The Intimacy of Children
...legislative bodies and courts deciding what we can and can't do with your bodies. Whether they have any right to do so or not is beside the point. They have the power to do it, and when they exercise it, the result is much more likely to be repression than freedom.
-- Wardell B. Pomeroy
Boys and Sex, by Wardell B. Pomeroy, first edition, published by Laurel-Leaf Books, page 55.
There can be no doubt that pedophilia today is associated with thoughts of cruelty and depraved behavior, and that it is treated with bitterness and hate. The Pedophile today is in a position that is not much different than any other oppressed class of previous generations. African humans were lynched in a time when they were "liberated from slavery," thrown into the palms of a Capitalist tyranny. The hatred that is held for those who engage in pedophilia is savaged and brutal. One hundred years ago, there was no doubt what race a person was, so the government did nothing to stop the lynchings. Today, the government has gone to extensive steps to mark convicted sex offenders in public. Registered sex offenders are required by law to inform the public of their crimes. The government believes that prison was not enough, that torment and viciousness by an unjust society is not enough. The government has gone to steps to make sure that the public knows who is a Pedophile and who is not, recreating the lynching conditions that African humans had to suffer through.
What is the origin of this villification, this absolute hatred of pedophilia and its adherents? With only a little inquiry into the matter, it's obvious to see the answer to this question. For centuries, or even milleniums, the greatest regard has been given for children, and particularly in the matter of sexuality. Only fifty years ago, parents forbid their children from dating others of another race; and they were backed up by the law. Only one hundred years ago, girls were not allowed to date without the explicit permission of the father. We go back even further, and we find that the law disallowed marriage between people unless the father of the bride gives consent. In fact, the marriage ceremony, as it is still practiced, symbolizes the father giving away his daughter as property. Fortunately, the lawgivers have been humane enough to give these people the right to date and to marry whomever they wish. Too many women have been condemned to live unhappy lives because of their fathers believing that they have the power to controll others. Maybe in a younger state of life, these fathers were men, pining for the affection and love of a young woman -- but they were denied, because of the father's ignorance and brutality. It's funny how the oppressed moves to a station in life where he becomes the oppressor.
While a new society was brave enough to hold hands with justice and embrace Feminism, bold enough to allow each woman the right to her own life, society still holds bigotry and prejudice. From the same origins that put woman and child into subjegation -- tightly bondaging the wrists of every woman to absurd prejudices -- that made every man a first class citizen among subordinates, we still have the idea that pedophilia is a cruelty, a brutality, a thoughtless and ignorant practice. The poison of sexism made the flower of civilization wilt and weaken. Ignorance fueled cruelty. The result was this discrimination, this opposition to the idea that virtue is found in individuality, that kindness can come from any palm, that beauty is not restricted to obscure and outlandish rules. Most of those ideas, fortunately, are limited to history books and people still living in their own neanderthalic age. Sexism continues to die a little more every day, as the tree of liberty continues to grow strong and powerful. But, from this past era, we find these other ideas. These cruel ideas, that men can control the lives of women, we find the idea that pedophilia is abominable, a brutality, a greviance against the poor and innocent everywhere.
But, why... why is it that I could ever want something like pedophilia to be defended, or at least thrown in to the public light, where it can be considered? Why would I ever commit such a vile act? Some may ask these questions, and they will also say that I do nothing but stir the emotions of those who have been hurt, that my only accomplishment is to bring tears to those whose wounds we have tried to heal. To my reader, I must say this. I understand the situation of pedophilia in our society, I understand how it is considered by the members of society. I know that the hatred towards youthful sex runs long, deep, and in all channels. If our society ever bleeds its worries, it will say that it is afraid of drug dealers, afraid of radical political theorists, of murderers and rapists. We are afraid of the poverty that seems to drown us as we struggle to sing. We are afraid of the misery of third world nations coming to our door steps, of the constant turmoil in our own country, of terrorism, and we are afraid of child molestors. But, above all, child molestation is considered to be the most cruel of all things. They say that it stems from such sick, mentally defective individuals, that it targets the youngest and most defenseless of society, that it targets a part of the world that we naturally love and cherish the most, and above all, that it aims to harm this class of individuals with the worst crimes known to man.
