Paul Okami, the Nudists, the Naturists, NAMBLA and the Pedophiles and the Children

Paul Okami, Ph.D, is Consulting Editor of The Journal of Sex Research, and author and co-author of numerous sexuality studies. Okami's studies are often selectively quoted by nudists and naturists and he is frequently quoted by William D. Peckenpaugh as well. What the nudists and naturists don't report about Paul Okami is that his studies also say adults sleeping with children and having sex with them is not necessarily harmful either. --Nikki Craft

"Okami, Paul. "Childhood Exposure to Parental Nudity, Parent-Child Co-sleeping and 'Primal Scenes': A Review of Clinical Opinion and Empirical Evidence." Journal of Sex Research 32.1 (February, 1995): 51-64." -- Cited in 205 Arguments and Observations In Support of Naturism Extensively --The Naturist Society

"In 1995, UCLA psychology professor Paul Okami published a review of existing clinical and empirical studies of childhood exposure to parental nudity. In his review, Okami expresses concern over an increasing number of behaviors being redefined in terms of childhood sexual abuse. More and more social scientists are referring to parental nudity in front of children, for instance, as a form of "subtle sexual abuse" (51-52). The problem as he sees it is that there is simply no clinical or empirical evidence to support this concern and the attendant desire to turn naked parents into outlaws." --The Federation of Canadian Naturists

"Dr. Paul Okami, Professor of Psychology at UCLA, recently surveyed all academic studies on the effects of nudity on children. He concluded that there is no reliable evidence that mere nudity has a negative effect on children. Moreover, he concluded that the studies indicate casual nudity in the home might actually be of benefit to younger boys." --Naturist Education Committee, Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Paul Okami, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
"Clinical opinion...on the nature and effects of childhood nudity tends to be polarized...surprisingly, considering the wealth of clinical opinion...only three groups of researchers addressed the consequences of childhood exposure to nudity from an empirical perspective: In the first study (Oleinick et al., 1966), there was no association between belonging to a group of psychiatric outpatients and having been exposed to parental nudity. In the second study, Story (1979) described positive effects of exposure to nudity in the context of social is interesting that no pathogenic effects—indeed, positive effects (more positive "body self-concept")—were found for a group of children raised in the context of families who had intentionally adopted a nudist lifestyle because its members apparently believed in it—in spite of social disapproval. The authors of the third study (Lewis & Janda, 1988) reported mixed results that may be viewed as positive, negative, or neutral, depending on one's social ideology. None of the empirical data, then, supports dire predictions for childhood exposure to parental nudity."
Excerpts from "Childhood Exposure to Parental Nudity"
reported in The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 32, No. 1, 1995 --South Florida Free Beaches

Excerpted from: International Academy of Sex Research Joins the Debate: Is Pedophilia a Mental Disorder?

Others Say the Issue of "Consent" is Irrelevant

Among those writers who opted for retaining pedophilia in the DSM, the majority made their argument against adult-child sex on the grounds of the age and power discrepancy between the partners. But not all of the writers in the Archives agreed that a power imbalance renders a relationship psychologically harmful or even subjectively unsatisfying.

For example, psychiatrist Emil Ng, M.D. of the University of Hong Kong says that in ancient Chinese history, children are described as "natural sexual beings," and romances are portrayed with children as young as ten years old in sexual relationships with each other, or with adults--and "sex play is viewed as beneficial to their healthy development."

Is lack of "consent" a valid reason to call pedophilia harmful? No, Dr. Ng notes, "the seemingly righteous and humanitarian debate on child self-determination" is nothing more than "another game adults play to impose their own values on children."

After all, Ng notes, "How often do the adults [in the West] try to ascertain 'valid consent' from their children before getting them to do most things?" For example, have parents "sought valid 'consent' from their children before baptizing them soon after birth?"

"Unequal Relationships Are Not Necessarily Unprincipled"

Dr. Paul Okami of UCLA agrees that a power imbalance should not be the deciding issue. History is full of examples, he notes, of unequal relationships that "work" for the individuals involved--for example, a professor and his student marry "and live happily ever after." An unequal relationship doesn't violate principles of justice or fairness in sexual relationships, Dr. Okami says, "unless one views sexual relationships as similar to hand-to-hand combat."

