This was not to be the typical convention of child abuse professionals who already agree with one another and gather to further their careers and enhance their visibility. This was to be a sophisticated, interdisciplinary, scientific interchange among researchers and scholars with widely divergent, even controversial ideas and careers, in an attempt to define more clearly just what the issues are and what the parameters should be in scholarly discussions of intergenerational sexual contact involving pre-adults. This article is offered as a thumbnail sketch of a Symposium that spent five days discussing issues of great interest to readers of this journal, but one that might otherwise remain undocumented and unknown outside the participants themselves.
Purposes and objectives of the Symposium. One of the goals of many in attendance, if not the organizers themselves, was to begin a dialogue about pedophilia and related issues that would continue and grow, would help defuse the irrationality of some reactions to the issue, and ultimately would provide scholars, policymakers and public opinion with more reliable and complete information about this behavior in humans. The desire for future conferences of this type was expressed, but no plans were made and, to my knowledge none have followed.
The plan to publish a book of selected papers from the conference was announced, leading some to believe such a book would be the official public record of the Symposium. Unfortunately, correspondence in the months following the meetings revealed that the book, reportedly to be published by Aldine de Gruyter in Summer 1989, was not intended by the editors (who were also the organizers of the Symposium) to be the primary record of the Symposium, even though the papers would be selected from those presented and would serve as a foundation for future research. [NOTE: the book was published as: Jay Feierman, Editor. Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1990. ISBN: 0-387-97243-9 (alk.paper).] For many readers, the present article may be the only source of information about the entire conference and what was presented by each attendee. Considering the wealth of information and ideas presented, this is indeed unfortunate. My attempt here to rectify this situation will fall far short of a complete "Symposium Proceedings". I apologize if my account is limited (as it surely must be) by my lack of expertise in many of the disciplines and in Ethology itself, or by any other bias.
The success of the Symposium in meeting overall stated and implied goals is difficult to assess, given that it was exploratory and each of the participants came with different motivations and aspirations. I will not try here to evaluate the meeting, nor will I try to criticize fully the attendees or their relative contributions. I wonder if any of the participants -- many of whom seemed far more involved and experienced in the research and study of these issues than I -- could evaluate effectively such a diverse group of approaches, ideas and personalities, except from a personal perspective. Two things, however, did seem self-evident as the sessions progressed, and I think most of us there would agree: the issue of intergenerational sexual contact was discussed with a depth and breadth not usually seen; and despite potentially destructive differences of opinion, the professionalism of those in attendance fostered a positive spirit of inquiry and general open-mindedness from the opening remarks through the closing summary session.
The International Society for Human Ethology. The group that sponsored the Symposium is an interdisciplinary alliance of scholars who seek to understand the behavior of humans and other animals multi-dimensionally, through the comparative study of evolutional patterns, group and individual behavior, and even electrochemical activity at the neuron or cell level, among other things. (NOTE: Not being an ethologist by training myself, I must caution that this is only my attempt to describe the ethological approach; those interested in an authoritative treatment of the discipline should, of course, consult the literature.) In retrospect, this may have been the ideal group to host this Symposium, even if all the participants were not themselves ethologists. The ability to consider simultaneously several levels of analysis, to observe and integrate a number of functionally interrelated systems, and through it all to keep in mind the notion of individual variation, is essential to the ethological approach. It is also what provided this Symposium the flexibility it needed to avoid the pitfalls of emotionalism and fighting for academic "turf".
The setting for the meetings. The locale was the isolated, scenically marvelous Jemez Mountains of central New Mexico. One of the reasons for choosing this non-urban location was to provide the Symposium with the quiet "anonymity" it needed and avoid publicity or other disruption of the proceedings. The meetings and participants themselves were housed in a facility operated by a religious order whose usual mission is to provide support to members of the clergy in need of extended physical or emotional rehabilitation. According to the director of the facility, the subject of the conference was of more than passing interest to the order, in that many of the clergy who come to the retreat are seeking to deal with problems associated with sexual involvement with children or adolescents. This is one of the reasons the retreat facility was made available for this purpose. It was also one of the motivations of the Symposium organizer, a psychiatrist who spends some of his time dealing with these clergy and this type of sexual-behavior problem.
The organizers. The Symposium was planned and implemented by Dr Jay Feierman, an officer in the International Society for Human Ethology, and his associates, including Dr Jane B. Lancaster. Dr Feierman made no secret of how difficult it was to select and invite participants for the conference. He and his committee wanted a cross-section of disciplines and approaches, but wanted to avoid advance publicity, sensationalism and advocacy of personal positions, perhaps especially the advocacy of pedophilia itself. Criteria for attendance included a Ph.D. or other doctorate, publications or ongoing research relating to sexual contact between developmentally mature and immature animals (not only humans, of course), and, at least for some attendees, a screening interview (by telephone in my case) in which the organizer(s) requested assurances of scholarly, as opposed to personal, interest in intergenerational sex. Each person invited to attend was expected to present a paper. There were no spectators or non-participant observers, with the exception of the staff of the retreat facility, two spouses of participants and one infant child.
