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Talk back: Can clinicians help pedophiles quell their desires?

January 16, 2013 |  9:28 am

If a person harbors a lifelong attraction to a child, is there a solution? Can clinicians and other media campaigns help pedophiles recognize and accept their feelings?

Researchers are taking a new look at the origins of pedophilia, with many experts now looking at it as a sexual orientation that shows up during puberty, rather than a result of childhood psychological influences.

Talk back LAIn the laboratory, researchers finding out new information about pedophilia, which is a dominant attraction to prepubescent children.

Research shows that 1% to 5% of men are pedophiles, and about 30% of pedophiles are left-handed or ambidextrous -– triple the general rate.

They are also nearly an inch shorter on average and lag behind the average IQ by 10 points.

Many clinicians are giving up on changing the sexual orientation of pedophiles, instead opting to teach them how to resist their unacceptable desires.

From Times reporter Alan Zarembo’s article:

Experts believe that pedophiles who also have a significant attraction to adults stand the best chance of staying out of trouble, because of their capacity for some sexual fulfillment that is legal.

For others, injections of hormones to reduce sex drive are often recommended. Most pedophiles, however, don't receive any attention until they've been arrested. In an attempt to change that, sex researchers in Germany launched an unusual media campaign in 2005.

"You are not guilty because of your sexual desire, but you are responsible for your sexual behavior," said billboards urging them to contact the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine in Berlin. "There is help! Don't become an offender!"

More than 1,700 men have responded to the print, television and online ads for Project Dunkelfeld — literally "dark field."

As of August, 80 had completed a one-year program aimed at teaching them to control their impulses. Some received hormone shots. Compared to men still on the waiting list, those who received treatment were deemed less likely to molest children, according to an analysis of risk factors.

What do you think of this research? Can new research help pedophiles stay out of trouble? 

Let us know in the comments section, on our Local Facebook page or by tweeting @LANow.

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