“People don’t choose what arouses them — they discover it,” said Dr. Fred Berlin, director of the Johns Hopkins Sex and Gender Clinic. “No one grows up wanting to be a pedophile.”
[ … ]
“The biological clues attached to pedophilia demonstrate that its roots are prenatal,” said James Cantor, director of the Toronto Sexuality Center. “These are not genetic; they can be traced to specific periods of development in the womb.”
Psychological and environmental factors may also contribute, though it is not yet clear what those are or how they interact with developmental conditions.
By contrast, the common presumption that pedophiles were themselves abused as children now has less support.
This jibes with the recently released gay genes study, and upholds something I speculated here:
Some sexual abuse of minors is genuine-article pedophilia or pederasty, which probably is an operating-system switch, and I’m inclined to go along with public identification of them (a Scarlet P, so to speak). But some sexual abuse of minors appears to be a crime of opportunity …
I’m about ready to begin summarizing the recent study and attempting to translate it into accessible English, so I’ll be discussing these things a lot over the next few days. But the data point toward these big takeaways:
What turns you on was settled in the womb, before you were born.
Pedophilia and homosexuality are different things, pre-natal in origin, and unrelated. That is, homosexuality does not imply pedophilia.
We have a lot less free will than we like to flatter ourselves by imagining. I’m not ready to accept that we — me, specifically — are merely meat machines, or Jerry Coyne’s insistence that there is no such thing as free will, but the data seems to tilt in that direction.