Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ has been written by AP.
- 1 How can there be equality in an adult-child relationship when there is such a power imbalance?
- 2 How absolute is your belief that pre-pubescent girls should not be penetrated?
- 3 Exactly what do you consider an ‘appropriate’ age for sexual relationships? And why?
- 4 What can anyone do to stop the abuse towards children?
- 5 Don’t you worry that the content of your website will drive some people to act upon their urges?
- 6 What you think about preteen modeling sites? Do you amarsi like to look at these pictures and if so, why? I have heard of cases where men who look at these sites go on to commit crimes. So don’t you think that these pictures are dangerous if they fan the flames of desire in these men?
- 7 If consensual relationships between children and adults are not harmful, why am I having so many emotional and psychological problems as a result of a consensual relationship I had as a child?
- 8 What does The Amaros Concern think about the Michael Jackson trial?
- 9 Why do you think Megan’s Laws are unconstitutional? Since the registration requirement is known at the time of sentencing, is it not part of the same punishment?
- 10 I have been a victim of pedophilia, and I know how a child feels in that particular situation. It is absolutely ludicrous to say that a child would fully understand a sexual situation.
- 11 How is consent defined in the context of an intergenerational relationship?
- 12 What do you think about a man who exposes himself to children when their parents are not around?
- 13 Do you think the world will ever get to a point in the future where consensual romantic relationships between adults and children will be legal and, most importantly, accepted by society as ‘normal’, or do you think that this goal is ultimately unachievable because of the many many years of negative media coverage etc. of child molestation?
- 14 How can you believe that children who still believe in Santa Claus and the boogeyman are capable of making complex emotional decisions? Even teenagers have delusions of growing up to be somebody famous.
- 15 Aren’t all of your nice words just a cover for your depraved desire to have sex with children?
- 16 Look at all the men who are still suffering because of abuse they suffered as children at the hands of priests. Isn’t that evidence enough that such relationships are bad?
- 17 Don’t you think that an intimate relationship is between an adult and a child is always going to be manipulative because he views the adult as an authority figure?
- 18 Aren’t you afraid that a child will grow to regret his relationship with you?
- 19 What happens when a child you love gets older? Will you stop loving him?
- 20 Why do you use words like ‘girllover’ and ‘childlover’?
- 21 How can you believe that a young child can consent to sex?
- 22 Aren’t you concerned that if consent laws are changed, there will be an increase in child molestation?
- 23 I am the parent of a young child. Why should I trust you with my child?
- 24 Don’t you know that it’s illegal to do the things that you do?
How can there be equality in an adult-child relationship when there is such a power imbalance?
Most of the relationships that children have with adults involve some sort of power imbalance, yet many of these relationships are considered by society to be highly beneficial, even essential to the child’s development. Relationships with teachers, coaches, clergy, child minders, bus drivers and others all involve this power imbalance. Of course, the most imbalanced relationship a child has — with his own parents — is also central to the child’s existence. You can read more about how lopsided this relationship is in my essay Power Imbalances in the Parent-Child Relationship.
Adult-child relationships are not the only ones that involve power imbalances. Many, if not most, relationships between adults also involve significant power imbalances. One partner is often significantly more physically powerful than the other. One partner often has a significant economic advantage over the other. One partner may be more socially or intellectually gifted than the other. True parity is a myth in the majority of relationships and the assumption that the fact that both parties are over the age of eighteen means that they are equal is a dangerously fallacious one. Power imbalances are an unavoidable element of most relationships and the more powerful party has an ethical responsibility to not use this advantage unfairly over the less powerful party.
How absolute is your belief that pre-pubescent girls should not be penetrated?
As I understand it, there are many increased risks to girls who engage in sexual intercourse before they reach puberty. Firstly, especially in younger girls, the vagina often is simply not large enough to accomodate an adult penis and attempting to do so could cause serious internal damage to the girl. Secondly, the vaginal wall is much thinner before puberty, meaning that penetration with a penis or even a finger can cause it to tear. Thirdly, there is a higher risk in young girls of infection with the widespread human papilloma virus, some strains of which are directly linked to cervical cancer. Whilst there is a new vaccine against this virus and condom use is known to virtually negate the increased risk, this vaccine is not yet widely in use and we cannot assume that people engaging in penetrative sex with young girls (especially in commercial sex situations) are using condoms.
