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Highlights from Lautmann

Quotes, translated from Die Lust am Kind, Portrait des Pädofielen, Rüdiger Lautmann, Ingrid Klein Verlag, Hamburg 1994

Attracted to Children

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[ 8] My question is: How do pedophiles see children? The present-day literature keeps silence about this not discussable or forbidden theme.  

[10] [Raymund Knight *] distinguishes three types [...]:

The real pedophile is generally interested in contact with children, including a sexual aspect; 

the substitute-object offender uses a child as a substitution for a blocked contact with adults; and

the aggressive-sadistic offender uses violence because of his pathology. 

In this book, I exclusively present the first type, in my estimation a five percent of the pedosexually active men. 

[12] We have hold interviews with sixty men. Other  men have informed us in informal interviews or have sent us letters. [...] Our respondents were for two-third boylovers, for one-third girl-lovers, while some loved boys and girls. 

[13, 14 - summarized:] Our sample is not taken from a prison or clinic population, but is as broad as possible taken from the national German population. 

[...] The author disagrees with Finkelhor, who condemns sexual contacts between adults and children per se. 

[Quotes:] In my view, the moral exceeding does not lay in the pedosexual act itself, but in unwished contacts, in exploitation and use of another person, in influencing the personality development. Where the disrespect of the autonomy begins, can content-related and empirically be explained, but in a relationship between an adult and a child this limit cannot rationally be determined. For me it is is very clear that there do exist relationships that do not require any intervention. The children are attached to their lovers and can leave them any moment they want. 

Erotic attraction to a child

[15] If one in anticipation speaks about 'fixation' or 'psychiatric perversion', one has no access to the phenomenon at all. There do exist stable and adult pedophiles, as Kurt Freund already has said. [...] The question must be: what is the meaning of this preference for people with this orientation? 

The childish creature

[16] It is not the age, but a set of bodily and mental characteristics. 

[Quoting a respondent:] "For me, the child is a human being. I take it seriously."

The erotic attraction is not because of the imperfectness, but because of the child as a creature with an characteristic nature. [...] The love is not for the bud, but for the flourishing flower, the child. 

[17] It is not a sexual contact that attracts, but a natural contact, a living in the neighborhood of the boy. [..] In my impression, pedophiles view children just as others do, but with more precision. 

[17, 18 - summarized] The boylovers in the sample are not so much attracted to the beauty  of the boy, as well by the pleasure of communicating with them; the girl-lovers mentioned more an esthetic motive. 

The childish body

[19, 20 - Summarized] A wide range of bodily characteristics was mentioned by the respondents. 

[21] None of these characteristics is specific for pedophiles. The same attractiveness can be seen in other kinds of sexuality, except the typical childish ones. The respondents have only seldom spoken about the genitalia of the child, although the interviews were in-depth. Penis and vagina ware only scarcely mentioned. 

[21, 22 - summarized] Only pubic hair was mentioned as not attractive. 

The erotization of puberty

[23] Puberty is attractive. This is not as liking young green vegetables. It is not the situation, but the changing and it dynamics that attract. 

[25] To see someone's development, and to guide and care for it, this are fundamental motives in human relationships, and also in loving relationships. In the case of pedophilia, this characteristic is remarkable prominent and an important value. Why? [Summarized:] Changes are important, but a 'going down' of the human is not attractive. Just in puberty, the human 'springs up' and this is attractive in a natural way. 

The dimensions age and gender

[26-27 - summarized] The usual explanation is that pedophiles avoid contact with adults, especially those of the other gender because their heterosexuality is not developed. In this view, one cannot believe that children can be erotisized because of themselves, not because of a missed development. 

The several ages of childhood

It is not childhood as such [...] that is erotisized, but a specific phase within childhood. 

[28] There is a variety of such phases that attract pedophiles. 
[28-29] Important is not the age, but how boyish the child is. [...] Mostly, the beloved phase is the start and the development of puberty, at least for boylovers. They are fascinated by the changeover. [...] Before puberty, these men feel attraction and slight erotic feelings, but no sexual desires. 

The child has a gender

[31] What the pedophiles have told us, does not support the hypothesis that the child is seen as androgyny or gender-neutral. It is just the opposite. [...] The desired child has a gender, male or female. A pedophile is a girl-lover or a boylover. 

