I Wonder if I Am a Pedophile

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We get a lot of emails from worried people who think they are pedophiles but aren’t. We also get some from people who are looking to find reasons they may not be pedophiles, even though they are.

If you’re unsure about yourself, read our guidance, based on hundreds of conversations with people we’ve met in our community or who have approached us.

We don’t know you, and we can’t see inside your head, so ultimately only you will know whether you really are a pedophile, but it helps to have more in depth information if you think it’s a possibility.

You are a pedophile if:

  • you often experience sexual and/or romantic attraction to prepubescent children
  • you are well into or past puberty yourself

You are a hebephile if:

  • you often experience sexual and/or romantic attraction to children in the early stages of puberty
  • you are past puberty yourself

You can’t be counted as a pedophile or hebephile if:

  • you haven’t yet reached the age of puberty

The following things don’t reveal whether you’re a pedophile or not:

  • your birth sex or your current gender
  • the gender(s) you are attracted to
  • how you dress
  • being attracted to children when you were their age
  • being able to tell which children will be attractive when they grow up
  • being attracted to sexually mature teenagers or to much younger adults, regardless of your own age
  • being sexually abused when underage
  • having sexual experiences when underage
  • having seen CSAM (child sexual abuse material) or CSEM (child sexual exploitation material), even if frequently
  • having sexually abused anyone, even if it was a child
  • attractions to things, activities or beings that are not human children
  • having or lacking sexual and/or romantic interest in adults
  • the number of sexual experiences you had, even if zero
  • the level of your sex drive
  • being kinky about things to do with childhood (e.g. ageplay, ABDL)
  • wishing you were a child
  • your political views on issues affecting children
  • your views about pedophilia
  • being friends with, or avoiding being friends with pedophiles

You might have Pedophilic Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (POCD), but not necessarily pedophiilia, if

  • you obsessively wonder if you are a pedophile, despite no clear evidence you’re attracted to children. Find out more in the link below.

The word ‘pedophile’ is thrown around these days to mean all kinds of things and behaviors, which means many people fear they are pedophiles when they aren’t.

It’s important to understand that ‘pedophile’ has a specific meaning. If it applies to you, then, OK, it applies to you. There’s nothing to fear in acknowledging it to yourself. Hopefully the rest of our site can help you work out what to do about it next.

If it doesn’t apply to you, then, OK, you’re something other than a pedophile. Your search to find out what you are instead can continue on some other part of the Internet. Have a great day.


We get a lot of emails from people who don’t think they are pedophiles, but constantly worry that they might be. When we ask them whether they’re attracted sexually or romantically to children, they reply something like “No, but sometimes I worry that I’m just in denial.”

It’s really hard to know what is going on for these people but recently the condition of POCD is becoming better known, and it’s a possible explanation for their feelings.

Find out more