Internet Pornography and Paedophilia
Open Access: No
Various indices of use of Internet pornography have drawn attention to the extent of adult sexual interest in children; clinical experience and now research evidence are accumulating to suggest that the Internet is not simply drawing attention to those with existing paedophilic interests, but is contributing to the crystallisation of those interests in people with no explicit prior sexual interest in children. Drawing on clinical experience in a specialist NHS outpatient psychotherapy service, the author argues that a dichotomous notion of paedophilia is no longer tenable, and any model of paedophilia needs to take account of eruptions of a sexual interest in children in those who appear not to be consistently paedophilic and who have had adult-to-adult sexual relationships. This phenomenon is analysed in two ways: first, by considering how it is that the adult sexual adaptation might ‘unravel’ under the influence of Internet sex to reveal underlying paedophilic currents and second, by revisiting general and psychoanalytic theories of paedophilia and by considering how predisposing factors to paedophilia might be amplified through access to Internet pornography.