Sigh. I'm... terribly uncomfortable with the whole concept of human attraction. There's alot of fuzziness about it, alot of cross-wiring. It gets mixed up with things. Some of it is personal, some of it is more general. One thing I should say, is that I'm generally uncomfortable with any sort of human contact, physical or visual. I don't like to touch or be touched. It's not any sort of physical aversion or unpleasantness, it's purely psychological... But if it's not that touching feels bad, it's also not that it feels so good that any kind of touch necessarily seems sexual, or anything. Whatever, it's not something I can't deal with. For example, I don't like to shake hands with anyone, but I'll do it, to be polite, if someone offers a hand to shake. But I'd rather not sit too close to anyone when I can help it. I'd rather not hug anyone, even family. And I don't like to look at people, or even to think about people looking at me. That all goes deeper than I could explain, even to myself. I don't understand it, really, though I expect it has to do with my general feelings of self...loathing, or just self-dislike. I can see those wheels in your head turning now, "Oh, perhaps he was sexually abused..." No. I have no memory of any such thing, and while my memory sucks, especially the further back you go, I don't really believe in repressed memories, exactly. At least not for me. If I'd ever been abused, I believe I would remember it, and I don't. So, I don't know what makes my mind work the way it does. But the point, right here, is that all these feelings could have something to do with my discomfort concerning the subject of attraction...
I don't want to touch anyone. But if I were in love, I would want to touch that one person. (This statement may seem contrary to my earlier statement that my problem isn't that any touching seems sexual, but trust me, it's not.) Unless I were in love, I wouldn't, psychologically at least, want to touch anyone, even if we were dating (and you know I wouldn't want to date unless I were in love first, but that's beside my present point). Hypothetically, I wouldn't want to kiss or hold hands or look into a person's eyes, no matter how many dates we'd had, how long we'd been together, unless and until we were certainly in love. Then it'd be great, but only in private. I suppose this whole page may touch on or repeat things I've said in my thoughts on love page, I dunno. They are, obviously, related subjects. Anyway, I would only want to do anything in private, never in public, even around friends or family. (It's a common joke for someone to say "Get a room" if they see people being overly affectionate in public, but I'm uncomfortable seeing people display any degree of intimacy in public, even things no one else would likely be bothered by. So if I was in a relationship, I wouldn't even like to hold hands or have a very quick, relatively chaste kiss, around other people.)
This is just barely the start of my problems with attraction. The whole concept makes me uncomfortable, and I often feel it'd be better if no one was attracted to anyone; if the concept had never occurred to anyone in all of history. Reproduction... could just be an instinctual thing, y'know? Maybe love could enter into it, yes, definitely, but... no attraction. I dunno, I don't like this idea, either, though. I suppose it's better for attraction to exist and me just to be uncomfortable with it. The idea of anyone being attracted to me... is ridiculous, I can't believe it, I don't want it. If I were in a relationship I would want her to be attracted to me, but I can't believe in it, and sometimes I think if I were in charge of the world, I'd make a law that if anyone thought she found me attractive, she'd be locked away in an insane asylum, for her own good. But that's even crazier than the idea of someone finding me attractive. I wouldn't really do that.
Me being attracted to other people... I hate it so much, for more reasons than I could even think to tell you. Sure, it depresses me, because it reminds me of my constant assumption that I'll never be with anyone. And... you know, on a basic level, attraction doesn't matter to me. Setting aside how it disturbs me, there is the fact that I would not judge a person based on appearance. I could like a person I'm not attracted to, I could dislike a person I am attracted to, and vice versa. Attraction or lack thereof will have no impact whatever on what I think of a person, or how I treat them, or anything. It doesn't matter, one way or another. But that's just on one level, and we can only live in hypothetical land for so long before remembering that it does disturb me. And the fact that I'm paranoid about a great many things. It's not just the idea of people looking at me that I can't stand, it's the idea of people thinking anything at all about me. Especially thinking the wrong thing. I always worry people will think things... like maybe they think I'm looking at them when I'm not. Maybe they'll think I think they're attractive, and I can't stand that. Whether I am attracted to them or not. So, it's worse if I am. Sort of. But it doesn't matter! Yet in a world such as ours, who would believe that?