[32] Thus, the child is for a pedophile not without an gender. 

Both boys and girls

[34] Do there exist bisexual pedophiles? Three of our sixty respondents have said to  equally love boys and girls . 

Differences between boy- and girl-love

[37] What is erotisized, is the stereotype of the boy or the girl; sometimes also girlish boys or boyish girls. 

[39] To say it simple [...], boy love [...] has an eye for the coming young man, girl-love has an eye for the signs of the later young woman. 

Sharing the bed with an adult? 

[40 ... - summarized] For ethical and legal reasons, sharing the bed with a child has to be avoided. Some pedophiles do have sexual relationships with other adults, but this does not diminish their feelings for children. Factually, they prefer [46] "the exiting and tender moments in sexual playing with a boy" above "the mechanic and orgasm-oriented coitus with a woman".

[47] The question: 'is the pedophile orientation stable and real?' has for many man to be answered with 'Yes'. This is clear because of what is told about sexual experiences with adults and with children. For those among our respondents who sexual contact with adults was a fact or a possibility, the real passion is for the child. The sexual contacts with adults did activate their potency [but only] because this is the norm. Mentioned are relatively more such contacts with women, not with men. Pedophilia as the orientation and heterosexuality as the plight combine here. 

Sexological position

[48-49] The sexual-political positions are quite different, from passionate defense until strong rejection. In such a controversial state of opinions, it will be wise to take the position of an observer of the several perspectives, to gather data, and to judge only at the end. 

Five sexological ideas

[49] The basic idea is that love only (can) exist between two people of the same age and of  different gender. [...] The pedophile ideal fails to fit this model. [...] Sexology has four options to study pedophile acts: [49-50]

(1) The control model
This approach dominates 90% of the criminological and psychiatric publications. 

(2) The biographic model
Here one studies the biography and the psychical function of the preference. 

(3) The accepting model 
Here one criticizes the oppression of violence-free sexual contact with children. 

(4) The discourse model
Here one studies the way society deals with pedophilia [...]. 

(5) Nearly completely absent is a fifth approach, which avoids condemnation, therapy, self-defense and meta-sexual analysis. Here one studies the sexual event itself, how difficult this might be. Here one respects and protects the sexual self-destination of the child. 

[52-53] Loving children is neither generally bad, nor generally good. [...] One only can judge case by case, not pedosexuality in general. 

Laymen's parallelism by pedophiles 

[54] Among our respondents, there exist many ideas that are the same or nearly the same as the sexological ideas. [... But there also exists] an authentic personal philosophy [...]. 

[54-55] A child may ask for heartiness, the adult can reply with passion. Pedophiles are able to make a difference between feelings and expectations. 

[57] [They know that the child's] pleasure is not identical with the adult's sexuality. 

The child and the adult speak different 'languages' and they differ broadly. This leads to the fact that many, supposedly most of the pedophile friendships are idolized but not sexual. Explicit sexuality is avoided. 

[59] What we know as the awful truth about sexual abuse of children and incest, is not necessary also true for the real pedophile. There is another reality, one without force, disappointment and refusal. This reality is what I want to study as a mutual communication between child and adult. First, I want to consider the child, and than the adult. 

Sexual scripts of children 

Childish sexuality

[60-61]] Genital lust appears in the first year of human life and has no pause in the so-called latency phase. However, these sexual reactions, self-manipulation and interactions may not be seen as the same as those of adults. They are sexual [...] but not in  the same way. They reflect the stage of development [...]. 

[Summarized:] Child sexuality develops in phases and stages, depending on their possibilities and experiences. The latter are mostly not planned but accidental. 

[62] Generalizations as 'All children have ...' or 'Not any child can ...' are clearly false, even if anyone beliefs them. [...] Development and events of life are different for individuals, they differ by time and country. 

[65] The sexual identity of adult and child are different, and so doe their interpretation of what happens. The childish partner in a pedophile relationship experiences and interprets a sexual aspect unlike the adult: as body pleasure, as a narcissistic confirmation, but not as ascertain of their identity and love bond. 

