pedo's entire life consists of empty spaces." (Engelmann, 1998)

In summary, we can say with confidence that pedophilic persons are, due to their difficult social situation, exposed to heightened demand-structures. Because of isolating social conditions, the ability to act competently may be impaired. Since scarcely any social resources are available, greater degrees of health-related impairments, along with a negative self-concept as a moderator variable, are to be expected.

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