David L. Riegel
on boy-attracted pedosexual males of
Empirical data from the Internet
Copyright © 2003 by David
Howitt (1995), after reviewing previous quantitative research and conducting his own case studies, concluded that viewing of child pornography was not causal to actual sexual contact between pedophiles and children. A recent survey utilizing the Internet has provided data on 321 non-clinical and non-prison male subjects who describe themselves as being sexually attracted to boys, and who have the opportunity, principally through the Internet, of viewing and reading erotic materials featuring boys. The results of this survey support Howitt.
Howitt (1995) reviewed, summarized, and commented on several previous studies (Baron & Straus, 1989, Court, 1984, Gentry, 1991, Kutchinski, 1973, et al.) regarding links between pornography and sexual offenses and noted that all but one (Court, 1984) found no causal link between the viewing of pornography and actual subsequent sexual contact between older persons and children. Marshall (1988) found that many “child molesters” claimed incitement by pornography, but Howitt observes “Offender’s claims about pornography’s influence on them have to be tempered by the possibility of … self-serving motivations such as avoiding self-blame or adverse consequences within a penal or assessment setting”( p. 17). Howitt also conducted detailed interviews of 11 “paedophilliac sex offenders” and noted “… no clear-cut causal link has been demonstrated between amounts of or earliest exposure to pornography and sex crime” (p. 17). He concluded “While pornography is a feature of the lives of a proportion of paedophiles, a simple direct causal effect on offending is not supported by the case studies” (p. 24) .
Green (2002) notes that the “… study … of pedophiles is hampered by sampling bias. Nearly all studies involve prisoners or those convicted of a criminal offense.” If, then, an objective and non-biased correlative study is to be made of the effects on Boy-attracted Pedosexual Males (BPM, singular or plural) of viewing/reading what is probably best described as Boy Erotica (BE), which we shall consider as being a subset of child pornography, it is vital that data be obtained from samples of the non-prison and non-clinical population of such persons in order to offset the bias that Green cites.
is precedence for the use of the Internet in collecting behavioral research
data. Krantz et al. (1997) and Stanton (1998) have investigated and endorsed
the Internet as a valid and suitable means of gathering data. Pettit (2002) and
Cronk and West (2002) have made comparisons of web based and “paper and pencil”
data collections and have concluded that there are no significant differences
in the quality or validity of the data. Duffy (2002) has noted that “Web-based
research provides many advantages, such as access to specific, sometimes
difficult-to-find populations…” and Rhodes et al. (2003) state that
“Numerous respondents, many of whom previously were hidden from researchers,
are available electronically via the world wide web.” The Internet therefore
seemed to be a logical place to conduct an investigation into the current
presence or absence of correlation between the viewing and/or reading by BPM of
BE and indications of either increased or decreased subsequent tendencies for
actual sexual contact with boys.
There are various open access non-membership Internet groups which provide for the viewing, reading, and discussion of BE, both images and stories. The logical and readily available source of such data would be those who participate in such groups, assuming cooperation could be secured. However, the data collection process would somehow have to be validated with these potential participants so that it would not be perceived as a government sting operation.
A major problem in designing a questionnaire of this nature is determining what questions to ask and what responses to make available in order to make the survey both acceptable to the potential respondents as well as useful for the investigation. To this end the author engaged in non-judgmental on-line communications with various members of these groups over an extended period of time. By thus building rapport and credibility, it was possible to obtain descriptions, definitions, and a likely range of responses which helped in the formulation of appropriate and meaningful questions. Additionally, these communications served to validate both the researcher and the proposed data collection process, and to enhance the probability of acceptance and cooperation when the time came to invite participation in the proposed survey.
This information was used to compose an interactive “HTML” questionnaire using mutually exclusive “radio buttons” to select responses as described by Rhodes et al. (2003). In some questions, “Does not apply to me” or “I prefer not to answer” were options. The 101 question document was designed to gather various data on multiple aspects of the sexual attraction of older males to minor males. The questionnaire inquired, among other things, about general demographics, self perceived mental health, attraction to and relationships with boys, preferences and practices in viewing/reading of BE, and effects on the respondents of such viewing/reading. Opportunities for optional free form comments in several areas were also provided.
