Allies and Activism
Information and resources for those looking to support MAPs
The first step to supporting minor-attracted people is taking the time to learn about them, their experiences, and relevant research.
Due to the stigma surrounding minor attractions, many hold false beliefs about these attractions and people who experience them.
Minor Attracted People (MAPs)
Coined by mental health experts at B4U-ACT and popularized by researchers in the mental health and CSA prevention fields, MAP is an umbrella term to describe someone with one or more minor attractions (nepiophilia, pedophilia, hebephilia, and ephebophilia). It is not a replacement for "pedophile," as a pedophile is attracted to prepubescent children, while a MAP can be attracted to minors of any developmental stage.
Many MAPs find comfort in the idea of pride. Interpretations vary, but it is typically described as "being proud to exist, find self-acceptance, and advocate for change in a world that opposes us." Despite their similar names, the MAP pride movement is not part of the LGBTQ pride movement, and most MAPs have no interest in linking the two.
A minor attraction is an attraction an individuals experiences toward a significantly younger minor. The term is typically used to describe sexual or romantic attractions, but people with other forms of attractions may choose to identify as minor-attracted. As with other attractions, most who experience minor attractions do not have sexual urges or a desire to rape the people to whom they are attracted.
Pedophilia is defined as an attraction to prepubescent children. It is a paraphilia (a sexual attraction to an atypical group of objects, people, or situations) and a chronophilia (a component of sexuality describing a stage of development to which someone is attracted). Contrary to popular belief, pedophilia, like other paraphilias, is not classified as a mental disorder.
Many MAPs experience mental health issues due to stigma, and some pursue professional support in order to overcome these. There is a widespread belief that this support should consist of conversion therapy, but this would be ineffective and likely lead to further harm. Instead, experts recommend that therapy for MAPs focus on self-acceptance.
Though research on minor-attracted people, especially non-offenders, is relatively new, the field is growing and providing fresh insights.
As with any group, there are some MAPs who commit sexual offenses. However, the notion that most or all MAPs sexually abuse children has been repeatedly disproven. According to current estimates, as many as 85% of MAPs never sexually offend against a child, and the majority of people who offend are not MAPs.
Though a majority of MAPs are interested in seeking professional support, they face a variety of challenges. These include the pervasiveness of untrained mental health professionals, most of whom wrongly believe that mandatory reporting laws require them to report clients who disclose an attraction to children, even when no laws have been broken.
Many believe that the stigma surrounding minor attractions is necessary to stop MAPs from offending, however, it likely does the opposite. MAPs who experience greater levels of internalized stigma are more likely to experience mental health issues correlated with a higher risk of offending.
Though difficult to find, stories about the experiences of minor-attracted people exist and are a great way to learn more about this group.
As their website states, this blog consists of "stories about pedophilia, written by pedophiles." In addition to personal narratives, they also have articles on the MAP community, activism, and relevant current events.
This award-winning article explores the isolation faced by minors who are MAPs and details the challenges they encounter when seeking support, as well as the steps some take to overcome these obstacles.
Written by a renowned child protection expert, this book contains stories about the experiences of non-offending MAPs as they navigate the setbacks and successes of life with stigmatized attractions.
This book looks at the movement behind the support group of the same name from the perspective of a long-term member. It also explains why support for MAPs is an essential component of child protection
There are a variety of steps that you can take to minimize your role in the stigma surrounding MAPs and their attractions.
Use Accurate Terminology
Using words correctly and helping others do the same prevents bigots from taking advantage of inaccurate language to stigmatize MAPs.
Donating to groups that connect MAPs with support allows them to reach a larger audience, making it easier for MAPs to find support.
The Association for Sexual Abuse Prevention is best known for maintaining a database of MAP-friendly therapists all over the world. They also provide a sexuality consultation program for MAPs and regularly hold expert-led workshops about supporting MAPs.
Since 2003, B4U-ACT has been working to improve the relationship between MAPs and mental health professionals by helping MAPs find safe therapists and educating professionals on how to effectively treat MAPs. They also maintain a list of MAP-friendly therapists in the United States.
The Prostasia Foundation is a child protection group working to keep kids safe while defending human rights. You can make a general donation via the link above, or you can earmark your donation for a support group for MAPs that partners with them.
As the only organization dedicated exclusively to advancing the wellbeing of minor-attracted people, MAP Resources compiles mental health resources and research on minor-attractions while engaging in various forms of outreach to increase public support and awareness of the MAP community.
The best way to support MAPs and fight the stigma and marginalization they face is to get involved and interact with the MAP community.
Many peer support groups for MAPs allow allies, and they are a great place to get involved with the community. Interacting with MAPs who are seeking guidance and companionship from others will give you valuable insight into the challenges and obstacles MAPs often encounter and help you better understand how you can support this marginalized group.
Some MAPs and allies engage in social media activism to educate the public about MAPs and help struggling MAPs find support resources. These activists often experience censorship, although the scope and frequency of bans and suspensions vary by platform. Twitter, Reddit, and Quora are some of the most popular mainstream platforms for MAP activism.
MAP activists and allies face numerous threats due to the controversial nature of their work. They are often targeted by hackers and vigilantes seeking to determine their real identity, potentially resulting in physical harm. Our Privacy and Security Guide has resources and suggestions for staying safe online.
Public advocacy in support of MAPs is a great way to fight back against the misinformation and lack of support faced by this group.
MAPs who are first discovering their attractions often struggle to find safe and effective support. Sharing resources combats this problem.