As judged from the summary session, as well as impressions gleaned from listening to all the presentations, the view of Ethologists and others present seems to be that heterosexual sexual activity is more evolutionally adaptive than other forms of sexuality, as well as more frequent, in non-human species. This is, of course, almost self-evident. But Ethologists also regard non-reproductive erotic activity in non-human species as within the range of normal behavior, by virtue of the fact that it has been observed systematically. The implications of this knowledge for human behavior, and the ability of Ethologists to acknowledge a wide range of human erotic interests is not as clear-cut, and some seem to defer to social norms more than seems necessary when human erotic diversity is the topic. Heterosexuality often is seen as the "norm", while other activities, even when "tolerated", are regarded by some as less than functional in terms of evolution. Be that as it may, the important point is that most forms of non-heterosexual erotic activity typically are not considered perverted, sinful or wicked -- just "frivolous", perhaps.
When Ethologists compare human behavior to non-human, they are very careful to consider the differences as well as the similarities. Rather than saying, "If monkeys do it, it's normal for humans", the Ethologist might say, "If monkeys do it, it may not be abnormal for humans". With this in mind, the following general conclusions of the presentations can be considered. 1) There is no doubt that erotic play between (physically) mature and not-yet-mature individuals takes place in many species. 2) Intromission of penis into a partner is almost never seen between adults and juveniles of a species. 3) Grooming and caring behavior is common between generations, in both same-sex and cross-sex pairs. 4) Pubescent or adolescent juveniles are much more involved in apparently erotic contacts with adults than are younger juveniles or infants. 5) Homosexual stimulation is common, within as well as across generations, but exclusive homosexuality is almost nonexistent. (By the same token, we were reminded by one perceptive attendee, to the extent that homosexual contact is common, exclusive heterosexuality is also rare.)
In terms of human intergenerational sexual contact, which was after all the topic of the conference, the majority seemed to feel that there was a major difference between adult- adolescent (or adult-pubescent) contact and contact between adults and children who have not reached puberty. Informed consent to sexual activity was seen in general as possible for pubescents and adolescents, but less likely if the younger partner were a prepubescent. Everyone agreed that sexual abuse of children by adults does occur, but most were able to acknowledge that loving relationships also occur and that these were qualitatively different from abuse. This is not to say that sexual relationships between adults and children were approved of whether or not they were loving ones, but then the point of the conference was to avoid value judgements and just to investigate the phenomena in question. Approval or disapproval were considered individual matters for the participants, and generally were treated as such.
It was clear that a range of interaction between developing individuals and adults of the species is considered essential. Much of the content of these interactions, as discussed and shown in films and videotapes, was undeniably sexual, even if not penetrative intercourse. More than once the comment was heard from those in attendance at a film or presentation, "If that were a human, they'd be in jail!" Indeed, even some examples of human interaction between adults and children in other cultures were presented, including one film of a mother, in an intimate moment with her infant son, taking his penis in her mouth and fellating him. The boy's enjoyment was more than obvious, as was the stark comparison with Western society and its restrictions on such behavior.
MONDAY -- THE BACKGROUND OF THE BEHAVIOR IN HUMANS
Moderator: Jane B. Lancaster, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico
Opening remarks -- Jay Feierman, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico: "The Roots of Pedophilia". The tone of the conference clearly is set by the organizer, as being based on principles of scientific inquiry appropriate for Ethologists and other socio-biological scholars. He describes the objectives of the Symposium, as well as the reasons it was organized in the first place, including: 1) "Pedophilia" is misunderstood by the media and the public; 2) scientific investigation of the issue is clouded by strong "morality" atmosphere; 3) there are quite widely separated polar opposites, with one side using "abuse" terminology and the other talking about sexual love between children and adults; 4) when people -- both adults and children -- experience problems associated with behavior, professionals need clear, reliable information in order to help them: the existing literature is inadequate, and the information available is unreliable and inconsistent.
Vern Bullough, Faculty of Natural and Social Sciences, SUNY College, Buffalo, NY: "History and adult human sexual interactions with children and adolescents." "Both adult-child and adult-adolescent sexual interactions have been widespread" througout history. Only recently, in such references as "child abuse" and "child sexual abuse", have the terms associated with such behavior been negative. "Adult child sexual interactions have been against the law for much of Western history, but what constituted a sexual interaction was very narrowly defined, and usually restricted to penetrating or being penetrated. It was not until the last part of the nineteenth century that a major campaign was launched against adult-child relationships." Even more recently, the campaign was broadened to include adolescents. Before this time, the age of consent for sexual behavior was quite low compared with today. Sex researchers in the late nineteenth century failed to regard child/adult sex as a problem area. One turning point came in 1974 (public law 93-247) when federal money was appropriated for the study of child abuse and child sexual abuse, expanding the definition of what was previously only physical abuse, and including a wider range of erotic behaviors in what was considered sexual.