Such issues as legal and informed consent were addressed in the preamble to the document, and potential participants were assured that no attempts would be made to identify any individual. Code was written into the processing software that required that each question be answered, and that prevented anyone from submitting the same set of responses multiple times in rapid succession. The questionnaire was then subjected to repeated Beta tests over several months to assess validity and reliability, and various textual and technical problems were resolved. In 20/20 hindsight, some areas of inquiry could have used more detailed and in depth examination; proposed future research will attempt to rectify such shortcomings.
The actual survey was conducted solely by this author, and was not under the auspices of any academic or professional entity or group. This was obviously not in any sense a random survey, the participants were solicited and self selected from Internet sources that are very much oriented toward the issues under consideration. Furthermore, these respondents are most probably more computer and Internet knowledgeable than the general population. On the other hand, the essentially complete anonymity and facelessness of both the researcher and the respondent, which is inherent in open access Internet associations, most likely encourages truthfulness and openness. Only a perverse or deliberately deceptive attitude, which can occasionally be encountered in almost any kind of survey, would be likely to cause a problem.
During November and December of 2002, invitations to participate were posted on four different newsgroups, four discussion forums, and one link site. Each of these was furnished a discrete HTML page address so that sources – but not individuals – could be identified. The author did not solicit participation from any of these respondents individually, and the identity of the participants remains completely unknown. There were a total of 2,730 “hits” on these nine HTML pages, but since these are all open access sites, there is no way of determining how many of these hits were from idle curiosity seekers, persons who follow these sites for the specific purpose of harassment, or even from law enforcement agencies. In addition, there is no way of knowing how many times those to whom the survey was specifically addressed accessed these pages before and/or after they actually participated in the survey. Even after over a year of careful preparation and explanation, suspicions of a law enforcement sting were expressed on some of the forums and newsgroups, and these certainly diminished the volume of legitimate responses. But there were also expressions of approval, support, and encouragement to participate from those who had come to trust the integrity of the author, and a total of 321 responses were received . Given the above confounding circumstances, it is inappropriate to try to assign any kind of a “response rate” to the survey.
Examination of the data for obvious anomalies indicated that a very small proportion of the respondents may have deliberately tried to skew the data with false or misleading responses. One example of an anomaly which would seem to be quite obvious is the 0.9 % (N=3) of this sample of self described BPM who reported that they were “Not attracted to boys.” Since this, and other possible anomalies did not seem to be statistically significant, no attempt was made to correct for any of them; all of the data were analyzed and reported exactly as received. However, the presence of some small degree of false and misleading responses should be given consideration when evaluating anomalous statistical outliers.
The sample data represent a broad spectrum of ages and indicate development during differing cultural periods ranging from some fifty years ago to the present . Geographic distribution is skewed toward the United States, but Western Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand are well represented. The sample, therefore, has a fair amount of international as well as cross generational validity. Racial participation was, unfortunately, nearly 90% white. Descriptive characteristics are summarized below.
Participant Characteristics (N=321)
Under 15*------------------ 2.5%
50 and older------------- 12.8%
Black ----------------------- 0.9%
United States------------ 48.9%
Western Europe-------- 12.5%
United Kingdom--------- 10.0%
Australia/New Zealand-- 7.5%
Latin American----------- 5.0%
8 years or less------------ 5.3%
9-12 years---------------- 22.1%
Some college------------ 35.8%
College degree---------- 22.7%
Advanced degree------ 14.0%
Not at all----------------------- 40
In this and other tables, totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
*There is no effective way to prevent minors from responding to an Internet survey. If they are forbidden, they will simply lie about their age. The author feels it is better to encourage truthfulness and honesty; the data are therefore presented as received and in their entirety. It is also worth noting that nearly 10% (N=31) of the respondents reported their Boy-attracted Pedosexual Orientation (BPO) before they turned 18, and of those, 2.5% (N=8) before they were 15. How many of the respondents who are currently over 18 were aware of their BPO before they turned 18 is not known.