I'm rambling incoherently now, I never know how to properly express my thoughts on anything, though I do so try. At least online. Anyway... I worry about other things. In person, attraction may mean nothing to me, nothing more than some internal flinching and yelling at my mind to shut up and quietly going insane, while doing my job, or whatever it is I'm doing. But... attraction isn't so bad, when it's an image of a person, say on a page or on a screen. Because images aren't people, they can't look back at you, they can't think about you, they can't know you're looking at them, or care. They are objects, nothing more. So why worry?
I worry... sometimes I may be attracted to cartoon or anime girls. Oh yes, I have quite the thing for anime girls. Almost all of them, and many cartoon girls, too. And when I say girls, I mean women and girls. Sometimes... a drawing doesn't have to be particularly realistic to attract me, and this can disturb me. Also I can be attracted often to youngish girls, in cartoons or anime. This is even more disturbing. And then there are the crudely drawn young girls, or robot girls, or alien girls, or whatever the case may be. And then there's real live girls, and I can't always tell how old they are, and even if I can... Well. But, it means nothing. You know I'd have no interest in girls in real life, just images, of girls or women. But still, such attraction is even more disturbing than the normal sort of weirdness I feel about being attracted to women there's clearly nothing wrong with my being attracted to.
Anyway, I start worrying about pedophilia. What does it mean, does it have to be active, or can it be a passive attraction you'd never act on, even one the mere thought of acting on would disgust and repulse you? But if the attraction is there at all... And when does it start? I mean, what is the dividing line? This is one of those fuzzy things I mentioned in the first paragraph. Here's what I use as a determining factor: if a person is old enough to start having thoughts, any sort of thoughts about sex, or kissing, or just attraction, or whatever... if they start feeling this way about other people, then they're old enough for other people to feel or think this way about them. Not old enough to do anything with those people, but... it's not so weird to have those thoughts, if only vaguely. But... there is no definite age for this. And then... people can find anything attractive. Trees, sunsets, animals, paintings, buildings, anything. It's not sexual, it's purely aesthetic. But people can also find young humans attractive, or cute. This is usually perfectly innocent, nothing wrong at all... But, at some point the nature of the cuteness begins to change, and there is not simply one day they are "cute like a kid" and the next day "cute like an adult." It is a very fuzzy process, and it can be impossible to tell exactly when it starts, so there will be a grey period where the casual observer will just feel weird, unsure what exactly their attraction means... how innocent is it? But it doesn't matter, because it certainly doesn't mean they actually want to do anything about it. Still, I worry. I'm not concerned... about myself being a pedophile. I can tell you without any doubt, I am not. I could never become one, for all sorts of reasons. But in that blurry area, attraction may exist... for real girls or animated ones... and it disturbs me.
Of course, in different times and/or places, the age people were considered old enough has differed from what society deems appropriate in the here and now. Plenty of cultures have called 13 the start of adulthood, for example. Marrying age. Hell, once a human being is capable of conception, what better indication could you ask for that they're ready to have sex? What's the point of making it possible if there's something wrong with it? And I'm not even talking on this page about having sex, really, just finding people sexually attractive, which is far removed from actually having sex, obviously. I'm just sayin'... if people in other cultures have thought there was nothing wrong with finding people attractive when they're in their early teens, or even possibly slightly younger, who are we to say they are or were wrong, and we're right?
