6 de maio de 2019

What I learned by reading “What if the Child Appears to Enjoy It?”

Filed under: Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , , , — Alma @ 09:22

What if the Child Appears to Enjoy It? Moral Attitudes Toward Adult-Child Sex Among Men With and Without Pedohebephilia” was written by Sara Jahnke, Sabine Schmitt and Agustín Malón. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

  1. The aim of the study is to verify how minor-attracted people and people who are not attracted to minors judge, from a moral point of view, sexual contacts between adult and child in which the child does not suffer direct physical or mental damage as a result of the experience .
  2. To attain such goal, 120 minor-attracted people and 89 others were interviewed.
  3. According to the study, in the sample analyzed, 7.5% of minor-attracted people are as permissive or even less permissive than subjects who do not have such attraction, in regards to sexual situations between adult and minor, even when not there is damage attributable to the experience.
  4. On the other hand, 4.5% of subjects who do not have such attraction can be as permissive as a pro-consent minor-attracted person.
  5. Both groups agree that even if the experience does not cause direct harm, there is a real risk that the child will suffer secondary stigmatization .
  6. About 4% of the German population has pedophilia (attraction to prepubescents) or hebephilia (attraction to pubescents).
  7. The views that minor-attracted people hold about relationships between adults and minors are usually addressed with a clinical bias (as a “justification” for their feelings or actions) or forensic bias (as a “risk factor”).
  8. But neither bias takes those views seriously, which leads to a distorted interpretation of what goes on in the subject’s head.
  9. For most minorattracted people, the ideal relationship is summed as “caring adult finds a consenting child.”
  10. So to appraise their opinions impartially, the authors wrote a questionnaire to be applied to minor-attracted populations in order to know their moral opinion of such ideal relationships.
  11. The questionnaire was applied over the Internet.
  12. There are researchers who say that pedophilia and hebephilia are sexual orientations .
  13. The proposal to include hebephilia in the DSM-V (as a disorder) failed .
  14. The term “child” is used throughout the text to designate anyone under the age of fourteen.
  15. When a minor-attracted person is interviewed by a person from the clinical field, his or her opinion is studied according to the cognitive distortion framework: unless the pedophile thinks like everyone eles, he is lying to himself or attempting to justify his desires.
  16. So part of the treatment for pedophilia would be to change the subject’s opinion and make him think like the rest of society.
  17. Questionnaires to measure the degree of “distortion” of a particular subject are flawed because they are based on the moral assumption that all contacts between adult and minor are violent regardless of the nature of the act, even in absence of actual violence.
  18. Since most minor-attracted people do not really support violence against children, those questionnaries end up being useless: a pedophile can say “forcing a child to have sex is bad” because that is what the questionnaire asks, but the questionnaire does not ask “what if the child is not being forced?” or “do you agree that it’s bad even if the child enjoys it?”.
  19. Thus it is not possible to measure a person’s opinion on adult-to-minor relationships from the assumption that all such contacts are violent, because such questionnaires only ask for one side of the opinion, not the whole opinion.
  20. Pedophiles often don’t have our same concept of “rape”: for them, something is rape only if the contact was forced.
  21. That means that pedophiles generally don’t believe, as society believes, in ” consensual rape.”
  22. So if you happen to find a pedophile and ask him “don’t you think that raping kids is wrong?”, he’ll probably say “of course it is wrong!”, because the word “rape” is invokes the idea that the contact was unwilling.
  23. If this consensual adult/child sex was legal, pedophiles would still be against child sexual abuse.
  24. This study aims to fix this: one must access the whole view, not just one side of it; it is necessary to know what pedophiles think of non-violent relationships between adult and minor.
  25. A good questionnaire would be one that gives arguments both for and against this type of relationship, with a scale that measures how much the subject agrees with each argument.
  26. This is useful because it probes the person’s opinion on a moral level and because morals is what guides most of our voluntary actions.
  27. Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that attitude and behavior are different things: you can say that you will not do it, but can you stand against temptation?
  28. Most people reject adult-child relationships, with or without violence.
  29. Among clinicians and researchers, the reasons for rejection are:
    1. Inherent damage.
    2. Secondary victimization.
    3. Children’s inability to issue informed consent.
    4. Inherent exploitation.
    5. Children’s inability to understand the sexual nature of the act.
  30. None of those arguments is safe from criticism.
  31. In addition, although this is the consensus of the majority when the subject is pre-pubertal , this consensus becomes more and more disputed when it comes to puberty.
  32. On inherent damage: from a statistical point of view, if we separate the negative effect attributed to the relationship from the negative effect from other sources, the damage attributed to the relationship seems smaller or negligible, which suggests that it is not the relationship that causes the damage, but associated variables (presence of force, threats, nature of the libidinous act, whether or not the act was discovered, family reaction, legal or medical intervention, among others).
  33. In addition, there is evidence of relationships that are not only remembered as harmless, but even as beneficial by the minor, even after the minor grows up.

