Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Gays & Child Sexual Abuse:

Julian Sanchez has a good post debunking the canard that "gays" are disproportionately responsible for child sexual abuse, that is unfortunately posited by the religious right. (And that such groups would spread such a blood-libel makes it hard for me to believe that they really do not hate homosexuals. I realize that having a sincere religious conviction against homosexual behavior does not a hater make. And many of these folks genuinely do not hate homosexuals. But the problem is, many of them do.)

Most surveys of instances of child molestation have found that male molesters of male children are typically not "homosexual" in any conventional sense (i.e. pursuing relationships with adult males). And that's important because the proportion of instances of child molestation that involve male-male contact is much higher than the proportion of gay men in the population. Those two facts are used by conservatives to claim that gay men are more likely than other men to molest children; the reason they're wrong about that is precisely because, in fact, the overwhelming majority of male molesters of male children are not "gay" in the colloquial sense.

The survey result is probably the result of men whose primary sexual attraction is to young boys (though they may be heterosexual or, more likely, totally asexual, in their relationships with adults) concluding that they must, therefore, be "gay" (since it is, after all, *boys* they're attracted to--the conservative argument). But psychologists and social scientists tend to regard pedophilia as, in a sense, a separate orientation of its own. If someone's primary sexual activity is screwing goats, you don't ask whether the goats are male or female to determine whether the person is "straight" or "gay".


This is true. For someone who is a true pedophile, it's the age of the victim which is the focus of their separate orientation. Sometimes pedophiles have a preference for little boys or little girls. Often they indiscriminately want children, regardless of gender. For instance, "reformed" pedophile Jake Goldenflame, was a married self-identified hetero man, apparently with no attraction to adult men, and *some* attraction to adult women, and was a typical true pedophile. He molested his own daughter and boys too.

Calling him gay or "bisexual" and lumping him in with the gay or bi community, because he molested little boys, is downright disingenuous.

So any study that purports to demonstrate that "gays" have a higher incidence of molestations by categorizing true pedophiles -- no attraction to adult men who molest little boys -- as "gay" is garbage. And that's what the religious right does when they claim, "gays are 3% of the population but make up 1/3 of all molestations...."

A few other important notes. Many of these studies also conflate pedophilia and ephebophilia, which likely have two completely different origins. Ephebophilia is sex with an underaged but post-pubescent teen. (And note, that in most cases I think it's wrong for precisely the same reason pedophilia is wrong: both activities harm the underaged actor involved.) There appears to be no separate "ephebophile" orientation, but rather this stems from a general heterosexual or homosexual orientation (although some with an ordinary heterosexual or homosexual orientation may have preference for underaged, but biologically adult, actors -- just as some have a preference for blonds v. brunette or short v. tall women, or a race preference, etc.).

And because ephebophilia is more "natural," it's also far more common than true pedophilia. True pedophiles, like Jake Goldenflame, are extremely rare from a statistical point of view. Whereas gays are somewhere between 2-5% of the population, pedophiles are probably a fraction of a one percent. But when we mix ephebophilia with pedophilia, then "pedophilia" seems much more common.

So a man lusting after a 15-year-old male or female, one who is clearly well into puberty (not all 15-year-olds are) most likely has a general homosexual or heterosexual orientation. And I'd be open to evidence that gays or straights are more likely to be involved in this behavior than the other.

However, given that up until very recently, heterosexual ephebophilia has been normalized throughout the history of Western Civilization (as long as it took place within the context of a marriage), given that for instance, without much of a fuss, Jerry Lee Lewis and Loretta Lynn (and countless non-celebrities) were both involved in ephebophile marriages where one party was an adult male, the other a 13-year-old girl, in the South in the 50s (the hey-dey of social conservatism), you aren't going to convince me that gays are more likely to be ephebophiles than straights.

18 comments:

Alex Elliott said...

It's also useful to note that some anti-gay claims of gay pedophilia are based on surveys where gay men are asked about their own teenage experiences. If they find that, say, 25% of gay men engaged in some form of male-male sexual experimentation as teenagers, then they can make claims like, "one fourth of gay men surveyed actually admitted to having had sex with boys under the age of eighteen!" while conviently omitting the fact that the guys in question were under 18 at the time as well.

TMS said...

A very minor quibble, but Jerry Lee Lewis' marriage did create much fuss. It more or less ruined his career as (in my opinion) one of the True Kings of Rock And Roll(--the other being Chuck Berry.)

Marty said...

You lost me in the very first sentance, my friend:

Most surveys of instances of child molestation have found that male molesters of male children are typically not "homosexual" in any conventional sense

As if "orientation" is the issue at all. Well, maybe if you're GAY it is... giult by association i guess...