You might say that in the past, or in less civilized cultures, people hold or held any number of beliefs that we know to be categorically wrong. However, I'd say most such things were of a scientific nature. From the dawn of time, people have tried to explain things, with stories, myths, superstitions, eventually religions, or magic, or any number of things. Eventually reason and science prevailed, but even then- hell, even now- science can be mistaken. People have often made faulty assumptions about things. Man will never be able to fly, man will never leave the planet, man will never capture electricity, or take pictures, or talk over long distances. Man should take a bath once a year at most. Feh. But attraction... this has little to do with science. It's pure instinct. It's natural. And I reiterate: I'm not talking about sex, just attraction.
It's wrong for someone over 18 to have sex with someone under 18? That's pretty damned arbitrary, and not a natural law. There's no real difference between a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old, you know. What's more, people mature physically, mentally, and emotionally at different paces. Some people will be mature in any or all of these ways at an early age, while others will never be completely mature in one or more of these areas. The laws we have exist to protect people of a certain age, based on probabilities, not certainties. You just never know if someone's ready for something or if they're not. Even if they think they are, they might later realize they were wrong. But it's not like all adults are ready, even if they are mature enough. People of all ages regret decisions they make. It doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to make them.
Still, I was raised in a small American town in the last quarter of the 20th century. We all have a capacity to be programmed in any number of ways by the society in which we live, and while I believe I'm less susceptible to most of this programming than are most people, there's still some of it that has shaped my thoughts on various matters. And I do believe it's best to follow the law in this matter, if for no other reason than the odds. Odds are the younger you are, the less apt you are to be able to make responsible choices about important things. So even if a kid thought he or she was ready... well, I've already said. They could be wrong. And in some cases, it is because they're too young.
Besides which, whatever attraction I might feel... I would also feel a repulsion that had nothing to do with my general discomfort with the idea of attraction or touching. What it's about, I'm not sure exactly. It could even be a simple matter of size. Kids are smaller than adults. And while I think they can in some ways, in some cases, be almost a scale model, with a similar shape yet merely smaller dimensions, like a photograph... or some mythical creature like a faerie, which could be adult and no one would find it odd to be attracted to them despite the impossibility of doing anything with them... um... where was I going with this? Ah yes... maybe a kid could be attractive to look at, the same way a picture of an adult would be, but I feel like the reality of trying to do certain things would just be... wrong. Not morally (yes, but that's a separate issue)... but just... it'd be weird and... unpleasant. But what the hell do I know? It's not like I have any experience, I'm just theorizing here. I should also point out that the size issue isn't a great explanation, because I don't feel there would be anything wrong with a big person and a little person getting together. (I doubt I could be with a little person, but I don't dismiss the possbility out of hand, and I definitely don't think it's wrong for other people.) Then there are rarer cases where some people... well, most adult little people look like adults, but some may have a different condition which makes their features always look like children. I think. That's a whole other issue I don't even want to get into...
Sigh. Anyway. I've added some paragraphs, done some editing here, long after I first started this page. (I don't remember when I first started it, but probably sometime in the early to mid-Aughts. I've edited it at least a couple of times since then, in the early to mid-2010s.) For now, I can't think what else to say. I hope I haven't disrupted the flow of this rambling essay with my changes, anyway. But the last paragraph doesn't seem like the right place to end. All I can say, though, is that everything in life disturbs me. But none of it matters, cuz it's all in my head.... And btw, I think I've talked too much on this page about being disturbed by attraction to minors. This page is for more than that, it's for being disturbed by attraction to anyone. Including animated girls/women, who don't even exist in reality. I'm just paranoid that the latter paragraphs will make you forget the former.....