Understand, my dear reader, that I know exactly what you are thinking when I step up to question the idea that pedophilia is bad. I know what light society has thrown on it.
But, let me say this much... I am gently offering a new idea. These are words on a page, my own opinion, which I have a right to. In this piece, I do not mean to offend, to insult, or otherwise to use words as a sword. My only enemy is ignorance. I only fight superstition and bigotry. All of my effort is directed with the fluid and beautiful motions of liberty -- I try to live life as though I am writing poetry. I am questioning the condemnation of pedophilia not to create chaos in the minds of those who believe in honor and truth. I am questioning it so that an old idea is allowed its own right to a new consideration.
Imagine if the idea of Sexism was never challenged. Imagine if the domination of the male gender was forever wholly accepted. Think of the kind of society that would exist then. The idea of love, based on liberty and mutual reciprocity, would not be growing, but would be stagnant -- it would not be allowing a new outlet of life for people, but it would be creating a new prison for women whose entire lives were already without freedom. The idea of liberty would not flourish, but it would decay. Imagine if the idea of Racism was never challenged. Think of schools continuing to teach children that they are superior because of skin color, filling their minds with lies and their souls with prejudice. Think of a nation founded on the irrevocable treachery of slavery. The spirit of justice would find its relief in the musings of those in shackles, poems written on prison walls. And let's not solely consider social progress. Imagine of the antagonistic attitudes of the church were never questioned. Science would still be a handful of books with inaccurate information, history would just be a few chapters of the Bible, and literature would be the dead stories of the saints. The people of the past believed the earth to be the center of universe, that matter is simply composed of four elements, that astronomy is based on lies, that the theory of evolution was an attack on their religious sentiments as much as the theory of gravity.
The brave men and women who questioned social standards and scientific knowledge were met with inquisition, literal and figurative. They were shouted down as oppressors, as tyrants, as men who wanted to destroy everything that had meaning. So, I consider it nothing miraculous when I am given the same insults as Jane Addams, as William Lloyd Garrison, as Thomas Paine. The people we recognize as heroes today were insulted and disgraced by their enemies in ways that I shall be.
But, am I honestly shedding every humane idea from me from I question the condemnation of pedophilia? Am I really promoting the idea that there is no humane law, that there is no ideal of justice fruiting in the heart of the downtrodden and oppressed? I shall tell you precisely what I still believe.
I believe that every man and woman should be entitled to his right of personal property, of liberty, and life. I hold the idea that the governing of any nation should not be done by dictators or kings, but by the people themselves. That the fruit of labor should go to the laborer, that a person may do what they desire so long as they harm none, that experimentation with mind-altering substances should be legalized, that wars should be avoided and a free school serves a better purpose than a locked up prison. These are the creeds I adhere to; these are the values and ideas that I have come to hold as sacred, since they appeal to the spirit of universal kinship, the ideal of compassion.
So, then, what do I believe when it comes to the idea of pedophilia?
I do believe that if a child is forced into any sexual activity, that it is wrong. I do believe that a child has a right to say yes or no to physical activities. All those cases of child rape are cruel, thoughtless, and stem only from a person's lack of humanity.
The Nature of Children
...having sex is a joyful and enriching experience at any age.
-- Wardell B. Pomeroy
Boys and Sex, by Wardell B. Pomeroy, first edition, published by Laurel-Leaf Books, page 2.]
