Is pedophilia natural?

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Is pedophilia natural?

#1  Postby OnkelCannabia » May 21, 2016 9:17 am

I had a professor once who mentioned a study claiming that a large amount (maybe 80%, I'm not sure) of men would have sex with a 12-year-old girl if there was no social stigma behind it. The prof was teaching some minor course on the side and I only visited that one lecture, so I have no idea about his credentials. I couldn't find that study though and didn't want to search to hard. Might sound paranoid, but I don't want to end up on some watch list, by excessively googleing pedophilia.

Anyway, whether it is true or not, it got me to think. Marrying underage girls seemed to be the norm in many societies throughout history and sex was pretty much implied. In catholic societies marriage had even to be consummated by sex. It seems that sex with minors is also rather common in many tribal societies, but to be honest I don't really know a lot about that besides hearsay. We stigmatize somebody who has these urges to be a pervert or much worse, but is the interest in a minor actually a perversion or do most people just convince themselves they have no interest because of the social repercussions. I've heard from many people who grew up thinking gay sex is disgusting only to later in life find out they are bisexual. Could the same thing be happening here? Why else would it have been common in the past and considered a perversion today? Or do I just have my history wrong?

So what does the science say? Are we repressing our natural instincts because of social stigma and are actually biologically inclined to sex with minors or is pedophilia actually an abnormality? Society would like to tell us it is the later, but if I look back in history it seems more like the former.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#2  Postby zoon » May 21, 2016 9:50 am

Most of us would be capable of murder if there were no social stigma whatsoever. Social stigma is a natural instinct for us; it's one of the mechanisms that enable human societies to operate effectively, and it tends to be especially strong where harm is caused to the other person. 12 year old girls are usually too young to have children safely, so any society which takes enough interest in the welfare of their children to raise girls to the age of 12 is likely to attach stigma to underage sex. History has a tendency to be about the top levels of society, where marriage was often used for political alliances, and the political usefulness of marrying children might override their safety (I'm guessing).
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#3  Postby tuco » May 21, 2016 10:13 am

How would the 12-year-old look like, as in: if she had women traits or not, is significant not age I would guess. Also as soon as an individual is biologically fit to reproduce, reproduction is possible.

btw natural? Yes its natural. What is not natural? Semantics.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#4  Postby OnkelCannabia » May 21, 2016 11:02 am

tuco wrote:How would the 12-year-old look like, as in: if she had women traits or not, is significant not age I would guess. Also as soon as an individual is biologically fit to reproduce, reproduction is possible.

btw natural? Yes its natural. What is not natural? Semantics.

hmmm, yeah, after reading your post and zoon's I feel almost stupid for asking. Haven't had the chance to hang out with any intellectuals for a while and most "normal" people would try to tell themselves that anything that doesn't fit into their worldview is unnatural, crazy or whatever pejorative they would want to use. They are so prone to committing the natural fallacy that they assume anything deemed immoral must also be unnatural and vice versa. Hearing those people talk about the issue makes it seem like it would be completely unnatural for a man to desire a younger girl and would only happen to extreme perverts. As you said, biologically speaking finding any girl fit to reproduce attractive would be a rather natural response, just like hurting or killing anyone you dislike would be rather natural.

I still wonder about the study though. It seems off. I'd imagine that most people would be in shock if they found out how different their beliefs and desires would be if the social pressure on them changed drastically, but I'd have a hard time believing the majority would realize and admit that in a study. Since I couldn't find the study anywhere in my short search, I assume the prof was talking out of his ass. A lot of what he said seemed off.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#5  Postby tuco » May 21, 2016 11:11 am

Well, to me natural is everything but that is not the point. You were asking about normal, I assume. Normal as in: prevalent in majority. I dunno about that, dunno what science says.

IMO picking 12-year-old as starting point is unfortunate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebephilia

btw I would not agree that is normal to kill or hurt those who we dislike. I would say its normal to hurt or kill those in competition with us for various resources.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#6  Postby OnkelCannabia » May 21, 2016 12:40 pm

tuco wrote:
btw I would not agree that is normal to kill or hurt those who we dislike. I would say its normal to hurt or kill those in competition with us for various resources.