Next, an admission, just before the inevitable denial:

And that's important because the proportion of instances of child molestation that involve male-male contact is much higher than the proportion of gay men in the population.

Yep. There it is.

You know, most folks could care less about the "colloquial" definition of sexual orientation. It's the SIN we despise, not the sinner. And it's not just us social conservatives who misuse the term "gay" or "homosexual" when speaking of someone who has sex with someone of his own gender. Your side is just as guilty of that and you know it.

We're arguing over terminology, not over the ugly FACT that even Sanchez readily admits to: "the proportion of instances of child molestation that involve male-male contact is much higher than the proportion of "gay" men in the population."

As for your attempt at splitting hairs bewteen pedophilia and ephebophilia, let me ask you -- would the following statement be true, or false, in your opinion?

"the proportion of instances of ephebophilia that involve male-male contact is much higher than the proportion of gay men in the population"

Got any stats on that one?

C. Van Carter said...

A single man would get a hostile reaction, out of fear of heterosexual ephebophilia, if he tried to become a girl scout leader. But those that would reject homosexuals leading boy scout troops out of fear of homosexual ephebophilia are attacked for 'bigotry'.

You state "aren't going to convince me that gays are more likely to be ephebophiles than straights". I have no statistical data, but I have met many homosexual men who's first sexual experiences were with considerably older men. These same homosexuals tell me that what they did is not uncommon. Most heterosexuals first have sex with someone close in age.

Aaron said...

"As for your attempt at splitting hairs bewteen pedophilia and ephebophilia"....

How is it splitting hairs? Do you recognize the difference between a cold and influenza, even where both are caused by viruses? Then you should be able to recognize the difference between pedophilia and ephebophilia, even though both are paraphilias.

"Most heterosexuals first have sex with someone close in age."

There are lots of social reasons for that. Lots of gay kids "stay in the closet" during high school, for fear of being ridiculed or gay bashed. (And, if you recall any gay students from your own high school experience, it probably happened in your school.) A gay kid can't hit on other boys in the school and hope one reciprocates - he would not only out himself, but would risk a high probability of violent reaction. The "safe" thing to do is to find a gay adult male. (And yes, there are gay ephebophiles who very much exploit that fact.)

Tim said...

You know, at my old high school there was a dating code: Freshmen men dated frosh women, sophomores dated sophomores, and so forth. However, the men came from a nearby college. The age difference was four years, all around.

I know that some of these couples were having sex, because sometimes the girls got pregnant. In rural, fundamentalist America, teen pregnancy is about as common as alcoholism. I know that at least one high-school teacher was involved with underaged girls, and there were probably more.

It's odd, but when ephebophilia is heterosexual, none dare call it ephebophilia. There couldn't be a double standard at work, could there?

Jonathan said...

Marty,

I think I answered your concerns in my post.

Gays are what, 3% of the population? What do you expect then, 97% of all molestations to be heterosexual in their nature? Give that pedophiles tend to be focused on the AGE and not the gender and given that little boys are 50% of the children, I wouldn't expect to see boys comprise only 3% of who is molested.

This isn't to say that pedophiles don't have a gender preference. The religious right throws out that number that says that 2/3 of the victims are female....

And by the way, if that number includes any underaged victim (lumps in ephebophilia with pedophilia) then there is even more reason to believe it understates the % of female victims. And that's because society is far liklier to consider an act between an adult man and a teen boy to be "abuse" than an act between an equally aged heterosexual couple. Consider the state laws, for instance Kansas, where there are blatant double standards between a homosexual act with a teen and a heterosexual act with a teen.

TMS (Timothy Sandefur) may be correct that Jerry Lewis's marriage created some fuss, but they didn't go for his head. If I were to try to "marry" a 13-year-old boy, I'd be in jail (or dead) right now.

Marty said...

Heh, in a "perfect world" would there every have been such a thing as a "same-sex shotgun wedding"?

No, there wouldn't have -- becuase same-sex partners don't get pregnant. Double standard? Blame God for that one...

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Anonymous said...

I do not understand why there is too much tension in an argument about gays having sex with boys compared to straigt men having sex with girls.

In my work at our community-based NGO working with commercial sexual exploitation, 60% of boys in depressed communities age 6-12 have their first sexual expereince with adult gays in their community in exchange with free haircuts, hair color, food, money, clothing and gifts. And gays themselves admits that they do it because children are cheaper, they can easily suck and swallow their cum, and children does not retaliate and most often times can be the one who is sucking them or being penetrated. There is no argument about who have sex with whom.

There is no even argument that those who have sex with girls are heterosexual males, because they are and nobody in his/her right mind to say that those who have sex with girls are homosexual males.

But in the internet, I often see blogs, threads or even articles written by PhDs (probably child molesting PhD holders trying to project his crime to the heterosexual community) writing general and broad terms that those who have sex with boys are straights (this is an outright lie), same with the religious right who claim that all gays are child molesters (another outright lie).