Actually, he says, the real problem in pedophilia traces back to Christianity. People "detest" pedophilia because Christianity has given our culture a restrictive attitude toward the "naturalistic" child and his sexual instincts.

Christianity, Okami says, "regards children as sinful heathens who need the devil beat out of them. The end result is a powerful desire to save priceless, lovable, sacred innocents from something dangerous, dirty, disgusting and sinful."

Dr. Bruce Rind agrees with Dr. Ng and Dr. Okami that lack of consent from the child doesn't necessarily mean adult-child sexual relationships are harmful. (Dr. Rind was the lead author of the 1998 study that was attacked in the media by radio personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The Rind study concluded that there was little or no psychological harm in man-boy sexual relationships.)

Dr. Rind notes that many other societies, today and in the past, have endorsed sex between a man and a boy. And, what is necessarily wrong with a power imbalance?

After all, Rind says, some parents force their children to go to church! And couldn't religious indoctrination, for that matter, be harmful to the child?

Even Man-Boy Incest May Be Remembered Positively, Says Rind

To back up his claim that pedophile relationships can be consensual, Rind describes several cases of men who say they benefited from--and even initiated--their childhood sexual experiences, including a "positive" recollection of father-son incest.

One boy had several relationships with men, starting when he was age 11, "all of which he viewed as very positive. He thinks the sex helped his sexual self-confidence; as he matured, he knew exactly what he wanted in sex, while his peers were still searching."

Another man saw the childhood intimacy he had with a man as the "highlight of his life."

Still another boy started having sex with his own father at age ten, and now (he is 33 years old) he looks back on their incestuous relationship as "beautiful, pure" and full of love. He said he "cherished the intimacy."

Dr. Charles Moser--the clinician who was invited to present a paper at the May 2003 American Psychiatric Conference on pedophilia--supported Rind's observations. Psychiatry, he said, is ethically obliged to help those people who have unusual sexual interests pursue their subjective ideal of personal fulfillment.

"Any sexual interest," concluded Moser, "can be healthy and life-enhancing."

[See: The Rind Study Debunked]


"Further, professionals should reserve the use of condemnatory terms to those situations where damage is clearly established. Nelson and Meller recommended that the terms, "molestation" and "rape," should be used only when it has been determined that coercion was indeed present. To define experiences as abusive which are described by the allegedly abused as loving, caring, or noncoercive is a contradiction in terms (Okami, 1994). Hence, the term, "abuse," should be replaced by such terms as "experience" or "incident" until it is determined that the episode was, in fact, harmful. --Identifying and Dealing with "Child Savers" Thomas D. Oellerich

"Social work practitioners and the profession must educate the community and, most especially, the courts about the myths that surround the problem of child sexual abuse. It is these myths that fuel the hysteria surrounding considerations of childhood sexuality (Okami, 1994). First, professionals need to rebut the myth that early sexual experiences are necessarily and inevitably psychologically harmful.--Identifying and Dealing with "Child Savers" Thomas D. Oellerich
"I write '1, 5, 21, 50' on the board and ask my students, 'Which is the percentage of pedophilesin the country?'" said Paul Okami, in the University of California at Los Angeles psychology department, who has analyzed the data on pedophilia in America. "The answer is all of them." That's because "pedophile," depending on the legal statute, the perception of the psychologist, or the biases of the journalist, can be anything from a college freshman who has once masturbated with a fantasy of a twelve-year-old in mind to an adult who has had sexual contact with an infant. (Levine 25) From Judith Levine's Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex

see also: Okami, P. (1992). Child perpetrators of sexual abuse: The emergence of a
problematic deviant category. Journal of Sex Research, 29(1).
Children aren't hurt or helped by sharing bed with parents

Routine parent-child bedsharing before 6 years of age appears to have no major impact on a child's subsequent development or behavior -- for better or for worse, the first long-term study of the practice reveals.

The researchers' finding that there is "no evidence linking [early parent-child bedsharing], when engaged in responsibly, with any sort of problematic outcome" should give experts who caution against the practice reason to reconsider their advice, according to lead author Paul Okami, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Okami notes that a large majority of the world's children share a room, if not a bed, with their parents. Yet American parents receive conflicting messages about the practice.

