Is pedophilia a sexual orientation?

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Pedophilia has been widely viewed as a psychological disorder triggered by early childhood trauma. Now, many experts see it as a biologically rooted condition that does not change - like a sexual orientation - thanks largely to a decade of research by Dr. James Cantor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Cantor's team has found that pedophiles share a number of physical characteristics, including differences in brain wiring. It's now thought that about 1 to 5 per cent of men are pedophiles, meaning they are primarily attracted to children. These findings have been widely accepted among scientists, but have had little impact on social attitudes or law. However, we are left with the alarming question: if some men are born pedophiles, what should society do with them? [...]

Ethan Edwards has always loved little girls. For years, he told himself his feelings were protective and loving, nothing more. But when he hit 50, he found he couldn't stifle his desires any longer. "I realized that young girls certainly took my breath away, more than grown-ups are usually charmed by kids," he says. Edwards, using a pseudonym, wrote about this realization on Virtuous Pedophiles, a website he co-founded for pedophiles who have never molested children. The group says their attraction is one they were born with and cannot change, but can control. Edwards says the goal of Virtuous Pedophiles is to prevent child abuse, by reducing the stigma against non-offender pedophiles. [...]

Many pedophiles online do not share the viewpoint of Edwards and [Nick] Devin [pseudonym, also from Virtuous Pedophiles]. On some sites, anonymous writers advocate for lowering the age of consent. "It should be clear to anyone with any grey matter that pedophilia is just another oppressed sexual orientation or interest, and age doesn't somehow magically make consensual sex between two people into something evil," writes one user. Another writes: "Nobody will ever quite understand the pain that we feel . . . seeing and longing for something we love but cannot have . . . and if we reach for it . . . we are accused of being sadistic monsters who only want to hurt kids. It will not last forever. Things will change." Edwards says he is disturbed by the activists that are "pro-contact" and hopes that young, struggling pedophiles find his group first.

source: Article 'Is pedophilia a sexual orientation?' by 'Staf'; metronews.ca/news/world/891759/is-pedophilia-a-sexual-orientation/; Metro; 22 December 2013