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A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity

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Challenging widespread assumptions that persons who are preferentially attracted to minors—often referred to as "pedophiles"—are necessarily also predators and sex offenders, this book takes readers into the lives of non-offending minor-attracted persons (MAPs). There is little research into non-offending MAPs, a group whose experiences offer valuable insights into the prevention of child abuse. Navigating guilt, shame, and fear, this universally maligned group demonstrates remarkable resilience and commitment to living without offending and to supporting and educating others. Using data from interview-based research, A Long, Dark Shadow offers a crucial account of the lived experiences of this hidden population.
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... Anonymous is also not alone in wishing to seek out mental health care as it relates to attractions to minors. Nonetheless, minor-attracted people (MAPs) who seek mental health care frequently face suspicion, unwanted conversion therapy methods, or reports to the police from providers who have little understanding about MAPs (Levenson & Grady, 2019b;Walker, 2021). In addition, MAPs who are interested in mental health care often do not seek it out for fear that providers would believe that they posed a threat, even when they have no inclination toward committing an offense (Grady et al., 2019;Walker, 2021). ...
... Nonetheless, minor-attracted people (MAPs) who seek mental health care frequently face suspicion, unwanted conversion therapy methods, or reports to the police from providers who have little understanding about MAPs (Levenson & Grady, 2019b;Walker, 2021). In addition, MAPs who are interested in mental health care often do not seek it out for fear that providers would believe that they posed a threat, even when they have no inclination toward committing an offense (Grady et al., 2019;Walker, 2021). ...
... While there still exists a stark lack of research about MAPs outside of the sex offending literature, research has begun to show that MAPs as a population face many unique challenges. Such challenges include a high degree of social stigma from a society that assumes they have committed, or will commit, a sexual offense (Cash, 2016;Freimond, 2013;Goode, 2010;Grady et al., 2019;Jahnke, Imhoff, & Hoyer, 2015;Walker, 2021); loneliness (Cash, 2016;Jahnke, Schmidt, et al., 2015;Levenson & Grady, 2019b;Walker, 2021); and fear that they will commit an offense (Blagden et al., 2018;Walker, 2021). These challenges may have a direct effect on their mental health: A small literature indicates that MAPs may experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations at a much higher rate than the general population (Adiele et al., 2011;Cash, 2016;Freimond, 2013;Goode, 2010;Jahnke, Schmidt, et al., 2015;Levenson & Grady, 2019b;Raymond et al., 1999). ...
Article
This study explores future mental health providers’ assumptions about minor-attracted people, using data from a survey of 200 students preparing for entry into social service professions at a public university in the state of Utah. Survey results show that more than half of the students believe clients who identify themselves as pedophiles must be automatically reported to the police, which has implications for providers’ understandings about the term “pedophile,” as well as their knowledge of guidelines for when clinicians may break client confidentiality. This belief was not significantly affected by taking ethics courses, nor courses that discussed mandated reporting guidelines. Despite this finding, 91% of students did not believe that they would need to report a client who had attractions to children, but who had never committed a sexual offense against a child. The majority of students indicated a willingness to work with minor-attracted clients, and commonly indicated in comments that they wanted more information about MAPs and when to break client confidentiality in their programs of study. Study results indicate a need for education among social service students about these issues.
... Their stories illustrate the extent to which self-appointed social justice warriors and their comrade apparatchiks in university administration will go to impose politically correct ideologies. Similar denunciations have befallen other sexual scientists for conducting research on biological sex differences and similarities (e.g., Solá, 2018), biological bases of sexual orientation and gender identity (e.g., Bailey et al., 2016), sex/gender reassignment (e.g., Reiner & Gearhart, 2004), potential causes for rapid onset gender dysphoria (e.g., Littman, 2018), causes for detransitioning (e.g., Herzog, 2017), kink (Lin, 2016), research that shows few or no untoward social or psychological effects of viewing pornography (e.g., Segal, 2014), research that debunks the notion of porn or sex "addiction" (e.g., Hilton, 2014;Prause et al., 2015), research into "minor attracted persons" (Walker, 2021) and research showing the efficacy of medications to treat sexual desire disorders in women (e.g., Kingsberg et al., 2021;Laan & Tiefer, 2014;Spielmans, 2021;Stegenga, 2021;Tiefer, 2001), to name a few. ...
