3.2.4 Horst Vogt, Pedophilia
|Approximately 25% of the research participants had slight health-related impairments, and|
|strongly pronounced clinical symptomatology was detectable in a further 25%.|
The clinical symptomatology existed essentially of
serious depressive feelings, anxiety disorders, and traumatizations.
One may proceed based on the assumption that there exists a
clearly heightened suicide rate among the total 'dark number'
population, given that one out of every four research
participants was at risk of suicide at the time of the data collection.
There was a trend towards younger pedophilic men -- i.e., those
between 25 and 38 years of age -- being more likely to be affected.
The acceptance of the underlying operational psychology conceptual framework -- that self-referencing capability concepts represent decisive act-guiding moderators for sense of well-being and feelings of being under stress -- was confirmed by the results of the study.
Consciousness of one's control over the environment has a decisive degree of saluto-genetic significance. First in patho-genetic significance, on the other hand, is consciousness of self-control. There is a medium degree of correlation between pedophilic men's sexual self-concepts and their feelings of being under stress and sense of well-being. For the self-concept characteristic of self-attention, a substantial relationship to pedophilic men's feelings of being under stress and sense of well-being was only partially detectable.
There was a trend in the direction of low "public self-attention" being associated with unexceptional feelings of being under stress and sense of well-being. Due to a markedly low intrapersonal and a very highly pronounced interpersonal potential for conflict, looking at this social group globally, the "private self-attention" component has negligible patho- and saluto-genetic importance. What is critical for the psychological health of pedophilic men is, first of all, the ability to find an individual lifestyle that makes it possible to deal with existing social demand-structures in competent ways.
The overall sample was divided into sub-groups based on demographic
characteristics as well as general and social influence factors. These
sub-groups were then compared with
one another with regard to self-concept characteristics, feelings of being under stress, and sense of well-being.
The demographic characteristics of "age group" and "occupational status" had clear moderating effects. Among pedophilic men, higher age and being a retiree are associated with unexceptional manifestations in the spheres of the self-concept, feelings of being under stress, and sense of well-being. Being unemployed is associated with a clearly diminished degree of consciousness of control over the environment and sense of meaning. The high number of unemployed among this marginal group is substantially tied to problems re-integrating into working life following criminal conviction for sexual offenses. Among pedophilic men, the demonstrable consequences of criminal conviction include a heightened degree of feeling sexually controlled by society and increased paranoid ideation.
The presence of social support is particularly important for pedophiles. Participants with sufficiently present social support evince clearly more favorable manifestations of self-referencing capability conceptions, feelings of being under stress, and sense of well-being than participants for whom social support is lacking. This is assumed to be an interactive process.
|On the one hand a relatively stabile act-regulatory foundation is a good prerequisite for strong social ties;|
|on the other hand, the presence of a social support network is presumed to have positive feedback effects.|
A consideration of the characteristic "therapy experience" leads one to the conclusion that, as a rule, pedophilic men require counseling and psychotherapy only during acute crises.
|Those research participants currently in psychotherapy exhibited serious impairments in the self-concept, feelings of being under stress, and sense of well-being areas.|
|Participants with no psychotherapy or counseling experience were, on the other hand, absolutely unexceptional psychologically.|
|Among those pedophilic men who had required psychotherapy and counseling in the past, there were slightly more favorable manifestations of the self-concept, feelings of being under stress, and sense of well-being spheres compared with participants who were in therapy currently.|
|However, in relation to pedophilic men with no counseling or therapeutic needs, the expressed characteristics were less favorable.|
It would appear that the provision of adequate counseling or therapy has a saluto-genetically favorable but limited effect.
The sexual influence factors that are significantly associated with self-concept characteristics, feelings of being under stress, and sense of well-being include
|"pedosexual experience" and|
|the "presence of pedosexual contacts during one's own childhood".|
Among pedophiles, the characteristic of "pedosexual experience" is, in part, tied to mental health status and the extent of social competency. Many participants who were successful in mastering external and internal demand-structures had more pedosexual contacts and relationships than participants who had great life-problems with themselves and with the world.
It is also clear that positive feedback processes flow from the presence of pedosexual relationships, especially in the sexual self-concept sphere. Using sub-samples of pedophilic men, it was shown -- on a small-scale empirical basis -- that "sexual abuse" is not only an observable but also increasingly as subjective phenomenon as well.
