The below are answers given by selected members of the VirPed forum who are all pedophiles. They are speaking for themselves and not for the organization.
“Two Italian Podcasters” ask:
When did you decide to talk to someone [about your attraction to children]? Who did you talk to?
I’m unsure if the question is about just talking to a non map or anyone including maps. If it’s the first option than I’ve never come out to anyone not in the community. I’ve wanted to come out to my parents but it’s to much of a risk for me. There’s young kids around that fall into my attraction and while I can control myself around them just fine I don’t want to risk my parents deciding I can’t be trusted and turning on me. I hope I’ll be able to one day. It sucks having to hide a big part of myself from them. Especially as I tell them basically everything else.
If option two I went a long time without talking to any other maps, was scared to. Eventually I joined the community but quickly left again, having unfortunately made a friend who gave me pro contact vibes. But being alone was too much to handle and I eventually came back. Having a map friend helped a lot, didn’t feel so alone but even that wasn’t enough. Once I got over the nerves I made other map friends and the community I got from it changed my life and slowly turned my mental state from the worst it’s ever been to the best it’s ever been during the time I’ve known I was a map. There’s no substitute for having friends who understand what it’s like to deal with this and can relate to me and my struggles.
When I was a teenager (mid-late 90s), I found myself attracted to kids that my friend’s parents babysat. Being distressed at this, I searched for help on the internet. Upon finding a pro-contact pedophile support group (anti-contact wouldn’t exist for some time) and realizing these people understood me, I became emboldened to tell a few of my closest friends. They supported me for a while, but I talked too much about it, and likely from an ideological pro-contact standpoint at the time (though I never offended). The last conversation about this ended with one of my friends saying to me ‘You sure do have a lot of demons.’ I understand the reaction given the context, but this was painful to hear. I just wanted someone to talk to in order to work through these feelings. Honestly, I just needed a therapist I could trust.
I decided to talk to someone when i couldn’t handle things on my own anymore, around the time I had turned 22. I knew there had to be others like me, with this attraction who haven’t and didn’t want to offend. That thought led me to one of Todd Nickerson’s videos which then led me to virped. I went in cautiously but quickly found it so relieving and surreal to see others talk about the same thoughts and feelings i’d long kept hidden.
It allowed me to open up myself and finally come out of my shell, into the person I can say I’m proud to be today. Being able to talk with others like me led me to telling people in my life and finding that acceptance and understanding didn’t have to just come from people like me. I’ve since told my mom, stepdad, sister and fiancé and couldn’t be happier.
I was in my 30s and a parent to young children. Due to the societal narrative that all pedophiles must inevitably offend, I believed this of myself. I was caught in a catch-22 between destroying my children’s lives by my own suicide or destroying them by eventually committing a contact offense. I sat on this conundrum for years, but finally decided that I would kill myself. I just wanted someone to know and understand why, the real reason why. I knew people would attribute it to my depression and history of suicidal ideation, but the real reason would remain obscured. I decided to tell my very best friend. If he rejected me, which I was mostly sure he wouldn’t do, I was already planning to kill myself, so no real harm done.
He accepted me, so deeply and lovingly and nonjudgmentally. It changed my life, and I’ve never lived life so fully as I have since that moment.
Since then I have come out to about eight other people in real life, including my boyfriend. Everyone has been accepting to varying degrees. The worst were neutral, the best have been curious and trusting. I’m not ashamed of who I am anymore, and I’m generally happy to talk about my experiences, though I am mindful of who I’m talking to and how much I can say to them.
I had always known I was ‘different’ than my peers, and at the back of my mind I suppose I did know that my feelings towards prepubescent boys were sexual and romantic, but denial can be an incredibly powerful thing. The realization that I was a pedophile came right about the time I was completing university and it hit me like a sledgehammer. For weeks I would barely eat or sleep and spend all my time reading about pedophilia online, which only served to throw me deeper into depression. It was at this time I decided that I had to tell my parents about it. My mind was a mess, and I’m not sure if there was any reasoning behind it or any considerations as to whether it would be a good idea or not. All I was certain of was that they loved me unconditionally and that was enough for me to take the leap. I wrote a letter for them to read and told them to come to me once they were done, and even though I was terrified at the time it went as well as it could. Shortly thereafter I came out to my therapist who I had been working with for other issues for several years and who I trusted completely. That also went well and I still see her regularly.
I felt a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I wasn’t depressed anymore and felt fairly content with my life for the next few years, but looking back on it now I was still extremely lonly. The idea of reaching out to other non-offending pedophiles gradually became more and more appealing, and finally reaching out to Virped was the best decision I’ve made in my life so far.
I have since come out to my sister, which also went really well.
Having dealt with an attraction to young girls since the age of 14, I finally reached out to Virped in my late 40s, having struggled on and off for my entire adult life and attempted (and failed) to live a normal life and blend in.
Talking to fellow MAPs in a support group for those of us who wish to avoid acting on our attractions really helped me accept and like myself. I’ve made some good friendships, people around whom I can truly be myself and not have to hide anything.
I first spoke about my minor attraction with two federal postal inspectors investigating me for possession of child pornography, a crime for which I served a year in prison.
It is an unfortunate way of being outed, one I cannot recommend to others. But looking back, I am grateful. I had been struggling with this compulsion my entire adult life, and it was such a dark, painful secret to keep. I feel great shame over my illegal activities, but I simply could not conquer these behaviors on my own.
