Debunking The Lie That Teenage Marriage Is Legalized Pedophilia
Recently I came across two online articles that criticized New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for vetoing a bill that would ban all marriage of anyone under the age of 18 years old under any circumstances in his state. Both of these articles implied that teenage marriage was a form of legalized pedophilia. However, nothing could be any further from the truth, and I can refute these ridiculous claims easily.
Because some people reading my article will bring up the subject of pedophilia and question what they perceive to be its relationship to this topic, I will now elaborate on that issue and dispose of it. The first way that I shall do so is to explain exactly what it is and what it is not. If you surf around YouTube and the Internet as a whole, you will not believe the magnitude of obsession that people in English-speaking countries have with the subject of pedophilia. You will even constantly run into discussion threads in which someone is accusing someone else of being a pedophile simply for disagreeing with them on a juvenile-justice-related issue. There are more than enough self-appointed experts on pedophilia throughout cyberspace who believe that if they accuse someone of being a pedophile, then somehow that individual magically becomes one. However, that is not how reality works, and such an upside down way of thinking can only lead to libel and defamation of character lawsuits, to say the least. For someone to be a pedophile, a qualified mental-health professional either has to diagnose that individual as one or that individual has to admit to being one. Even if that individual commits a sexual offense against a child, there still has to be a diagnostic process through which that individual is placed before a court can conclude that he or she is a pedophile. Otherwise, as a society, we have the obligation of giving that individual the benefit of the doubt that they are not one until it is proven that they are one. Unfortunately, the indiscriminate use of the word “pedophile” has become arbitrary and overly politicized in this day and age throughout the English-speaking world.
The biggest mistake that the Viennese psychiatrist, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, ever made was to bring the terms “pedophile” and “pedophilia” over from the Greek language into the Germanic languages in 1886, because anyone can see that the Greek language uses a much different alphabet than any of the Germanic languages, which use the Roman alphabet. Therefore, there are bound to be disagreements among experts over the actual definition of these words. Moreover, the ancient Greek civilization was hedonistic during its empirical days, and, therefore, any concept that is taken from that language could easily be misinterpreted as something other than what it is. These same two words sat on medical books for nearly a hundred years until the American Psychiatric Association first gave them an actual full-text definition.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), pedophilia is the sexual attraction of someone 16 years of age or older to a prepubescent child who is five years younger than them. The DSM-5 defines a prepubescent child as someone generally 13 years of age or younger. However, keep in mind that this definition of a prepubescent child is only a suggested one, and it has remained undisturbed since 1980 when youngsters went into puberty at later ages than they do now. Therefore, this suggested definition of a prepubescent child can be deceiving. Because most girls have entered into adolescence by the time they are in middle school, then technically most of them would no longer be prepubescent children even if they are a year or two younger than 14 years old. Also, there is a provision in the DSM-5 that excludes any young man in his late teens from being a pedophile under any circumstances if he is attracted to a 12- or 13-year-old girl. There is also a provision in the DSM-5 that classifies an adult’s sexual attraction to pubescent youngsters 11 to 14 years of age as hebephilia, which the American Psychiatric Association does not consider to be a paraphilia or a psychiatric disorder and deems to be normative behavior. Anything beyond the definition of pedophilia that appears in the DSM-5 is a figment of some Puritanical hothead’s deluded and demented imagination. One should always beware of anyone who disputes that definition and proclaims to be a child advocate, because such individuals have an inclination to engage in what it is commonly referred to as selective hearing.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Nowhere herein am I attempting to normalize pedophilia. I find it wrong for anyone to harm a child. However, I find no wrong in identifying misconceptions and misinformation on what this paraphilia really is and debunking them. There is propaganda everywhere on the Internet that has the purpose of misleading the public at large on what this paraphilia is. For example, YouTuber Paul Begley, who is a Christian fundamentalist, insists in one of his videos titled “Pedophiles ‘Minor-Attracted People’ New Term by APA?” that anyone who has ever expressed any kind of extra-Platonic interest in an adolescent is just as much a pedophile as someone who preys on prepubescent children. Part of me finds myself laughing at this joker, because John Walsh, who is the co-founder of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, was involved in an intense relationship at the age of twenty-two with a 16-year-old girl. That girl was Revé Drew-Walsh, and she is now his wife. If I came face to face with Mr. Begley, I would have to ask him whether he thought that John Walsh was a pedophile; and if he said that he was, I would tell Mr. Begley that he was out of his mind to believe so inasmuch as Mr. Walsh is probably more anti-pedophile than anyone I have ever known of. After all, Mr. Walsh is the co-founder of an organization that goes after and stops people like that. He also lost his 6-year-old son (Adam Walsh) as a result of the atrocities that a pedophile committed against the little boy. For someone to accuse John Walsh of being a pedophile would be as ridiculous as saying that Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson both have had a lifelong desire to become active members of the Ku Klux Klan. Such a ludicrous belief just wouldn’t coincide with reality.