The characteristic "presence of pedosexual contacts during
one's own childhood" is only partially related to feelings of
being under stress and sense of well-being. What is decisive is
not the existence of pedophilic contacts during their own childhoods per
se, but rather their moderation via evaluation processes as
a large and important influence. A retrospectively negative
or neutral evaluation was associated with clearly increased
clinical symptomatology among affected pedophilic men. Participants who
are retrospectively positive assessments do not differ, in terms
of their sense of well-being and feelings of being under stress,
from participants with no pedosexual contacts during their own
childhoods, who are characterizable essentially as psychologically
No or only very small relationships between self-concept characteristics, feelings of being under stress, and sense of well-being and the characteristics "direction of pedophilic orientation," "recruitment source," and "use of child pornography" were able to be ascertained.
With reference to the "mental health" characteristic, pedophilic men differ from one another only partially in terms of the importance ascribed to more general life-spheres. For pedophilic men as a whole, the "friends" and "sexuality/partnership" life-spheres are of greater importance. Participants with more competent act-regulation significantly and nearly equally emphasize the two life-spheres of work and leisure time. Participants with deficient act-regulatory capabilities ascribe a one-sided and strong importance to the leisure time sphere, reflecting the life-sphere of work.
A large number of men are unable to work due to mental health-related impairments (secondary disorder-conditioned effects debilitating to the conduct of one's life). This finding must also be viewed in terms of the problems associated with re-integration.
No differential distinctions were able to be made with regard to potential sexual conflict areas. Due to the high risk of being reported, pedophilic men's primary conflict area is the relationship with the child's parents. The areas of work colleagues and one's own family involve intermediate conflict-potentials. The relationship with the child and in reference to one's own sexuality are perceived as having low conflict-potential.
Because of the high heterogeneity of this population, it is absolutely essential that studies in the area of pedosexuality take a strongly differential perspective: There is no such thing as "the pedophile"!
Ina the selected two-cluster solution, however, a globally comprehensible picture of two types of pedophilic men is in fact able to be sketched out, from which one might call suggestions for preventive work.
|In pedophilic men who fall into the first category, there
is an extremely negative sexual self-concept. He is communicatively
shut off and socially isolated, has little self-awareness, and
exhibits higher intra- and inter-personal conflict potential.
Considerable impairments are present vis-ā-vis feelings of
being under stress and sense of well-being. |
|In the pedophilic men who constitute the second type, there is a clearly more positive sexual self-concept. Compared with the heterosexual control group and normative values for the general population, he portrays himself, in terms of self-concept characteristics, feelings of being under stress, and the sense of well-being, as having act-regulatory competence. He evinces lower intrapersonal and higher interpersonal conflict: He has a problem not with his sexuality but rather with his environment.|
There is no single influence factor separating the two types; instead a series of various factors play a role, which still need to be examined more precisely. The two types do not differ substantially from one another in terms of the presence of pedosexual contacts.
Existing act-regulatory competency is not inevitably associated with increased pedosexual practice. There is a whole series of pedophilic men who have found ways of living in pedosexual abstinence and who exhibit average and -- in two cases -- even above-average senses of well-being.
Lautmann's (1994) results regarding pedophilic attraction to the child's nature and outward appearance were able to be replicated herein. For the pedophilic man, the numerical erotic/sexual age-span is to be understood only as a rough orientation. Here it is the existing pre- and early pubertal childlike nature and outward appearance that constitute primary pedophilic attraction. Phenomenologically speaking, pedophiles are adults who fall in love with and at the same time erotically and sexually desire boys or girls.
In its homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual manifestations the pedophilic sexual form is a phenomenon in its own right, clearly distinguishable from the hetero-, homo-, and bisexual forms that relate to teenagers or adults. The terms 'pedophile' and 'pedosexuality' are only imperfect representations of this complex phenomenon.
Participants' implicit causal theories reflect, in part, scientific models. Ultimately, all that can be said is that pedophilic men do not know the cause of their sexual orientation. From the respondents' point of view ,the pedophilic orientation initially manifests itself in childhood, and is not amenable to therapy. A genetic cause may play a large role. From the point of view of pedophilic men, there is no deficient or pathological function regarding their own sexuality.
The overwhelming majority of the respondents had verified their sexual orientation via experiences with men and women. The sexual socialization findings suggest, rather, that what we have here is a primary sexual orientation, not a pathological fear of the female gender.
The sexual abuse hypothesis essentially cannot be generalized to the population of primarily pedophilic men. At most, the postulated mechanism has the rank of a low-order influence factor. The majority of pedophilic men have pedosexual contacts at some point during the course of their lives.
The probability of pedosexual practice is partly a function of age. Initial pedosexual contacts take place primarily in the 25 - 38 age-range. The existence of current pedosexual relationships, however, is independent of age-group membership. Hard sexual practices are not a basic component of the primary form of pedosexuality.