Childish scripts
 [67 ev]



Trying out

Cuddling - which is not sexual

Self-stimulation by touching the other's body

Playing with the genitals

Masturbation in the presence of others

'Playing with the fire'- lots of sexual signals reach the child already far before puberty and feed their fantasy and actions

Provoking the adult - seducing the adult

Being together with a strong friend

Having the adult friend for myself only

Wishing to be stimulated by another

Enjoying in peace

Playing the macho

Refusing sexual acts

Stopping the relationship - mostly by simply staying away

Sexual treaties between the generations?

[77] How is the heart of a child? How and to whom can it give its heart? What looses, what wins the child thereby? [...]
Als the sexual scripts of a man and a child, despite their differences, able to work together to create a harmonious situation? [...] 

Are the desires of a pedophile of such a nature that the needs and possibilities of a child surely well are taken into account?  

Kinds of childish consent

[78] Our respondents are clearly conscious of the difference between childish and adult sexuality; this consciousness is the core of the pedo-erotic form of sexuality. Every pedophile searches for a kind of natural consent with the child [...]. This happens in different ways. 

[80] The pedophile approaches the child as a subject, not as an object of a sexual act. At least he wants this, and so can be seen in the cases told to us.  

[84] Consent can be reached in three ways: explicitly, nonverbally and intuitively. [...] The nonverbal way to consent is the most frequent way used.

[85] Nonverbal communication mostly works out by eye-contact. There we see the feelings of our partner.

[88-89] [Summarized:] The ways to reach consent differ. Quick consent and quick contact is actually quite seldom. Mostly, one takes  long time to reach consensus if there might be any sexual contact, and, if yes, which kinds of contact, and to which limits.

[89-90-91] It is my impression that the antennas of pedophile men react with high sensitivity. [...and, summarized:] with quite narrow limits. Many respondents said that the body pleasure of the child is more important than their own body pleasure. They know and accept that the pleasure scarcely can be mutual.

[91] So, a specific kind of relationship comes into being, based on the exchange of different feelings. [...] Respondents said that the relationship is not of a sexual nature, but of an erotic nature.

[92] I see the pedophiles - note: the real ones we have spoken intensively - as credible in their taking in trouble to reach the consent of the child, as well in the seriousness with which they consider a "No". [...] The credibility of our respondents was confirmed by the fact that they also told about their pains.

Borderline cases

[93] The word to seduce has a negative connotation: using unethical ways, utilizing inexperience, and so on. Many pedophiles kept themselves aloof from such methods.

[93 ... Summarized:] However, there were also borderline cases in the narratives of our respondents: soft persuasion and so on.

[95] There are men with limited capability of acting. But I might add: this kind of limitations can be find in all kinds of sexuality.

[97-98, summarized:] Borderline cases were also narratives in which the consent seemed to be unbalanced or incomplete, or purely concluded from silence of the child, and cases in which the traditional masculinity or patriarchy is dominant.

Guaranties - a provisional conclusion

[98-99] What about a consent of a sexually addressed child?

The pedophile kind of sexuality has a uncommonly differentiated concept of consent at its disposal, surely in comparison to other forms of sexuality. In their use of language, time and content, child lovers structure their ways of action. Their desire is sexual active children, but they are content with a child that has pleasure in the contact. They know and accept the differences of the mutual feelings. The great majority of the contacts and friendships told to us seem to be based in consent about the sexual aspect, with a respect for a "No" to go further. The borderline cases told to us do not change this general impression. [...]

Again and again, our respondents have made clear how important the free will of the child is, not only on ethical grounds, but also from a sexual motive. Without consent, the pedophile lust seems to disappear.

[100] 'If you resist, I will use force' is absolutely not a pedophile formula - it is a frightened projection. Rather, the child meets a reserved adult. Children are not confronted with the full emotional burden of adult sexuality. The pedophile contact is rather [...] a playful intimacy satisfaction that not excludes a genital stimulation. [...]

Here I follow my data, meanwhile maintaining my moral dilemmas.

The sexual facts of the pedophile

'Nothing happens unless we both agree'

[101] Many pedophiles are scarcely or not active in the genital area. 

[...] The Swiss Beat Meier pleads in a text from 1990 for a clear distinction between 'loving children' and 'sexuality with children'. Sexual feelings did not always arise and did not always lead to sexual acts. 

[102] In general, the concepts love, erotic and  sexuality are clearly distinguishable. However, in modern life anyone 'must' erotic inclination interpret as sexual and as far as possible convert into action. 

