Interview: Gunter Schmidt

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[Dr. Gunter Schmidt, psychologist and Professor at the Abteilung für Sexualforschung (Division of Sex Research) at the University of Hamburg:] The most important reason for this [paedophilia] taboo is the cowardice of most sex researchers, and their conformity to the social norms and moral standards of the societies in which they live. It was much easier to fight for homosexual liberation and the understanding of homosexuality than liberation for sexual minorities that are even more under attack. For me, that is the most important reason: the adaption of most sexologists, even the most liberal, to the social norm. [...]

Speaking of sex researchers, I must say that they have to become more critical with themselves. They must realize that its not their first duty to preserve the social norms and fight for the morals of their society. When I look at the development of sex research all over the world, and especially in the United States, I am more and more depressed because the way things are developing is just the other way around. Sexology is becoming more and more conservative, more and more established with the other sciences, more and more preoccupied with reputation and a sense of decency. If you look at recent developments you find a very strong impetus toward biological explanations of sexual problems and sexual matters. As compared for example with the 1920's or even the 1970's, sexology and sex researchers have more and more abstained from sexual-political questions. There is a reactionary retreat to the chimera of "pure science". [...]

The lower the age the better, but each cut-off point is a crazy thing, because twelve year old boys differ so much that a simple age line does not make sense. My point of view is much more radical than lowering the age of consent. It is hard for me to formulate because I am not a lawyer, but I think we shouldn't look at ages at all. If the law is to be sensible, it has to examine the equations of power, and whether there is damage. If you have laws that have this in mind, you don't need age of consent limits, and you don't need special laws against paedophilia even for smaller children below puberty. [...]

Just yesterday I had a man here who once again was sentenced to eight months without probation, and the only thing that he did was show his penis in front of boys between ten and fifteen. Usually the boys were disinterested, or said 'Why don't you go away.' Some of the boys tried to get in contact with him, and then he ran away, because that was not the way he wanted it! This man, up to now - he's almost fifty - has been in prison for six years for these very harmless things - six years in prison, and he now is sentenced again without probation! I think this is a scandal! This is a scandal that is brought about by these unjust and crazy laws. That is the practical reason why I am in favour of dropping these laws.

source: 'Interview: Gunter Schmidt'; Paidika (The Journal of Paedophilia), volume 2, number 1; Summer 1989