DO NOT HAVE SEXUAL CONTACT WITH A CHILD. If in any doubt, avoid being alone with children who you find attractive so as to avoid temptation.
Many pedophiles go through periods of depression and even self-hate as a result of their attractions. Remember that being sexually attracted to a child does not make you a bad person if you don't have sex with them. After all, you didn't choose to be sexually attracted to children and you can't stop being sexually attracted to children, but you can successfully resist your attraction. Sexual thoughts can't hurt a child, only sexual actions can do that.
Instead of facing it alone, seek help from others.
Join the Virtuous Pedophiles online discussion group if you think peer support would be useful (write to ). There is no substitute for a compassionate, well-trained therapist. But peer support is free, it is anonymous, and you can benefit from the wisdom of hundreds of pedophiles worldwide, some of whom can likely relate to just about any aspect of your situation. Discussions are monitored to make sure there is no sympathy or encouragement for offending.
If you feel that you could use help from a mental health professional, find a competent therapist. The list below provides a list of referral sources to mental health professionals who have experience in treating pedophiles. We do not have personal knowledge of the professionals so you should not take the lists as endorsements of any kind. They do, however, provide a good place for you to start your search.
Before revealing your personal situation, you should ask a therapist about the conditions under which he or she would break confidentiality and notify the police or others. You should be able to ask confidentiality-related questions over the phone before making an appointment or even revealing your name. When you do reveal an attraction to children, pay attention to the therapist's reaction. If he or she seems cold, judgmental, or uncomfortable, it may be time to try another therapist.
First, it is very important to realize that you are not alone. Approximately 1-2% of males (we know of no estimates for females) are primarily attracted to children and nearly all of them begin to realize this when they are young teens. That's a lot of people, and just about every teen who thinks they might be a pedophile feels terrible about it.
Second, you're young, and things might change. So don't get too discouraged. Lots of people think they might be pedophiles when they're younger because they're attracted to younger kids, and they later discover that they were mistaken. You might find your attractions for people your own age may grow and travel along with you.
Third, concentrate on all the other parts of life that aren't about sex and dating. We bet your parents would be all in favor of that anyway. :-) Don't panic. IF you turn out to be a pedophile, know that life can still be very rewarding. You can certainly refrain from abusing kids. You can do great things with all the other parts of life. Some of our members have married and been in happy emotional relationships, including being parents. Their primary sexual attraction may be to children, but they have enough attraction to adults to enable them to be happily married.
Most importantly, do not engage in any sexual activity with children. Do not look at CSAM/child porn. It might seem impossible that a series of mouse clicks to see some pictures can be a very serious crime, but it can. You can face years in prison.
If you are over 18, you could consider joining our online support group. Contact us for details.
If you are tempted to confide your feelings to anyone else, think about it very carefully. If you must, a parent or an adult close family friend might be the best choice.
A few of our older members thought about the kind of advice that would have been helpful to receive when they were younger, and actually wrote letters to their younger selves. Some of the advice in these letters might be helpful to you as well. See the "Letters to Self" tab under "Who We Are".
Of course, much of the information in the "If You Are A Pedophile" tab will be helpful to you as well!
Many women have written to Virtuous Pedophiles having discovered their partner is attracted to children. So if you are in that position, you are not alone. If you contact us we can share some advice based on the specifics of your situation. General advice is that unless a child is in danger, do not make hasty decisions.
Ethan's blog entry on the subject:
Your client admits to a sexual attraction to children. What do you do?
There are many people who are sexually attracted to children who say they have never molested a child and are committed to not doing so. They haven’t chosen to be sexually attracted to children, and they can’t stop being sexually attracted to children, but they can and have successfully resisted their attractions.
Some fear that they may harm a child in the future, but more are confident they won't. Many are depressed and even suicidal. They know most of their friends and family would reject them if they knew their big secret. Many themselves believe they are bad people. They see a future that is totally lacking in love and intimacy.
They are also reluctant to see a therapist. They fear that the therapist will condemn them, and worse, report them to authorities. Here is a personal account that we received from one of our members:
I've never had sexual contact with any prepubescent girls, but the attraction is very strong. I knew I needed help and went to a therapist. The first session I touched on my attractions and my issues. The look he gave me was one of retreat, shying away from the conversation to a place within his own mind where it was safe from the horror of what he had just heard. I had been brave enough to ask for help, but at the end of the first session, I knew there was no way I was going to seek therapy ever again. There is no point. I am on my own.
Therapists are trained to bring empathy and understanding to people who suffer from various unfortunate conditions. Too often this ends abruptly when a client admits sexual attraction to children.
We would ask that you resist the false belief that all pedophiles abuse children. Remember, your client most likely shares your goal of making sure that no children come to harm. After all, the patient in your office has come to you seeking help. This would not make sense if his or her goal was to molest a child.
View the client not just as a potential child molester, but as a complicated person with difficult life problems. In addition to helping the client live a child-celibate life, be willing to address these other problems as well.
Be clear and direct about the circumstances that would lead you to make a report to authorities. If that includes your judgment of a risk of future abuse, consider the possibility that this risk might be very small. There are two kinds of mistakes you can make. Failing to report someone who then abuses a child is the obvious one. But reporting when there is no serious danger can start an investigation that can ruin an innocent person's life.
As long as pedophiles believe they can be subjected to a life-destroying investigation when they have not done anything wrong, a great many will not seek the help from therapists that could protect children.