Suzanne G. Frayser, Anthropology, University of Denver: "The incest taboo: A cross-cultural perspective." Some form of the incest taboo is virtually omnipresent in human cultures. This taboo sometimes is seen as functional in development of sexual identity, and in the maintenance of family and social stability. Some aspects of incest taboo are universal among cultures, others are culture-specific. In our culture, not only intercourse, but touching and oral contact have come to be included in the definition of incest.
Wulf Schiefenhovel, Ethnomedicine and Human Ethology, Institute for Medical Psychology, University of Munich, and Forschungsstelle fur Humanethologie in der Max-Planck- Gesellschaft: "Sexual behavior toward children: A cross-cultural Melanesian perspective". The sometimes different practices of various tribes in Melanesia are discussed. Human beings are considered to be highly sexualized, and the proper socialization of boys is thought to be dependent on receiving sperm orally or anally during their childhood and adolescent years. Same-sex adult/child sexuality is seen and, less often, sexual behavior between adult males and adolescent females occurs, the latter being associated usually with betrothal. Iso-gender body contact is observed, for example in the behavior of boys and men grooming each other or standing or sitting together with bodies touching. The same phenomena are typical of women and girls, but not of mixed-sex pairings.
Milton Diamond, Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii: "Cross-Generational sex in traditional Hawaii." Traditional Hawaii, the polynesian/Asian derived culture existing prior to the influx of Westerners, "had several instances of institutionalized interactions between adults and infants that involved genitals, and would, in the West, be construed as erotic. It is debatable whether or not they were seen as erotic in traditional Hawaii, however". For example, older women would fellate boys daily, the belief being that this would keep the penis potent. Among some families the practice continues today. The presentation offered evidence that among Oceanic peoples interactions that involve genitals are not always considered erotic or sexual, and that such activities involving children were often seen as beneficial to the child and a chore, rather than a pleasure for the adult. In some tribes boys were sent to a "men's house" around the age of 7 to be socialized by men. The time thought appropriate for beginning heterosexual coitus was not based on age, but on the individual's readiness. If the person was doing "adult" work, she or he was ready for "adult" sex.
Wade C. Mackey, Anthropology, El Paso Community College at Fort Bliss (Texas): "A test for the man/child bond as a species- characteristic trait: The predictability of the teeter-totter effect". A study is reported which tests the hypothesis that the man/child (social) bond is an independent, partially genetic tendency. This disputes Harlow's claims that the man/child attraction is a deriviative of the man/woman attraction: the woman loves children, the man is attracted to the woman, therefore the man will love children, too. In observations of over 49,000 man/child pairs in three countries, predictions about the behavior of such dyads were generated and tested in three areas of the world: London, Paris and Kenya. Results tend to confirm the predictions that men are motivated to care for and be with children independently from the motivation to associate and relate to the child's mother or other female caretaker. The study found that when men had discretionary choice in associating with children, they tended to be with boys rather than girls, especially in the lower socio-economic status groups. The general tendency in observed dyads was for girls to be with women and boys to be with men. (I apologize for not being able to explain the term "teeter-totter effect", used in Mackey's title, but it was not included in my notes or in the handout of the presentation.)
Mark Cook, Department of Psychology, University College of Swansea (Wales): "A social psychological perspective on pedophilia". The handout for this presentation outlines a discussion of pedophilia in terms of its incidence, public policy and reactions, psychological motivations, and consequences, including a comparison of Western culture (the supporting documentation seems primarily to be British) and adult/child sexual contact in other cultures, from a social/psychological point of view. The presentation itself, however, focused on the Pedophile Information Exchange (PIE) in Britain, its attempted participation in the Swansea Conference on Love and Attraction (Wales, 1977), and various reactions including the press reports regarding PIE and that conference.
Gerald P. Jones, Program for the Study of Women and Men in Society, University of Southern California: "Intergenerational intimacy involving children or adolescents: Research and Theory". Some literature regarding child/adult sexual behavior is reviewed to identify problems in the study of intergenerational intimacy, namely that much of the research too narrowly identifies the issue as "child [sexual] abuse" and presupposes that children who have not reached the age of majority are incapable of making any decisions for themselves regarding their sexual or association behavior. This "obscures the potential for close, intimate intergenerational relationships to provide links for growing persons with the larger world, to impart a sense of self-worth to the typically self-deprecating pre-adult, and to offer youngsters a model for interpersonal interaction which is an alternative to socially-scripted heterosexual romance or the limitations of peer friendships. . . . Working from the developmental framework of [Harry Stack] Sullivan, among others, this paper presents a theory which holds that at least some individuals develop needs for close relationships, either in fantasy or in fact, with same- sex persons significantly older or younger than themselves, and that the lack of such interaction constitutes a developmental deficit." A broad-based model for studying intergenerational relationships is proposed. "This model first encompasses intergenerational relationships and contacts of all types, social as well as sexual, and only then begins to delineate categories such as mentoring, pederasty, teaching/learning, or sexual abuse as subjects for further research inquiry.