I'm not saying it is normal to kill or hurt those who we dislike. What I was trying to say is that it is probably normal to desire to hurt or kill people that anger us if there is no social pressure otherwise. Basically the question was, is the instinct to do these things abnormal or is the instinct something we all have that we just overcome by self-control and the way society shapes us.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#7  Postby Calilasseia » May 21, 2016 12:54 pm

Look up Acarophenax tribolii. The world of biology is full of weirdness that makes paedophilia look tame.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#8  Postby tuco » May 21, 2016 12:58 pm

Questioning the so-called human nature is interesting but tricky. Personally, I view it as probability distribution rather than universality. Without the study in question, tho we know how such studies can be, we will probably not get further than semantics and opinions.

I still do not think it is normal, in any sense of the word, to be hostile towards those who anger us to such extent that we would want to kill them. If it was, we would be killing ourselves on daily bases. Unless for predators we do not see much of such behavior elsewhere in nature, among other animals, and we are not all that different. This is a different topic however.

Being sexually attracted to what is perceived as an individual fit .. for reproduction is probably in human nature, on a curve of a kind.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#9  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 21, 2016 1:39 pm

You are smudging the definitions of the words you are using. Defining pedophilia as being attracted to a member of the opposite sex who appears to be fully grown, but who has been declared to still be a child legally, is where you are twisting things. You are also twisting the meaning of the word "natural."

Pedophilia is actually defined, not be age, but by biology. If the attraction is to the fact that the child is prepubescent, then it is pedophilia. If the attraction is instead to an unusually physiologically mature, but still officially under age person, it's not pedophilia.

I will say that both by definition and by practice, that absolutely no, pedophilia is not "natural," in the sense that "we would all behave as pedophiliacs, were it not for laws and social customs."

It is not biologically logical, to have sexual attraction specifically to beings who cannot bear children. Nor is it common. So it is not "natural," in the sense you mean.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#10  Postby ScholasticSpastic » May 21, 2016 1:48 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote: It is not biologically logical, to have sexual attraction specifically to beings who cannot bear children. Nor is it common. So it is not "natural," in the sense you mean.

While I understand what you are trying to say, homosexuality appears to be quite natural, which is to say that we can find a lot of examples of it in other species of animals, including entire species of only one sex that have sex with each other in order to stimulate parthenogenesis. But homosexuality is sexual attraction specifically to beings who cannot bear children.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#11  Postby laklak » May 21, 2016 1:50 pm

Yeah, even Mo constrained himself to "thighing" Aisha till menarche.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#12  Postby igorfrankensteen » May 21, 2016 2:13 pm

ScholasticSpastic wrote:
igorfrankensteen wrote: It is not biologically logical, to have sexual attraction specifically to beings who cannot bear children. Nor is it common. So it is not "natural," in the sense you mean.

While I understand what you are trying to say, homosexuality appears to be quite natural, which is to say that we can find a lot of examples of it in other species of animals, including entire species of only one sex that have sex with each other in order to stimulate parthenogenesis. But homosexuality is sexual attraction specifically to beings who cannot bear children.


I wasn't clear enough for your purposes. I didn't say what you think I said.

The thread starter used "natural" to mean two unsupported things, simultaneously. You are using "natural" in reference to "occurs occasionally in nature without intervention." And I agree with you, and I also suspect we will one day find a biological cause of pedophilia.

The OP, however, was using it to mean "normal and common to most or all members of a species," as well as implying the socio-political meaning "therefore should be considered okay." It is to those definitions of "natural" that I was referring, when I said "in the sense you mean."
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#13  Postby Fallible » May 21, 2016 7:36 pm

What definition of 'natural' is that?
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#14  Postby laklak » May 21, 2016 9:37 pm

Good question. There's "natural", as in "100% Natural Organic", and "natchel", as in "like a natchel man".
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#15  Postby Beatsong » May 21, 2016 10:11 pm

The prof was probably right.

