Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 masterpiece Lolita
has only grown more infamous with age.
Dazzling as it may be, Lolita is an especially
hard sell in this age of trigger warnings
and the #MeToo movement.
After all, Humbert Humbert is not only the most
unreliable narrator ever to slither his way
through the pages of a novel, he’s also a
middle-aged paederast who’s fantasising about
defiling 12-year-old Dolores Haze, aka, Lolita
For those who admire Nabokov’s gifts, talking
about Lolita can feel like being on a perpetual
critical cartwheel of exaltation and apology:
celebrating the novel’s artistry while decrying
the corruption that artistry captures.
I Dream of Lolita
“How did they ever make a film of Lolita?” asked
the ads promoted the film’s release.
“They” inevitably came down to director
Stanley Kubrick who commissioned Lolita’s
author, Vladimir Nabokov, to write the screenplay.
The question, posed in the waning years of
old-school censorship, wondered how the story
of a middle-aged academic having his way sexually
with a 12-year old girl got the green-light.
Even the novel was initially banned in the
U.S. before it became a runaway bestseller.
Paedophilia is a particular class of sex crime,
a particular species of sexual predator.
How is it that such crimes can become
spectacle, entertainment, even art?
Nabokov denied any moral purpose behind his story.
The abuse endured by girls like the nymphet in
his novel should be exceptionally disturbing in
any era but Lolita was often read voyeuristically.
It was celebrated by many in the 1960s as a facet
of the sexual revolution. The radical hippie movement
hailed the book as emancipatory. A long cry from
today’s hysterical response to the paedophile bogeyman.
Desirable Teenage Girls
in Adolescent Girls
Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in with an adult, result in no identifiable damage. We need a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage.
That was a quotation from a 1976 report by the National Council for Civil Liberties, now known as Liberty. It’s difficult today, after revelations about Jimmy Savile and child abuse allegations, to imagine any mainstream group making anything like such a claim.
It’s surprising to discover how little agreement there is even now among those who are considered experts on the subject. A liberal professor of psychology who studied in the late 1970s will see things very differently from someone working in child protection, or with convicted sex offenders.
There’s not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophile relations necessarily cause harm. What we can do is more clearly define the paraphilias involved.
A paedophile is someone who has a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children. Savile appears to have been primarily an ephebophile, defined as someone who has a similar preferential attraction to adolescents.
Ephebophilia [pronounced a-febo-filia] is the primary or exclusive adult sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents. The person can be a man or woman who finds teenage sexuality arousing. They use the shortened form ‘febo’ on their internet forums.
It’s one of a number of sexual preferences across age groups subsumed under the technical term “chronophilia”. Ephebophilia strictly denotes the preference for mid-to-late adolescent sexual partners, not the mere presence of some level of sexual attraction.
In sexual ethics, it may be defined as a sexual preference for girls generally 14–16 years old, and boys generally 14–19 years old. Some authors define ephebophilia as a sexual preference for pubescent and adolescent boys.
The term pedophilia is commonly used to refer to any sexual interest in minors below the legal age of consent, regardless of their level of physical, mental, or psychological development.
Because mid-to-late adolescents usually have physical characteristics near (or in some cases, identical) to that of full-grown adults, some level of sexual attraction to persons in the age group is common among adults.
Generally, the preference is not regarded by psychologists as a pathology when it does not interfere with other major areas of one’s life, and is not seen as a mental disorder or a paraphilia.
Few would want to label erotic interest in late — or even mid — adolescents as a psychopathology. Capitalism, through popular culture, has taken advantage of teenage sexual attraction to promote pop music, perfume and clothes. Pubescent sexuality has been commodified and exploited.
Lolita fashion is a subculture that started in Japan. It’s based on Victorian-era clothing as well as costumes from the Rococo period
I’ve been fascinated by Lolita fashion since way back in the day when I would join Japanese LiveJournal communities and drool over the pretty dresses.
I have a really hard time identifying with Lolita culture, though. Sex is so taboo within it, Lolitas hate it when fetishism and sex is brought into their circles.
I think that is fucking ridiculous. Doll culture is also similar. Collecting and modifying dolls is an adult hobby, so why is it considered so creepy when fetishism is brought into the mix?
This week, I watched a documentary by Marc de Guerre called Perfect Fake, about the “dark” side of doll culture. The movie uses tons of shocking imagery that give an unsettling view of sex dolls and computer-generated, hyper-realistic simulations of sex.
Without taking a side officially, I found that they focused more on how “bizarre” fetishism around inanimate objects is and less on how happy and fulfilled the consumers are by embracing their kink.
I’ve always been fascinated by Real Dolls and dollification fetishes. I think they’re awesome. I love it when a hobby of mine can be brought into my life as a fetishist. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with it, and I sure as hell don’t think its creepy.
Lolita and doll culture alike are always grouped into things like pedophilia and other weird illegal shit. Age play isn’t pedophilia, the two are completely separate, and I’ve never met an age player who condones the actual bringing of children into sexual acts. It’s between consenting adults and I think that’s totally cool.
There’s a saying in the kink world- Your Kink is Not My Kink. It basically means don’t be an asshole and judge people for what they’re into just because YOU aren’t into it. Doll and Lolita culture can learn a lot from that.
Just because my kink is not your kink doesn’t mean I’m a freak.