At the same time, I do not find anything that Mr. Begley has said in his YouTube video to be humorous at all. My cousin was 30 years old when he met his wife, who at the time was just 15 years old. He married her shortly thereafter, and I can tell you that he is likely more anti-pedophile than most people are, because he had to come face to face with one when he protected his 4-year-old stepdaughter from that deviant’s sexual advances so many years ago. For Mr. Begley to imply that every man over 21 years old who has ever fallen in love with an adolescent girl younger than 18 years old is a pedophile is just as ignorant as Christian fundamentalists accusing psychics of being Satanists. I honestly believe that any adult man who has ever fallen genuinely in love with an adolescent girl younger than 18 years old and has married her is likely more anti-pedophile than any adult man over 21 years old who has only ever fallen in love with a woman the same age as him, because the less intelligent members of society are always unjustly comparing them and equating them with monstrosities like Jesse Timmendequas, John Couey, and Joseph Duncan III.
The debate over whether or not an adult man who takes an extra-Platonic interest in an adolescent girl has identical internal wiring in his head to that of an adult man who is attracted to children as young as 3 years old like the self-proclaimed pedophiles Jack McClellan and Todd Nickerson falls within the same intensity level of discord as the debate over whether psychics get their gifted abilities from a scientific phenomenon or from the Prince of Darkness himself. Educated people would claim that psychics’ gifted abilities are the product of a scientific phenomenon, whereas religious fanatics would believe that they get their gifted abilities from the devil, so to speak. The same goes for the debate over what happens to suicides after they die. Even though people have stated under hypnosis that they had committed suicide in a previous life and were reincarnated, Christian fundamentalists adamantly insist that each and every suicide is burning in the Lake of Fire at this very moment. Whenever anyone argues about religion or sex, that individual should expect a wave of conflicting opinions to come flying at them from all directions.
Nevertheless, our society finds itself vulnerable to all of the needless hysteria that surrounds this Pedophile Panic that has ensued across the nation. Dr. Judith Levine warned Americans about this hysteria back in 2002 in her controversial book titled Harmful to Minors; the Perils of Protecting Children from Sex. Her position was to support law enforcement’s efforts to incarcerate dangerous child predators, but, at the same time, she was looking to enlighten the public at large that the benign psychological forces that were at work to cause adolescent boys to become attracted to adolescent girls the same age as them might also be the same ones causing men in their twenties and older to gravitate to girls in that age bracket rather than it being anything having to do with pedophilia or any kind of paraphilia. Dr. Levine is an intellectual feminist like Gloria Steinem rather than a fanatical femi-nazi. Dutch movie producer Jan Willem-Breure provides an interesting perspective on this subject in a film of his titled Are All Men Pedophiles? from several years ago; and he does so in the form of interviews with numerous experts on the subject.
Heather Corinna has also elaborated on this controversy in her article titled “Rage of Consent.”