  34. If we want to condemn something because there is a risk of harm, any form of risk should be eliminated, including the risk of trauma that can result from legal reaction to the act.
  35. Secondary victimization: the child can be harmed by the social reaction to the act, even when the act is in itself harmless.
  36. In some cases, the negative reaction is determinant in the appearance of negative symptoms in people who had precocious sexual experiences.
  37. If the child feels guilty or embarrassed, for example, he or she may internalize those feelings in their self-concept, thus developing low self-esteem.
  38. This is called nocebo effect, the opposite of the placebo effect, in which a symptom is attributed to a cause which, alone, would be incapable of generating such a symptom.
  39. Even if the contact is never discovered, the child who grows up in an environment that demonizes that kind of experience will eventually repudiate what happened.
  40. Informed consent: unless the child has enough information to understand what they are getting into, the relationship is immoral.
  41. The child needs to understand the nature of the act and its consequences, before deciding whether or not to participate in such a thing.
  42. For some researchers, this is the only valid argument against adult-child relationships in general: if a child understood the nature of the act and its consequences, its experience is not immoral, as long as it is also consensual.
  43. Sexual exploitation: if the child sees adults as people with authority, kids supposedly would never deny their advances.
  44. This image comes from studies that focus on cases where exploitation occurred.
  45. But there is research that challenges the belief that exploitation is a necessary element in adultminor relationships .
  46. About sexual incompatibility: when an adult and a child do something sexual together, they are looking for different things (the child is supposedly in the pursuit of affection or satisfaction of curiosity, while the adult is looking for pleasure), but such an argument only makes sense if sex is more than mere recreation.
  47. The girl likely isn’t looking for anything explicitly sexual when she gets in contact with an adult, it may even be that she does not even realize that an ongoing sexual relationship is sexual.
  48. Are there any children who desire adults in the same way that adults can desire minors?
  49. This argument rests on the idea that child sexuality and adult sexuality are qualitatively different: if they are not, the argument is destroyed .
  50. In addition, this argument implies the existence of a gray area around puberty, when sexuality is becoming adult.
  51. There is a scientific interest in studying minor-attracted people who aren’t incarcerated.
  52. The authors of the study decided to collect subjects (attracted to minors or not) and to show them these five arguments against adul/child sex, to see how they evaluate those arguments when applied to a hypothetical experience in which there is affection and love, but pain and violence are absent
  53. Between January and March 2016, the study authors recruited subjects through the Internet.
  54. Minor-attracted people were recruited through legal sites where such subjects meet, such as Krumme 13 and Jungsforum .
  55. Among the minor-attracted people, 21% are primarily or exclusively attracted to girls, 64% are primarily or exclusively attracted to boys and 15% do not have such preference.
  56. Among those attracted to adults, 88% are heterosexual.
  57. All subjects who participated in the study, both those attracted to minors and those attracted to typical subjects, had more education than the average population, although most minor-attracted people had not enrolled college.
  58. Among minor-attracted people, 14% had already been prosecuted for sex crimes involving children, while 20% were under treatment because of the attraction.
  59. The study probed the feelings of minor-attracted people in order to know how often they were interested in “persons with no secondary sexual characteristics” (prepubescent), “persons with maturing secondary sexual characteristics” (pubescent) and “People with mature secondary sexual characteristics” (post-pubescent).
  60. Most minor-attracted people are also attracted to adults.
  61. Participants had to morally judge a hypothetical situation in which a girl between the ages of 10 and 12 engaged in libidinous mutual acts (without carnal conjunction) with an adult who did not force her and who asked her for permission, obtaining such permission without any bribe.
  62. The girl then, at the end of the experience, states that the experience was pleasurable.
  63. Participants had to judge the moral value of such experience according to the criteria of direct harm, indirect harm, validity of consent, presence or absence of exploitation and sexual compatibility.
  64. Most subjects with typical attraction claim that experience, even under such conditions, is harmful.
  65. The opposite has been said by most minor-attracted people.
  66. However, with regard to secondary victimization, both groups voiced similar opinion.
  67. About half of the minor-attracted people stated that the girl was sufficiently informed to participate in the experience, but almost no person with typical attraction shares this view.
  68. Most minor-attracted people did not judge the experience as exploitation, but the opposite is seen in typical subjects.
  69. Finally, more than half of minor-attracted people saw the sexuality of the man and the girl’s sexuality as compatible, whereas the subjects with typical attraction saw their sexuality as too different for true reciprocity.
  70. If a minor-attracted person seeks therapy, starting the discussion by stressing that secondary victimization is a risk would be a good way to find a common ground with which both client and therapist can agree with, allowing a good relationship between the two, at least in the first moment.
  71. Girl lovers had higher adherence rates to the informed consent argument.
  72. No relation was found between permissive attitude and criminal history: the pro-consent will not necessarily break the law.
  73. There are people with typical attraction who are also attracted to minors.

28 de janeiro de 2019

What I learned by reading “I’m in love with an older man”.

Filed under: Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , — Alma @ 17:24

“I’m in love with an older man” was written by Nicole de Wet, Christina Alex-Ojei and Joshua Akinyemi. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

  1. The purpose of the text is to know the reasons why young South African adolescents and young adults seek relationships with much older men.
  2. To achieve this goal, the researchers obtained data on six hundred and twenty girls and women between fifteen and twenty-four years old.
  3. More than a quarter of the girls and women studied had already engaged or were engaging in a relationship with an older man.
  4. For these girls and women, age is a factor of little importance in the relationship.
  5. Economic stability is one of the reasons why girls and women seek older men, but there are other reasons, with economic stability only ranking fourth on the most cited reasons scale.
  6. Most women and girls who seek men for financial stability are students, widows or divorced.
  7. Economic stability is not the most prevalent reason to seek this kind of relationship: feeling secure in the presence of someone stronger and more experienced is a more common reason for this kind of contact.
  8. So not all girls and women who look for older men are doing so for money.
  9. These men are five, sometimes ten years older than the girls or women who seek them out.
  10. In Botswana, 19% of women reported having a relationship with age disparity.
  11. Counting those who had such kind of relationship, but not necessarily maintained such relationship in the present, the number may be 37.7% or even 41%, depending on the study.
  12. What makes these relationships problematic is not the age difference.
  13. In South Africa, men sometimes think that younger women or girls do not have STDs or have them at lower levels, so they tend to not use condoms when having sex with them.
  14. Thus, the problem of these relationships are social factors that discourage safe sex, resulting in illness or accidental pregnancy.
  15. In addition, there is the problem that some people who have a STD care less about protecting themselves (“I’m already sick anyway”), which results in partner infection .
  16. To qualify for the study, the subject’s most recent partner had to be at least five years older than herself.
  17. Some of the girls and women studied had younger partners as well.
  18. The most cited reason for these girls and women to look for older men is “age is not important,” meaning they did not view these relationships as something too different from relationships with peers.
  19. The second reason most cited was “I feel safe with him”.
  20. The third most cited reason was “none of the above”.
  21. The fourth most cited reason was “he can support me financially.”
  22. The fifth most cited reason was “he is experienced and satisfies me sexually”.
  23. The less-quoted reason was “he does not cheat on me.”
  24. Some women had relationships with men who were eleven years older than themselves.
  25. More than half of the girls and women who reported seeking older men for financial support were unemployed.
  26. Younger girls tended to say “age is not important” more often, while older women tended to say “he can support me financially” more often.
  27. So the older the woman, the more likely she is to be looking for older men because of money (at least in South Africa).
  28. Despite this, half of the subjects studied say that they look for these relationships as if searching for relationships with people of their same age (“age is not important”).
  29. Pleasure, love and adventure are also reasons to look for older people (“he satisfies me sexually”).
  30. Unfortunately, age-discrepant relationships are correlated to having multiple partners (“he does not cheat on me”).
  31. Still, it must be remembered that there is a stigma surrounding the practice of seeking relationships for financial reasons, which may lead some women to hide this fact and lie in the interview.
  32. Because of that, the amount of girls and women who seek older men for money is probably greater than what the data suggests.
  33. But it’s not possible that all those women and girls are lying.
  34. The practice of pursuing relationships for money would be mitigated if there were less poverty.