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The spread of “cancel culture” related to sex and gender controversies in North America is examined as part of a larger movement to politicize sex research findings and certain sex and gender narratives as “correct” and “incorrect” from a so-called social justice standpoint. This binary is then used by academic administrators and empowered individuals or self-interest groups to reward or punish scholars for their viewpoints. The cases described by Meyer-Bahlburg, Lowrey, and Hooven are concrete examples of a growing “sexual McCarthyism” where empirical results are challenged by offended social justice “warriors” and embellished on social media into ad hominem attacks, to the point that it can damage—or even cancel—the careers of productive sexual scientists. This occurs largely out of fear on the part of academic administrators and lawyers charged with protecting the university from “brand damage” that might occur if the offending scholar is not dealt with. Sexual scientists are being vilified for research on sex differences, sex/gender assignment and subsequent causes for transitioning and/or de-transitioning, research that shows few or no untoward social or psychological effects of viewing pornography, research that debunks the notion of porn or sex “addiction,” research showing the efficacy of medications to treat sexual desire disorders in women, research on “minor attracted persons” and even animal research that dares to show homologies to human sexual behavior. The silencing of empirical evidence and alternative viewpoints is contrary to the intellectual mission of universities and destructive to academic and political freedoms.
... That no criticism of Andersson's article, either in the journalistic press or Qualitative Research's Retraction Notice, is able to draw a clear positive empirical link between shotacon (or any other patently unrealistic, drawn images) and actual child sexual abuse is in itself telling, however-because, quite simply, such a link has never been found. Some research would, in fact, suggest the opposite: The availability of such material might provide pedophiles with a safe outlet for their sexual desires and thus prevent them from harming real children [41]. Although on its face children are the most plausible group harmed by the publication of Andersson's article, it is, in the end, a good story that exercises the emotions but falls apart when subjected to scrutiny. ...
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In April 2022, a first-year PhD student published his first peer-reviewed article in the journal Qualitative Research. Less than four months later, amid viral public outrage, that article, Karl Andersson’s “I am not alone – we are all alone: Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on shota subculture in Japan,” was removed from publication and formally retracted by the Journal Editors. This paper explores the controversy surrounding the so-called “masturbation article” and its relevance to the field of publishing studies. I begin with a general overview of the shota manga genre and its legal context and provide a factual short history of the affair. I then demonstrate what a good-faith positive peer review of Andersson’s article may have included and critically assess Qualitative Research’s Retraction Notice, alongside other published ethical complaints. I conclude by showing how both Andersson’s article and the Japanese manga he studies have been censored for the same reasons, with troubling implications for freedom of speech in the twenty-first century.
Article
Research has shown that people within society experience sexual attractions to children, and a substantial number of these seek support related to this. However, professional practices around working with minor-attracted persons (MAPs) are variable. Clinicians possess low levels of knowledge about this population and are unclear about the correct treatment goals. In this work we explored the prioritization of different treatment goals by MAPs (n = 150), before investigating the demographic, sexuality-related, and psychological predictors of treatment target prioritization. Self-compassion drove many treatment targets among MAPs. We offer recommendations about how professionals might work collaboratively and effectively with this population.
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Coming out is a fast‐growing global research area with numerous interdisciplinary publications dedicated to its exploration. To contribute to a more organised and concise way of understanding this rapidly expanding field, I introduce a three‐lens typology. Based on the systematic categorisation of over 700 publications, coming out research can be viewed via the following three lenses: (1) the different social institutions in which individuals come out, (2) to whom individuals come out, and (3) the content of individuals' coming out. The identified lenses focus on ‘coming out in’, ‘coming out to’ and ‘coming out as’, which adds to current conceptual understandings of ‘coming out into’ and ‘coming out of’. Further, lens 3 demonstrates another usage shift of the coming out terminology. The concept of coming out originally was used outside of sexuality contexts and currently is being used more broadly again. However, in contrast to its original meaning, the new areas of application (e.g., fatness, atheism, illness) are still linked to conceptualisations and experiences of non‐normativity. This publication assists students, scholars, and practitioners with navigating the extensive amount of coming out literature. It further illustrates the potential and challenges of coming out research and points towards the future—the if, how and what—of this field.
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