Now, some of you are going to ask me what my take is on hebephilia and ephebophilia with respect to underage marriage. First of all, I tend to avoid the usage of these words in my vocabulary as much as possible inasmuch as they are extremely misleading. B.C. Glueck, Jr. first introduced the terms “hebephile” and “hebephilia” to the public in 1955. Dutch psychologist Frits Bernard used the terms “ephebophile” and “ephebophilia” as far back as 1950. Like the words “hebephile” and “hebephilia,” I avoid the words “ephebophile” and “ephebophilia” in my vocabulary inasmuch as none of these words describe a paraphilia. Therefore, I find no point to these words’ existence any more than I do so for other words ending in the root “phile” or “philia.” Only ten percent of the English language consists of Greek roots. Therefore, why should we flood our language with more complex words from the Greek language that only set out to confuse English-speakers and even play on the insecurities of those who are unsure of their meanings? Also, I will say this about those psychiatric terms. Calling anyone a hebephile or an ephebophile strikes me as just as disrespectful as calling a Chinese-American or a Korean-American an “oriental” or even calling a Mexican a “Chicano.” Such words tend to have a way of being taken as negative connotations. In other words, I don’t think that actor Don Johnson would ever appreciate someone calling him a hebephile, and Loretta Lynn’s kids would probably not appreciate anyone referring to their father, Oliver Vanetta “Doolittle” Lynn, as being a hebephile or an ephebophile. Those words just don’t have a friendly sound to them.
The words “teleiophile” and “teleiophilia” get a little tricky in their definitions. If an adolescent as young as 12 years old is a teleiophile, then it means that he or she is attracted to adults. If an adult is attracted to other adults, then he or she is a teleiophile. However, that adult doesn’t have to be attracted to adults the same age as them or close in age to be classified as a teleiophile. For example, if a 66-year-old man is attracted to a woman in her early thirties, he would still be a teleiophile. Dr. Ray Blanchard coined the words “teleiophile” and “teleiophilia” in 2000. Although I find those words less annoying than “hebephile,” “hebephilia,” “ephebophile,” and “ephebophilia,” I still frown upon their aggressive usage inasmuch as I have strong reservations about Dr. Ray Blanchard’s professional integrity; and I find his background to be questionable. I attempt to avoid the use of the words “hebephile,” “hebephilia,” “ephebophile,” and “ephebophilia” as much as possible, because I find that these words can be misleading in their connotations.
Nevertheless, if some of you still insist that I elaborate on what “hebephilia” and “ephebophilia” are, I will say that neither one of these inclinations, for a lack of a better description, are paraphilias; and like a certain kind of teleiophilia, they both fall within the protective umbrella of what is called chronoastiphilia. Chronoastiphilia is an inclination that an adult has to be attracted to someone who is significantly younger than them whether that individual is an adolescent or an adult. For example, pop singer Billy Joel has a kind of teleiophilia that falls within the definition of chronoastiphilia, because he is a man in his sixties who is married to a woman who is over three decades his junior. The terms “hebephilia,” “ephebophilia,” and “teleiophilia” all three describe on what particular part of the spectrum does one fall within the umbrella of chronoastiphilia. I see no need for the terms “hebephile,” “hebephilia,” “ephebophile,” and “ephebophilia,” because the term “chronoastiphilia” already exists to cover those terms as a catch-all term. Moreover, weak-minded and less educated individuals make the mistake of confusing the words “hebephilia” and “ephebophilia” and their likes to describe paraphilias, when nothing could be any further from the truth. Allow me to give you an analogy.
As described previously herein, a pedophile is mainly an adolescent or an adult 16 years old or older who is sexually attracted to prepubescent children who are at least five years younger than them. That individual will always be attracted to prepubescent children no matter how old he or she gets. On the other hand, take the example of Doolitle Lynn. He fell in love with Loretta Lynn and married her when he was 21 years old and she was just 13 years old. However, he remained in love with her long after she was no longer an adolescent and right up until he died in 1996. By then, she was in her sixties, which is hardly a spring chicken. Even if anyone could argue that he was still interested in adolescent girls long after Loretta Lynn was no longer an adolescent, a cause for concern would have been completely unwarranted inasmuch as he never cheated on Loretta Lynn with an adolescent girl after she aged on into her twenties and thirties as far as I know.