One of the things that became very apparent early on in the author’s communications with members of the on-line groups was their widespread distrust and dislike of psychologists and of anything “psychological.” More than one expressed utter disdain for the transparency of common standardized psychological tests, and said that they would be insulted to be asked to respond to such. Therefore only self reported values about plainly stated aspects of psychological adjustment were requested.
On a seven point scale from “Extremely Poor” (1) through “Average” (4) to “Excellent” (7), the mean self reported state of general mental health for all respondents was 4.79 with a sample standard deviation of 1.56 , median was 5.0 (Above average). 84.48% of those who are employed report their self perceived job performance as “moderately successful,” “very successful,” or “outstanding.”
The validity of these data may be called into question because they are self reported without the use of the usual psychological measurement instruments, and because the generally accepted tendency to overestimate positive aspects of one’s adjustment may come into play to some degree. However, it is the opinion of this generally well educated sample that they are capable of assessing their own psychological state and that, from their point of view, that state is largely quite satisfactory.
As was to be expected from these sources, 94.70% reported that they were moderately to very strongly attracted to boys. On a scale of less than 6 through 17 years of age, the mean age of greatest attractiveness of boys was 11.68 with a sample standard deviation of 2.20 and a median of 12 years of age. 80.68% of the respondents reported that they were most attracted to boys from 10 through 14.
Of the 234 respondents who reported relationships of any duration involving some degree of nurturing, emotional support, mentoring, and/or financial support of one or more boys, 20.09% described themselves as being “Very deeply” involved, 30.77% “Quite actively,” 17.52% “Somewhat actively,” and 17.95% “Occasionally.” These first three of these categories comprise 68.38% of those involved with one or more boys, the first four categories comprise 86.32%. Only 13.68% reported that they were “rarely” or “never” involved..
51.72% (n=166) of all respondents reported relationships with one or more boys that lasted for more than one month. Since asking if the relationships included an active sexual component would have been tantamount to asking for confession of a crime, no attempt to address this issue was made. Of those reporting one or more relationships, 6.02% reported an average duration of one through three months, and 7.83% four through twelve months. 15.06% reported durations of from one through three years, 10.84% “until the boy reaches maturity,” 24.10% “indefinitely,” and 36.14% “indefinitely, except that the nature of the relationship changes when the boy reaches maturity.”
6.54% of the respondents described their interest in boys as “mentoring only, not sexual,” 35.51% as “mostly mentoring, some sexual,” 43.30% as “equal mentoring and sexual,” 10.28% as “mostly sexual, some mentoring,” and 4.36% as “sexual only, no mentoring.” The categories that describe mentoring interest as being greater than or equal to sexual interest comprise 85.35% of the total respondents.
32.09% of the respondents report viewing and/or reading BE on the Internet “Quite regularly,” 26.17% “Frequently,” 18.07% “Occasionally,” 10.59% “Sporadically,” 8.10% “Rarely,”, and 4.98% “Never.” Length of usage, on a scale of 0 (Less than one year) through 5 (Five or more years) shows a mean of 3.17 and a sample standard deviation of 1.63. Only 18.69% report having seen printed, taped, or DVD materials “Occasionally” or more. The question of possession of these, being illegal, was not asked.
The first three categories of Internet frequency of viewing cover 76.33% of the respondents, and the mean length of usage is over three years. These two figures indicate that we have reached people who are active and experienced in the area under study, and that this sample should be very representative of the population we are trying to describe.
Representative comments, verbatim, from respondents regarding viewing/reading usage:
“I view these images when: I need to release ‘tension’, when I'm feeling lonely, and when I'm feeling generally aroused (not in any particular order).”
“I know the use of porn is supposed to make you more dangerous but it gives me some relief to go on and leave the boys alone.”
“I used this material as a valve to vent the sexual urge. I never showed this material to anybody … “
“It's what keeps me sane. I do not have, and never have had, a sexual relationship with a boy, so images are a great release. Without them I'd probably have become a danger to boys by now.”
