No full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm

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But if it is shocking to realise how dramatically attitudes to paedophilia have changed in just three decades, it is even more surprising to discover how little agreement there is even now among those who are considered experts on the subject. [...] There is, astonishingly, not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm. [...] Psychologist Glenn Wilson, co-author of The Child-Lovers: a Study of Paedophiles in Society, argues that "The majority of paedophiles, however socially inappropriate, seem to be gentle and rational." [...]

There is much more we don't know, including how many paedophiles there are: 1-2% of men is a widely accepted figure, but Sarah Goode, a senior lecturer at the University of Winchester and author of two major 2009 and 2011 sociological studies on paedophilia in society, says the best current estimate – based on possibly flawed science – is that "one in five of all adult men are, to some degree, capable of being sexually aroused by children". Even less is known about female paedophiles, thought to be responsible for maybe 5% of abuse against pre-pubescent children in the UK. [...]

And a major if still controversial 1998-2000 meta-study suggests [Rind, Bauserman, Tromovitch] - as J Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, Chicago, says - that such relationships, entered into voluntarily, are "nearly uncorrelated with undesirable outcomes". Most people find that idea impossible. But writing last year in the peer-reviewed Archives of Sexual Behaviour, Bailey said that while he also found the notion "disturbing", he was forced to recognise that "persuasive evidence for the harmfulness of paedophilic relationships does not yet exist".

source: Article 'Paedophilia: bringing dark desires to light' by Jon Henley; www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/03/paedophilia-bringing-dark-desires-light; The Guardian; 3 January 2013