20 de janeiro de 2018

Notes on “Boys and Their Contacts With Men”.

Filed under: Livros, Notícias e política, Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , , — Alma @ 16:30

“Boys on Their Contacts With Men: A Study of Sexually Expressed Friendships” was written by Theo Sandfort. Here are some notes on this book. They do not necessarily reflect my opinion on a given subject.

  1. Being born after the year 2000 means having a high chance of growing up unaware of studies regarding child sexuality.
  2. Sexuality begins in childhood.
  3. Society not only openly states that child sexuality does not exist, but also forbids itself from funding research on this subject and repudiates any independently conducted study on child sexuality (voluntary ignorance).
  4. There is no clinical area devoted to the minor’s sexual health, which is unacceptable, considering that minors are the biggest offenders of age of consent laws.
  5. There is a general shortage of studies on crucial areas of sexuality.
  6. Child sexual repression does have consequences in adult sexual life.
  7. Teenage crises, centered on puberty, would have less impact if the child had more freedom for his sexual expression, provided he did not express it self-destructively.
  8. As long as society continues to think that children are asexual, there will be no science to study child sexuality and consequently there will be no support, including clinical support, for the healthy sexual development of children.
  9. A minor-attracted person may look attractive to minors, so the attraction, for example, between adult and child is often reciprocal.
  10. What makes an adult attractive to a minor is the fact that the adult treats the child as equal.
  11. Attraction by minors is not choice; no one chooses to be attracted to much younger people.
  12. As there is no effective clinical treatment for homosexuality, there is no effective clinical treatment for pedophilia.
  13. There is also no hypothesis, evolutionary or not, that could explain why are there people who feel attracted to others who are much older or much younger.
  14. Any serious and impartial study in the area of intergenerational relationships or child sexuality is welcome, because it seems that there is not enough work on the subject.
  15. However, any research that does not use the terms “victim,” “perpretator,” or appears to be positive or favorable to such relationships, is viewed as “rationalizing” criminal behavior (although, if we were to think like that, homosexuality would never have been decriminalized), not to mention that the scientific community should not condemn someone for “rationalizing” anything.
  16. People expect that all minors in relationships with adults suffer and, when research concludes that it’s not always like that, people condemn the study as propaganda or poorly-conducted.
  17. It is easier for a study to conclude negatively if it only uses samples that feel abused because of those relationships, that is, you automatically close yourself to those who say “I liked it, I was not forced into it.”
  18. Critics say that the interviewed minors who say they have not suffered from their relationships are lying, but statistical studies with general samples almost always conclude that minors are not stressed or forced most of the times.
  19. The argument that power imbalance invalidates the minor’s consent is inconclusive.
  20. Other critics feel free to criticize without reading the book: “If he concludes that these relationships can be positive, he’s obviously wrong, so I won’t even bother to read it.”
  21. For some reason, when such work comes out, the only ones who reject it immediately are the Americans.
  22. Maybe it’s because it attacks foundations upon which many careers have been built (just remember what happened to poor Susan Clancy).
  23. The best research on sexuality in general is not done in the United States.
  24. There are a lot of eleven-year-olds who are sexually active, not caring if their relationships are illegal.
  25. AIDS is a huge problem, but you may often think it’s bigger than it actually is.
  26. If there are a lot of minors, including minors in relationships with adults, who are not infected with AIDS, whereas AIDS is mainly transmitted by penetration, we can conclude that those relationships are not penetrative most of the time.
  27. If child sexuality is not penetrative, it is unlikely that a child will acquire AIDS unless he is raped.
  28. If there are sexually active minors, especially if active in secret, then sex education is imperative, or these brats will get sick before they are eighteen.
  29. The book exposes the accounts of twenty-five boys who had sexual relationships with adult men.
  30. The debate on pedophilia in the 1970s was balanced: there were intellectuals on both sides, both against and favorable, meaning that relationships between adults and minors, provided they were not harmful to the minor, were not automatically associated with abuse.
  31. The author of the book admits that twenty-five is a very low number and that therefore the accounts exposed in the book can not be generalized.
  32. Most studies focus on negative cases, but this study focuses on positives cases, meaning the author will not talk about abuse here.
  33. The book closes with considerations about how the law should adapt so as not to punish positive relationships, limiting itself to punishing only harmful relationships.
  34. Our sexual opinions are unstable, they change over time.
  35. Relationships between adults and minors only became taboo in the 1980s (in Brazil, a sexual relationship involving children under the age of fourteen only became automatically criminal in 2009, with the new rape law).
  36. Power disparity does not make a relationship automatically abusive.
  37. An accusation isn’t a fact until proven.
  38. But a false accusation leaves it’s mark on public opinion, even after the accusation is proven false.
  39. The media played a central role in criminalizing child porn.
  40. But the media only began to behave that way because of the American movement to restore the purity and honor of the traditional family.
  41. This persecution has, therefore, religious roots, it’s not based on children’s welfare.
  42. It’s more a matter of protecting jobs, reaching feminist goals and maintaining religious values than actually thinking if the child is even being harmed.
  43. The gay movement back in seventies and eighties didn’t see intergenerational contact as fundamentally wrong.
  44. Abuse doesn’t need to take place in order to produce child porn.
  45. The right-wing gains followers when the economy is going bad.
  46. Part of the moral panic about pedophilia comes from the feminist reaction to the sexual revolution: people wanted sexual freedom without discussing in detail the issues of incest, harassment and rape, whose victims were almost always women and girls.
  47. At some point, it seemed like all men were potential rapists.
  48. The argument in favor of that worldview was the power disparity: men are stronger and more influential than women, so it would be too easy for him to abuse her if the laws became more sexually liberal (this is the same argument used against relationships between adults and minors).