But then most men would have sex with a disabled baboon after a few beers, if there was no social stigma behind it. So I'm not sure how meaningful it is.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#16  Postby Beatsong » May 21, 2016 10:50 pm

Less flippantly:

The problem with hypotheticals like this is that they require suspending so many assumptions about the real world, that any conclusions drawn from them lose their force and sense when trying to apply them to that world.

In terms of this one, I'd want to know what is actually meant by the lack of social stigma. The social stigma around having sex with underage girls is ultimately based on awareness that doing so can be directly or indirectly harmful to them. So is the claim that "most men would have sex with a 12 year old if there were no social stigma because sex with girls of that age wasn't in any way harmful"? Or that "most men would have sex with a 12 year old girl if there were no social stigma because the act still caused pain and suffering, but society didn't care about the pain and suffering of 12 year old girls?

If it's the first, then I'd reckon the answer's probably yes (12 isn't that young; there are European countries even today where the age of consent is 14, and we know that sexual attraction is hugely adaptable to situation. If a tough guy gang leader can have sex with men just because he happens to find himself in prison, who knows?). But the obvious question arising from it is: why shouldn't he?

If it's the second, then you're talking about a society in which the whole foundation of morality and ethics is so different from ours that it's impossible to make sense of the question.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#17  Postby I'm With Stupid » May 21, 2016 11:28 pm

zoon wrote:Most of us would be capable of murder if there were no social stigma whatsoever. Social stigma is a natural instinct for us; it's one of the mechanisms that enable human societies to operate effectively, and it tends to be especially strong where harm is caused to the other person. 12 year old girls are usually too young to have children safely, so any society which takes enough interest in the welfare of their children to raise girls to the age of 12 is likely to attach stigma to underage sex. History has a tendency to be about the top levels of society, where marriage was often used for political alliances, and the political usefulness of marrying children might override their safety (I'm guessing).

As you point out, there are very good reasons for the social stigma around underage sex. In the past, it was merely fierce protectionism, particularly from fathers and other older, male relatives over their teenage daughters. This is no doubt an instinct that responded to protect girls from getting pregnant at an age when it would be dangerous to their lives. But obviously this could only be an issue if a significant number of heterosexual men begin to find girls attractive before the age of safe pregnancy. And I would guess that this applies to the vast majority of men. Ask any woman at which age she first started getting attention from adult men, and it's almost always before she was able to legally consent, and if she developed early, it can be significantly earlier than that. Biology isn't perfect, and so in the same way that a male frog's sexual urges will cause it to attempt to mate with another male frog in the absence of a female, so too a male human's sexual urges may cause him to be sexually attracted to someone before the age that they could reliably carry a baby to term. It's obviously an area where evolution hasn't quite done the perfect job that God would have if he existed.

When you ask is it natural, I assume what you're getting at is whether it's a function that has a clear evolutionary reason and advantage, and whether it applies to everyone. I would suggest that finding post-pubescent girls attractive (which isn't to say you necessarily find them as attractive as a 25 year old), even if they are not capable of reliably delivering a baby is relatively universal amongst heterosexual men, although I'd be interested to see if anyone's done an actual study on this. I've seen studies where they're able to measure sexual attraction, so it presumably wouldn't be too difficult to use the same procedure to work out the average age that men start to find girls attractive. Although it might not be a popular answer, hence why it hasn't been done, or if it has, hasn't been widely publicized. Anyway in the sense I'd argue it's normal. Actual paedophilia of finding pre-pubescent children attractive would seem to be more of a disorder in the traditional sense, that being that there's no obvious evolutionary advantage to such an urge existing and it only affects a tiny minority of people (to my knowledge).