I agree that there is significant anecdotal evidence that many pre-pubescent girls have engaged in (and enjoyed) full sexual intercourse without suffering harm. Still, my belief is that menarche is as clear a biological signal as any that the body is truly ready for intercourse. Whilst some (perhaps many) pre-pubescent girls’ bodies may be able to handle intercourse, virtually every pubescent girl’s body will be able. It is therefore useful as a threshold for consent in a legal context because it is verifiable and is not as arbitrary as age-based thresholds.
It is evident that proscribing an activity will not result in its eradication. Existing prohibitions have certainly not stopped the commercial exploitation of children. That being said, I continue to believe that it is in society’s best interest to discuss ethical limitations that look after the best interest of all of its members. It is in this spirit that I have proposed my Manifesto which includes the menarche threshold for sexual intercourse. I do not mean for this limitation to apply to two peers experimenting together, but to sexual congress between young girls and adults.
Ultimately, I strive for a day when there are no ages of consent at all. I believe that this is only possible in an environment of openness and when society is tolerant of all forms of sexual expression. A partner who truly loves a girl and cares about her welfare will certainly do all he or she can to make sure that she does not come to harm as a result of their intimacy. In an open society, such a relationship could take place in an environment of transparency so that that all concerned parties could be comfortable that exploitation or harm was absent from the relationship. I would also point out that intercourse is not necessarily the sine qua non of intimacy. A caring adult and a young girl have many other options such as oral or intra-femoral sex that can also be mutually fulfilling without introducing the risks of intercourse.
Exactly what do you consider an ‘appropriate’ age for sexual relationships? And why?
I state quite clearly throughout this website that I do not advocate penetrative sexual activity between pre-pubescent children and adults. I believe, however, that there are many forms of non-invasive forms of physical intimacy that can be shared and enjoyed by both parties in an amaros relationship without causing any physical damage to either party. There is ample medical evidence that even infants are capable of orgasmic response as well as copious evidence to suggest that many children, from infancy onwards masturbate to achieve orgasm. We also know quite clearly that all children desire and need lots of physical affection as a part of healthy psychological development. Considering that children are sexual beings from birth, there is no reason, except for irrational societal views on intimacy, why children of all ages should not be able to engage in some forms of intimacy with another person with whom there is a mutual bond of love and respect.
What can anyone do to stop the abuse towards children?
Whilst I cannot claim that I or this website can stop anybody from hurting a child, I believe that this website could certainly cause some people who might be considering hurting a child to reconsider this course of action. Whilst most child molesters are not actually childlovers at all, some sadly are. I believe that part of the reason that some of these childlovers might hurt children is because they have been led to believe by society that their sexual orientation inevitably leads to an offense. They may hate themselves and have low self-esteem because they understand that they are the pariahs of society. This combination may help them to justify actions that they would otherwise not consider.
One of the primary purposes of this site is to give amarsi hope and to help them understand that they are not alone in the world. Throughout, I tell people that they have free will and that the ‘inevitability myth’ — the false assumption that a childlover will inevitably molest because he is unable to control his actions — is completely false. I believe that if childlovers can see amaros outside of the context of the rape/abuse paradigm and instead see it as part of the ideal of consensual childlove, they will have little inclination whatsoever to hurt children.
For a more thorough treatment of this issue, I recommend my essay What is a Childlover ; What Is a Child Molester? Practical Steps on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse.
Don’t you worry that the content of your website will drive some people to act upon their urges?
The Amaros Concern advises quite clearly against breaking the law and provides advice on how to live with amaros in a constructive fashion. Rather than driving people to break the law, I believe that The Amaros Concern may well do the opposite. Once people realize that they are not alone and are not evil because of their thoughts, they are able to gain a proper perspective on life and gain hope, two things that will make them less likely to break the law.
