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Abstract

Non-offending pedophiles are a unique population of individuals who experience sexual interest in children, but despite common misperceptions, have neither had sexual contact with a child nor have accessed illegal child sexual exploitation material. An emerging body of research has examined the prevalence of pedophilic interests, characteristics of non-offending pedophiles, correlates of pedophilic interests, and stigma associated with pedophilia. Treatment programs are beginning to produce findings regarding the effectiveness of treatment in supporting non-offending pedophiles to remain offence-free. The current review spans these areas of research and discusses potential treatment options for working with non-offending pedophiles based on that research base.
CURRENT CONTROVERSIES (P KLEINPLATZ AND C MOSER, SECTION EDITORS)
Non-offending Pedophiles
James M. Cantor
1
&Ian V. McPhail
2
Published online: 23 May 2016
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2016
Abstract Non-offending pedophiles are a unique population
of individuals who experience sexual interest in children, but
despite common misperceptions, have neither had sexual con-
tact with a child nor have accessed illegal child sexual exploi-
tation material. An emerging body of research has examined
the prevalence of pedophilic interests, characteristics of non-
offending pedophiles, correlates of pedophilic interests, and
stigma associated with pedophilia. Treatment programs are
beginning to produce findings regarding the effectiveness of
treatment in supporting non-offending pedophiles to remain
offence-free. The current review spans these areas of research
and discusses potential treatment options for working with
non-offending pedophiles based on that research base.
Keywords Non-offending pedophiles .Treatment .
Stigma-related stress .Pedophilia
Introduction
Non-offending pedophiles are a unique population who
have been gaining more attention in sexological research
and treatment and in popular culture. These are individuals
who experience sexual attraction to children but have no
(known) sexual contact with a child, typically expressing
the strong desire never to do so. In recent years, online
networks have been established for self-identified pedo-
philes to share information and support as they cope with
pedophilic interests (e.g., b4uact.org; virped.org).
Treatment programs for self-identified pedophiles at risk
for offending have also begun to emerge. Examples of these
include the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld in Germany [1]
and the Help Wantedprogram, a prevention-focused pro-
jectbasedintheUSA[2]. As well, a small body of empir-
ical research examining the prevalence of pedophilic sexual
interests in the population, the correlates of pedophilic in-
terests, the characteristics and experiences of non-
offending pedophiles, and the stigma has begun to accrue.
This review summarizes the empirical research published in
these areas and discusses treatment of non-offending
pedophiles.
1
Non-offending Pedophiles: Prevalence, Correlates,
and Characteristics
Recent research has attempted to estimate the prevalence and
incidence of sexual interest in children and how many of these
individuals have not acted on such interests. In a self-selected
sample recruited online and through radio and newspaper ad-
vertisement (n= 1516; 52.7 % female), 1.8 % of the male and
1
In this article, we take pedophila to mean a range of possibilities in
terms of sexual interest directly toward prepubescent children, rather than
rely on a strict diagnostic definition that includes criteria regarding objec-
tive temporality, preferentiality of interest, and clinical distress when de-
fining pedophilia (i.e., DSM-5 pedophilic disorder diagnosis). This broad
approach is taken in order to accommodate the existent literature that
typically does not attempt a diagnostic definition of pedophilia, but rather
assesses constructs including sexual interest in childrenor sexual fan-
tasies involving children.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Current Controversies
*James M. Cantor
james.cantor@camh.ca
1
Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute,
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 33 Russell Street,
Toronto M5S 2S1, Canada
2
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Curr Sex Health Rep (2016) 8:121128
DOI 10.1007/s11930-016-0076-z
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... For example, a person with pedophilic interests may experience distress over those interests and receive a pedophilic disorder diagnosis without the presence of offending behavior. This diagnostic profile is sometimes referred to as non-offending pedophilia (Cantor & McPhail, 2016). Additionally, although some people diagnosed with pedophilic disorder may engage in criminal offending behavior, this offending behavior might not encompass contact child sexual abuse. ...