The general speechlessness

[103] The Western culture defines sexual acts along the lines of the body parts in action: [...] manual, oral, coital/anal. [...] Because our respondents spoke in this triad about their sexual history, I have to speak in the same terms. So, we see sex in its most banal form. 

The child's body

[103-104 Summarized:] Much is possible in the genital area, but only a few happens, far below what is generally is expected, especially by those who has a strong view on 'the nature of the real man'. One should not generalize; there are many different forms of relationships. [105 ...]

Sexual play 
Seeing each other, kissing, sportive play

Stroking, sometimes masturbating a boy

A part of the children says here "No"

Only scarcely mentioned, never extorted, mostly ruled out, mostly not desired

[109] Girl lovers generally refuse coitus [...] One should nearly be astonished by the intensity and self-evidentness of this refusal. [110] This refusal was mostly spontaneous and sincere. [111] A few did the act [summarized:] mostly earlier in their teens or young adulthood. In one border case, a man told to have had coitus, but felt guilty about the act and the desire. We have advised him a therapy. 

The satisfaction of the adult lovers

[114] In a pedophile relationship, the adult reaches satisfaction in a clearly different way, compared with adult-adult relationships.

[115-116] A pedophile might wish to be stimulated, manual or oral, but children only very seldom want to do this. [...] Again and again was told that the child kept passive.

[117] Gravitating oneself to the willingness of the child and accepting of the unwillingness to do such things is part of the know-how of the pedophile style of living. The other frequently mentioned way is self-masturbation. [...] The coercion to have the climax always together does not work in the pedophile situation. [...] A stimulus to a climax seems to be quite seldom. It is being together and the nearness of the child that gives the lust. The man himself is responsible for the satisfaction of the lust.

[118] The analysis of the facts confirms the conclusions of the former chapter: The children meet in a pedophile a sexual reserved adult. If he does not abandon genital acts at all, he is far more reserved in comparison with other sexual subjects.

To conclude an analogy with the well-known gay and hetero sexuality is empirically false. Among adult people, sexual desires are told and replied in action. In relationships with children the feelings are asymmetric. [...]

A greater mistake, nearly a heterosexist one, would be to view the difference between pedophile and adult sexuality as a failing or as a defect. It concerns not a defect, but another form of sexuality. Our respondents have quite often told us their wish to be a child again, to re-experience their growing-up. Supposedly, it is this fantasy afterwards that creates the specific form of sexuality of pedophiles.

The historical-social construction of 'the pedophile'

[119] What is cases of incest and sexual exploitation of a child [...] must be seen as a derailment, is in the case of the [real] pedophile the structure and the center of his sexual personality. Just because that, he does not want - and may not - be included in the category child abusers. 

Pedophilia as 'belief' 

Pedophiles develop a self-concept that their desire not reduces to a mishap, but contrarily sees as a main issue. They do not ask to be excused, but they ask to be accepted and acknowledged. They don't feel bad, but good. [...]

[120] Such a desire is neither a fallacy nor a crime, even if it cannot be expressed in public. Pedophile identity claims to be way of living. 

[121] Boy- and girl-lovers do not describe themselves as gay or heterosexual. Even more the literature does so [...]. This is not correct, because it does not concern relationships between adults, but between two generations. It leads to mistakes because those four forms have clearly different shapes. 

Identifying oneself as a pedophile means having a desire of a specific nature. [...] Not [going about with children] is a surrogate, going about with adults is the surrogate. 

[122 - summarized:] My impression is that the self-acknowledged pedophiles I have met were thoughtful people with an open self-consciousness. This made me doubt the concept of a sex criminal, and opened the way for a not-prejudged research. 

[123] The social role of pedophiles is nowadays more or less that of an outlawed, whom one wants to shoot down. To survive this threat and to maintain their self-consciousness asks for a strength that not-pedophiles scarcely can imagine. 

[123-124] The quotes in this chapter come from boy lovers. This is not by chance: the girl lovers did not develop such an identity. More precisely, the sexual identity of the latter is more fragmentized. [...] Most of them have spoken of 'pedophile experiences', but not of a 'pedophile identity'. 

