Many people who sexually abuse children had sexual thoughts or fantasies about children before they ever acted on those thoughts and feelings. And, many people who have sexual thoughts or fantasies about children never act on those thoughts or feelings. Sexual thoughts or fantasies can be a warning sign to pay attention to, particularly if the thoughts are persistent.
If you are having sexual thoughts or fantasies towards children, you may want to talk to someone who specializes in working with people with sexual behavior concerns. [insert link to SO Tx page] Too often, people don’t know that there is help available for someone who is having sexual thoughts or feelings towards children. While it can be scary or embarrassing to talk about this, you are not alone.
There are caring people who can help you understand your thoughts or feelings and help you to be sure that you never act out those feelings with a child or underage teen. If you are unable to talk with someone who specializes in sexual behavior concerns, talk with a trusted adult who you believe can help you to stay safe and get any help you need so that you don’t act on sexual thoughts or fantasies with children.
Teenagers can also have sexual thoughts or feelings about younger children. Some people who sexually abuse children started their abusive behaviors around or shortly after reaching puberty, a time when they may be flooded with sexual feelings and don’t have the impulse control or perspective to keep from acting on sexual urges. It is important that we talk to kids about how some teens do feel sexually attracted to children and that it is never okay to act on those feelings.
People can be sexually attracted to children and never act on those feelings. Some people who have pedophilia (a mental health diagnosis for someone who has a persistent and exclusive sexual attraction to children) never cross the line from being sexually attracted to children and acting on those feelings. They can create a lifestyle that supports them in staying away from situations they may find tempting. They often will confide their attraction to someone (perhaps a professional) who can help them to stay safe.
The Internet and the availability of sexualized images of children and underage teens may “normalize” seeing children or underage teens as potential sexual partners. People can get the impression that “everyone is doing it” or that children are willing partners or that it is okay to be sexual with children. But, it is never okay to be sexual with children and sexual abuse is a crime with serious consequences.
If you are starting to think about being sexual with children or underage teens, get specialized help immediately before you completely change your future.