As awful as it was, loss of job, freedom, and reputation, my life is better. Some shun me, but others, more than I thought, have stood by me, and are my true friends and family. I hope that by being a member of VP I am contributing in a small way to making the world better for MAPs and safer for children.
When I was 16, it first dawned on me that I was a pedophile through discovering the existence of VirPed and Todd’s Salon article. I was suddenly terrified that I would turn out to be a monster, and I was desperate to open up to anyone about it. That year, I decided to come out to my mum. She was initially accepting, but later became very judgemental about me and believed me to be a constant threat to kids.
Since joining VirPed, I have learned to accept myself more and I have found it much easier to talk about this with fellow pedophiles as opposed to non-pedophiles. There’s a certain level of understanding that can only be met through peer support, at least in my experience. I have made the decision to not come out to anyone else besides other pedophiles, primarily for my own safety and well-being, as I already have an outlet to talk about this side of my life with trusted friends who I have met on VirPed.
I’ll assume the question is about coming out to non-maps for the purposes of my answer:
I had been in the community for a little over a year and I wanted to be “seen” by my best friend rather than masking with them. It was only when I had accepted myself to some degree that I felt this was a logical next step.
The act of pretending to like adults around them was draining and I believed they would react positively if they knew the struggles I was living with. Thankfully, they did react positively and it didn’t change how they saw me. After coming out to my best friend, I then came out to a family member who asked what changed in my demeanour as they could see I had been struggling since they’d known me so I told them. They had questions which I answered and they still loved me. My coming out has gone well so far but it could have gone badly so easily; I’m thankful those I have come out to have been able to see past the stigma of pedophillia.
I’ve never talked to a Non-map about it (not counting non-maps who are members of virped). What made me decide to ’talk’ about it (in the form of confessing it online in the hope that doing so might help with the strong negative state of mind) was a deep depression that seemed to come out of nowhere, suddenly, and with no obvious trigger. I’d lived with the knowledge of my interest for approximately 25 years up to that point (albeit with a self loathing that I’d also learned to live with, with bouts of denial) , then that sudden hopelessness came, and some time later (weeks, months, I can’t remember) I went to reddit’s r/confession subreddit with the intention of opening up about it (using a throwaway account) but saw their rule against confessions of that nature. Then I saw that they had a link to virped, followed, read, emailed asking for access to the forum, and the rest is history. So I’ve talked to people in that community about it, and nobody else. I’ve often thought about confiding in close trusted family and/or friends but so far I’ve talked myself out of it.
I decided not to come out to any non MAPs. But the subject did come out when talking to my brother. He had talked about his quirky sexuality and I figured oh why not. But he said he’d known for years. He had stayed alone at my place and looked at video clips I’d recorded from TV. He thought It was no big deal. My mom found out when I got arrested for images. She got used to it.
The first person I talked to about my minor attraction was my wife, and soon after that a therapist. I was in my 40s. Secrets have a way of swelling up and taking over everything. I had worked up such negativity about my minor attraction that I just didn’t care what the outcome was, I had to let it out. That was a pivotal time for me as I was accepted for who I was and supported. Since then, I have found some great friends who also share my struggle. I am in a much healthier place with everything now. I recognize my minor attraction as something that I didn’t ask for, and didn’t cause. And as much as I wish I could, I can not make it go away. What I can control is how I see the situation. I have extricated myself from the societal mindset that just having the attraction is evil. This is something I have little to no control over. What I can control is my actions and I have been doing that all my life. That is the easy part.
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It took me from age 14 or 15 (when I realised I was a pedophile) to about age 21 before I was telling other people about it. At that point I needed someone to compare notes about it with, and there was just nobody. I first mentioned it to what I thought would be a fairly understanding straight male friend. I think until that point I’d assumed that “everyone has this but nobody talks about it”, so I assumed I might get at least some acknowledgement he liked mid-teen girls or something, but he just went pretty quiet and then later told his girlfriend, who was also a friend of mine. She intervened and told me to stop telling people, and that he had had to restrain himself from punching me.
She and I had some long conversations about it, and although she was very smart and objective on the topic, and didn’t resort to prejudiced comments, she didn’t have much useful advice for me, other than to encourage me to be discreet before I destroyed my future. How could she really have better advice than that? It wasn’t a subject she understood.
Other than telling my mother (in the same conversation where she disclosed she had been sexually abused as a child), I sort of left it there. I did come out to a couple other people in my twenties. It was always a mistake because the person couldn’t handle it or give any useful advice other than, basically, “stop talking about this”.
I did reach out for a pedo penpal around that same time, but I didn’t like who I found, and so I gave up on that too.
It took another twenty years after those bad experiences for me to consider disclosing again, and I only started attempting it again after I had connected in my 40s to the anti-contact MAP community and sort of figured out what kind of MAP I was compared to others. I then found a MAP-aware therapist and talked to him for a couple of years before I started coming out in a much more controlled and thoughtful way than my twenties, choosing only people where I had reason to believe they would deal with it maturely and without panicking. Being older, I now knew more people with the life experience and perspective to fulfil this criterion. These comings out have largely gone well but I wish I had had some advice and mentoring in my twenties instead. I made some irreversible decisions at that time to tell some people I shouldn’t have told, but I can’t take that back. I’ve spent a lot of the time since fearing that those disclosures could come back to ruin my life in some way. It’s possible that in the background, without my knowledge, they have affected the opportunities and friendships that I might otherwise have had.