Child molester is sometimes used by boylovers and girllovers as a pejorative term for an adult who rapes or otherwise coerces a child into unwanted sexual activity. Usage varies among the general population, but in most instances the term is applied to any person who has been convicted of child molestation. (The term "molestation", however, rarely or never appears in statutes; instead, terms like "sexual abuse" or "rape" are used.)
Boylovers frequently express a disdain for child molestation equal to (if not more vigorous than) that expressed by society at large. Boylovers have the added burden, however, of having to work against a common assumption that boylove, sexually expressed or not, is in and of itself child molestation.
The distinguishing factor between a boylover and a child molester is that of thought, action, and—where action is concerned—consent. Whereas a child molester is someone who has commited an act of molestation, a boylover is simply somebody who is attracted—often sexually—to boys, which is not an action. While a boylover will respect the wishes of the child and put his or her wellbeing above any personal considerations, a child molester is simply using a child as an object for sexual gratification and is unconcerned with the child's wishes.
Western society commonly argues that if a person is below the age of consent (itself a Western idea), he or she is not able to give informed consent to a sexual relationship. Society also does not permit a parent to consent for the child. People who hold these views argue that any sexual intimacy with a minor, even if the child thoroughly enjoyed it, even if the child initiated it, is an act of child molestation. Many boylovers argue that depending on age and psychological maturity, boys can give informed consent and sometimes actively seek a sexual relationship with an adult friend. Such a relationship, they argue, is not child molestation. Note that some may hold this view and still be opposed to sexual relationships with boys because of society's harmful reaction towards the boys or the legal implications for themselves.