“I find that I can safely masturbate and release the tension, that without the net, may have long ago resulted in my either harming myself or others. Viewing such pictures DOES NOT make me want to go out and act out, my fantasies.”
The following is quoted from the on line questionnaire:
In this section, all persons defined as "boys" are presumed to be less than 18 years of age. Where attractiveness is an issue in a question, please assume that the images are of boys in the age range and of the physical characteristics that appeal to you.
Consensuality is impossible to determine solely from examining an image. However, from the point of view of a viewer who has absolutely no knowledge of the circumstances under which the image was produced, a boy who is not overtly and obviously displeased is presumed to be acting consensually.
Images are coded in Table V as follows:
Code Ibnne: (Image boy-nudity non-erotic) Non-erotic and non-suggestive nudity of one or more boys, which may include visible genitals, such as pictures from naturist and nudist magazines
Code Ibdis: (Image boy disrobing) Usually a series of images depicting a boy in the process of disrobing, with a suggestive and/or erotic component. i.e., the "strip tease.”
Code Ibner: (Image boy-nudity erotic) Erotic nudity involving one or more boys within approximately three years of the same age with visible erections or engaging in self masturbation.
Code Imaer: (Image mixed age erotic) Erotic nudity involving one or more boys and one or more significantly older males with visible erections or engaging in self masturbation.
Code Ipcac: (Image peer consensual activity) Apparently consensual sexual activity consisting of masturbation of another, fellatio, and/or anal intercourse, involving two or more boys within approximately three years of the same age
Code Imaca: (Image mixed age consensual activity) Apparently consensual sexual activity consisting of masturbation of another, fellatio, and/or anal intercourse, involving a boy or boys and one or more significantly older males.
Code Incap: (Image nonconsensual activity playful) Apparently non-consensual nudity or sexual activity, involving two or more boys within approximately three years of the same age, and consisting of the disrobing of one boy by another, masturbation, and/or fellatio. The deliberate inflicting of pain is absent, and the context is one of playfulness.
Code Incaa: (Image nonconsensual activity abusive) Obviously non-consensual nudity or sexual activity, involving either peers or a mixed age group, and consisting of forced nudity, masturbation, fellatio and/or anal intercourse. These may also include physical abuse or restraint ("bondage"), and the context is one of subjugation or terror.
Table V: Reactions to images in percentages of 321 respondents.
Obvious preferences are expressed for erotic boy nudity and peer consensual activities, while abuse is considered disturbing. These are further discussed later in the paper.
Representative comments, verbatim, from respondents regarding images:
“I prefer boy on boy consensual sex with happy smiling faces. The boys with the smiles are having fun and enjoying themselves.”
“if a boy doesn't look happy on the picture, i won't like the picture.”
“Boys are beautiful in all images from g-rated to x-rated. I prefer to see images where they appear to be enjoying themselves and others their own age.
“Enjoyment is the key. Signs of willingness, playfulness and pleasure I find very appealing (and maybe even cathartic?). Situations that seem forced or not spotaneous are not appealing.”
“I like playfulness, smiles and obvious having fun in erotic images. I very much dislike images of boys having sex with men. I prefer boys alone or with age peers.”
“While I do enjoy erotica …, I do not want to knowingly look at photos of boys who are coerced into posing nude or engaging in sexual activity. I will not look at photos in which boys appear to be unhappy or abused. I want to look only at photos where boys are totally willing and happy to pose nude or engage in sexual activities.
The following is quoted from the on line questionnaire:
In this section, different types of erotic stories are described. Despite claims to the contrary by some authors, it is assumed that these stories are pure fiction and thus have no direct or indirect effect on real boys. Where age is not indicated, "boy" refers to any male under the age of 18. Indicate how you feel about each of these classes:
Stories are coded in Table VI as follows:
Code Scpre: (Stories consensual prepubescent) Stories about consensual sexual activities such as masturbation, fellatio, and/or anal intercourse involving two or more prepubescent boys within about three years of the same age
Code Sncpr: (Stories nonconsensual prepubescent) Stories about mildly nonconsensual, "playful", sexual activities such as disrobing of one boy by another, masturbation, and/or fellatio involving two or more prepubescent boys within about three years of the same age.