What is pedophilia? It is sexual, or even just physical, relations between an adult and a child. What does society see pedophilia as, then? Society sees it as the rape of a child, as taking advantage of those who are innocent and defenseless. The fault of this view is obvious: children are very capable of consenting. They can say that they do want sexual activity or that they don't want sexual activity. Physical and sexual relations as they happen between adults and children, then, are not strictly limited to rape. They can engage in sexual activity that is consensual. Rape or forced sex is not the only conclusion that can happen when there is sex between an adult and child. Thus the relationship between a child and an adult is no more unjust or cruel or brutal, than any relationship between any two consenting adults. With this understanding, that there can be consent between an adult and a child in sexual matters, the great deal of logical and reasonable people will agree: that pedophilia, in this sense, is not wholly bad. And, what of relationship would exist between an adult and the child he was sexually active with? It would not be a relationship based on exploitation, or pressures, or otherwise cruel and vindictive behavior. No, such a relationship between a child and an adult would be based on the same principles that a relationship between any two consenting adults would be. The relationship would be an extension of one's own personal self; it would be poetry, it would be beauty, it would be kindness, affection, and a willingness to be open. By loving another person, we allow ourselves to push through and break boundaries that are otherwise unsuccumbing and intimidating. We cannot and should not treat a lover as something that makes us whole, but as an extension of our current self. This is the type of relationship that would exist between an adult and a child.
One may inquire or ask about those Pedophile relationships that exist, that are not based on mutual trust, that are based on exploitation, cruelty, and abuse? When I hear of these cases, I can only reply that I find them to be absolutely disgusting. I cannot say that "true Pedophiles oppose that," because what is to distinguish between true and untrue? Especially, since Pedophile is only defined as "an adult who has sexual or physical relations with a child." No Pedophile, that believed in honor, in kindness, in warmth, in being humane and just, would ever force any child to do what they did not want to do. That is the great truth of the matter. One may pose the idea, though, that these cases of child rape or so brutal, so severe in their heartlessness, that we should prohibit pedophilia entirely. By preventing any sexual activity between adults and children, we are preventing any ability of adults to exploit or rape children. This argument is flawed in so many ways. It states that we should prevent all physical encounters between adults and children, because of the instances of force involved. Apply this logic to adult relationships. Rape does happen between two adults. Does that mean that we should prohibit all sexual relations between any two consenting adults, just because of the instances where force was involved? It would be absurd to do so. Even so, I imagine that such a law would have little effect to hinder rape, because rape is already a violation of law -- the fact that sex also becomes illegal changes nothing in the rapist's mind, who is already commiting an illegal act. It is the same as to say, "It is illegal for any man to punch or stab or physically hurt any other man. To prevent cases of assault, let us make it illegal for any man to even touch any other man, or, we could go further still, and make it illegal for any man to come within ten feet of any other man. With such limitations, assault will marginally decrease to records historically unknown!"
I must say, very strongly right here and right now, that I am completely opposed to legalizing any form of rape; that is, forced sexual or physical contact. Every person, of any age, must be allowed to their right of liberty and life. Any act to cause misery and suffering must be detested, and any act that is asserted by unfounded authority must be deemed an act of tyranny.
Some may say that by allowing children to engage in sexual or physical relations with adults, that it would increase all potential for children to be abused in these manners. Not just as a "it comes with the territory" argument, but as an argument that children are more susceptible to abuse, that they are more submissive and more likely to be abused, since they are naturally weaker, mentally and physically. I must admit, children are in fact weaker mentally, physically, and emotionally in our current society. They are, for these and other reasons, much more easier to abuse. But, the culprit here is not the pedophile. The culprit is a society that has raised children to be submissive and easily exploited. Hundreds of years ago, when women were raised to be submissive and accept whatever is given to them, whether beatings or mistreetment or abuse or exploitation or even rape ("arranged marriage"), many women were accepting of these conditions. Why? Because they were raised to be. In our society, children are raised to be exploited in the same manner. As children, they are easily abused, and once adults, they are easily treated unfairly. In our school system, a child is not allowed to use the bathroom without permission. Their behavior is constantly subjected to rules and regulation, and finally subjected to judgment and punshiment. The greatest tool of tyranny is found in our school system: it raises children to an early response to authority. Fascist leaders created a generation that would accept cruel and vicious ideals, because they were raised to believe and accept what they are told. Our children are raised no differently. Themes like, "honor thy parents," or "treat all adults with respect," are simply immoral, by any standard. Logically: Stalin was an adult, one who can only be respected for his great crimes against humanity. And socially: adults are in fact a group of people who commit mass amounts of crime and oppression. Besides, no person can automatically be deserving of respect just by belonging to a single class -- it is through individual acts of merit and virtue that any person must be awarded respect.