If a pedophile acts on his urges, he always poses a danger to prepubescent children around him. However, if a man in his twenties or older falls in love with an adolescent girl and he goes through the proper channels to make their love a reality either in the form of a legal marriage or in the form of a formal courtship in which he and the young girl practice abstinence until their honeymoon night, then he is no danger to anyone. Therefore, it appears that adult men can and do outgrow their hebephiliac or ephebophiliac tendencies, whereas a pedophile will always be the way that he is. That is not to say that there are not adult men who are a threat to adolescent girls as young as 12 years old. Most of us remember the atrocities that Phillip Garrido and Ariel Castro committed in this respect. However, there are adult men who are a threat to women the same age as them also. Moreover, so many years ago there was an incident in which a 14-year-old teleiophile named Philip Chism committed unspeakable acts against a 24-year-old schoolteacher and then murdered her. Just because he did what he did to that woman doesn’t mean that all adolescent teleiophiles are sexual predators. Well, the same logic should apply to adult men over 20 years old who may gravitate towards adolescent girls, and the reason that some of these men may do so is not because of any chronophilia but rather a nostalgia that they could have of having missed out on the one first love that so many people wish to experience back when they are in middle school or high school.
The question of whether there is any kind of power imbalance in an adolescent-adult relationship highly depends upon the experience and background of both parties involved in the relationship. Because each and every individual matures at their own pace and acquires experiences in a different manner and at a different pace, there can be no one-size-fits-all model for what is and is not age-compatible. I have witnessed greater power imbalances between adolescent partners of the same age than in Loretta-Lynn-style marriages like that of Matt Koso and Crystal Guyer Koso, whom I will describe later on here in my article. I feel that same-age relationships are so overrated here in the American culture, to be quite honest. Even American television shows have historically shoved the puppy love sweetheart drivel down everyone’s throat in the form of the Danny Tanner character on Full House, the 30-something-year-old parents on the first season of Charles In Charge, and the married couple on Still Standing. Fact has it that most of us do not marry our same-age puppy love or high school sweethearts; and when women do end up marrying the same person they fell in love with as teenagers, that person may be someone significantly older than them rather than someone with whom they went to school. Therefore, I have to say that all this rhetoric about adolescents needing to grow sexually within their own age circles rather than grazing outside their so-called pasture is just a load of Puritanical nonsense that mainstream reactionaries and other extremists force upon American society to further their own agenda and special interests.
I have known of same-age relationships to have much greater power imbalances than intergenerational relationships. I remember seeing a news story on television so many years ago about a 16-year old boy out in California who threatened to kill his 15-year old girlfriend if she refused to have his baby. After the authorities zeroed in on him, his punishment was no more than being sent to some summer camp where he was able to play sports and take part in recreational activities. This was definitely not the kind of sentence he would have gotten if he had been 5 or 6 years older than he was at the time. When Jane Whitney still had her television talk show on the air back in the 1990s, an expert appeared on there and presented statistics that determined that 65 percent of all boys between 13 and 17 years old physically abused their adolescent girlfriends. Parents make the mistake of having high hopes upon restricting their teenage daughters to date boys their own age only to find out later on that teenage boys can be extremely abusive and their transgressions against adolescent girls are seldom ever punished. Look at what Levi Johnston did to Bristol Palin not too long ago. No matter how hard parents try to make our society into an age-appropriate utopia of high school sweethearts getting married on their twentieth birthday, it will never happen in a million years. Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar attempted to sell that load of Puritanical baloney to the public at large, and people were actually buying into it for a while until the sex scandal involving their son, Joshua Duggar, hit the press and the media.