[125] The self-acknowledging pedophiles teach us that we may not mark or understand  loving children with words as vice, abuse or crime, but rather as a sexual self-definition. 


[126] For some it might be strange, but it is true: being attracted to children as a specific kind of sexuality bond itself to ethics. We have not explicitly asked for it, but nearly every respondent has told us which considerations should taken into account concerning the wishes and feelings of the child, which affection, control and care has to be given, which kind of education would be given, and how sparing one should be with money and gifts. 

[...] The pedophiles factually perform - without any help - a kind of codex. [...] We might remember the ancient Greek way of loving boys, which had very strict limits and rules. [...] 

[127] This codex seems to be the result of discussions among themselves [...] in their self-organizations. [Summarized:] Especially Dutch men like Edward Brongersma and Frits Bernard, from the Netherlands, have published lots of articles and books with solid argumentation. 

[...] Lots of junger men, usually well educated, have followed their footsteps, searching for ethics - especially in the USA, Great Britain and Germany. 

Change of childhood

[129 - Human sexuality has many variants.] How come all these forms of sexuality into being? Why do they change? Also pedophilia has its conditions and its history.  [...] 
As a result of what are children nowadays erotically attractive and have pedophile men voiced themselves? 

[130] Te development of this form of sexuality started in the second part of the 19th century, a form that is essentially different from sexual abuse of children and from incest, except the characteristic of the age difference. The way adults view children has changed. 
In the 13th century started the development of a new arrangement of the life or the European human. In a long process happened what Philippe Ariès called "the discovery of childhood". The first phase of human life became to be viewed as a separate phase. Later, also youth was added as a separate phase - also a construct in the cultural styling of human life. We might suppose that those discoveries have offered a new target for human lust, that independently could be erotisized. 

[131] Which characteristics of children make it possible that the shape and the nature of growing up humans became a target for human lust? [...] Do they have characteristics that adults are deprived of? The pedophiles give a significant answer, the key to understand their desire. 

[Summarized:] Demographic and other developments have changed a child's life: the child became an individual, living in a separate area. This has changed the way we view children intellectually, ethically, esthetically - and erotically. 

[132] The view on the child got its own myths and utopias: hope for a better life, the paradise of the young life touches the hearts of the modern human. 

[132-133 - Summarized:] Especially Jean Jacques Rousseau has created a view on the child that two centuries kept alive: the child as 'pure nature' contracting with the civilized adult. The child has natural strengths that the adult has lost. The child was pure, nearly sacral, and in need of protection and love - thus a target of desires. 

The change of view on childhood happened simultaneously with a polarization of gender since 1800. Women were supposed to have a natural morality and a talent to raise children. Both genders got own domains and the children got their place in the female domain. 

[134] Approaching a child means for many people approaching a valuable human. Indeed, our respondents have voiced several devaluations of adulthood. 

[134-135 - Summarized:] Children are now allowed to play and have pleasure, to wear pretty clothing, to be a beauty, to be idealized - and this opens the way to sexual fantasies. The child has been an asexual and innocent being, but in the 20th century the view on childhood has changed again: childhood became massively sexualized. Also, the child got equal rights and a non-authoritarian approach. The generations came, to say so, again near to each other and intimacy became possible. Then, pedophilia became possible. 

[135-136 - summarized] Moreover, the secrets of adulthood, especially sexuality, have reached the children now. The borderline is thin. The child is now more or less a young adult, including a sexual life. Again, the pedophile desire became possible, if not probable. 

[137] In catalogs of modern mailorder companies, I see lots of very young Lolitas and Rambos. Not only pedophilia, but also daily life and the average parents put children in a erotisized perspective. 

Pedophilia as a form of sexuality may, in contrast with individual derailments, be seen as a historically new development. 

[Summarized:] This created heated protest and exclusion, which on turn leaded to more consciousness of pedophile people and to group and voice themselves. 

[137-138] How will pedophilia as a belief develop itself? This depends on the tendencies of childhood. I see three impulses working here: 

Family and school are not the only decisive places to form childhood; entry: the right of the child to freedom. 

Fear of child monsters; entry: lack of possibility to educate them. 

Mention of sexually approaching children increases as a deluge; entry: abuse. 

Who can stop these tendencies? If they keep increasing, than the idyll of childhood will disappear, and with it pedophilia as described here.

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