Pedophilia Is a Sexual Orientation: Experts

Canadian doctors emphasize prevention over punishment
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2013 3:55 PM CST
Pedophilia Is a Sexual Orientation: Experts

Straight, gay, bi, trans, and ... pedophile? Yes, two Canadian experts say pedophilia is a sexual orientation that is at least partly wired in the brain, the Toronto Star reports. "It’s become harder and harder to explain pedophilia on just" childhood experiences, says James Cantor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. "It’s either purely biological or a mix of biological and experiential." His evidence: Pedophiles are more likely to be shorter, left-handed or ambidextrous, with slightly lower IQs, and a childhood head injury that Cantor racks up to clumsiness.

He says sex offenders are different, too—with less connective tissue in the brain than other criminals. But Cantor and a former colleague, Michael Seto, clearly differentiate pedophiles from sex offenders. "Not all sex offenders who target children are pedophiles, and not all pedophiles are sex offenders," says Seto. In fact, websites have cropped up for pedophiles to help them discuss their feelings and try to control them—even if the feelings are biologically rooted. "There is a big gap is in terms of prevention," Seto says. "How do we reach people who are sexually attracted to children and are aware of it?" (More pedophile stories.)

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