Evidence that written or visual material drives people to break the law is not at all conclusive. Many attempts have been made to link viewing of pornography to violent crimes, but studies do not show that this effect is consistent, suggesting that other factors within the perpetrator himself are much more influential on his decision to break the law. Ultimately, each person must take responsibility for his own actions. Any visitor to this site is mindful of what is legal and illegal where he lives and the decision whether to break the law is his alone.
What you think about preteen modeling sites? Do you amarsi like to look at these pictures and if so, why? I have heard of cases where men who look at these sites go on to commit crimes. So don’t you think that these pictures are dangerous if they fan the flames of desire in these men?
I think that preteen modelling sites are a good thing so long as the girls involved are doing so of their own free will, are being properly compensated and are not being exploited in any other way. I can think of many such sites where this appears to be the case and I am fully in support of these sites’ continued existence and prosperity.
Not only am I totally certain that amarsi very much enjoy viewing these pictures, I believe that these sites are being completely disingenuous if they say that amarsi are not their primary target market.
As to why many amarsi look at these pictures, I suppose it is for the same reason that so many men eagerly await the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit edtion: the girls on the sites are beautiful and somebody who finds girls attractive likes to look at pictures of pretty girls. Furthermore, as amarsi are not by law permitted to realise their sexual orientation, this is just one way that they are able to substitute for the physical and emotional intimacy that they are unable to experience. Whilst these pictures are a very poor substitute, for many they, along with an active imagination and self-stimulation are the only possibilities for any semblance of an erotic life.
I believe that every person is responsible for his or her own actions and outside influences, such as pictures, are not a significant factor. Just as a few disturbed individuals may view such pictures as a prelude to an awful crime, others may drink alcohol, take drugs, listen to violent music or watch violent films before committing atrocities. The fact is that the vast majority of people can do these things without going on to engage in antisocial behaviour. Similarly, most childlovers can enjoy these pictures without going on to harm children.
If consensual relationships between children and adults are not harmful, why am I having so many emotional and psychological problems as a result of a consensual relationship I had as a child?
Unfortunately, even though you may have had a sexual encounter as a child that you consented to and even enjoyed, society teaches that any such sexual contacts are bad. Therefore, even though you willingly participated in activities that brought you pleasure, the incessant flow of messages that such activities are bad, have caused you to believe that you were a victim and that what happened was bad. You need to realize that you are not to blame for what happened and, if the relationship was consensual, that your partner is also not to blame. You both brought pleasure one to another and there is nothing at all wrong with that. You need to question the society that has pushed you to feel dirty and ashamed about the relationship. Why does it continue to do this? And why is this society so violent and repressive of human sexuality? You are not the victim of abuse, you are the victim of incorrect indoctrination at the hands of a dysfunctional society.
What does The Amaros Concern think about the Michael Jackson trial?
I do not wish to pass any judgment on the Michael Jackson case as I am a firm believer in the principle of innocent until proven guilty. I would only make observations about what is known. It is apparent that Michael Jackson has a strong affinity for children. He has admitted as much in his own public statements. He has admitted to sharing a bed with young boys, and I see nothing wrong with that. Like him, I agree that such an experience need not be sexual and can in fact be a very beautiful thing. If it were to come out that he used force, coercion or manipulation in order to gain sexual favors from any other person, I would certainly condemn such activity.
Due to the high profile of this case, I am not confident that we will ever know what really happened. I fear that the case may be won or lost on technicalities or on the ability of one legal team to present a more believable story than the other. My primary hope is that no young people have been hurt or abused.
Why do you think Megan’s Laws are unconstitutional? Since the registration requirement is known at the time of sentencing, is it not part of the same punishment?
I believe that so-called “Megan’s Laws” violate three amemdments to the United States Constitution. Firstly, they violate the fifth amendment, which guarantees that a person not be punished twice for the same offense. Secondly, they violate the eighth amendment, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment for crimes. And thirdly, they violate the fourteenth amendment, which guarantees the right to privacy.
