Feelings of attraction
Most studies of the sexual feelings of minor-attracted adults have been limited to physiological measurements of genital arousal among sex offenders. They have found that many child molesters are more aroused by "consenting" stimuli involving children than by "non-consenting" stimuli involving children.18
However, a few British studies have closely examined the thoughts and feelings of minor-attracted men outside of criminal or clinical settings.
One of them is the study of 77 men mentioned earlier.
- When asked what they found attractive in boys, these men cited both personality and physical traits, including openness, curiosity, spontaneity, enthusiasm, lack of inhibition, innocence, honesty, affection, good looks, smooth skin, attractive eyes, slim stature, and lack of pubic hair.
- When asked to describe their fantasies, 51% of the men in the study described sexual activity with willing boys, and 29% described a romantic or caring relationship.
- When asked what they really wanted if there were no legal restrictions, the most frequent response involved a desire to love and care for a boy. Some wanted to live with a boy for an extended period of time.
- When asked about their feelings regarding sex with adults, 43% percent of the men were indifferent, 18% were disgusted by it, and 18% said they enjoyed it.
- Ten percent were heterosexual with respect to adults but attracted to boys. Other respondents had homosexual feelings for both men and boys.
The researchers concluded that except for the object of their attraction, these men were similar to men attracted to women in terms of their fantasies and the traits they found attractive.19
A similar study by clinical psychologist at the University of Cambridge involved interviews with 27 male volunteers who had had some type of sexual contact with underage boys or girls.
- The men described children or adolescents as having positive qualities such as gentleness, warmth, generosity, innocence, honesty, affection, and perceptiveness.
- They found relationships and sexual activities with them more pleasurable than with adults.
- A majority of the men indicated that the sense of emotional contact with another person seemed to be as important as, if not more important than, the excitement of sex. They expressed the importance of love, affection, and closeness with children or teenagers. Four subjects talked explicitly of romantic courtship and love.
- One-third of the men said they believed that their sexual feelings were a natural, innate part of their constitution.20