When all of the arguments are considered, it seems highly probable that a sexual, or even just physical, relationship between an adult and a child, can be fulfilling, rewarding, and enjoyable by both partners. But, before making such a bold statement in the climate of today's society, there is still one question, one argument, to speak its voice. It is the question of consent. Are children capable of consenting to a sexual act? It seems to be a very serious argument, made by psychologists and others in various fields. I really don't see the importance or even the strength of such an argument. I see it much more as bigotry's last stance to defend itself from the progressive ideals of a new, more humane world. Let's just consider the argument in all seriousness, though. And let's just say, for the sake of the argument, that the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 in fact. Does that mean, that every offer made to the child, up until the day they turn sixteen years old, was an offer that was abusive and exploitational to the child? That would mean that food given to the child from parents was an act of exploitation. Even though the child understood the situation, understood that food was edible, that it would satiate the pangs of hunger, it would be considered exploitation according to the theory of consent by age. But, these individuals argue that only sex can have an age of consent. Why? It seems so arbitrary. The act of sex is just as natural as the act of eating food or socializing. It is something that is most intrinsic in all human beings, because it is there for providing a method of procreation, as well as recreation. To say that a child cannot "really" consent to sexual activity until a certain age, is about just as unsupported as the theory that a child cannot "really" consent to eating food until a certain age. If the physical contact with adults manages to provide children with an enlightening, meaningful, educational, and beautiful experience, by what right can it be denied? As I said earliear, I think that this "age of consent" is made to defend a bigotry, and I feel that it holds no true merit.
No harm is done by preadolescent sex play, which nearly all children do in one way or another.
-- Wardell B. Pomeroy
When a person finds themself sexually and physically attracted to another person, is the first question that enters that person mind, the age of their affection? The question of how old the person they're attracted to never comes in to mind. Attraction, lust for the physical body, is a very natural and inherent part of the mind's psychology. To react to these desires, as one might react to the desire of hunger or rest, cannot be unjust when compared to the other desires. Yes, it is immoral and unjust when a person reacts to the sex urge with rape -- just as it is immoral and unjust when a person reacts to the hunger urge with theft. But, to react to these urges in a manner that does not cause harm, misery, or suffering, and only works to create harmony, happiness, and a meaningful society, to react in this way, cannot ever be unjust. There is no doubt that adults have had sexual attractions to children under the age of 18, sometimes as young as 12. These desires, in and of themselves, cannot be immoral or cruel or vicious. They are as natural as the desire to drink water to avoid dehydration, as natural as the desire to eat food to avoid starvation. When a person engages in these natural desires, whether it is physical activity with children or not, it is not inherently immoral, either. When a relationship between an adult and a child can create an emotionally strong bond between the two, allowing for personal development, why should it be shunned?
If a man were to enter a society that was as confused and scared as our was, and was to bring with him an idea that was so purely gentle and affectionate, but taboo, he would be outcast as the most heinous heretic.
So, what is a working model of pedophilia in our society? I leave that up to others to lead. It is quite clear that a relationship between two consenting adults can be very emotionally reinforcing for them, as well as creating memories that they will cherish. I see no reason why this is not the case with children and minors. Why should it be? Opponents have offered no reason, but their fervered convictions and bigotry. With all this said, I can only hope that people find this piece of writing as an inspiration, not a source of more prejudice -- as a means of liberation, not a way to create a new slavery.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Punkerslut (or Andy Carloff) has been writing essays and poetry on social issues which have caught his attention for several years. His website www.punkerslut.com provides a complete list of all of these writings. His life experience includes homelessness, squating in New Orleans and LA, dropping out of high school, getting expelled from college for "subversive activities," and a myriad of other revolutionary actions.