If a person serves a prison sentence and is released, his debt to be society for his crime has been discharged. He should be free to rebuild his life and move on. Sex offender reporting laws, however, guarantee that a person will continue to be punished for his crime and often make it very difficult for a person to lead any semblance of a normal life. There have been numerous cases of people on sex offender registries who find themselves unable to find a place to live or work. Being listed on such an offender registry is the modern-day equivalent of wearing the scarlet letter. The former offender is stigmatized for life. Unlike a parolee or a probationer, who must report to a member of the judicial or law enforcement establishment, the sex offender is required to register on a public registry, open to all who wish to see it. Especially since we see that these registries are being made available on the Internet, it is becoming ever more difficult for these people to ever have a chance at re-integrating successfully into society.
Besides being unconstitutional, sex offender registry laws are both discriminatory and unproductive. No other type of offender is required to participate in similar registries. People convicted of property crimes like burglary, theft and arson, offenses for which recidivism rates are significantly higher, are released into society regularly with no public record of where they might be. Even perpetrators of violent sexual offenses against adults are not required to register.
Saddest of all, however, these laws give society a false sense of security. Forensic statistics show time and again that sexual offenses against children by strangers are extremely rare. The vast majority of sexual offenses against children are carried out by the child’s own family or close friends. Unfortunately, however, these laws do not address these sources of the problem, instead choosing to address the more sensational ‘problem’ of ‘stranger danger’.
I have been a victim of pedophilia, and I know how a child feels in that particular situation. It is absolutely ludicrous to say that a child would fully understand a sexual situation.
It is a common logical fallacy for people to assume that everybody will experience a particular situation the same way as they do or have. Because you had a negative experience does not mean that every child having a sexual experience will consider it to be negative. I also had some early childhood sexual experiences with an adult. Some of the experiences were positive; others were negative. But I am not going to try and apply my experiences universally. For example, I find BDSM to be abhorrent; the thought of engaging in such activity makes me queasy. If somebody were to subject me to such an experience, it would undoubtedly be negative for me. But many people find both enjoyment and sexual satisfaction from those sorts of activities. Who am I to judge them for that and to say that it is sick or disgusting simply because I find the thought of it distasteful?
Incidentally, one does not become a victim of ‘pedophilia’, since amaros is only a sexual orientation, not an action. Furthermore, forensic data shows us quite clearly that the majority of child molesters are not actually childlovers at all, but are what are known as ‘situational offenders’, or people whose primary sexual attraction is not children, but have turned to children either due to impaired judgment or the inability to find suitable partners within their primary attraction group. Researchers such as Ralph Underwager, Hollida Wakefield and Fred Berlin, persistently point out that many childlovers never in their lifetimes ‘act upon’ their attraction.
It is absolutely ludicrous to make such a statement about every single child in every single culture in every single nation in the world. Furthermore, it is important to ask oneself why a child might not “fully understand a sexual situation”. Is it because they are incapable of doing so? Or is it because the adults in their lives (parents, teachers, church leaders) have intentionally withheld information from them and kept them in the dark in order to perpetuate the myth of ‘childhood innocence’? It is useful to point out that this cult of childhood innocence is, historically speaking, a relatively new phenomenon, having only emerged fully in the nineteenth century.
How is consent defined in the context of an intergenerational relationship?
Children are often not given nearly enough credit for their thoughts. While many argue that children do not have the ability to make decisions regarding their emotional relationships, the interaction inside of any classroom or playground indicates otherwise. Children are certainly capable of understanding the emotional consequences of many of their social interactions and therefore can make choices about which relationships they wish to be a part of.
The same applies to intimate relationships between consenting children and adults. Children are not necessarily as easily fooled as any other person. Indeed, children often have an uncanny ability to spot insincerity and falseness in people. If they are educated properly about their sexuality and about intimacy, and if physical intimacy is not unduly stigmatized, then they are empowered to make decisions about whether and with whom to engage in intimate activities.
In a society that believes that children are astute enough to make consumer decisions on the basis of the onslaught of advertising that they are exposed to, it appears disingenuous that it believes that they are incapable of making decisions that it perhaps does not wish for them to make.
What do you think about a man who exposes himself to children when their parents are not around?
While I think that there is nothing wrong or shameful about nudity per se, I think that the context of nudity is important. If somebody is exposing himself surreptitiously, especially if he tries to conceal his actions when an adult approaches, he is going to prejudice the child’s conception of nudity by reinforcing the myth that the human body is bad or shameful. Unfortunately, this negative message is often made even worse by the extreme reaction of adults who discover the activity.