... Conversely, pedophilic disorder shows limited response to general psychotherapeutic interventions which, unlike OCD treatment, focus mainly on cognitive distortions and denial, empathy training, and sexual impulse control training (Cohen & Galynker, 2002). Although general supportive therapy has shown some benefits in reducing distress symptoms of pedophilic disorder and environmental interventions aimed at managing urges have shown some success, particularly in forensic settings, there still remains a lack of non-forensic, pedophilia-specific interventions (Cantor & McPhail, 2016). A few specialized programs, such as Project Dunkelfeld in Germany, offer psychotherapeutic services specifically designed for community treatment of people with pedophilic disorder, but have shown mixed results and are limited in their availability (Mokros & Banse, 2019). ...
... Additionally, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers has recently started the Eradicating Child Sexual Abuse initiative aimed at preventing child sexual abuse and treating individuals with pedophilia; however, research on the effectiveness of the initiative is currently limited (Eradicating Child Sexual Abuse, 2020). Because of limited community treatment options for pedophilic disorder, most treatment for pedophilia is delivered in forensic settings to individuals with pedophilia and offending histories (Cantor & McPhail, 2016). These forensic interventions may include incarceration, parole supervision, and testosterone-reducing interventions such as chemical castration (Hall et al., 2007;Schober et al., 2005). ...
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Despite the prevalence of atypical sexual thoughts in OCD presentations, research suggests that treatment providers often misclassify OCD with pedophilic obsessions (P-OCD) as pedophilic disorder. Such misdiagnoses can have adverse effects including inappropriate treatment, worsening of symptoms, and potential legal complications. Given these iatrogenic effects, clinicians must be competent in differentiating between these two conditions. To clarify the difficult differential between P-OCD and pedophilic disorder, the current paper provides readers with two vignettes that illustrate the differential process. These vignettes highlight important distinctions in symptom presentations and common pitfalls when assessing for P-OCD and pedophilic disorder. The first vignette describes a 32-year-old married woman who experienced pedophilic-themed intrusive thoughts, leading her to avoid children and certain interactions with her daughter. The second vignette describes a 42-year-old married man who experienced ego-dystonic attraction toward minors, particularly 8–10-year-old girls. Following these vignettes, treatment implications and forensic implications are discussed. Finally, recommendations for future clinical and empirical work are made.
... Prè s de trois dé cennies plus tard, Laws et Marshall [53] ont suggé ré que la commission de comportements sexuels envers les enfants soit le ré sultat d'un conditionnement ayant lieu durant l'enfance, conditionnement durant lequel l'excitation sexuelle et les plaisirs associé s au contact sexuel avec d'autres enfants auraient favorisé le dé veloppement d'une pré fé rence sexuelle pour les enfants et, par la même occasion, auraient inhibé toute attirance sexuelle envers les adultes. Ré cemment, une é tude ré alisé e auprè s de pé dophiles abstinents (soit des individus caracté risé s par une pré fé rence sexuelle envers les enfants, mais n'ayant jamais agressé sexuellement d'enfants) suggè re que la pré fé rence sexuelle envers les enfants n'est pas à elle seule suffisante pour expliquer l'agression sexuelle d'enfants [12]. ...
... Ces ré sultats indiquent que 46 % des ré pondants ont considé ré le suicide en raison de leur situation, 32 % ont dé jà planifié de se suicider et 13 % ont dé jà essayé dans le passé [49]. Ce stigma social envers la pé dophilie pourrait ainsi contribuer à une ré ticence à aller chercher de l'aide, mais aussi à de l'hypervigilance, à de l'isolement social, à la dé pression et au dé veloppement d'une image de soi né gative [12]. Lasher et Stinson [52] avancent donc que dans ce contexte, deux possibilité s s'offrent gé né ralement au pé dophile qui cherche à demeurer abstinent. ...