Joan A. Nelson, Marin Center for Sexual Concerns, Fairfax, California: "Intergenerational Sex: A continuum of participants and experiences." Sex therapy with "former children" reveals three outcome categories for clients' unresolved sensual longing: 1) insufficient "caring touch" leaving the child emotionally deprived and carrying into adult sexual relationships unrealistic expectations and needs, 2) abusive sexual touching resulting in emotional, if not physical, suffering, 3) nonabusive, but inappropriate, sexual touching resulting in unresolved cognitive and emotional dissonance. Adults involved in intergenerational sex are grouped also into three categories: 1) pathological, 2) pedophilic (actualizing and non-actualizing) in that the primary sexual preference is for prepubescent children, and 3) visionary, including liberated parents and caretakers who provide explicit sex education without erotic motivation. Studies have been done that show a range of outcomes of adult/child sexual interaction, from negative and harmful to positive and beneficial. Intergenerational sex must be studied as a continuum that includes all types of adults' sexual interest in children and children's sexual interest in adults. Such research must "distinguish between incest and child-adult contact", standardize definitions of child and adult, standardize the definition of abuse, differentiate between intercourse and other erotic/sexual activities, and differentiate between actual outcome and expectations of outcome. Non-emotional terminology is recommended, such as participant (rather than victim) and sexual experience (rather than abuse).
Discussion following this presentation centered on the use of terms. David Finkelhor stated his opinion that it is appropriate that social norms be used broadly to define abuse. In response, Milton Diamond pointed out that social norms change, and that using the term "abuse" sets up an expectation about the "real" nature of the activity which may not be realistic. Vern Bullough cautioned, "until you get scientifically neutral terminology, you won't get scientifically neutral studies".
In the evening on Monday, the hourlong HBO videotape "The Sexual Abuse of Children" was shown.
TUESDAY -- CAUSES (PROXIMATE CAUSATION) OF THE BEHAVIOR IN HUMANS
Moderator: Milton Diamond, University of Hawaii.
Donald W. Pfaff, Department of Neurobiology, The Rockefeller University, New York: "Neural mechanisms of reproductive (sexual) behavior". "We have studied sex hormone binding systems in the brain which are universal across vertebrates. Some estrogen-progestin (?) binding neurons direct the circuitry for simple female reproductive behaviors, which we have determined. These mechanisms comprise mechanisms for sexual motivation, as well, and include changes in hypothalamic gene expression. We expect these cellular mechanisms to contribute to an understanding of some aspects of human sex drive."
Kathryn J. Dolan, Anthropology/Family Violence, Department of Medical Humanities, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine: "Adult/Child sexual interactions in humans: Toward an ethological understanding". In general, in the study of adult-child sexual interactions in humans there has been too little "cross- fertilization of concepts and data between the fields of ethology, anthropology and child sexual abuse". Particular attention is paid to "1) analysis of strategies for reproduction that effect (sic) interactions between children and adults, 2) important developmental variables that may predispose adults and children to interact sexually, and 3) features of social organization which may affect both structure and function in communication, family and cultural systems".
David Finkelhor, Sociology, Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire: "Four preconditions: A model of adult sexual abuse of children". This presentation emphasizes social norms in determining what is abuse, and in discussing child/adult sexual contact in American culture the presenter always refers to the child as "victim" and the adult as "perpetrator". Sexual abuse is much more frequent than previously believed, with an estimated 25% of girls and 16% of boys sexually involved, and about 5% of adult males constituting the perpetrator group. Since the behavior is varied and complex, we cannot rely on single-factor explanations, so a four- precondition model is proposed for the understanding of sexual abuse (which in the definition of this presenter means all instances of child/adult sexual behavior). The first precondition is considered an "instigatory" factor, the other three being "inhibitory" factors which, for the sexual activity to take place, must be ignored or overcome by the perpetrator. First, the adult's motivation must be there, a combination of background (individual history) factors, sexual arousal, and blockage of getting sexual satisfaction from peers. Second, the Internal Inhibitors (which normally would prevent the behavior), such as guilt and concerns about harm to the child. Influences that undermine these inhibitors include alcohol, drugs, stress, and the lack of available rationalizations. Third, the External Inhibitors (which also would normally inhibit the behavior), such as legal/social sanctions and the threat of retribution and/or incarceration. Influences that undermine these inhibitors, in addition to those mentioned in connection with the Internal Inhibitors, are poor supervision, and the opportunity to molest. Fourth, there is the Resistance by the child. According to the presenter, all four of these preconditions "must exist before adult-child sexual contact occurs".
In the discussion following this presentation, Wulf Schiefenhovel suggested the relevance of the ethological concept of neotony, a developmental characteristic of some species in which certain juvenile characteristics remain into maturity (adulthood). In some species adults bear little resemblance to their pre-adult counterparts, but in those characterized by more neotony (also called pedomorphism), the adult retains much of the body shape, coloring and other characteristics of juveniles and adolescents of the same species. According to Schiefenhovel, this phenomenon may help to explain part of the motivation of adults involved sexually with children.