  49. But it’s an argument without solid empirical or statistical ground.
  50. That climate established a nagging feeling that heterosexual sex is always exploitative.
  51. The feminism, in the eighties, instilled a sense of existential guilt in men themselves, who began to feel ashamed of their sex.
  52. As it seems that most pedophiles are men, feminism has attacked pedophilia as a manifestation of male sexual behavior.
  53. If power disparity wasn’t enough to keep heterosexual relationships between adults from happening, it was enough to interfere in a minoritary sexual behavior.
  54. “Power” took love’s place as the central concept of a relationship.
  55. Disparity has become synonymous with misuse (power disparity = misuse of power), as if a person of more power would necessarily abuse that power.
  56. The benefits of power disparity, such as identification and pedagogy, were denied.
  57. The problem of power disparity affects more than just sexual relationships, to the point of people becoming suspicious of any adult who nurtures friendships with children, as that friendship is also unequal.
  58. Feminism isn’t an unified movement, as it comes in different flavors, some more liberal than others.
  59. Not all feminists see sex as a source of anxiety.
  60. But feminists who are against age of consent laws are a minority.
  61. The moral panic towards pedophilia kills discussions about decriminalization (“they legalized gay marriage, so pedophilia is likely the next step” or “they legalized marijuana, so pedophilia must be the next step”).
  62. That’s the “spirit of our times”, which wasn’t that conservative in the sixties and seventies, and might become more liberal in the next decade.
  63. When the focus changes from love to force, sex becomes a source of anxiety and danger; you can easily go to jail for having sex, even if uncoerced and non-penetrative.
  64. Public policies tend to see sex as a threat.
  65. State is “reverting to it’s old role of moral dictator — and a feminist one at that.”
  66. “Looking for authority to the women’s emancipation movement, the vision of one small section of society is allowed to be our moral determinant” (it’s important to remind you that this book was written in the eighties).
  67. If sex is a danger, children are vulnerable.
  68. If we think that all men are potential rapists, we will end up thinking that all women are potential victims, and laws will adapt to that thought.
  69. No one looks at the victim to say “it was your fault”, so being a victim is generally safe.
  70. That worldview keeps women from coming to terms with their heterosexuality, as men are starting to deliberately decline involvement with women.
  71. To change that, it’s important to focus on the benefits that one can gain from a sexual relationship, not in the consequences of abuse, which doesn’t even happen most of the times.
  72. The sex negativity also affects youth.
  73. Feminism ruined sexual revolution.
  74. When you talk about sex with the tykes, you no longer talk about adventure or exploration, but you talk about protection against exploitation, but it was like that before, in the sixties, when even children felt that sex was a tool for personal fulfillment.
  75. The previous paradigm was freedom, but now it’s protection.
  76. Children need protection from abuse, but is the law doing a good job?
  77. If the paradigm is protection, children need to be as protected as possible, harming their maturing, bringing the need for more protection.
  78. That doesn’t mean lifting all protections, but to allow experimentation and gradual exposure, as well as openness.
  79. You shouldn’t teach that sex is an outside threat, but an inside nature.
  80. When it comes to sexuality, children’s sexual experiences are often ignored.
  81. The book’s goal is to attract attention to positive relationships between adults and children, because news aren’t being impartial by only showing negative relationships (for a possible reason why news do that, see “MAP Starting Guide“).
  82. A lot of homosexuals didn’t think those relationships were unethical or immoral by definition, back in the seventies.
  83. In Holland, there was a state doctor whose job was to listen to children’s sexual complaints, so that a child could go to him, tell the experience, be examined and then the doctor would file a charge if needed, that is, the child had someone to turn to in case of experiencing sex negatively.
  84. When Holland was debating age of consent reform, it listened to psychiatrists, jurists and social workers, before taking action.
  85. Society expects you to only have friends around your age.
  86. Because of that, adult/child relationships adapt to hostility, in order to continue with little meddling, despite being illegal if they take a sexual hue.
  87. The minors in this book met their adults through same age friends or through family members, in way that no bribery had to take place.
  88. Pedophiles seldom conform to the “creepy old man” stereotype.
  89. Minors often start the contact, even when the adult isn’t interested at first.
  90. Those relationships can start at random, without either party actively looking for friendship.
  91. The sexual aspect starts earlier if the minor is adolescent.
  92. At least in these twenty-five cases, no minor was forced.
  93. There are pedophiles among social workers, by the way.
  94. One of the reasons for starting and maintaining the relationships were common interests.
  95. Another reason was exclusive attention from an adult, whereas the minor had to share parental attention with his siblings at home.
  96. One of the interviewed boys say that you can only get that attention from an unrelated adult, unless you are the only child your parents have.
  97. Another reason was the freedom that those boys received from the adults, being allowed to decide things themselves.
  98. The climate at home may be overprotective.
  99. Another reason was having someone who could listen to you.
  100. There’s something in those adults that is lacking in the parents.
  101. Another reason was physical affection (such as hugs).
  102. Many adolescent boys would like to be hugged, but feel like it would be “sissy” to.
  103. Another reason could be family unstability (quarrelling parents and divorce).
  104. One of the minors said that he hated his father.
  105. “There can’t be any families worse than ours.”
  106. Even if those boys have no complaints about the sexual contacts with their adults, some of them report domestic physical abuse (which happens more often than sexual contact between adult and minor, with verbal abuse being even more common).
  107. The minors in this book were well-informed about who they could turn to in case of abuse and, even though they didn’t report the adults they were having contacts with, one of them filed a complaint against another adult for physical abuse (it seems like a Dutch kid, in the eighties, could file complaints if they were at least 12).
  108. However, most of the 25 minors were okay with their families and only a minority reported bad climate at home.