Some people who engage in exhibitionistic behavior may be amarsi who are having difficulties finding a constructive way to cope with their feelings. Since they are forced to conceal their orientation for fear of ostracism, discrimination and persecution, they often feel uncomfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with therapists, mental health professionals or with their friends and family. Unfortunately, some of them turn to various forms of anti-social behavior. Since society disallows any legal manifestation of a pedophilic sexual orientation, it should at least ensure that those with such an orientation are able to seek guidance and counseling so that the likelihood of this occurring is minimized.
Do you think the world will ever get to a point in the future where consensual romantic relationships between adults and children will be legal and, most importantly, accepted by society as ‘normal’, or do you think that this goal is ultimately unachievable because of the many many years of negative media coverage etc. of child molestation?
I am convinced that at some point in the future, adult-child romantic relationships will be both legal and societally acceptable. The emancipation of slaves, labor unions, women’s suffrage, civil rights for minorities and gay rights all at some point in their evolution appeared to be unattainable dreams. It is true that there have been many years of negative media coverage of amarsi and amaros , but these years are a very short period of our collective history. There have been many more years where the propagation of such misconceptions and persecution did not exist.
That being said, our struggle will be difficult and long. It is more likely that our emancipation will be achieve by a sea change in societal perception rather than in a cataclysmic event. Furthermore, amaros advocacy is only a single element in the puzzle. As well as the rights of amarsi to the same civil rights as all other citizens, society needs to recognize the rights of children and grant them as well as to overcome its tendency to treat sex as something that is dirty and shameful.
How can you believe that children who still believe in Santa Claus and the boogeyman are capable of making complex emotional decisions? Even teenagers have delusions of growing up to be somebody famous.
Mythical knowledge such as the legend of Santa Claus or the boogeyman is received not inherent. In order for children to believe in such things they have to have been told about it by somebody. The fact that they continue to believe such things perhaps even after one might expect them to no longer believe them is a result of their environment. If the myths have not been properly dispelled or have been reinforced by the actions of those around them, then they will continue to believe them. On the other hand, if they are given access to correct information about relationships and their sexuality rather than having facts willfully withheld from them, they would be capable of both assimilating and using that information.
In the case of adolescent youth who have false hopes or illusions, the same applies. Modern society has effectively abnegated its responsibility to offer young people a meaningful education. All too often, schools are inadequate, and parents frequently lack the time or the commitment to offer assistance to the young people with whom they have been entrusted to develop emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Youth are not ignorant per se; they are the products of their environments and some do not manage to rise above the mediocrity in which they have been placed. It is truly a pity that with increasingly regularity they are receiving an eduation from the mass media rather than from individuals and institutions that truly care about their well-being.
Aren’t all of your nice words just a cover for your depraved desire to have sex with children?
I do not deny in any way that I am both physically and sexually attracted to children. At the same time, however, physical desire is just one facet of the relationships I seek. I believe that two people should have the right to decide for themselves what they wish to do with each other, up to and including physical intimacy. In most cases, the mutual desire for physical intimacy is the result of two people who have grown to love each other on an emotional level desiring to express that love in a physical manner as well.
Look at all the men who are still suffering because of abuse they suffered as children at the hands of priests. Isn’t that evidence enough that such relationships are bad?
Actually it is not. The men who have been coming forward to accuse priests of abusing them as children were abused against their will. They were manipulated or coerced by priests who used their position of authority to get what they wanted and to keep the boys silent afterwards. I do not in any way advocate non-consensual activity between any persons, regardless of their ages, and I most certainly are against adults using a position of authority, trust or power to get their way with young people who do not wish to have a physical relationship.
No. A friendship that arises between an adult and a child does not have to include an overt authoritative aspect. Indeed, many childlovers treat their young friends as equals. Of course, manipulation could occur, but manipulation can also occur in any other relationship the child has. He can be manipulated by his parents, his teachers or other authority figures and even by his own peers. This manipulation can occur in the absence of any intimate relationship. Any manipulation or coercion in any relationship can be harmful to the child. Manipulation itself should be combatted and it should not be assumed that particular types of relationships are more prone to manipulation than others. Openness to adult-child relationships would reduce the probability of such a relationship becoming manipulative as it would be conducted in full view of all, including the child’s parents.