Code Scado: (Stories consensual adolescent) Stories about consensual sexual activities such as masturbation, fellatio, and/or anal intercourse involving two or more adolescent boys within about three years of the same age.
Code Sncad: (Stories nonconsensual adolescent) Stories about mildly nonconsensual, "playful", sexual activities such as the disrobing of one boy by another, masturbation, and/or fellatio involving two or more adolescent boys within about three years of the same age
Code Scold: (Stories consensual older) Stories about consensual sexual activities such as masturbation, fellatio, and/or anal intercourse involving one or more boys and one or more significantly older boys.
Code Sncol: (Stories nonconsensual older) Stories about mildly nonconsensual, "playful", sexual activities such as the disrobing of one boy by another, masturbation, and/or fellatio involving one or more boys and one or more significantly older boys.
Code Scadu: (Stories consensual adult) Stories about consensual sexual activities such as masturbation, fellatio, and/or anal intercourse involving one or more boys and one or more adult males.
Code Sabus: (Stories abusive) Stories about nonconsensual sexual activities, perhaps including physical abuse or restraint ("bondage"), and/or rape, involving one or more boys and one or more boys of the same age or older, or adult males.
Table VI: Reactions to stories in percentages of 321 respondents.
Preferences are not as clear cut as for images, but greater desirability is indicated for consensuality, and for prepubescent boys followed by adolescent boys. Abuse is once more considered disturbing. Further discussion follows the representative comments from respondents immediately below.
Representative comments, verbatim, from respondents regarding stories:
“I enjoy sexual storys about boys as long as thay have a happy ending and dont involve abuse or rape. Sex should never be forced on anyone. Everyone should have the right so say yes or no.”
“My own preference is to read stories which are non-violent and in which desire for sexual activity is mutual, and the boy initiates the sexual activities.”
“I prefer the mutual consensuality to be buttressed by a developing relationship of love between the boys engaging in sexual activities with one another.
“I like stories … to contain no violence … of any kind.”
“I prefer stories about man/boy relationships in which there is a romantic as well as an erotic dimension.”
“I like the stories to be well written (comprehensible) and to contain no violence towards a child of any kind. Other than that, I would find all kinds of sexual activity with boys and other boys or men very appealing… “
“Although I have no objection whatsoever to the representation of consensual activities between an adult and boy (but not adult-adult), I strongly object to stories of abuse. I generally prefer stories centered around mutual discovery and exploration between two same-age boys with a fair amount of erotica …”
Consensuality appears to be the single most important factor in image preferences, and is a large factor in story preferences as well. There is also a clear preference for peer activities as opposed to those that are age variant. “Playful” nonconsensuality is mostly acceptable, whereas abusiveness in images is reported by a significant majority to be disturbing and unacceptable. The participation of adults is somewhat more acceptable in stories, and abusive nonconsensuality in stories is not deprecated as much as would be expected from comparison with abusive nonconsensuality in images. The acceptability of adult participation and, to some degree, abusive nonconsensuality in stories may have something to do with the concept that participants in stories are not thought of as “real,” whereas images do involve a real individual. Of those who expressed a preference (n=314), 73.25% preferred images over stories to a greater or lesser degree, 18.79% had equal preferences, and only 7.97% had some degree of preference for stories.
Respondents were asked if, in their case, the viewing/reading of erotica was useful as a substitute for actual sexual contact with boys, in that their urges and drives were redirected and given an outlet that affected no other person. The previous question was then rephrased to ask if the use of erotica may have no effect on behavior, but was simply entertainment. Then the inverse of the previous two questions asked if the use of erotica might increase the respondents’ tendency to seek out boys for the sole purpose of sexual activity.
Table VII: Self reported effects in percentages of respondents to each question.