  109. Because of that, it’s incorrect to conclude that all children who seek attention from unrelated adults only do so because they don’t feel loved at home.
  110. However, they wouldn’t seek that attention without a reason.
  111. So, the family doesn’t need to be awful to make a child long for attention from unrelated adults, but an awful family increases the chance of a child longing for that, in a way that the adult/minor relationship continues for as long as the unrelated adult is capable of supplying the child with attention.
  112. Some of the parents knew that their children were sexually involved with unrelated adults, but didn’t stop the relationship.
  113. When the family climate is good, the minor in a relationship with an adult sees that relationship more like a “surplus”, than a need.
  114. Sex is completely secondary; the relationship between those adults and those boys would continue even if the sexual aspect became absent.
  115. If the relationship was purely sexual, the boys wouldn’t have continued it.
  116. The relationship between adult and minor isn’t simply a matter of sex, unless the adult is a situational offender.
  117. We don’t know for sure how often minors exchange sex for material goods, but it’s certain that it doesn’t happen all the time and that minors often have mutually desired sexual contact, without having material gain as goal.
  118. The need for attention is reduced as the child grows.
  119. A child from a loving family, but who still has a relationship with an unrelated adult, may still love his parents more than he loves his adult.
  120. When a minor attributes a great deal of importance to his adult, a legal rupture in the relationship creates the risk of psychological harm.
  121. While sexual intimacy isn’t the main reason why those relationships begin or continue, it’s still the main reason why those relationships face so much disapproval (it would be safer to abstain from sexual contact, then).
  122. When a person knows that there’s something sexual happening between an adult and a minor, the shock can be so great that they become unable to see the other aspects of the relationship.
  123. The author reminds us, again, that twenty-five is a small number and that the experiences of those minors can not be generalized (more research needed), and he doesn’t encourage any adult to actually have affairs with children.
  124. Some researchers say that adults gradually introduce minors into sexual practices, but the author says that it’s not always the case: some adult/minor relationships become sexual almost instantly.
  125. Less than half of the 25 minors waited for the adult to start the sexual contact.
  126. It’s possible to have sex without noticing it’s sex.
  127. Some minors lose their virginity with adults and don’t feel bad about that.
  128. A minor with previous experience is more inclined to start the contact.
  129. A minor may do something that the adult interprets as sexual, without having any faint idea that his behavior is enticing arousal.
  130. Clinical literature concludes differently, because it doesn’t deal with everyday cases, only with cases in which the person seeks treatment (if the minor enjoyed it, they won’t look for therapy, meaning that studies relying on clinical samples will only deal with negative encounters).
  131. The most common sexual act in those relationships is masturbation.
  132. The adults in those relationships didn’t feel okay with doing something that they knew the minor would dislike.
  133. That’s because those adults feel lust over the minor’s pleasure: if the minor isn’t enjoying it, then it’s no fun.
  134. There’s a number of adult/minor relationships that are devoid of sexual acts.
  135. Even in positive relationships, sexual contact can be undesired.
  136. The youngest of the twenty-five boys was less interested in sexual contact, but more interested in physical contact (hugs, feeling of safety and security).
  137. Some parents don’t talk about sex to their children, even if they become adults.
  138. Why should we complicate something that is so simple?
  139. Even with those twenty-five boys who report positive relationships, the sexual aspect was still cause of worry because of social environment, partner’s behavior and problems that could happen during the act.
  140. One of the minors had doubts about the sexual contact, because he felt like he could be homosexual.
  141. Those relationships are far from perfect and have problems that are often equivalent to the problems inherent to adult relationships.
  142. If a minor knows that those relationships are socially unacceptable, but enjoys them anyway, he will keep secret, even if the minor hates to keep secrets.
  143. If you have to hide, you are, of course, scared of discovery.
  144. One of the reasons to hide it is fear of getting a bad reputation.
  145. Another reason was, of course, fear of what the police would do.
  146. There are minors who dislike those laws.
  147. The minor could feel responsible for the adult’s arrest if the relationship is found out, he could feel like it’s his fault.
  148. Under what conditions it’s ethical to arrest someone who did no harm to anyone, specially if the arrest could cause damage to an also innocent third party?
  149. Sex crimes are punished without proportion.
  150. One of the minors said that the law doesn’t keep him from doing anything.
  151. Some parents become jealous of the minor’s adult.
  152. One of the minors stopped having sexual contacts with his adult after he found a girlfriend of his age.
  153. Power disparity is inherent to adult/minor relationships, but was it a problem in the 25 cases studied?
  154. Power disparity is inherent to almost all human relationships.
  155. If the adult in relationship with a minor is one of the minor’s parents (incest), the disparity is even greater and the child likely won’t have anyone to turn to in case of abuse.
  156. Power is relative.
  157. The relationship between parent and child is acceptable, despite unequal, because the child receives a great deal of benefit from that relationship.
  158. But other studies show that sexual adult/minor relationships often benefit the minor more than they benefit the adult.
  159. The closest thing to an adult/minor romance is a parent/child relationship.
  160. Power disparity can be used in benefit of the minor.
  161. There’s more power disparity in a chaste parent/child relationship than in an intergenerational romance, but families aren’t abolished because of that.
  162. A child can also exercise power, or we wouldn’t hear of parents being controlled by their offspring.
  163. If power disparity poses a problem even to friendship, then it’s impossible for any adult to befriend a child.
  164. Power disparity doesn’t always harm children.
  165. Minors admire and identify with adults, power disparity doesn’t scare them unless a violent intention is shown.
  166. It’s possible to recognize that someone is better than you without feeling humiliated.
  167. “Do this, or I’m telling the cops, you perv.”
  168. A minor who knows that those contacts are illegal and manages to have them (jailbait), can blackmail the adult.