Aren’t you afraid that a child will grow to regret his relationship with you?
I believe that in an open society that accepts child sexuality and prepares its children to make informed decisions for themselves about their relationships and bodies, a child should not have to grow to regret a relationship he has had with an adult. Indeed, if a child has a positive experience in a relationship and is not stigmatized by society or told repeatedly that his relationship is bad, there is absolutely no reason for future regret. Much evidence suggests that the most emotional damage to a child who has had an intimate relationship with an adult comes not from the relationship itself, but from the reaction of other adults to the discovery of the relationship.
What happens when a child you love gets older? Will you stop loving him?
Absolutely not. I am fully committed to allowing any relationship we begin with a special child to run its full course and reject the notion that I would terminate a relationship based upon a superficial criterion like his age. Relationships, like children, develop and grow and I welcome these changes. Many men remain attracted to younger women throughout their lives, yet remain committed to their wives whom they love. Similarly, although a childlover remains attracted to children, the bond of love is stronger than simple physical attraction. At the same time, the childlover recognizes that the young person, who is undergoing many changes in his life, may wish to terminate the relationship, and is committed to allowing that person to move on with grace and love. Although the romantic portion of a relationship may end, many childlovers continue to love their young partners and continue to maintain relationships with them, albeit on a less intense level than before.
Here are links to some essays I have written that address this issue:
Why do you use words like ‘girllover’ and ‘childlover’?
While some of us do not object to calling ourselves pedophiles, many others have problems with the word since its meaning has been so warped by society and the media. The Greek roots of the word pedophile mean literally child lover (pais = ‘child’ and philia = ‘love’) and that is the meaning I wish to retain. The word pedophile, however, has grown to take on the meaning and connotations of an evil person who lurks in parks luring children with candy so he can abduct them and rape them. Many of us simply do not resemble or relate to this stereotype, so I have chosen to adopt terminology that better describes what I am.
How can you believe that a young child can consent to sex?
I do not believe that every child will be interested in having a romantic relationship with an adult. I do, however, believe that some will. By romantic relationship, I do not necessarily mean penetrative sex. I advocate age-appropriate romantic activity between consenting persons.
There is ample scientific evidence that children are sexual beings and can both enjoy and initiate intimate activity with both peers and with older people. I believe that those young people who do seek to have physical relationships should be allowed to do so without fear of getting in trouble, and should be provided with education and support that allows them to make wise decisions for themselves regarding their bodies and their sexuality. I would like to stress here that I do not advocate penetrative sex with pre-pubertal children under any circumstances as I believe that this can lead to physical harm coming to the young person. However, there are a wide range of intimate activities which do not involve penetration which I feel are appropriate for consenting pre-pubertal children.
Aren’t you concerned that if consent laws are changed, there will be an increase in child molestation?
No. Those people who want to molest children, or engage in coercive or manipulative physical relationships with children are already doing so, and will do so regardless of what the law says. Laws restricting consensual relationships only penalize the young people who desire to explore their sexuality and those who respect the wishes of these young people and are willing to share the joys of romantic relations with them in a manner appropriate to their level of mental and physical development. Actually, I believe that a change in laws could lead to a decrease in molestation charges as openness towards sexuality would lead allow people to express their sexuality in a positive environment.
I am the parent of a young child. Why should I trust you with my child?
Firstly, it is important for you to understand that I do not wish to replace you or compete with you. I respect your position as a primary caregiver and do not wish to undermine your influence on your child. I am willing to be honest and open with you regarding my love for your child and am open to your involvement in our relationship in a manner that respects both your concerns as a parent as well as the wishes and desires of your child.
Don’t you know that it’s illegal to do the things that you do?
Actually, I am not doing anything illegal. Although I strongly advocate consensual romantic relations between adults and young people, I am very careful to abide by the laws of the countries in which I live. I do, however, seek to employ democratic means to bring about changes in the legislation of our countries so that they no longer discriminate against young people and those who would love them.