Research: A "cure" for pedophilia?

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Attempts to "treat" pedophilia are ineffectual and in many cases harmful. It's important to point out that pedophilia is the direction of one's sexuality, not the intensity of one's sexual interest. While there are drugs that can reduce sexual desire, reorientation is not possible.

Treatment

  • Gieles, Frans (2001). "Helping people with pedophilic feelings." Lecture at the 15th World Congress of Sexology, Paris, June 2001.
    "I have met clients who started this kind of treatment [to 'cure' their pedophilia] as a warm lively person and who have been changed into 'a stiff wooden doll' after it."
  • Fog, Agner (1992). "Paraphilias and Therapy," Nordisk Sexologi, 10(4), pp. 236-242.
    Fog interviews a pedophile: "My sexual feelings for boys went away partially for about a year, and then at the end of the year I started waking up screaming and hollering with nightmares, and I would see a pitful of snakes and they were just everywhere and I would be screaming to get away from them. [...] 'Were your feelings towards boys reduced by the therapy?' They were reduced in the sense that my penis did not show the difference, but I still enjoyed being a teacher because I could be close to boys. I really don't think that feelings for boys or whoever we have feelings for has all that much to do with how much erection you have, but this is what they were reducing it to. [...] rather than destroy my feelings towards boys they destroyed me as an individual, it destroyed my security."
  • Howitt, D. (1995). "The Treatment of Paedophiles," in Paedophiles and Sexual Offences Against Children, pp. 189-192.
    "Many of the early behaviour therapy treatments for paedophilia emerged from attempts to make homosexuals "normal" or, at least, stop "doing their thing". [...] As we will see, there is a degree of uncertainty about the effectiveness of even the best researched therapies for paedophiles. There are a number of reasons for this. Many of the therapies have not been subject to specific empirical evaluation of any sort; some have been tried with only a few clients. Often the criteria of therapeutic success have fallen well short of evidence of a decline in recidivism in offending, obviously one of the most important criteria. Research that includes a control or an alternatively treated group is in the minority of the evaluations. With a situation like this, claims of therapeutic success may sometimes be wishful thinking on the part of the clinician, the client or both."
  • Van-Zessen, G. (1990). "A model for group counseling with male pedophiles," Journal of Homosexuality, 20(1-2), 189-198.
    "The majority of the reported studies have roots in behavior therapy. The early behavioral approaches were aimed at reducing the deviant sexual arousal by aversion therapy (Quinsey et al., 1976). The attraction to children is viewed as purely sexual (Howells, 1979). In its simplest form, the child is the stimulus that elicits sexual excitement in the adult (Quinsey et al., 1975). All other motivations and meanings of pedophile attraction are ignored. [...] In an overview of the literature concerning homosexual conversion therapies, James (1978) concluded that the majority of studies were unsuccessful in changing sexual orientation. It is likely that the same holds for pedophile conversion therapy."

A choice?

  • Berlin, Fred S. (2002). "Peer Commentaries on Green (2002) and Schmidt (2002): Pedophilia: When Is a Difference a Disorder?," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31(6), 479-480.
    "It is likely that no one would choose voluntarily to develop a pedophilic sexual orientation. Those with such an orientation have no more decided to have it than have any of us decided as children to be either heterosexual or homosexual. Men with pedophilia get erections when fantasizing about children. Heterosexual men get erections when fantasizing about women. In neither case is that so because the individual in question has somehow decided ahead of time to program his mind to work in such a fashion. Persons with pedophilia have simply not chosen to experience an alternative state of mind."