I have heard of situations in which an adult man in his twenties may have never even been in the arms of anyone and an adolescent girl that he likes has had numerous boyfriends before him and has been sexually active from the time she was in the sixth or seventh grade. In any event, I am not here to dig too deeply into the psychological aspects of adolescent-adult relationships, but rather I am here to explain why underage marriage should remain legal in all 50 state jurisdictions of our country. However, I will say that I do not like the term “Minor-Attracted Person,” because it gets too easily confused with pedophilia; and the question of whether or not a person is minor-attracted depends upon the particular jurisdiction wherein he or she resides. For example, if a 22-year-old man lives in a country where the age of majority is 21 years old and his girlfriend is 20 years old, then he would be considered to be a minor-attracted person. However, he is not going to want for his relationship to be associated with pedophilia in any way, shape, or form, because he simply is not that kind of person and he does not suffer from any kind of paraphilia.
John Walsh would probably be appalled if anyone were ever to call him a minor-attracted person, because it has been a long time since his wife was 16 years old and he could never be mistaken for a pedophile by even the most far reaches of the imagination. In a nutshell, a pedophile will always be attracted to prepubescent children, whereas an adult man who falls in love with an adolescent girl and eventually marries her as John Walsh did has an attraction towards an adolescent girl that transforms into one towards an adult woman as that young girl moves into her early adulthood. At the end of the day, pedophilia is something permanent in a person, whereas an adult’s attraction to an adolescent girl is usually finite in that it changes into an attraction to an adult woman as the young girl ages to an adult woman.
Dr. Ray Blanchard and Dr. James Cantor are two shrinks that we all need to beware of; and we need to be leery of any propaganda they feed to the public. Both of these psychiatrists attempted to expand the definition of pedophilia to include any adult man who has ever fallen in love with an adolescent girl within its realms of interpretation. Dr. Blanchard submitted a written proposal to the American Psychiatric Association in 2009 in an effort to convince them to rewrite the definition of pedophilia to these specifications that he described in his proposal for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, the decision-makers of the contents of the DSM-5 were not all impressed with him, and they denied his proposal for this change to the DSM-5, which the American Psychiatric Association published in 2013. They did not feel that law-enforcement officials and mental-health professionals would have handled the proposed expanded definition of that term in that respect in a responsible manner. Their biggest concern was that mental-health professionals and law-enforcement officials would abuse their authority in the form of the unnecessary civil commitments of individuals convicted of offenses involving a mere violation of the statutory-age-of-consent laws in state jurisdictions throughout our nation. The fact of the matter is that many shrinks are shady and get dollar signs in their eyes whenever some charlatan like Dr. Blanchard comes out of the woodwork with nonsense like this, and law-enforcement officials have a lust for all the additional power and authority it gives them over individuals whom they don’t even know.
Dr. Cantor has claimed that pedophiles are more likely to be left-handed, which is utterly ludicrous and could not be true inasmuch as a large percentage of the world population is left-handed. I have reviewed some of his other teachings, and I do not hold him in high regard, to say the least about him. I have no problem with his being gay, because I do not condone homophobia. However, I am skeptical about his ability to understand how exactly a heterosexual male’s mind works inasmuch as he has never lived the life of one. I know that such criticism of mine is harsh, but I am sure that many of you will agree with me regardless of your sexual orientation.
My overall opinion of Dr. Blanchard and Dr. Cantor is that both of these shrinks strike me as doing everything in their profession in the name of the almighty dollar, which does not make either one of them trustworthy in their field of work. Anyhow, although the mental-health profession does have its good apples, it is also infested with so many charlatans that everyone needs to proceed with caution whenever they take the advice of a psychiatrist or read anything that a mental-health professional publishes. We Americans also need to be cautious about taking everything that even reputable psychiatrists say on television as the gospel truth.
Junk science is running rampant everywhere in the mental-health profession because of greed among shady shrinks, and I would not be the least bit surprised if some of the mental-health professionals who have assisted the Tahirih Justice Center and Unchained At Last in their crusade to end underage marriage here in our nation are peddlers of junk science in their field of expertise, so to speak. In a few sweet words as a layman, I would frankly have to say that if someone is not attracted to prepubescent children, then he or she is definitely not suffering from any kind of paraphilia that relates to age-related attractions.
This article is copyright-protected.