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Dans le discours populaire, pédophile et agresseur sexuel d’enfant sont généralement compris comme étant des synonymes : les pédophiles seraient des individus qui ont commis une agression sexuelle sur un enfant et les agresseurs sexuels d’enfants seraient nécessairement des individus ayant une préférence sexuelle pour les enfants. Bien que les études antérieures aient mis en évidence que la préférence sexuelle envers les enfants joue un rôle important dans le processus de passage à l’acte et la récidive des individus, elle constitue un facteur parmi d’autres (ex.: manque d’empathie, distorsions cognitives). Dans le cadre de cet entretien, les chercheurs apportent quelques nuances en, notamment, délimitant plusieurs concepts tels que celui d’agression sexuelle d’enfant et en abordant : les différents types de délits sexuels, les caractéristiques et les profils des agresseurs sexuels d’enfant et les différences entre la pédophilie et l’agression sexuelle d’enfants. Les chercheurs terminent en présentant le concept de pédophile abstinent, soit un individu ayant une préférence sexuelle envers les enfants, mais qui n’a jamais commis d’infraction sexuelle. Les chercheurs présentent les ressources qui s’offrent à ce type d’individus, les difficultés qu’ils peuvent vivre au quotidien et proposent des pistes de réflexion en matière d’accompagnement et de traitement.
... In contrast to common misperceptions, people with pedophilia do not necessarily commit child sexual abuse (CSA). This means that individuals with pedophilia can (and oftentimes do) live offense-free with full behavioral control [7]. Nevertheless, the sexual preference for prepubescent children represents an important risk factor for (repeated) sexual offending against children [8,9]. ...
... In line with previous studies (e.g., [15][16][17][18]), our participants perceived the bulk of media coverage as undifferentiated and one-sidedly focused on CSA. In particular, participants lamented a lack of media coverage of the fact that a substantial number of people do not commit CSA despite being sexually attracted to them [7], and thereby neglects reporting positive portrayals of individuals with pedophilia [17]. ...
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... Endearment represents a positive emotion that decreases sympathetic arousal (Boiten, 1998;Eisenberg et al., 1988;Kreibig, 2010;Tsai et al., 2002). It is suggested that this emotion may play a role in pedophilia (Cantor & McPhail, 2016;Smid & Wever, 2019). An often stated claim of pedophiles is that not sexual attraction per se, but rather affection and endearment primarily or initially draw them toward a child (Collings, 1997;Martijn et al., 2020;Schmidt, 1991). ...
... Endearment did not cause excitation transfer in many participants, but when it did, it caused relatively large excitation transfer effects, specifically to genital sexual arousal. This is interesting given the hypothesized link between pedophilia and intense feelings of endearment toward children (Cantor & McPhail, 2016;Smid & Wever, 2019). A recent neurobiological study (Ponseti et al., 2018) showed over-responding to nurturing stimuli in pedophilic subjects in various motivational brain areas also related to the mating domain (e.g., the left anterior insula). ...
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... Labels and their connotations can activate stereotypes, attitudes, and emotions, which has implications for social judgments, empathy, and intergroup behavior (see Kawakami et al., 2017 for an integrative discussion of the consequences of social categorization). Despite common misperceptions, people who are sexually attracted to children can live offense-free (Cantor, 2014;Cantor & McPhail, 2016), and more than half of the people who commit sexual offenses against children are primarily sexually attracted to adults (Schmidt et al., 2013;Seto, 2018). Nevertheless, people who are sexually attracted to children face a harsh stigma, even when they abide by the law (Jahnke et al., 2015a(Jahnke et al., , 2015bLehmann et al., 2020). ...
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... Labels and their connotations can activate stereotypes, attitudes, and emotions, which has implications for social judgements, empathy, and intergroup behavior (see Kawakami et al., 2017 for an integrative discussion of the consequences of social categorization). Despite common misperceptions, people who are sexually attracted to children can live offense-free (Cantor, 2014;Cantor & McPhail, 2016), and more than half of the people who commit sexual offenses against children are primarily sexually attracted to adults (Schmidt et al., 2013;Seto, 2018). Nevertheless, people who are sexually attracted to children face a harsh stigma, even when they abide by the law (Jahnke, Imhoff, et al., 2015;Lehmann et al., 2020). ...
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