I really should have put dates on this, and various other pages on my site, whenever I started or subsequently edited those pages, but I guess it's never too late to start. And it's not really important, anyway. I felt like taking a look at this page today, after reading something on a link a friend shared on facebook. It's nice to know, as I've always supposed, there are pedophiles who wouldn't act on their attraction to children. And it's kind of tragic that so many people, even some psychologists or psychiatrists, understand the condition so little that they would villify anyone who suffers from the condition, even if they don't do anything wrong. Um... I do want to repeat that this page of mine isn't about pedophilia, it's about my discomfort concerning attraction to people of any age, even appropriate, reciprocal attraction. Still, it can't hurt to take some time to be clear about what pedophilia is. It does not imply actions, only attraction. And it's not about teenagers. Clinically speaking, it's about prepubescent children, 13 years old at most, and generally 11 or younger. There are other words for other specific age groups. "Nepiophilia" or "infantophilia" refer to sexual attraction to infants and toddlers (0-3 years old); these are problems I definitely don't have- hell, I don't even find babies cute, as most people do. Hebephilia refers to sexual attraction to pubescent people who are about 11-14 years old. This is more of an issue for me, but it falls into what I consider the grey area I mentioned earlier, when the nature of a person's cuteness is in the process of changing. Ephebophila refers to sexual attraction to people who are about 14-19 years old. (Wikipedia says the age range is different for boys and girls, which I'm not sure I agree with.) This is not a condition that I even consider a condition, anyway. At least, not if you're just talking about sexual attraction. The one thing common to all these different terms is that the attraction has to be either primary or exclusive. If you are equally attracted to both teenagers and adults, or if you are primarily attracted to adults and secondarily to teenagers, you're probably normal. And this is why I don't consider myself a pedophile or an ephebophile. Not just because there is zero chance I'd ever act on an inappropriate attraction (though that's certainly important), but because whatever attraction (or confused appreciation of cuteness) I may feel toward teenagers or even prepubescents is not my preference, and far from exclusive. In fact, in the unlikely event that I ever become sexually active, my preference would be not merely for an adult, but more specifically for someone within a few years of my own age, the closer the better. (Though that is in large part an issue of psychological, mental, and emotional compatibility, rather than sexual attraction.)
Um... getting back to the link that prompted me to add this update, I learned that a person may first begin to notice pedophilic tendencies in themselves when they're barely pubescent, themselves. Which is nearly impossible for me to consider pedophilia... I mean, a thirteen-year-old attracted to, say, an eleven-year-old seems pretty natural, to me. And of course clinically speaking, a teenager can't be diagnosed as a pedophile unless they're at least five years older than the object of their attraction. Which makes sense. One would expect a child to be attracted to other children within a few years of his or her age, and for that to remain true as they grow older- therefore, the objects of their attraction grow older at the same time, until they become adults. But with pedophiles, the age preference doesn't increase as they get older, it remains the same. That's not normal, obviously, but at the same time, it's always seemed odd to me that a person could be capable of finding people of a certain age attractive at one point, and then just stop, later on. I feel like either a person is attractive to you or they're not; your being older doesn't change the way a person looks, so I don't understand how your perception can be expected to change. Especially considering that even when you are young enough to barely start taking an interest in such things, you can still be attracted to kids older than yourself and to adults. That doesn't change as you get older, so why should being attracted to people the age you were when you first entered puberty (or slightly younger)? In part I think the answer lies in points I keep making, that the nature of cuteness changes as people age, and that people mature at different rates. There could be 10-year-olds who look 13 or 14, there could be 13-year-olds who look 19 or 20, there could be 20-year-olds who look 15... when you really think about it, there are so many exceptions that it almost seems pointless to even say anyone "looks x years old." What does it even mean? And suppose an adult is attracted to someone who "looks 18" but that person is actually 13 or 14? Does that make them a hebephile? I don't think that would be fair to say. So really, the answer to why it's abnormal for a person's age preference not to mature along with themselves is, as I said in the previous paragraph, the fact that it is a preference, or an exclusive attraction. I honestly think that if you're attracted to a 10 or 11-year-old when you're 12 or 13, and continue to find people of such an age attractive even when you become an adult, that doesn't mean you're abnormal, as long as you prefer adults. (And, of course, wouldn't act on your attraction to minors. But I also dislike the idea of acting on age-appropriate attractions without being in love, though at least I wouldn't condemn that, despite my distaste for the idea. I merely point it out because I do sometimes worry that my distaste for the idea of acting on attraction to minors is at least partly based on my more general distaste for acting on any attraction. But I'm still sure I'd find acting on attraction to children far more distasteful and immoral.) But then there's also the question of nostalgia... Adults might not think of themselves as attracted to early pubescents in general, but if they think back to a childhood crush, or puppy love, or a first girl/boyfriend, they might remember being attracted to that specific person and through those memories, still feel that attraction, on some level. Which shouldn't be possible unless they're generally capable of attraction to people of that age. Otherwise the memories would not make them happy, they would disgust them.