Regarding the use of erotica as an aid to masturbation, of the 310 who chose to respond, 62.90% of respondents indicated that they did so “Frequently,” 26.13% “Occasionally,” 6.45% “Rarely,” and 4.52% “Never.”
Respondents were asked how they felt after viewing or reading BE. They were specifically requested to report their general sense of well being, as opposed to their state of sexual arousal. Of the 310 who chose to respond, 10.32% said they felt “Guilty, unhappy, and frustrated,” 16.13% “Somewhat disturbed,” 21.94% “No different,” 26.45% “Somewhat better,” and 25.16% “Very much relieved and at peace.”
93.15% reported that they had never or rarely shared BE with boys, and 65.11% that they never or rarely heard of others doing so. Awareness of direct access of BE by boys themselves was reported as nonexistent to rare by 82.55% of the respondents.
Representative comments, verbatim, from respondents regarding effects:
“I know that without access to either boy-erotic stories and/or imagery, I would become much more likely to seek out sexual contact with a boy (between ages 9 - 13) Viewing and reading have kept me from seeking satisfaction with a boy prostitute.”
“viewing erotica releases the desires I have to be with a boy (sexually).”
“… but for me, it has never caused me to actively pursue boys for sexual pleasure. … Viewing or reading boy erotica does not make me want to have sex with boys any more than when I haven't been viewing/reading it. … Sometimes I feel frustrated by the time I WASTE looking at boy images on the internet, but I never feel guilty, because I don't think it is wrong (as long as the boys are willing and not abused), … On the other hand, I sometimes feel relieved and at peace after viewing or reading boy erotica.
“If it has any effect, which it may, it would result in less interest toward sexual relationships with boys because the need for sex has been fulfilled.”
“I think viewing and reading it is a form of education. …Victimizing a boy is nowhere near boylove. There is a very thick line separating us boylovers from molesters and predators. I’m so afraid that there wont be a prompt and easy solution to this matter. First we need to understand who are the bad guys here.”
The respondents in this sample of BPM seem to be largely free from emotional problems, and most appear in their own estimation to be psychologically reasonably well adjusted. Their educational level is above average, and they indicate that their relationships at work and home are generally good. The vast majority of those who have had relationships with boys report being concerned with the welfare and mentoring of the boy as much or more than with the sexual aspect of the relationship. Such relationships also tend to be long term, over 60% lasting beyond the childhood and adolescence of the boy and developing into adult friendships.
The viewing and/or reading of BE seems to have little or no negative effect on the respondents’ overall mental health and well being, nor does it seem, in some 85% of the respondents, to create or amplify any desire or tendency to actively seek out boys for purely sexual purposes. To the contrary, respondents who wrote comments generally state that such viewing and/or reading actually sublimates and redirects their sexual energies away from attempted or actual sexual contact with boys, and as a result that they feel they are less rather than more inclined to seek out boys for sexual gratification.
The effects, if any, on the boys who willingly participate in the creation of erotic images are not addressed in this study. However, bits of incidental anecdotal evidence which have surfaced in occasional on-line communications indicate that, as long as the participation is non-coerced and voluntary, there are no particularly untoward consequences. A few stories, reportedly from some thirty or more years ago, tell of boys from lower socioeconomic situations who were paid for their performances, and who, once they had passed their “prime” as actors, turned to illegal activities to replace their lost income. These, however, would seem to be economic rather than emotional or psychosexual problems. The point was also made that the production of BE has never been either a large or profitable endeavor, even in the heydays of the 60s and 70s, and that it is totally unprofitable today with the free distribution on the Internet. The “for sale” postings of BE on the Internet are reputed to be almost exclusively entrapment schemes rather than legitimate offers. It is the intention of this author to attempt to gather new data on these subjects in the near future, but it is anticipated that obtaining credible reports from actual current or former participants will be very difficult.
Jenkins (2001), while describing child pornography on the Internet as “beyond tolerance,” concentrates on the prevalence and negative effects of erotica featuring girls while he is largely silent on the issue of erotica featuring boys. Bauserman (2003) also notes this difference in his review of Jenkins’ book. This would seem to be a substantial and important distinction, and one that also explains and justifies the absence of any discussion of the effects and issues of “girl erotica” in this present paper. That issue requires a completely different investigation of a totally different group of people.
