Tip Sheet: Fifteen Questions About Your Thoughts and Behaviors that Only You Can Answer
Do you need help?
If you are wondering about your own sexual thoughts and behaviors toward children, we encourage you to answer these questions honestly. They are designed to help you decide whether you may need help. Take a few minutes to ask yourself the following fifteen questions.
If you answer ‘yes’ to more than one question or aren’t sure about how to respond, we encourage you to seek more information, support and help from a professional trained in adult sexual behaviors. There are some people who find themselves attracted to children or teens, and feel concerned about these sexual interests. If your own well-being is being impacted by minor-attractions, we encourage you to seek support. You don’t have to figure this out alone. Please visit our Online Help Center for information, guidance and referrals. You can also contact the Helpline for confidential help on your own personal situation on the Get Help Now! page.
Answer YES or NO to the Following Questions:
- Have you ever felt a sexual attraction to children or underage teenagers (a boy or girl 17 years old or younger)?
- Have you been unable to talk to anyone about those feelings and/or believe that you must keep your feelings a secret?
- Have you looked at or purchased sexual materials that showed children or underage teens?
- Have you ever had sexual contact with children or underage teens and/or secretly watched children or underage teens (window peeping or voyeurism) or exposed yourself (exhibitionism) to children or underage teens for sexual, romantic or other purposes?
- Have you bought gifts for children or underage teens, offered favors, or given them money in order to get them to trust you and like you so that you could be physically, emotionally, or sexually close to them? If so, were you hopeful that you could touch them sexually, or have a sexual and/or intimate relationship with them?
- Have you felt distress over your sexual or romantic thoughts and/or behaviors with children that were, or were designed, to get children to trust you so that you could have a sexual and/or intimate relationship with them?
- Have you shown pornography (or material that is sexual in nature) to children or underage teens, or intentionally left it where they could find?
- Have you sexualized or romanticized an interaction with a child or underage teen, such as eye contact or a hug, or told yourself "age is just a number," or "he/she is mature for his/her age," or something similar to make yourself feel better about your sexual thoughts or behaviors toward children or underage teens?
- Have you ever wanted to stop looking at sexual materials of children and found you could not stop?
- Have you had intrusive fantasies or sexualization of children but felt unable to control those thoughts?
- Do you find that romantic/sexual fantasies about, or sexual behavior toward, children or underage teens interferes with your life in any way?
- Does your sexual attraction to children or underage teens conflict with your spiritual beliefs or moral values?
- If you have shared your attractions to minors with another person, have they expressed concern that your beliefs around contact with children are harmful?
- Has your sexual attraction to children ever left you feeling worried or frightened, ashamed, hopeless or suicidal, different or alienated from others? Note: answer yes if these feelings are not attributed to an external mental health diagnosis or issue, use of substances or other external life event responsible for these feelings.
- Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you were not sexually attracted to children or underage teens?
How You Can Find Confidential Help
Stop It Now!'s Online Help Center is a private, 24/7 online resource for people with concerns or questions about child sexual abuse. No personally identifiable information is required to get answers through the Online Help Center. The Online Help Center offers specialized information related to your situation, customized guidance on how to talk with others about your concerns, and lists of organizations that offer services to help you cope.
If you still have questions, you can call the Stop It Now! confidential, toll-free Helpline at 1.888.PREVENT, write help [at] stopitnow.org or use our chat service to talk to a trained professional. Caller ID is not used on this line. If you are thinking about sexual interactions with a child, the Stop It Now! Online Help Center and Helpline can assist you in finding the help you need to keep yourself and children safe. If you have already sexually abused a child or if you are unsure about whether or not what you have done is illegal, you can still reach out for confidential help to learn about taking steps to stop and be able to take responsibility for your behavior. If Stop It Now! becomes aware of the identity and specific location of a child being abused and/or a person abusing children, we are mandated to report that to the authorities. We do not seek out that information, and maintain a secure server.
Revised July 2018. Stop It Now! would like to thank Steven Sawyer, MSSW, LICSW, Dr. Jill Levenson, Candice Christiansen, M.Ed., LCMHC and Meg Martinez-Dettamanti, MS, LACMHC for their review and revisions.
Share Prevention Tip Sheets in Your Community
We encourage you to print and share these tip sheets in your family and community. Our tip sheets are licensed under the Creative Commons, which allows you to reproduce them as long as you follow these Guidelines. Please contact us about permissions and to tell us how you plan to put our resources to work.
For more information and guidance, please visit our Online Help Center.