Even the two experts we talked to disagreed. David Prescott, the therapist, did not recommend porn for abstaining pedophiles:
"The most important thing ... reasonable people can disagree, my thinking is, 'I'm sorry, that's too close' -- it's a little like saying, 'I'm going to use a drug that'll kill me in ten years, rather than in five years.' 'I am suffering from a terrible situation, and to stop myself is to stay as far away as possible. I cannot look at any images of children being abused. I need to understand ... I'm always going to feel a tingle of arousal at children.' It's not fair, but life is unfair to lots of people."
Meanwhile, Dr. Cantor says:
"... the science is pretty neutral. We're never going to have a scientific answer to an ethical question. Both hypotheses are reasonable. I have to take my scientific hat off for a second -- I'm an old fashioned, 'first do no harm' kinda guy. I don't like banning things if I have no evidence that it causes harm."
If we banned everything that might lead to molestation, the Supreme Court would ban candy.
Our pedophile sources reported varying ways of dealing with their urges without possessing hard drives full of pornography. The question, "What do you think of child porn?" itself was fairly frightening to them:
Y: "I find a lot of fictional stories online that are very good. That's a very dangerous question to ask, to be honest ..."
E: "... from what I gather, a fair number of our 400-plus pedophiles in the support group have struggled with CP going cold turkey, but drawn back again, relapsing."
"CP," by the way, was their preferred way of referencing child pornography without (presumably) alerting the NSA.
"Sorry for the mistaken subpoenas, fans of Coldplay."
So if you don't have some kind of outlet, what do you do? According to J:
"Coping strategies. First and foremost, one way I cope is to try not to get involved with events involving a lot of children. It's not like I can't see my niece, but when she's got a ballet recital, I try to avoid that. Aside from that ... I try to keep my mind off of it. I have my own hobbies, I've got a full-time job, and I try to spend the rest of my time programming. Basically, I find if I keep my mind off it, it's not too distressing a thing. If I hang out around children a lot, it's distressing, but I don't live a lifestyle where that happens enough."