It is interesting to note that the general public, and even some professionals, apparently see a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the viewing and/or reading of BE by BPM and subsequent sexual encounters with boys. The causes and reasons for this divergence between peer reviewed empirical research and subjective opinions are not the subject of this paper, but such views are typified by the following examples: When Ian Buruma, writing in The Guardian Weekly (2002), raised questions about the effects of “child pornography,” John Carr, Internet adviser of NCH, which advertises itself as “one of the UK’s leading children’s charities,” made the following unsupported assertion: “There is a body of evidence from both the UK and the US showing correlation between the possession of child pornography and involvement in actual sexual abuse of children,” and Roger Darlington, Chair, Internet Watch Foundation, states, again without corroboration, that “…a significant proportion of those accessing such images go on to commit abuse themselves.” In New Zealand, Detective Sergeant Mark Churches (Holmes, 1997) states “… I think there is a progression from merely sitting there and watching, fantasizing about that sort of thing, to actually doing in reality.”
Further exacerbating the situation, many of those who propound such assumptions make no distinction between genders or between all of the many and varied behaviors which are included in “pedophilia.” They consider BE to be cospecific with “Child Pornography,” BPM are indiscriminately lumped in with “Pedophiles,” and, according to authors such as Finkelhor (1984), each and every minor male/older male sexual encounter constitutes “Child Sexual Abuse.” However, these widely used labels lack gender specificity, they are poorly defined, overly inclusive, and pejorative, and as such they are inappropriate in any objective scientific investigation and discussion (Okami, 1990). Some alternative “more thoughtful” and less value-laden and judgmental terms were suggested by Rind et al.(1998), deprecated by Ondersma et al. (2001), and subsequently defended by Rind et al. (2001).
In the light of the data reported and discussed in this study, as well as in Howitt (1995) and other previous studies, there would seem to be very little support for the perception by society and some professionals that the viewing and/or reading of BE is a substantive causative factor in actual or potential sexual contacts and activities between BPM and minor males. As emphasized by comments in the survey, the denial of the benefit of what these respondents experience and describe as the innocuous and benign diversionary and substitutionary use of BE could result in an increased, rather than decreased, potential for them to actively seek out boys for sexual purposes.
It is also interesting to note that at least one member of the judicial profession is taking a second look at these issues. Hiller (1999) wrote that Madame Justice Mary Southin of Vancouver, BC, “made headlines in April when she said society’s views toward child pornography may change over time, perhaps to the point where it becomes acceptable.” Hiller further cites Tom Woods, of the Vancouver, BC, law review The Advocate, who describes Judge Southin: “She is considered here to be a respected, hard-working judge who has what I would call a scholarly approach to the law. She’s a tough judge…. She’s … not afraid of … a decision that she may anticipate being unpopular.” Matas (1999) quotes Southin as stating during the appeal of a high profile ruling regarding possession of child pornography: “We have to recognize that our views about these matters might change radically. Society’s view may change radically over a very short period of time.” Southin also compared the present laws on child pornography to Prohibition (of alcohol) in the United States: “Look at the results. It did not stop anything. It just made it worse.”
The implications of the current and previous research as they relate to public perception and policy should be obvious to all. Mirkin (2000) notes: “When sexual issues are involved, the rules are different…(p. 86) The relationship between empirical findings and change in policy is complex. (p. 87) Since passions are high on current issues, it is far harder to examine them...” (p. 89). Oellerich (2000), speaking of the related area of “Child Sexual Abuse,” recommends: (1) Educate the community about the myths… (2) Undertake research in the area of adult/nonadult sexual behavior that is shorn of the ideological basis that has contaminated much of the research in this area.” (p.77) The observations of these two respected researchers are equally applicable to this current research.
Baron, L, & Straus, M. (1989) Four Theories of Rape: A state-level Analysis. New Haven CT: Yale University Press.