The issue here is the sexual abuse/exploitation of children wether done by gays or straights is a crime. If it is done by straights be it, if it is done by gays be it. But let us not lie on facts.

If a person sucks the penis of a child in order for the child to reach climax or the other way around is a gay and not straight (ex. A gay teacher wants to suck the penis of his male students in exchange of high grades). If a person who have sex with a girl in order for him to achieve climax is heterosexual male and not gay (Ex. A group of men raped a child).

A woman who have sex with a boy (ex. a female teacher having sex with her male students or showing her breast without bra pretending the chalk fell or going in her classroom without panties and sits in front of boys and regularly opening her legs etc.) is a heterosexual woman and not homosexual (lesbian) and a woman who have sex with a girl (ex. a woman fingering or licking the vagina of a female child) is lesbian and not a straight woman.

Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation but a crime. A heterosexual who have sex with girls are heterosexual who commit the crime called pedophilia and the same as homosexual who have sex with boys.

The issue about sexual exploitation of boys is not about power or age. Is about the erect penis capable to be sucked. Or the child's mouth capable of sucking the adult's penis, or the child anus capable of being penetrated.

In my country, when we say pedophilia, people will immediately think that they are Caucasian. Then when locals have sex with boys are considered not an issue since they are not foreigners and therefore not pedophiles (this is the effect of books and articles written by PhD holders.)

In my country, when girls are being raped or sexually abused, there is high probability that this criminal will go to jail. But when gays are the perpetrator, money talks and it is not an issue. According to them, boys like it and they consent. ( Again, this is the effect of books and articles written by PhD holders who are probably members of the NAMBLA.)

In the context of male-male sexual contacts among teens, homosexuality is not an issue, but sex play that is part of the normal development among teens. Sexual exploitation is different. It invloves bribery, money, force, intimidation, and sexualization of children.

The best thing to know facts is to get out every night and observe what is happening rather than listening to theories that are garbage and probably being promoted by child molesting PhD holders.

Anonymous said...

The "2:42 AM" anonymous story is so incredible, it seems made up. Gays admit they make boys have sex with them because their cum is easily swallowble? That was funny. Even if such a blatantly made-up story were true, I would be skeptical non-imprisioned sex offenders would admit such things - specially by using such words.

What the above anonymous seems to be stupid not to understand is that sexual behavior doesn't reflect sexual orientation:

http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/145/6/416

According to the above study on the sexual behavior of a large and random sample of adult men, only 4.9% of the men admited to being homo/bisexual; however 10% of the men who said they were heterosexual stated they had only homosexual sex the previous year. 72% of the men who admitted having homosexual sex self-identified as heterosexual.

If coercing a boy to engage in homosexual activities proves you're gay, then so does having consensual sex with adult males. If we assume a man is homosexual because he attacked a boy, then we should assume a man is gay when he freely engages in sex with other males. So?... So homosexuals wouldn't be just 2-5% of the male population, they would be over 10%, according to the previous study. The religious right compares the proportion of men who attack boys with the proportion of men who say they're non-heterosexual. It would be more accurate to compare the proportion of men who attack boys with the proportion of men who have sex with other males - since evidence abounds that many men who have sex with other men are not homosexual, and many men who abuse boys don't think of themselves as homosexual either.

http://www.childmolestationprevention.org/pdfs/study.pdf

According to the above link, which is a study by dr. Gene Abel, 70% of the men who molested at least one boy said they were HETEROSEXUAL in their adult orientation.

Anyway, I'm skeptical when pedophiles say they are heterosexual/homosexual. Even though most pedophiles say they're attracted to adults - even more so than to children, most phallometric studies I've read show pedophiles to be significantly more attracted to children rather than adults. The usual exceptions are incest offenders, most of whom are fathers or stepfathers who molest their young female relatives, but often are also significantly attracted to adult women, even though they seem to be more aroused by young children than the rest of the male population.

But in the internet, I often see blogs, threads or even articles written by PhDs (probably child molesting PhD holders trying to project his crime to the heterosexual community) writing general and broad terms that those who have sex with boys are straights (this is an outright lie)

Some phallometric tests seem to show many men who molest boys are overall more attracted to females rather than males. Read the following article:

http://www.internationalorder.org/scandal_response.html

"Marshall's paper, “Sexual Offenders Against Male Children: Sexual Preferences,” discusses the results of a study of the sexual orientation of a sample of male sex offenders against boys. Marshall measured the sexual orientation of the offenders by means of a plethysmograph, a device which measures arousal responses. Marshall found that out of his sample of 21 offenders against boys, two‑thirds of the offenders were predominantly heterosexual in their adult orientation"