John Money, Medical Psychology/ Psychoendocrinology/ Sexology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore: "Paraphilias, Phylisms and Pedophilia". Human "phylisms", or phylogenetic mechanisms, are those "typically human" behaviors, the result of our evolution as a species, that are transmitted in the genetic code and give rise to interactions such as "normal" parent/child behavior and erotic love. During early childhood, each person individually and uniquely develops a sexuoerotic "lovemap", or a pattern of erotic attraction and response that is a product of both genetic influences and environmental experiences or conditioning. "In the case of pedophilia, the phylism of parent-child pairbonding becomes sexuoerotically diverted and enchained to lover-lover pairbonding. The pedophile's attachment to a child represents a merger of parental and erotic love." A key element in labeling an individual as "pedophile" is the lack of flexibility in sexual attraction, though this is a clinical, rather than legal, distinction.
This presenter, a frequent participant in discussions throughout the conference, has much to say about the importance of more erotic freedom for children, and strongly criticizes Western society for neglecting the sexuoerotic health of young people by denying them sexual information and a chance for what he calls "sexual rehearsal play" in early and middle childhood. His books and outspoken opinions are legendary and, while not covered in any detail in this conference, should be consulted if one wishes to understand the complexity and richness of his contribution to the related literature.
Hilda Parker, Clinical Social Work, University Counseling Center; and Seymour Parker, Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City: "Inbreeding avoidance: A bio-social perspective". Incest and incest avoidance can be studied in a new light due to recent additions to the literature of new theoretical perspectives and empirical data. "Close inbreeding avoidance exists throughout the vertebrata. It also appears that the incest taboo . . . is virtually universal in human societies. The very important activity of "early bonding between members of the nuclear family . . . is incompatible with high levels of sexual arousal", because bonding with parents and siblings is accomplished through arousal reduction -- comfort, security, relaxation -- while sexual contact essentially is arousal heightening. "Objects of arousal reduction cannot, simultaneously, serve as objects of arousal elevation -- so necessary for sexual passion. The implications of this perspective are clear -- disturbances in early filial bonding increase the probabilities of intrafamilial incest." Data supporting this hypothesis are mentioned.
Michael J. Dougher, Sex Offender Research and Treatment Program, University of New Mexico: "The abused--->abuser cycle of pedophilia: A critical review" (paper co-written by Randy Garland, who was not present). There is very little evidence that the abused child becomes an abuser. The argument that abusers must have been abused as children, or that early abuse is sufficient cause for becoming an adult abuser does not hold up. Methodological problems in this literature include the use of samples of abusers who are incarcerated, without comparisons with non-incarcerated individuals; lack of consistency in definitions of "abuse", and weak methods for assessment of previous abuse (typically retrospective self-reports by the abusers).
Bruno d'Udine, Istituto di Psicobiologia e Psicofarmacologia, The Italian National Research Council, Rome: "Ontogeny and modifiability of sociosexual preferences in rodents". Animals rarely mate indiscriminately. Patterns in some species include sexual behavior and mate selection well before sexual ability is mature. Some even make monogamous choices well before sexual maturity. In studies of rodents, Darwin's observation, that it is more often the female that makes the selection resulting in a sexual pairing, is correct. One reason is likely that the consequences of the sexual union are more significant for the female, who must (literally) bear the responsibility of any pregnancy that results. Her investment requires that she mate only under optimal conditions with the best mates. Early (pre-adult) experiences influence later mate selection. For example, extensive experience one species of rodent with another species results in plasticity of the rodent's sexual selection behaviors, sometimes even breaking the usual species-specific behaviors exhibited by others who have not had such early experiences. Several studies point to the notion that when there is an early uncharacteristic stimulus, there tends to be a preference toward that stimulus in later life.
Michael Domjan, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin: "Experiential modification of sexual-object choice in adult Japanese quail". Experiments are described in which the role of learning in reproductive behavior is assessed in one species of birds. Adult male Japanese quail are attracted to females of the species, primarily through visual recognition of the characteristic female configuration of the head and neck. The results of the experiments reported here "are consistent with the hypothesis that sexual-object choice is guided by an inherited template, but this template is not fully activated without various kinds of social experience", including social interaction with other males and heterosexual experience itself. It is possible for quail to become conditioned to respond sexually to other stimuli -- in this experiment, orange feathers attached to the otherwise normal female head and neck stimulus -- but the response is not simply to the new stimuli, but rather to a combination of the orange feathers and the female neck and head. These experiments "indicate that experiences during adulthood can have a large influence on control . . . over sexual object choice."