"Many -- perhaps most -- experts do not advocate bedsharing, and the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against 'routine' bedsharing," he explains. These detractors voice concerns that the practice may have such negative impacts as causing sleep disorders and interfering with normal psychosexual development.

At the same time, Okami observes, "A number of clinicians and child-rearing experts have advocated purposeful parent-child bedsharing, or 'the family bed' as it has come to be known." These proponents claim such long-term benefits to the child as an increased capacity for intimacy.

Okami and his colleagues followed a group of 205 California-born children and their parents since the children were born in 1975. Three-quarters of the families led "unconventional" lifestyles, such as single parenthood and collective living, at the study's beginning; many endorsed "natural" child-rearing practices. For this reason, the larger study -- known as the Family Lifestyles Project -- provided an unusual opportunity to investigate patterns of bedsharing and their effects.

As described in the August issue of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, the investigators asked parents to describe their children's usual sleeping arrangements four times: age 5 months and 3, 4 and 6 years.

At 5 months, 35 percent of the parents reported having their infants in the same room or bed with them at least intermittently, but only 9 percent reported regular bedsharing. The overall rate of regular bedsharing held steady at 6 percent between ages 3 and 5, then fell to 3 percent at age 6.

Bedsharing at some point before age 6 years was most common among those unconventional parents who considered themselves "pronatural" (20 percent) and least common among the conventional parents who were married and living together (2 percent).

Extensive analysis of bedsharing and various developmental and behavioral outcomes, Okami reports, "[did] not support fears that bedsharing would lead to psychosexually troubled relationships later in childhood and adolescence, behavior problems and difficulties in peer and intimate relationships, or early childhood sleep problems."

Children whose parents reported that they were regularly part of a "family bed" at 5 months were no more likely than their non-bedsharing counterparts to experience sleep problems at 2 and 3 years of age.

At age 6, there was no obvious relationship between bedsharing score and behavioral maturity, emotional maturity, mood and affect, or creativity. Nor was there evidence that bedsharing had a negative or positive effect on a child's sexual fantasies, concerns or preoccupations.

At age 18, the amount of time a child had spent in the "family bed" had no significant impact on his or her ability to relate to parents, adults in general, other family members or peers. Nor was there evidence of a link between bedsharing history and a child's likelihood of using alcohol, tobacco or hard drugs; having problems with self-acceptance or considering suicide; engaging in vandalism, fights or serious crimes; being sexually active; or having either positive or negative sexual experiences.

If anything, the investigators note, their data indicate small but widespread benefits to children where bedsharing is "part of a wider set of pronatural child-rearing practices and framed by humanistic/egalitarian values," as opposed to a reflection of an underlying pathology such as sexual abuse.

Okami, P. Self-reports of positive childhood and adolescent sexual contacts with older persons - an exploratory study. Archives Of Sexual Behaviour. 20 (5), 1991

>> Date: Sun, 19 Jul 98 11:13:57 -0600
>> From: under006 <>
>> To: "Paul Okami" <>, <>
>> CC: <>
>> For those concerned about the topic of child pornography there may be
>> some interest in an article we published in the journal, Issues in Child
>> Abuse Accusations. Here is the reference. Schuijer, J., & Rossen, B.
>> (1992). The trade in child pornography. Issues in Child Abuse
>> Accusations, 4(2), 55-107.
>> Schuijer and Rossen did a content analysis of over 10,370 photos in child
>> pornography magazines and report on the nature of the depictions. The
>> sample is estimated to be 1/4th of the Eureopean material and that is
>> about 1/5 of the world production. They developed a hardness scale and
>> report that 62% of the photographs do not depict any sexual activity. On
>> their scale 9% of boy photos and 26% of girl photos are hard. They
>> provide estimates of the number of children involved and the economic
>> size of the trade in child pornography. They also deal with the response
>> of children to being involved in the production using the police dossier
>> of interviews with children photographed by the most well known Dutch
>> photographer of naked children who was charged and convicted.
>> If anyone is interested, please let us know and we will provide copies of
>> the study. Their claim is that there is a mythology about child
>> pornography and they seek to present facts that may be more accurate.
>> Ralph Underwager