Pedosexual practices essentially involve playfully-oriented petting or "sexual cuddling". Overall, the image that emerges is one of genitally reticent adults.
As a rule, the use of child pornography is associated with the presence of a pedophilic orientation, and has a general psychologically compensatory function for unlived sexuality. No statement is able to be made as to whether its use leads to diminished or heightened pedosexual practice. There was a slight trend toward non-use by older participants, which can presumably be explained in terms of a lack of facility with the Internet.
In the past, a large portion of the pedophilic men had attempted to lead alternative sexual lifestyles, and had found that their sexuality could not be changed. Significant sources of help were conversations with friends, self-help groups, Internet forums, and an anonymous counseling center in Switzerland (the Arcados team). Psychotherapy was often experienced as helpful, especially when it was not compulsory. Four primary goals which pedophilic men hoped to attain through counseling and therapy were:
|improving general life-capabilities,|
|finding meaning and satisfaction,|
|overcoming or managing affective disorders, and|
| dealing with their
own sexuality. |
9. Conclusions and Recommendations
The stated goal of this pilot study was to capture the self-concept characteristics, sense of well-being, and feelings of being under stress of pedophilic men from general as well as differential perspectives using quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
The results make it clear that the social status of primarily pedophilic men is, in the long run, an untenable situation, which is presumably even more brutal than that which faced homosexuals in the 1970s. Although sexual science's theoretical viewpoint on and assessment of the phenomenon are quite different matters, many authors have called for a more constructive social approach with this marginal group. In the final analysis, with any change in approach the highest priority would be given to the presumed well-being of the child, which would be the decisive factor.
The conceptual framework underlying this study, that of operational psychology, suggests that pursuing an exclusively interventionist approach -- moving away from making improvements in act-regulatory capabilities and general well-being -- is inadequate. If they are to be taken more seriously, it would of course be a good idea to provide locally-based and anonymous offers of therapy to pedophilic men. Albeit slowly, the first steps toward this have already been taken (Berlia's pilot project at Charité).
A more effective and constructive approach with this marginal group would, however, only be possible if the social circumstances were also addressed, and the conditions of isolation were overcome. Both pedophilic persons as well as -- indirectly -- the effected children would thereby be helped. Implicit in the operational psychology conceptual framework is an assumption that because it is too much for him or her, a child can potentially be primarily or secondarily harmed by a sexual advance as well as the circumstances surrounding it (the child becomes the bearer of secrets).
Under current conditions, the risk of secondary harm to children is presumably such higher that it would be if the phenomenon were dealt with in a more objective and intercessory manner (e.g., extra-juridical resolution, mediation). This point of view is also increasingly present in the English speaking realm. The argument is typically along the lines that because there would thereby be greater controllability, the best prevention would be the social integration of this minority. (Silverman & Wilson, 2002).
In the author's opinion, it is incumbent upon a humanistic-oriented sexual science to contribute to the de-demonization of persons with this sexual orientation. Important starting points for this endeavor lay in the areas of teaching, research, and politics.
In the several years of a psychologist's training, university curricula should devote at least a few hours to considering the phenomenon and its attendant social problems from various perspectives. Insofar as it is possible, it would be a good idea to invite those concerned to be interview partners in these sessions, so that each student can also get a personal impression of these individuals. To the extent that it actually has been addressed, chiefly by psychology faculties in Germany, there has not been one word as to the differentiability of this sexual science topic.
It would be helpful to have additional empirical research whose stated aim is to provide discernible benefits to effected children as well as pedophilic men. The finding of the present work suggest that it would be interesting to classify a larger number of pedophilic men who are living abstinently in terms of their sense of well-being and feelings of being under stress and then compare them, via interview, with reference to individual mastery-styles. Such a research plan would encompass ideas relating to prevention, while simultaneously supplying important suggestions for counseling or therapy directed towards the population of pedophilic men. This could provide an answer to the question of which abstinent, individual lifestyles, under what conditions , are more likely to be saluto-genetically favorable or unfavorable.
A clear improvement in the life-situation. of pedophilic persons can be attained chiefly trough a de-pathologization of the phenomenon on the sexual-political level. (APA, WHO) When the point of reference is the norm of compulsory heterosexuality and the psychoanalytic paradigm, there are among pedophiles -- just as with gays and lesbians -- real psychodynamic peculiarities in the sexual sphere, with important psychical functions. In the sexual sphere they are simply differently and immutably oriented.
