Help me with my sexual thoughts about my step-daughter.

Dear Stop It Now!,

I have been fantasizing about having sex with my 12 year old step-daughter. Sometimes I masturbate to these fantasies.  I’ve never touched her and I don’t think I will but I think about her sexually almost daily. Is there anything to help me stop thinking this way?

Dear Concerned Adult,

There is help available; there are caring people who can help you understand your thoughts and feelings. They can support you as you make a plan to never act out those feelings with your step-daughter or any other child.

Pay attention to warning signs

While having sexual thoughts and fantasies towards a child doesn’t automatically mean that you are at-risk for abusing a child, it is important to pay attention to the warning signs of at-risk adult actions and to look at our tip sheet, Twelve questions about your behavior only you can answer. It is vital to take action if you see these warning signs, even if you see them in yourself.

Fantasies about children can be harmful even if you have no intention of acting on them. They can desensitize you to images of children in sexual situations and many adults who sexually abused a child have told us that they initially had sexual fantasies about children. Our website has additional information at: For those at risk to abuse or who have offended.  Please pay special attention the section, Help for adults concerned about their own thoughts or behaviors.

Plan for safety and getting help

So, it is important for you to take responsible actions in both preventing harm to any child and to get help. Creating a plan for safety needs to be your priority. This link will help you both take steps in the moment to make sure that you are not at risk for acting on your fantasies, as well as for getting professional help. There are therapists who specialize in sexually problematic behavior who are are knowledgeable and compassionate. Please see our resources for specialized treatment or therapy.

Reaching out today was a very courageous step. Now you have some additional steps to take to keep yourself and your step daughter safe. There are supports available for you; please seek them out.

Take care,
Stop It Now!

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Last edited on: August 24th, 2012