WEDNESDAY -- EVOLUTION (ULTIMATE CAUSATION) OF THE BEHAVIOR IN
HUMANS AND NONHUMANS
Moderator: Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Max-Planck-Institut, Federal Republic of Germany, and President of the International Society for Human Ethology
Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Forschungsstelle fur Humanethologie in der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Federal Republic of Germany: "Dominance, submission and love: Sexual pathologies from an ethological perspective". In fish and reptiles, sexual behavior often is characterized by dominance behavior on the part of males that is strikingly similar to their behavior in conflict situations with male rivals. Receptive females then "submit" by lying flat on their bellies to invite copulation. Similar dominance/ submission patterns persist in higher vertebrates, but are superimposed with newer patterns of what this presenter calls "love sexuality". He traces the origin of this higher-order behavior to the evolution of "maternal behavior, which gave rise to caretaking behaviors (grooming, feeding, protecting) of the mother, and infantile behaviors which release them". Both maternal and infantile behaviors, separated from their original functions, are evident in the bonding behavior of courtship, and to these are added the dominance/submission behaviors when sexual activity takes place. The connection of these ideas with pedophilia is then discussed. (NOTE: Because of what I consider highly questionable logic and unfounded positions, only the presenter's words themselves are presented now to illustrate this point. I am sorry if, by omission, condensation or any other act, I have misrepresented the presenter's position.) "Turning to pathology, exhibitionism seems to be a pathological derivative of phallic display. Furthermore, one form of male homosexuality, which is characterized by the frequent change of partners and thus by a lack of bonding and by clear exhibition of dominance, could be an expression of the atavistic form of dominance sexuality, for which submission is enough stimulant for sexual attraction. It is evident that homosexual males often seek children, who are easily dominated, as their partners." He quotes research by students of Harlow that show "disturbed" monkeys were more successful in their social interactions with much younger individuals.
The discussion following this presentation included a comment by Jay Feierman, in which he speculated that "bonding" pedophilia might be distinguishable from sex-only pedophilia (abuse), and that this might be a better distinction than the [Nicholas Groth, et. al] dichotomy of fixated vs. regressed pedophilia. In a later private conversation with the presenter, I asked him about his comments regarding homosexuality as "abnormal". He replied that "normal" behavior is that which contributes to "fitness" (i.e., the reproductive continuity of the species). He said that homosexual behavior is not adaptive, and hence not "normal", but it is "the price society pays for openness and acceptance", and this is "tolerable". He rejects ideas that homosexuality might be socially functional (for example, in attenuating population growth) as "merely hypotheses".
Gerhard Medicus, Ethology/Psychiatry, University Hospital of Innsbruck, Austria: "Etho-psychological aspects of human sexual behavior: The role of aggression and fear in male and female sexuality". "There is ethological evidence that differences exist between man and woman in how sexual mood may or may not be combined with anxiety or aggression. A knowledge about such connections provides an important inductive basis for the discussion of normal sexual behavior, e.g., courtship behavior, endocrinological behavioral states, and sexual objective (sic) choice, as well as its pathology."
The afternoon of Wednesday was devoted to free time for various social and non-Symposium activities. In the evening, one pertinent videotape, "The Family of Chimps" by Bert Haanstra, was shown.
THURSDAY -- FUNCTION (EFFECT) OF THE BEHAVIOR IN HUMANS AND
Moderator: Herman Dienske, Primate Center, Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Herman Dienske, Ethiology, Primate Center, Rijswijk, The Netherlands: "The Study of Behavioral Function". The study of behavioral function leads to important realizations with implications for the study of any type of sexual behavior. For example, it is important to remember that adaptive behavior in one species or group is not necessarily acceptable for another species or group. An illustration of this point is that infanticide is adaptive for some monkey cultures, but this does not make it acceptable for humans. Among the adaptive functions of human sexuality are 1) fertilization and the production of offspring in heterosexual intercourse; 2) lovemaking results in strong, positive attachments between individuals; 3) dual parenting (especially in harsh environments) can provide more protection for infant; 4) sexual contact can result in improved well-being of the individual, even in the short-term. This presenter states strongly that when there is no harm involved, society has a responsibility to protect individuals whose sexuality is not the same as what "everyone" does.
Stephen Heisel, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Boston University: "Psychiatric morbidity from childhood sexual abuse" (paper co-written by Jeffrey Bryer, who was not present). While the sexual abuse literature suggests that "many victims are able to grow to productive and happy adulthoods, an unusually large proportion of them develop psychiatric disorders". The research reported here was conducted with "two rather large cohorts of adult women". The results of sexual abuse, termed the "survivor syndrome", include stress reactions in which the patient can't master life situations; interpersonal disruptions such as paranoia; pharmacologic dependency; and learned helplessness, in which the patient is convinced that she is basically ineffectual in dealing with the world.
David M. Taub, Primatology, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston: "The functions of primate paternalism". Male primates interact with infants in every way females do, except for nursing. This is also true of birds. Of course, especially in societies in which multiple mating occurs, the male is not necessarily the infant's father, requiring the understanding of "paternalism" in a generic, rather than literal, sense. In barbary macaques, for example, all males, both mature and developing individuals, spend a large percentage of their time interacting with infants. Subadult males, sexually but not yet socially mature, are more involved than adults. The care of these males is usually limited to specific infants, rather than just any infant that happens to be accessible at a given moment. It appears that males must have contact with younger individuals in order to be a successful father.