  169. Presence of power, use of power and misuse of power are three different things.
  170. That doesn’t mean that misuse of power never happens, as it happens even between adults.
  171. Power disparity isn’t a reason to deny informed consent, as Finkelhor wants (according to Finkelhor, a child can not consent because the kid lacks information and lacks power, which supposedly renders the child unable to say “no”).
  172. The adult has the responsibility to keep the child from becoming dependant on him.
  173. To be fair, in some of the twenty-five cases there was some form of small coercion.
  174. Power abuse doesn’t always happens in adult/minor relationships.
  175. But power abuse often happens in parent/child dynamics.
  176. A minor can coerce an adult.
  177. Some minors continue despite being forbidden by their parents.
  178. The parents would feel twice as disgusted if the kid was going out with a same-sex adult (it would be both pedophilia and homosexuality).
  179. If a boy knows any adults whom aren’t known by his father, we have a problem…
  180. If it was an adult woman, maybe the father would be proud.
  181. A parent may kill the adult, rather than reporting.
  182. And the minor may find it unfair.
  183. If the adult knows some bad secret of the minor’s parents, he may use it as protection (“if you report me, I report you”).
  184. Parents fear that the minor may become homosexual.
  185. In practice, the minor has no right to voice his opinion.
  186. Minors in positive relationships feel that the legal obstacles are not needed.
  187. NVSH still exists, guys.
  188. Some parents think it’s “normal”, which is surprising.
  189. What the author knows about the parents was what the minors told him; he did not interview the parents.
  190. There are no studies about parents whose children have affairs with adults.
  191. Children often hide their sexuality from the parents.
  192. They prefer to discuss their sexuality among friends.
  193. That’s because they fear being punished by the parents and because they would see no reason for telling anyone if the relationship isn’t hurting them (a harmed child could tell the experience to their parents in the first opportunity, as the rapist can not stay around the child all the time to ensure secrecy).
  194. If the child isn’t enjoying or is scared, they will likely report the incident to parents or police.
  195. Parents often react with horror upon knowing that their child is involved with an adult, even if in a non-sexual manner.
  196. That could be because the parents feel that they “failed” in protecting or educating their child.
  197. Parents are afraid of talking about sex to their children, because they fear that their children would end up enjoying the subject (the problem is here is “tainting” the child’s innocence).
  198. But that may vary, as the parents’ reaction to the child’s sexual experience often reflect the parents’ own attitude towards sex.
  199. A sexually-repressed parent will be shocked upon knowing that his child has sexual feelings.
  200. Upon knowing that his child is in a relationship with an unrelated adult, the parent might feel that they failed at loving the child, but the parent will also project that guilt into the child and the unrelated adult.
  201. Most of the information you have about adult/minor relationships is wrong.
  202. A minor may hide his relationship as a way to exercise his autonomy (as if saying “it’s not your business”).
  203. It happens more often that you think.
  204. The minor in a relationship with an adult may cause jealousy in other minors (like that student who managed to go on a date with the teacher).
  205. It’s easier to ignore what your friends think about your affairs, but it’s harder to ignore what your parents think.
  206. A lot of those minors are scared of being called “gay” if the relationship was found out.
  207. Being with a girl can be disappointing.
  208. A same-sex relationship may escalate quicker and easier.
  209. Pedophile“, “child molester” and “rapist” are different things.
  210. Part of the rejection has religious roots.
  211. Love and lust are different things, that’s why we have sex with people we don’t love.
  212. One of the minors, despite being in a “positive” relationship with an adult, opposes to porn production.
  213. There are intergenerational relationships between adults (such as an young adult going out with a middle-aged or elder person).
  214. You can not generalize and say that “minors don’t want it”.
  215. How should the law change, in order to allow positive relationships and still punish the negative ones?
  216. At the end of the interviews, the boys didn’t contradict themselves, keeping the consistency of their answers.
  217. Despite judging the contacts as positive overall, the boys were also honest about their doubts and the negative aspects of the relationships.
  218. There’s no reason to assume that the 25 boys lied in both interviews.
  219. If you believe when a child says that they are suffering due to a sexual contact with an adult, but doesn’t believe when a child says that they didn’t suffer because of a sexual contact with an adult, you are being biased.
  220. This investigation doesn’t aim to generalize information obtained in such a small sample poll.
  221. But any study that relies on clinical or forensic samples should also drop any generalization goals: when you generalize a study conducted with clinical samples, it’s like going to the hospital, concluding that 94% of the patients are ill and then conclude that 94% of the world population is ill (that problem was never taken seriously until the Rind controversy took place).
  222. There are minors who do not suffer with those contacts, but we know that abuse does happen and no research can ever conclude that all minors regard those contacts as positive.
  223. There’s a lot of focus on sexually abused girls, but almost no focus on boys whatsoever.
  224. You can’t compare sex with drugs or alcohol, meaning that lowering age of consent, but not the drinking age, isn’t illogical: you are more likely to suffer from alcohol than sex.
  225. Child sexual repression harms sex life in adulthood.
  226. Being able to drive is a matter of skill and preparation, not age.
  227. Just like adults regret some relationships, it’s also possible for minors to regret what they did.
  228. A child who wasn’t traumatized by the sexual contact, may be traumatized by how the parents react upon finding it, and the trauma can be further developed if the incident ends in court.
  229. One of the reasons why we keep those relationships illegal is the belief that those contacts are inherently harmful.
  230. A minor who had a sexual contact in childhood can still grow perfectly normal, which can either mean that the experience had no negative impact on him or, if it had a negative impact, the impact was overcome.
  231. Intrinsic harm is a myth.
  232. What causes the damage is force; without force, the risk of trauma is minimal.
  233. The minor should judge the contact, not the therapist.
  234. When those interviews happened, all those adults who were in relationships with those minors were, obviously, criminals.