Bauserman, R. (2003) Book Review: Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet, by Philip Jenkins. Journal of Sex Research 49 (2) 219-222.
Court, J. H. (1984) Sex and violence: a ripple effect. In Malamuth & Donnerstein (Eds.), Pornography and Sexual Aggression, pp143-172. Orlando FL: Academic Press.
Cronk, B., West, J. (2002) Personality research on the Internet: A comparison of Web-based and traditional instruments in take-home and in-class settings. Behavior research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 34 (2) 177-180.
Duffy, M. (2002) Methodological Issues in Web-based Research. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 34 (1) 83-88.
Finkelhor, D. (1984) Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory & Research. New York: The Free Press.
Gentry, C. S. (1991) Pornography and rape: An empirical analysis. Deviant Behavior, 12 277-288.
Green, R. (2002) Is Pedophilia a Disorder? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 31 (6) pp. 467-471.
Guardian Weekly, (2002) Why I'm wary of child porn prosecutions. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4423446,00.html on December 12, 2002.
Hiller, S. (1999) Madame Justice Southin not known to back down. National Post (Canada), Thursday, July 1, 1999
Holmes, P. (1997) Transcription from a home video tape in the possession of the author. The original broadcast was on New Zealand's TV1 on June 18, 1997, hosted by Paul Holmes, and one of the participants was Detective Sergeant Mark Churches.
Howitt, D (1995) Pornography and the paedophile: Is it criminogenic? British Journal of Medical Psychology, 68, 15-27.
Jenkins, P. (2001) Beyond Tolerance: Child Pornography on the Internet. New York: University Press.
Krantz, J. H., Ballard, J., & Scher, J. (1997) Comparing the results of laboratory and World Wide Web samples on the determinants of female attractiveness. Behavior Research Methods, Instrumentation and Computers, 29, 264-269.
Kutchinski, B. (1973) The effect of easy availability of pornography on the incidence of sex crimes: The Danish experience. Journal of Social Issues, 29, 163-191.
Marshall, W. C. (1988) The use of sexually explicit stimuli by rapists, child molesters, and non-offenders. British Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 20-29.
Matas, R. (1999) Attitudes toward child porn could change, B.C. judge says. Globe & Mail (Canada), April 27, 1999.
Mirkin, H. (2000) Sex, Science, and Sin: The rind Report, Sexual Politics, and American Scholarship. Sexuality & Culture, 4 (2) 82-100.
Oellerich, T. (2000) Rind, Tromovitch, and Bausernman: Politically Incorrect - Scientifically Correct. Sexuality & Culture, 4 (2) 67-81.
Okami, P. (1990) Sociopolitical biases in the contemporary scientific literature on adult human sexual behavior with children and adolescents. In J. R. Feierman (Ed.), Pedophilia: Biosocial dimensions (pp. 91-121). New York: Springer-Verlag.
Ondersma, S. J., Chaffin, M., Berliner, L., Cordon, I., Goodman, G., & Barnewtt, D. (2001). Sex with children is abuse: Comment on Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman (1998). Psychological Bulletin, 127, 707-714.
Pettit, F. (2002) A comparison of World-Wide Web and paper-and-pencil personality questionnaires. Behavior research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 34 (1) 50-54.
Rhodes, S., Bowie, K., Hergenrather, K. (2003) Collecting behavioral data using the world wide web: considerations for researchers. Journal of Epidemiological Community Health, 57, 68-73.
Rind, B., Tromovitch, P., Bauserman, R. (1998) A meta-analytic examination of assumed properties of child sexual abuse using college samples. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 22-53.
Rind, B., Tromovitch, P., Bauserman, R. (2001) The validity and appropriateness of methods, analyses, and conclusions in Rind et al (1998): A rebuttal of Victimological Critique from Ondersma et al. (2001) and Dallam et al. (2001). Psychological Bulletin, 127, 734-758.
Stanton, J. M. (1998) An empirical assessment of data collection using the Internet. Personnel Psychology, 51, 709-725