Frans B.M. deWaal, University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, Madison: "Nonreproductive functions of sex among captive bonobos (pan paniscus): Tension regulation and reconciliation". Bonobos are similar to humans, including the fact that they stand and walk upright and are neotonous (also referred to as pedomorphic: juvenile-like characteristics are retained throughout life). The sexual behavior of bonobos, which includes human-like behaviors such as face-to-face copulation and fellatio, makes it clear that non- reproductive sex is not unique to humans. Sex is functionally integrated into many aspects of bonobo life, serving to provide consolation or to reduce tension and effect reconciliation in interpersonal disputes. Except for intromissive intercourse, sexual behavior is not limited to adult peers or to heterosexual pairs. Same-sex and intergenerational erotic behavior commonly occur. These activities, which are sexual but do not result in intromission or ejaculation, in no way disrupt reproductive behavior. The study reported here deals with bonobos in captivity in San Diego, but recent field observations in Zaire confirm that similar patterns exist in the wild.
Craig Bielert, Animal Behavior/ Psychoneuroendocrinology, Department of Psychology, SUNY College, Oneonta, New York: "Adult/Adolescent sexual behavior in primates". Data are presented from paired mating tests between adult and adolescent rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). These macaques are near humans in the evolutionary scale and have a sexuality that is developed (though not fully) long before puberty. For example, males exhibit mounting and thrusting behavior -- including an "ejaculatory pause" -- before puberty begins. Through studies with macaques, it is known that orgasm is an important influence in shaping behavior: if it occurs, animals tend to look for ways and opportunities to make it occur again.
Connie M. Anderson, Department of Anthropology, Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York: "Adult sexual interactions with adolescents and juveniles in baboons". "Results of 7 years' observation of 4 chacma baboon troops under changing circumstances are evaluated in light of adolescent female solicitation of adult males and their response, and adolescent male attempts to form bonds, sexual and otherwise, with adult and adolescent females. Sexual behavior of juveniles with adult and adolescent individuals is also noted. There has been considerable change in the type and frequency of these behaviors over time [i.e., in the captive population under study]. The probable affect (sic) of these behaviors on ultimate reproductive success for both sexes is discussed."
Susan R. Phipps-Yonas, Minnesota Psychotherapy and Consultation Services, St. Paul; and Albert Yonas, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis: "One outcome of child/adult sexual behavior: Hypotheses derived from a clinical case study". The first author of this presentation was the primary therapist for the subject of this case study, a 23- year-old hospitalized in a sex-offender program after earlier sexual offenses involving minors. The history of this man, including his introduction to sexual behavior around puberty by a parish priest, is described in an attempt to suggest hypotheses about the traumatic effects of sexual abuse on development. The boy reported participating in the activity at first because the pleasure of orgasm made everything else "O.K." The implication is that the idea of having sex with the man, a priest, was distasteful, but the orgasm made it worthwhile. He reported belated guilt several years later due to the incident with the priest and another man he met later, by whom he allowed himself to be masturbated. This, according to the presenter, was possible because "old tapes were running" and the preasure of orgasm was anticipated. The youngster justified the activity by noting that the men were giving him a lot of non-sexual things that he valued. There are professional records in which the boy's homophobia was noted around age 17. During a stay in jail he entered therapy, in which he made gains, but was preoccupied with his victimization. Officials reported that he often acted in a "flirtatious and seductive manner" with other inmates who were homosexual.
Theo G.M. Sandfort, Clinical Psychology Department, State University of Utrecht, The Netherlands: "Sexual experiences in early youth and later sexual behavior". Sexual abuse of children generally is considered to be associated with problems in later life, but there is less consensus about the connection of early sex and later problems when the early behavior has been non- abusive. This retrospective study, still in progress, draws subjects from the population registers of The Netherlands. Verbal interviews were conducted with 283 young adults about sexual contacts they had before the age of 16. "In the total sample, 42 percent of the subjects had had sexual contacts with adults, outside or inside the family. Some of these contacts were engaged in freely, while the most, especially those of the girls, came about with force." Those who engaged in the sexual activity of their own accord gave reasons for wanting the sexual contacts, including liking or loving the other person, sexual pleasure, curiosity, and physical attraction. Pre-judgments about the negative sequelae of child/adult sexual interaction, especially when the interaction is not forced, are ill-advised. By attaching the label "victim" on someone, we may begin the process of victimization itself.
On Thursday evening, three films were shown: "Masculinization of the female sheep" by R.V. Short and I.J. Clarke; "Genital display -- examples from human ethological film documentation" by I. Eibl-Eibesfeldt; and "Sexual elements in everyday and festive behavior, Eipo, West-New Guinea", by F. Simon and W. Schiefenhovel.
FRIDAY -- DEVELOPMENT (ONTOGENY) OF THE BEHAVIOR IN HUMANS AND
Moderator: Gail Zivin, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Jefferson Medical College of the Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
Gail Zivin, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Jefferson Medical College of the Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia: "The study of behavioral development". The general thrust of this presentation, which offers an overview of trends in the overall study of behavior and development issues, is that old one-dimensional approaches to this study are giving way, and must give way, to more complex and meaningful conceptualizations. Based on recent theoretical formulations in the field, future research will be expected 1) to be systemic and holistic, looking at multi-level systems from the neurobiological to the sociocultural; 2) to recognize the multipotentiality -- the possibility of varied outcomes -- of any single variable; 3) to recognize equifinality -- the possibility that a number of different variables can lead to the same outcome; 4) to investigate reciprocal mediation, or the combined effect of systems of variables acting and reacting together; 5) to consider carefully the potential for individual differences even in seemingly homogeneous or identical environments.
Robert W. Goy, University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, Madison: "Ontogeny of sociosexual behavior in laboratory-housed rhesus monkeys". Mothers and their interactions with infants and juveniles are observed, showing that certain behaviors at very young ages are important to the ontogeny ("developmental fate") of the young. Mother infant interactions include grooming of the sex organs of young females, and allowing mounting behavior by the young males. When males learn the connection between mounting and affiliative behavior (i.e., with the adult female), these behaviors then are used for affiliative behavior with peers.
John B. Hutchinson, Neurobiology/ Behavior/ Ethology, MRC Unit on the Development and Integration of Behavior, University of Cambridge, Great Britain: "Neuroethological approaches to the development of sexual behavior". "There is increasing evidence that hormones have an organizational role in the development of the brain and mechanisms underlying sexual behavior", but it is not likely that hormones per se cause behavior; the development of behavior needs environmental stimuli. Moreover, humans differ in their responses to hormone levels. It seems clear that androgens are involved prenatally in sexual orientation formation, but receptivity of brain cells mediates this effect. Enzyme physiology in the brain may provide a clearer picture of just how androgens may have their effect. "There is evidence that sexual differentiation of control nuclei in the brain is triggered by estrogen. The developmental origin of some sexually dimorphic neurones in these nuclei involves selective cell loss or survival in region-specific differentiation. . . . Whether or not these physiological models are applicable to human development is still controversial. . . ."
An extra report, not on the original schedule, was offered by Milton Diamond of the University of Hawaii, in which research on homosexuality in twins was reported. Homosexuality in both twins was found in 68 percent of the subjects. When identical (MZ) twins are considered separately from fraternal (DZ) twins, it is found that homosexuality in both twins was found in 55 percent of the DZ twins, but in 80 percent of the MZ twins. Diamond considers this strong evidence that there is a strong physical component to sexual orientation, in contrast to the notion that orientation is due to environmental influences alone.
Personal perspective. My own evaluation of the Symposium is that it was valuable at least as a chance to experience other points of view -- some of which were quite divergent -- and at most as a potential catalyst for real change in the way pedophilia is approached by social and ethological disciplines. Whether such a change in the scientific approach ever happens, however, will be due to the ripple effect from the scientists who were in attendance, an effect that is impossible to assess at this point, especially in a sex-negative and child-abuse- hysterical culture such as ours. There were no earth-shaking revelations, no bombshell news releases, no magical transformations of people's opinions. Time will tell whether the subtle processes of scientific logic and reason will be affected by added information and new ways of approaching problems, or whether the collective participants will be largely unaffected by their week together.
I wish the Symposium had produced more of a consensus on the terms so often heard, and on a definition of just what constituted sexual behavior. Terms such as "abuse", "victim", "consent" and the like were discussed and challenged, but no agreement was reached as to delineating the terms, despite the expressed intention, when the Symposium began, to reach such an agreement. The question of what constituted sexual behavior itself often was unclear, with some presentations limiting the concept to penetration, and others including behaviors ranging from oral or manual genital manipulation to caressing and kissing.
Finally, for me, there was too much of a focus on normative behavior, and not enough on individual differences. It seems that in discussions of non-human species, paying attention to normative behavior makes some sense, but humans have evolved into the ability to think and reflect on themselves. This added phylogenetic capacity makes the consideration of individual differences, preferences and choice essential, raising important questions about attribution, self esteem, and effectance motivation, among others. Some of these issues were discussed, but not as completely as I might have liked. There is a need, it seems to me, for concentrating on the aspects of our species that are not shared by other levels of animals: rational thought, cognition, self-awareness. Child/adult sexuality -- indeed, sexuality in general -- is rarely studied from these perspectives.
The official Symposium summary session. Gail Zivin bravely and capably presided over the summary session, scheduled for only 75 minutes of time. The session began with a statement from Joan Nelson, who pointed out that the influence of culture on defining sexual interaction as "abuse" had not been sufficiently discussed, and should be. Following this statement, there was a brainstorming session structured around several very general themes that were proposed by Moderator Zivin as helpful in organizing the Symposium's content. The results, theme by theme, are presented in outline form, just as they were developed in this final session. These points represent, as well as anything can, what participants thought were thematic and important. (The following notes are primarily the work of Gail Zivin, in response to discussion from those present at the Summary session.)
I. Structural/functional components of adult-child contact: what can such a contact consist of?