  235. When those interviews happened, you couldn’t stay in jail for sex with minors for more than six years, in Holland (in Brazil, the same crime would earn you fifteen years of jail time, meaning that our own Penal Code enables the collapsing of the prison system).
  236. Those laws also prosecute minors in relationship with other minors.
  237. Age of consent laws, in Holland, are around 200-years-old, rendering them relatively “new”, compared to laws against murder or theft.
  238. Children are considered innocent since 17th Century, it wasn’t always like that.
  239. The state should not be worried about people’s morals, state is not church.
  240. The sexual revolution could begin when the church didn’t have as much power as it had before.
  241. The growing sexual tolerance back then reflected in the justice system: people found in relationships with minors were seldom prosecuted.
  242. Age of consent should adapt to the current society and current youth: a more empowered and informed youth requires a lower age of consent (Brazil recently tried to lower age of consent from 14 to 12, but the protestant lobby stopped the proposal).
  243. Oddly enough, one of the groups that advocated age of consent abolishment in Holland was the Protestant Alliance for Child Protection, which argued that the normal rape laws, which punish only negative contacts, were enough.
  244. There’s no scientific proof that sexual contacts between adults and children are harmful in themselves, but there’s a lot of evidence that harm comes from pain, force or shame, which aren’t inherent to the contact (meaning that there’s no intrinsic harm).
  245. No need to punish a harmless contact.
  246. If you see a better way to deal with the situation, then don’t arrest anyone.
  247. It’s illogical to apply a punishment that causes more harm than the punished act.
  248. Laws should be clear.
  249. Voluntary sexual contact is usually harmless (ever played doctor when you were a kid?).
  250. The minor has the right for sexual self-determination and those laws are interferring with that right.
  251. If you have a sexual contact with a minor and then you notice that you could get away with it if the child is never found again, wouldn’t you be tempted to kill the child?
  252. The minor shouldn’t be legally impotent.
  253. Freedom shouldn’t be limited without a good reason.
  254. However, desired relationships are still forbidden, as long as at least one of the parties is under age 14 (in Brazil, that is, as I’m also using my context).
  255. The most frequent reason among the proponents of age of consent is the power disparity: it supposs that a relationship needs equality to work, while children and adults are not equal, specially when it comes to mental aspects.
  256. Another reason would be that minors often don’t think about the consequences of their acts (even though one can ask what are those horrible consequences).
  257. Another reason is that allowing children to have sexual contacts freely, as long it’s harmless and uncoerced, is still a violation of parental authority.
  258. The individual freedom of accepting or rejecting affection must be protected.
  259. The law must not make decisions without consulting science.
  260. When the law criminalizes too many behaviors, more and more people become willing to ignore it as a joke.
  261. Punishing a harmless act isn’t protection.
  262. Is the law still capable of reflecting reality?
  263. Even if those acts remain illegal, the penalty is still far too high.
  264. If the contact is motivated by material benefit (child prostitution), it should still be criminal.
  265. The law must be written in a way to promote neutrality, but ambiguous terms (such as “grooming” or “seduction”) work against that neutrality.
  266. It makes more sense to apply age of consent laws to penetration only, while other sexual acts would only be forbidden if forced or in case of physical harm.
  267. Do minors have the right to have sexual experiences?
  268. A law that is motivated by morality is often authoritary, criminalizing without explaining why.
  269. One of the reasons for the existence of age of consent is the belief that we can’t always prove if the act was coerced or not (“better safe than sorry”).
  270. But minors are becoming sexually active and sexually informed at a quicker pace nowadays, so we can’t presume that violence took place, specially because kids are seeking those contacts earlier and earlier at every passing generation.
  271. Adults often seen precocious maturing as self-destructive (“willing children must be protected from themselves”).
  272. Positioning yourself as favorable to lowering or abolishing age of consent could make you lose voters.
  273. Back when the proposal was being discussed in Holland, there were people favorable to giving a child the right for euthanasia, but not the right to be sexually active.
  274. Media played a role in making people regard age of consent reform as lunacy, by promoting a scare, making people believe that kids would soon have unlimited sexual freedom.
  275. A careful proposal made by scientists who noticed that the law no longer conformed to reality was no match for a public emotional reaction, meaning that emotions are the root of social changes, not science.
  276. Prosecuting is not always the best solution.
  277. Prosecution should be last resort.
  278. What the law currently does is to threaten the minor.
  279. In the twenty-five cases studied by the author, there was nothing in those relationships that could justify legal punishment, except for the violation of public moral standards.
  280. There must be a way to protect against sexual abuse without keeping the kid from having positive experiences.
  281. If someone is gossiping you, pretend you don’t know.
  282. People judge you if you are the only good player in a bad soccer team.
  283. Thinking about school and thinking in school are different things.
  284. One of the kids has no complaints about the sexual contact, but really fears a nuclear war.
  285. At least one of the minors was in a relationship with more than one adult.
  286. At least one of the minors thinks he is not “normal” for going on with the relationship, rather than stopping it.
  287. There are minors who desire older people.
  288. Having a girlfriend may imply loss of freedom.
  289. People may think you are unhealthy for choosing the “single man” lifestyle.
  290. When you are young and is seen with an adult of your same sex, you are more likely to be called a “queer” than a “victim”.
  291. Some minors get involved with adults because it’s “fun” to do things that people think are wrong.
  292. Some parents allow the relationship to continue, as long as they know the adult and see that he is someone worth being trusted.
  293. Other adults may know about the relationship and still not interfere (then again, this is Holland, in the eighties).
  294. A minor who willingly gets in a relationship with an adult may very well not be the only one; other children may be having affairs with adults in the same area.
  295. If you hang out with homosexuals, people might think you are homosexual yourself, which may be a problem depending on how tolerant is the environment.