As Rauchfleisch (1996) makes clear, a pathologizing approach leads to exclusion and stigmatization. This should not be the psychologist's job. For purely pragmatic reasons, the deletion or de-listing of the primary form of pedophilia (the same applies to transsexuals) in the international diagnosis system ICD-10 and DSM-IV-TR is to be demanded (See Green 2002).
Whether it is a form of pathology or not cannot, in the final analysis, be answered by supposedly 'objective science'; rather, it is, as in the analogy to homosexuality, a morally and ethically influenced values question which is socially constructed. It has simply become politically correct to not declare homosexuals disordered on the basis of their sexual orientation. The same should apply to persons with a pedophilic orientation.
Furthermore, given the fact that most of those effected find them helpful, the question arises as to what extent pedophile self-help groups are worthy of social support (e.g. making space available, club memberships, etc.). In the media, pedophile self-help groups are sometimes categorically characterized as criminal rings. Based on the author's experience, there are some serious pedophile self-help groups which incorporate expert psychological care (e.g. in Frankfurt) that certainly do not constitute criminal organizations, and which are worthy of support. This is also Dieth's (2004) impression.
Partly due to the pedophile emancipation movement, the demand for sex with children has been brought out into the open with a vengeance. Such demands are counterproductive and are likely to foster prejudice against the pedophile minority, making the former even stronger. There is no doubt that the inner views of a major portion of pedophiles are simply not comparable to those of the average citizen.
It should be emphasized that there is no general perceptual disorder among those affected. In personal conversations, respondents were clearly in a position to recognize potentially harmful aspects for the children; among 'dark number' pedophilic men, there is no lack of reflective ability per se. The SSF results also speak to this.
However, when criminally convicted pedophiles are considered part of this 'clear number' -- which is normally the case -- additional aspects such as the 'perpetrator-responsibility defense-system' (Deegener, 1995) and 'self-exchange actions' (Berner, 1985) must also be considered when assessing perception. Under these conditions, a pedophile would not behave any differently from any other sexual delinquent ('of course they wanted it'), which has to do with justification pressures.
Pedophilic men's inner view -- that sexual contacts with children do not automatically lead to detectable harm to the boy or girl -- is in fact anchored in reality.
A different approach to this subject will strike many people as provocative, and will obviously arouse strong fears about the decline of moral values. (Jenkins, 1998*) Due to the high degree of downright hatred directed towards this minority, great significance must be attributed to projective mechanisms.
Phallometric studies show that there is a large number of men with secondary pedophilic tendencies. (Berner, 2002) Moreover, a large number of female victims exist. Both influence factors bolster this assumption.
What in more recent times has become a classic example of the
manifestation of a panic over the decline of traditional values
are the reactions in the United States to the large meta-analysis
Tromovitch & Bauserman (1998). This study, adjudged
Those reactions can be explained in terms of mechanisms and assumptions which Jenkins (1998) and -- above all -- Jost et al. (cited in Stöcker, 2003), describe, 'particularly in a strongly Christian-imprinted country with a real and palpable tendency towards encroaching religious fanaticism (Chomsky, 2004).
On July 3rd, 2003 in the German parliament, a proposed law to strengthen reporting requirements, which would have criminalized scientific studies in the area of pedosexuality, was rejected.
It is the view of Grandt & Jamin (2002) that the nature and ways
in which sexual offenses are dealt with governmentally, in
research in this area, and in media reports represents a
Differences in the understanding of democracy between the U.S. (see, e. g. , "Megan's Law") and 'Old Europe' are still discernible. However, there is, in our country [Germany], also the following problem: Researchers who do not condemn this phenomenon from the very beginning make themselves targets and have in the past sometimes been slandered by colleagues, which has not contributed to a constructive discussion of the topic. Perhaps it might be necessary and sensible to establish definite rules for dealing with one another via the [German] Professional Association of Psychologists (RDP).
At present, as far as the subject of pedophilia is concerned, it
would appear that sexual science has been turned into the
"whore of politics." (see Gigi 1/2006.) A discussion
aimed at improving the social situation of pedophilic men and the
children effected can, moreover, only be conducted constructively
if the demand by representatives
Even if harm is not always empirically detectable, it will, with
great certainty, remain a utopian dream to believe ,that
pedosexual contacts would ever be legalized at such-and-such time
or place. The pedophile minority really has scarcely any chance of
crawling out of the air completely. Clinging to this Utopia is, however,
obviously important to many pedophiles, while at the same time
also constituting -- looking at it in
A more humane and constructive approach to this marginal group should be developed. The author concurs with the option of Schmidt (1999), who writes of the tragedy of pedophilic men: