Findings that aggression, force, and violence are rare among minor-attracted adults seem to contradict media and police reports. There are three reasons for this.
- Because non-violent adult-minor sexual interactions often take the form of sex play or are part of affectionate relationships, children and adolescents may experience them pleasantly and may be less likely to report them than are those who experience violence or coercion.15
- Although aggressive attacks are rare, they receive much more attention from the media.16
- Because society agrees that children and adolescents cannot meaningfully consent to sex with adults, such interactions are seen as inherently coercive.17 Thus, by definition, they are considered to be violent and aggressive regardless of the boy’s willingness, his perception of the situation, the emotional context of the interaction, or the amount of actual violence in a literal sense.18 That is, terms such as abuse, attack, assault, victimization, and exploitation are often used by police and the public not literally, but rather as a reference to an ethical, moral, or legal violation.19
For more information about the definition of child sexual abuse, see the section on this site about terminology.
For ethical discussions of adult-minor sexual interaction, see the section on this site about ethics.