Ask Cat!

Whoever you are, cuddles and junk food to ya. I'm Catherine N.X., a new columnist (actually the first columnist) for HFP.

Each week, I'll answer two questions emailed to me from the site. Even though I can only answer two, I'll try to get to as many people by email as I can. Like Lindsay, I will not answer correspondence meant solely to threaten or demean me. One thing my mother taught me is that I deserve better than that. Maybe you think I'm a victim, that I'm being used. Maybe you think I'm naïve, or luckier than most girls. Say so, but say so rationally, and I'll answer you.

The romantic side of my relationship with my mother began at age eight, and continues today. Like any conscientious girllover, she's always taken our romantic relationship at my pace, respecting my wishes and treating me exactly as I wish to be treated. To me (and to her), childlove is about kids and what they want. Pedophilia, as I've observed it, is the innate desire to see love from a child's perspective. To help children grow in their sexuality and their self-assuredness. That is precisely what my mother's care of me has done. Aside from being secure in my sexuality and accepting of my body, I was shown what it's like to be with a person who genuinely cares about what's good for you. And that's how I treat people today, in friendship and in love.

Maybe you think of pedophilia as unavoidably exploitative and evil, and nothing like my description, based on what you see in the news. Not quite. I would compare the relationship between pedophilia and child molestation to that between heterosexuality and rape. Molestation and coercion do not inexorably flow from pedophilia any more than rape inexorably flows from heterosexuality. Sexual violence is not the healthy expression of a sexual orientation, but the result of people being forced to act in contradiction to fundamental aspects of their sexual psychology. Rape is most prevalent in cultures with destructive, repressive attitudes towards healthy sexual expression. By "healthy sexual expression," I do not mean Britney Spears or Hustler magazine. These expressions are nearly as false and emotionally disruptive as the worst Victorian prudery, and frankly they piss me off. I mean loving, thoughtful, emotionally validating intimacy exchanged between people who care about each other's needs and happiness. Healthy sex isn't some manufactured commodity that can be packaged as such, regardless of the orientation. I don't claim to know how to promote healthy sexual relationships of any sort in Western (in my case, North American) culture. Lindsay is wary of parent-child relationships, because of concerns I myself haven't answered yet. Maybe some of these concerns can't be fixed. But I do know that all solutions to all problems start with dialogue. Let's get to it. Email me your questions by using the contact form.