The main feature of this website is a shareable list of mental health resources for MAPs in need of support. Consider posting this website publicly, sharing it with any MAPs you know or meet, and encouraging those with a larger audience to do the same. We also maintain an archive of our resources list for those who are not comfortable using our website.
Some resources that claim to support MAPs contain stigmatizing language or harmful misinformation about minor attractions, which can negatively impact MAPs' mental health. If you encounter a resource that is not on our list, you can use our public Content Guidelines to check if it is trustworthy. If you believe the resource meets our guidelines, let us know.
False and misleading claims about MAPs often drive stigma and bigotry, so spreading accurate information is an important part of activism.
Facts and Infographics
Our MAP Facts page lists reputable sources that debunk common false claims regarding MAPs and minor attractions. Some facts also have links to educational infographics, which you can use to supplement your arguments.
If you would like to learn more about MAPs and minor attractions, check out our Research Summary and Blog, B4U-ACT's Summary of Research, and Prostasia Foundation's Research Library, which contain several peer-reviewed research papers. If you encounter a paywall, enter the paper's DOI into Sci-Hub.
Spread the Word
Due to censorship and the need for anonymity, MAP activists tend to have a limited audience. Allies can help by amplifying their voices.
Many social media platforms let you share content created by others with your own audience (retweets on Twitter, sharing posts to your story on Instagram, etc.). Use these features to signal-boost educational and support-focused content created by MAPs.
Get in touch with other MAP activists and coordinate your efforts to increase your effectiveness. Most MAP activists would be thrilled to work alongside an ally on a joint Instagram graphic or Twitter thread. You can even create shared accounts, spreading out the responsibilities and reducing stress.
Share MAP Stories
Many MAPs and allies are first exposed to the MAP community by hearing about a MAP's experience. Posting MAP stories, such as those on our homepage, helps to increase public awareness of the challenges MAPs face, leading to increased funding and resources for the groups working to address those obstacles.
Being a good ally is about more than just expressing support for MAPs. Here are some harmful mistakes that allies should avoid.
Accuracy and trust are vital components of allyship. Spreading false claims and misinformed opinions damages the credibility of all activists.
Necessity of Support
The claim that all MAPs need therapy is easily debunked, as the vast majority of MAPs never offend, even without support. Some people believe that only MAPs who are "getting help" deserve allies. However, this blames MAPs for the stigma that often limits or eliminates their ability to safely access support. The work of allies increases access to support.
MAPs and Kids
There is a widespread belief that MAPs should not work with or be around children. However, since it is widely acceptable for adults to be around other adults to whom they may be attracted, it is clear that the basis for this claim is the false belief that minor attractions are inherently dangerous or harmful.
In the vast majority of cases, minor attractions function the same as attractions to adults, so make sure your wording reflects this. Describing minor attractions as "urges" or a "desire to rape" reinforces the idea that they are somehow fundamentally different from other attractions and provides justification for those looking to perpetuate stigma.
Certain ideologies conflict with the core values of the MAP community. Promoting these viewpoints can make an ally seem unsupportive.
A fundamental stance in the MAP community is that attractions are not the same as actions. Since the former are unchosen and have no direct impact on the real world, they are not subject to laws or morality. As a result, all fantasies are both harmless and legal.
As members of a marginalized group, MAPs are particularly sensitive to all forms of bigotry. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other harmful ideologies have no place in a community centered around support and acceptance. Allies who express bigoted views about certain groups may find that MAPs outside those groups are wary of them.
Some MAPs use content (stories, drawings, dolls, etc.) involving fictional minors as an outlet for their attractions. It is important to recognize that this is considered a healthy and harmless outlet and there is no evidence suggesting that the use of such outlets increases a MAP's likelihood of offending.
The pro-recovery movement pushes the idea that MAPs and others with stigmatized paraphilias need to recover from the impacts of societal stigma. This is a form of victim-blaming, as it places the responsibility on those who are harmed by this stigma rather than the bigots who perpetuate it. Supporters of the movement have also been known to work with anti-MAPs and promote conversion therapy.
Speaking over members of a marginalized group is harmful, as it prevents them from spreading awareness about their experiences.
Part of supporting a marginalized group is experiencing a small amount of the stigma and hate that is directed at that group. It can be tempting to use the fact that you're "only an ally" to defend yourself from this, but doing so only reinforces the idea that MAPs deserve the unjustified attacks they often face.
In an effort to avoid backlash, some allies try to narrowly define the MAP community in a way that excludes more controversial groups, such as MAPs who offended in the past. However, the community has no centralized rules and can include anyone who experiences some form of attractions to minors. Of course, individuals who display harmful behaviors have limited connections with the community.
Some people may claim to be MAP allies but then withhold support from MAPs who they feel don't deserve it. While it is perfectly acceptable to prevent people who make you uncomfortable from interacting with you, using the promise of support as leverage to control or otherwise manipulate MAPs is not okay.
Focusing on Abuse
Protecting children is an important cause, and we support efforts to reduce rates of child sexual abuse. However, supporting MAPs for the sole purpose of preventing abuse does not make someone an ally. True allyship requires helping a marginalized group with the end goal of countering the stigma they face.
Certain groups of allies may benefit from supplementary resources and advice that are specific to their role and audience.
Mental health professionals are one of the most important groups of allies, as their profession makes them uniquely suited to help MAPs in need of support.
Researchers and research institutions can greatly impact the availability of support for MAPs, as their work forms the foundation of mental health treatment.
Due to their role in educating and informing the public on important topics, journalists and reporters have the ability to amplify MAPs' voices to a large audience.