So... once again I must say, everything about human attraction is confusing and disturbing and sometimes contradictory or hypocritical. I feel as if people like me could be harshly misjudged by people who are guilty of socially acceptable indiscretions that would disgust me, or at least that would be distasteful to me. But I try not to judge anyone by my standards. I don't think it's wrong to have sex without being in love (let alone without being married), as long as no one's lying to each other and everyone's getting what they want, and no one's getting hurt (physically or emotionally). And I understand sexual desire in general, and the desire for multiple partners. Because certainly I can be attracted to women (and girls) with widely varying appearances. I can understand not wanting to limit oneself to one "type." But for me, if I was going to try to satisfy my attractions to various types, I couldn't possibly be satisfied unless I was with everyone I ever found attractive, regardless of whether they were old enough, or too old, or dead (I can desire beautiful young women in very old movies, who are no longer young or necessarily living), or animated (non-existent), or married, or just not interested in me, or... any number of other things that would make sexual relations impossible. In this respect, I almost consider myself lucky to be so averse to human contact, for psychological reasons of social anxiety, paranoia, etc. The point I was making is... part of me understands why most people don't feel the way I do about sex, and part of me doesn't understand how anyone could possibly have sex without being in love. But it's none of my damn business, so I don't judge them, and I don't want to be judged. Without even bringing things like pedophilia (or ephebophilia) into the conversation, there are people who might think me terribly naive or immature or something to say I don't want to have sex without love. (There are others who would call it sweet, and say they feel the same way, but some of those who say they feel that way have in fact engaged in sex without true love, themselves.) So um... yeah, I understand certain aspects of human sexuality, but looking at sexuality as a whole... it's utterly incomprehensible. And I think a lot of people have a tendency to think that what they feel is "normal" and if anyone else diverges from that in any way, they must be "abnormal" or "deviant" or sick, perverted, etc. I find that unacceptable. All that should matter is that a person respects his or her own feelings, and shows equal respect to the feelings of others, whether they understand those feelings or not. And that no one does anything to hurt anyone else (regardless of their respective ages or "age-appropriateness"). And just don't assume that if you don't understand how someone feels, that there's anything wrong with that person, or that they're necessarily dangerous or monstrous. Obviously there are predators and monsters of many different types. They should be reviled, but they shouldn't be lumped together with people who suffer similar psychological conditions as the monsters, but who would never do anything monstrous. You might think it sounds wrong to say someone "suffers" from pedophilia... and I reiterate that I myself am not a pedophile, even if I think I may understand or empathize with them better than most "normal" people do... but there are those for whom it truly is suffering, people who would not and could not ever hurt anyone. They would sooner kill themselves than hurt anyone. Those people deserve not just the benefit of the doubt, but concern, sympathy, understanding, and hopefully treatment. This is not to say you shouldn't be cautious; if someone tells you he's a pedophile, but he's never molested a child and never would, I think you should believe him and trust him and be willing to be friends with him, but I also think you'd be a grossly irresponsible idiot to ask him to babysit your kids. (And he'd be an idiot to agree to it.)
And holy crap I have written way more today than I expected to. I still feel like I should say more, but I'm not sure what. So I'll shut up for now, but I may add more stuff in the future. Or not.