In a vaguely related story, did anyone see the David Attenborough documentary about wolves in North America? There was one scene where the young female had to sneak away from the pack in order to mate with a lone male, only they were caught half way through the act and the lone male barely escaped with his life when the females relatively chased him away. Seems very similar to the social dynamic of humans in respect to the sexuality of their younger female relatives.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#18  Postby surreptitious57 » May 21, 2016 11:40 pm

I would suggest the greatest incentive to not doing anything is ones own moral boundaries
instead of social stigma even though they are generally not mutually incompatible as such
And it is important to remember that society is not a single monolithic entity with its laws
written on tablets of stone for it is way more complex than that crude caricature suggests
As both individual and collective morality are in an eternal state of transition or evolution
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#19  Postby Beatsong » May 22, 2016 12:13 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:When you ask is it natural, I assume what you're getting at is whether it's a function that has a clear evolutionary reason and advantage, and whether it applies to everyone. I would suggest that finding post-pubescent girls attractive (which isn't to say you necessarily find them as attractive as a 25 year old), even if they are not capable of reliably delivering a baby is relatively universal amongst heterosexual men, although I'd be interested to see if anyone's done an actual study on this. I've seen studies where they're able to measure sexual attraction, so it presumably wouldn't be too difficult to use the same procedure to work out the average age that men start to find girls attractive. Although it might not be a popular answer, hence why it hasn't been done, or if it has, hasn't been widely publicized. Anyway in the sense I'd argue it's normal. Actual paedophilia of finding pre-pubescent children attractive would seem to be more of a disorder in the traditional sense, that being that there's no obvious evolutionary advantage to such an urge existing and it only affects a tiny minority of people (to my knowledge).


The problem with defining "natural" as "confering evolutionary advantage" is that we only tend to work out the latter after the fact. We look at what happens and try to work out how it's been evolutionarily advantageous, on the basis that it MUST have been evolutionarily advantageous to get us to this point. So even when that's difficult to do (for example with homosexuality) we try and try until eventually we come up with some kind of answer (or, we just write that trait off as being "unnatural", as if that somehow absolves us of having to show how evolution got all those other things right but not that one).

Another way of saying this is that everything that exists is evolutionarily advantageous by definition - either in itself, or because developing the opposite trait would have used some resource or conferred some disadvantage even greater - because it exists.

As tuco alluded to above, one of the problems with the OP is what does "natural" mean? Everything that exists is natural. Beyond that, it tends to just be an arbitrary label people use to validate the things that accord with their own prejudices, and condemn the things that don't.

Clearly there are examples of men being sexually attracted to 12 year old girls so such attraction is natural. As for how many more men would experience such attraction if there were no social stigma attached, I'm not sure how we could possibly know.
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Re: Is pedophilia natural?

#20  Postby tuco » May 22, 2016 12:36 am

Beatsong wrote:Less flippantly:

The problem with hypotheticals like this is that they require suspending so many assumptions about the real world, that any conclusions drawn from them lose their force and sense when trying to apply them to that world.

In terms of this one, I'd want to know what is actually meant by the lack of social stigma. The social stigma around having sex with underage girls is ultimately based on awareness that doing so can be directly or indirectly harmful to them. So is the claim that "most men would have sex with a 12 year old if there were no social stigma because sex with girls of that age wasn't in any way harmful"? Or that "most men would have sex with a 12 year old girl if there were no social stigma because the act still caused pain and suffering, but society didn't care about the pain and suffering of 12 year old girls?

If it's the first, then I'd reckon the answer's probably yes (12 isn't that young; there are European countries even today where the age of consent is 14, and we know that sexual attraction is hugely adaptable to situation. If a tough guy gang leader can have sex with men just because he happens to find himself in prison, who knows?). But the obvious question arising from it is: why shouldn't he?

If it's the second, then you're talking about a society in which the whole foundation of morality and ethics is so different from ours that it's impossible to make sense of the question.


Are you asking your self those hypotheticals? ;)

There is nothing hypothetical about it. There is number of wo/men sexually attracted to different age groups, in this case 11-14 year olds via wiki. Just need to count them. How? Well, that is the problem.

Natural should be either left alone or answered as: Yes, and thread closed.
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