Things got a little heavy in this episode where we talked to James Cantor about his research.
We often think of pedophilia as a sexual attraction towards minors, but that’s actually not true. Western culture has become accustomed to viewing anyone under the age of 18 as a child, however biologically “children” become “adults” at a much earlier age. On average, puberty occurs between the ages of 10 and 14 for girls and 12 and 16 for boys. While boys and girls can reach sexual maturity before the age of 18, we, as a culture, have decided that, on average, children reach a certain emotional maturity around 18. However, different states have agreed upon various ages for when a minor can consent to sexual activity. We often make the mistake of viewing adults who have sex with people under the age of 18 as pedophiles, but it’s actually a lot more complicated. So we spoke to Dr. James Cantor about his extensive research regarding pedophilia.
Dr. James Cantor is a clinical psychologist and sexual behavior scientist, studying the nature and causes of sexual interests—from heterosexuality and homosexuality to rare and exotic desires from sexual fantasies of being swallowed to people who have sex while dressed or cross-dressed as animals. He and his team have used a wide range of neuroscientific techniques to examine pedophilia and its potential causes. Their results have shown that having a sexual interest in children is not a result of suffering sexual abuse in one’s own childhood, as generally believed, but an innate characteristic of neurological origin, like a sexual orientation. The implications of his team’s work have gained international interest, including his appearances on CNN, the BBC, and Dan Savage’s column Savage Love to discuss how society can better improve child safety and provide ethical treatment for atypical sexual interests.
If you’d like to check out some of Dr. Cantor’s studies, click the links below!
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