Thursday, September 11, 2014

A CRUCIAL DISTINCTION (3rd part of a 3 part sequence on pedophilia)

Somehow computers have made it legitimate to deal with forbidden topics so long as they are in terms of statistics, like “one in six men will be sexually molested in their lifetime”.  Or lab research produces charts like the one above by putting a pleismograph on a number of men’s penises to see what images they physically respond to.  (Which might not be what they think they desire.)  But also, more quietly, men have been openly testifying about what happened to them and the consequences of abuse.  Even the children are telling their stories.

This chart separates out people who are sexually aroused by different age groups.  Also, the scientists were looking for differences between the desires of “heterosexuals” versus “homosexuals,” though the two categories are becoming pretty blurry.  

(Are two ninety-year-old women who are married sitting in their wheelchairs, wearing pink, and after forty years of sharing a household, really like an Act-Up parade of randy naked young men?)   “Gay” begins to seem more and more about specific kinds of activities and locations than about the nature of desire, which seems less and less binary.  But the researchers were hoping to break down the association of homosexuality and pedophilia as society understands them, and in that they probably succeeded.

But the most marked and significant difference I hear when I read the stories of children who have been used to satisfy sexual desire is never even noted.  That’s between those who mix sex with something like nurturing and those who mix sex with violence (possibly deadly).  Street boys doing survival sex for pay report that they will be paid extra if they forego safety measures like condoms (barebacking), but also that they will sometimes be paid even more if they will allow themselves to be beaten up or even tortured.  Some clients don’t ask or pay -- they just do it.  Some seem to replace coitus with violence and others mix the two, one fueling the other.  (The boys cope by using drugs.)

Similar reports come from those abused by family members, esp. step-fathers but even biological fathers.  Why isn’t the difference between inappropriate but non-damaging sexual use and violent, emergency-room level sexual abuse (often fueled by drugs) more discussed and studied?

It seems to me that pedophiles who actually love the children they desire and even try to please them, to “turn them on,” establish an empathic connection with the child that keeps them from physically harming the child.  But they don’t have enough awareness to know they may be mentally and psychologically confusing and crippling a developing child.

The other kind of pedophiles need a different name:  they seem not to realize that a child is a human being, so their desire is not for the child but for the opportunity to torture and oppress, to get a reaction.  It's a cruelty-philia.  The fact that the victim is a child is only about the inability of the child to escape, like a small animal or a weak woman.  It's not about sexual desire at all, but about rage, invasion, power.  And the scariest kind are the ones who sit idle and bored on the sofa, watching tv alongside a child and a dog, when suddenly they have an impulse to make something happen and reach over to press the burning end of the cigarette into either the child or the dog.  Is there any sexual component to that?

rough sex

I started thinking about the opposite: "maternal men," who will feed, comfort, reassure, guide and love children WITHOUT sexual elements -- innocently.  Even if they are desirous.  I think of Walt Whitman at the bedside of young suffering and dying soldiers, treating them as a mother would.  One would hope pediatricians were like this.  But at another point I was googling for images of “grabbed by the back of the neck”  (cats and rabbits do this to hold the female in place) and kept coming across the little motto above that had been repeated in different fonts and backgrounds.  It’s a celebration of rough sex, a frank inability to feel anything that isn’t violent.  If a person has conflated sex with violence, then they likely would be looking for someone whom they could treat violently.  

That still doesn't account for the man who leaves his wife sleeping in their bed in order to cross the hall to rape his small son -- though he created that child by fucking the woman he now deserts.  What kind of displacement is that?

Why is this cute?

Pedophile priests seem to desire transgression per se.  Not the kind of zombie-producing transgression where jungle maniacs force children to have intercourse with their parents and then kill the parents before their eyes and cut off the hands of the child.  But just indecent liberties -- fumbling, inviting sucking, pushing aside clothing.  This is NOT sexual desire for a child's body so much as wanting the knowledge of doing what is forbidden and knowing they can do it with impunity, that they will be protected in order to save the reputation of the church.  

Maybe it makes them seem to themselves more important or effective.  Maybe they feel they are being diddled by God.  The world of ministry, like the world of social work or teaching, is always frustrating.  One is constantly hitting limits of what one can do and constantly having to respond to trivialities that people could resolve for themselves if they tried.  Priests work alone far more than teachers or social workers.  It's not just a matter of not having sex with a wife, but also the comforting domestic life and ego support provided by a wife.


Researchers claim that one in six men is sexually abused over a lifetime.  I suppose mostly as children, but also as adults.  I wonder why EVERYONE is not abused?  What keeps the other five-sixths from being abused?  Is there some marker on the ones who are molested?   They say there is -- esp. after the first incident.  A stigma.  Maybe cringing or resentment.  Maybe false bravado.  Or maybe they felt it was a compliment, a privilege.  Maybe they just look confused, paralyzed like a bird in front of a snake.  Researching such markers is too close to blaming the victim.  But bruises, broken bones, STD’s, personality changes, are certainly markers that the victim neither plans nor enjoys.  Even if the predator takes care not to mark a face, behavior patterns can be giveaways.

In fact, it could be argued that the emotional confusion is the real damage. The distorted brain matrixes that keep people from intimacy, trust, joy, are harder to treat and heal than even broken bones or burst organs.  Yet emotional cruelty -- belittling, berating, bullying, mocking -- is so accepted and pervasive that it’s hard to convince people that it’s not normal and not harmless.  It is an effective way to control others, esp. children and dependents.

I read and think more about male victims partly because it gives me a bit of distance but also because I just like boys.  I have two brothers.  It’s not harder to think more about male than female perpetrators because most of them are male.  That’s who is more likely to mix violence with coition, indeed require violence in order to be aroused.  If they are grown men, equals, and in the SM context, they may share a universe of sensation that the rest of us would just as soon ignore.  The biochemical parameters and components of that have been investigated to some degree.  It’s pretty clear that transgression is a component -- doing socially forbidden things -- but within the intimacy.  

"Last Tango in Paris"

Probably there are accounts of sexual violence against children somewhere.  The most compelling accounts of NON-violent but physical desire for a child might be “Lolita” or “Death in Venice.”  Two films show men tenderly bathing “daughters” they are using sexually:  “Last Tango in Paris” and “Butterfly.”  The women are technically adult but have hebephilic personas.  At no point are they beaten up, there is no blood-letting, and they are not confined.  (Terrifying case histories in daily newspapers tell of girls being shut into boxes, tied into chairs for YEARS, raped and forced to give birth without medical help.)

These heads are made of cake and frosting for a joke wedding cake.

Our culture in general is so violent that I was surprised anyone was shocked by vids of public beheadings of journalists.  The movies show heads rolling around as freely as billiard balls on a pool table.  The technical ability to show recognizable heads on pikes means there must be prototypes on many storage shelves in Hollywood.  Kid gamers commonly watch beheading with great gouts of blood, and spectacular immolations that leave shriveled black remains.  We see people raped on television every evening, often represented as deserved punishment.  Blaming the victim.

What the kids themselves, esp. the ones with enough self-awareness to market their own bodies (NOT their desire) describe is nothing so spectacular.  What they say is that they feel invisible, non-existent, shadowy, immersed in depression, alien.  They long for love, the kind of intimacy that makes marionettes and velveteen rabbits come to life.  Why not real boys?

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