18 de dezembro de 2017

Why girls crush boys (and what to do about it).

Filed under: Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , , — Alma @ 15:56

I have an adolescent friend who is suffering because of a girl who is doing emotional blackmail to him. They broke their friendship and my friend is trying to ask forgiveness since forever, only to receive cold replies. I once said that maybe it’s better that way, specially because it was her who broke the friendship, she is keeping distance and she doesn’t seem to be suffering as much. However, he continues to suffer because he misses her. I asked if she could be doing that for revenge, since she doesn’t even think about giving mercy, despite seeing his current emotional state, as if she was enjoying it. Even if he accepts what I’m saying, it will take him a time to recover, which is only natral. Then he asked me something pretty interesting: “why do girls crush boys?”.
That’s an interesting question because it’s extremely broad. It’s not “why is she crushing me”, “why do girls crush me” or “why is she crushing boys”. His question reflects the perception of a behavior that he seems as normative in the tract between biological sexes. I also used to ask that to myself when I was younger and I only got my answers early this year, after twenty years living down with that problem.
At least in my experience, that’s a problem of self-esteem. My thoughts were like this: being a man is part of my self-concept. I like being a man, yes, so my problem doesn’t come up when dealing wiht other men. But I feel like being a man puts me in disadvantage when dealing with women. So, my problem only comes up when dealing with women. That problem comes from the perception of interpersonal advantages that women have and the improved development of their capacities, which they develop quicker. Girls, I thought, have better self-esteem, are less inhibited and so on. So, I, as a boy, am inferior to them. That’s how I used to think. I used to feel inferior for being a man and I didn’t see a solution for that problem until april 2017. The solution is so obvious, that the only reason to not notice it was because that insecurity made me ill. I felt depressed because of that. I remember that I would avoid socialization when I was feeling specially bad, because even the female voice made me feel miserable. I had plenty of suicidal ideation, but lacked courage to kill myself.
Inferior and superior aren’t a matter of gender, but of personal merit, I realized. Solving my problem required me to increase my value as person. I had to be the best person possible. But the solution that I found could not work well for my friend, because it was enough for me to increase my personal value, but he may need to increase his value as boy.
I don’t know how that problem came to be in our society. Some schoolars speak about a “boy crysis“, for example, a concept according to which our society is indirectly making our boys develop poorly, by paying excessive attention to girls’ needs and by depriving boys of positive male role models. Society is currently neglecting boys, even in an education sphere: boys are lagging behind in reading skills and no one is coming up with a reading problem aimed at them. In terms of education, girls are receiving a lot of support, sometimes even unfairly: there are teachers who were caught giving higher grades to girls even if the girls’ performance is the same as the boy who took the same test. The idea is beautiful: gender equality. But how can you promote gender equality thinking about only one gender?
That’s aggravated by the fact of marriage becoming less attractive. Men are divorcing, causing an inflation in the number of single mothers. Someone wrote that masculinity can only be taught by a man. Why? Because of identification: it’s easier to learn from someone you see as being “like you”. It’s harder for a boy to learn from a woman because he doesn’t identify with her as much as he could identify with a man, but men are no longer home. In addition, men are marrying less and aren’t as interested in having children as before. Some schoolars see in that a response to the advancing policies aimed at women, while nothing is being prepared for men, as well to biases when judges apply laws when the law was supposed to promote equality. For example: if my wife decides to beat me and I report her, I’ll likely be laughed off. Remember what happened in India. Plus, with the increase of sexual harassment reports and the demonization of once innocent acts, such as a hug, non-intimate touch or invitation (which could be refused), any serious relationship starts including an inhumane amount of risk. Many of those reports could very well be false, but there are women who went as far as saying that the ruining of innocent men along with the ones who are actually guilty is a “price to pay” for ending patriarchy. So, the boy not only becomes clueless about what to do with his male identity, but also clueless about what to do with his sexuality. It’s natural for any boy who sees things that way to feel inferior. That becomes even worse when media tends to portray men as dumb, incapable or meaningless, when not villains, while reserving beter roles for female characters. That’s a specially bad stereotype when propagated by children cartoons. Someone may argue that it was the treatment that women received for centuries, but I always thought that feminism was about gender equality, not the inversion of the oppression pole.
Now, the solution to the problem that my friend sees. This is how I see things, so don’t take this as absolute. I may very well be wrong. So, as said before, inferior and superior isn’t a matter of gender, but personal merit. But, if what you want is to increase your value as male, you need to understand what being male is. Men’s existence as gender is only justified thanks to the differences between genders. If men and women were the same thing, gender identity would never be an important element in self-concept. So, before knowing what to do with your male identity, you need to know what are the differences between men and women. Social and even mental differences are always very controversial and may vary according to culture. The differences you need to pay attention to are the biological ones. Beyond obvious differences, there are differences also in hormonal configuration and brain wiring. Your best bet is learning online. Those differences justify men’s existence as gender.
Secondly, it’s clear that some of those differences may be seen as flaws. For example, testosterone is a hormone that is produced in higher quantity in men. That enables men to build muscle mass with less effort, but also makes men tend more to aggression, they say. But aggression is a moral flaw. Aristotle, in his Nicomachean Ethics, argues that moral flaws are unmoderated virtues. By moderating a tendency to aggression, you attain assertiveness, which isn’t a flaw at all. When someone points out that men have a bigger tendency to some behavior that is considered negative, the moderation of such tendency, if we give credit to Aristotle, can enable the construtive use even of those traits that are often seen as negative. If what justifies the existence of men as gender are the differences between genders, then the revitalization of male value includes the use of those differences for self-improvement and for a greater good of everyone, not only men.

Of course, those differences aren’t there to say that men are all the same. Each case is special in it’s own regard. While some people say that men tend to have better mathematical processing, while having a less complex language processing, that really isn’t my case. It’s the opposite for me. But that doesn’t make me less of a man, as I have other differences that count. In fact, having that perk increases my value as person in another sense. So, men won’t be all the same in mental or even hormonal ground. A tendency isn’t a rule, specially if we take ambient in consideration (that’s why I only touch the subject of biological differences, because attitude and gender roles are extremely volatile, with biology being the most stable resource for a discussion like this).

Lastly, the problem will continue to affect boys and men for as long as there’s not enough sociopolitical engagement to counterpoint the hostility. Men need to take part in society, be it politically, artistically or whatever form they please. Think about what you are good at, in your talents (my friend, for example, learned computer programming by himself), and spend time honing them to achieve self-improvement and to improve the lives of other men or even all people your work can reach, no matter the gender. Showing your value can grant you appreciation. At first, they will see you as an exception. But if others take the same position, the exception will become rule.

I believe, now that I see things more clearly, that this is a rational thought that any man could have concluded if they have common sense: you are more than the gender you indentify as. But a person who was in a situation like mine isn’t capable of full common sense. That’s why I’m writing this: to help people who are going through the same thing that my friend is going through and that I went through.

In short, boys should:

  1. Learn about biological differences between men and women, take note of what differences he notices in himself and invest in those.
  2. Verify which of those differences are undesired and seek constructive ways to deal with them, turning them into positive traits if possible.
  3. Use those differences for self-improvement and to improve the lives of others, by discovering and honing your talents, which increases your value as individual.

So, answering the question that my friend asked, girls crush boys because boys’ self-esteem is currently low. If you felt more secure of yourself, you wouldn’t feel like you depend on someone who doesn’t love you and likely enjoys your suffering. I hope this answers my friend’s question and helps other boys who see things this way. Hopefully, I didn’t sound offensive. Apologies in advance.

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