Support for children and teenagers who are attracted to younger kids
Some children and teenagers have sexual (or romantic) thoughts about younger children. We know these thoughts can be scary or confusing, so we made this page to answer some questions and help you find support.
What is a MAP?
MAP stands for "minor-attracted person," which is someone who is attracted to children and/or teenagers who are much younger than them. Unlike pedophiles, who are attracted to minors who have not started to go through puberty, a MAP can be attracted to any minors, including minors who have started puberty. This means pedophiles are a type of MAP, but not all MAPs are pedophiles.
Some people can't really tell if they're a MAP, especially when they're young. It's normal to be attracted to people around your age, so being attracted to kids that are around your age or a little bit younger doesn't make you a MAP. If you feel attracted to kids who are at least 5 years younger than you, or if the ages of people you're attracted to aren't going up as you get older, you might be a MAP. If you don't know for sure, that's ok.
You can learn more about MAPs here.
Am I a bad person?
No. Attractions aren't something you choose, so they cannot make you a bad person. Friends, family members, and strangers might say bad things about MAPs and pedophiles, but that's usually because they're confused about what those words mean and don't know people like you exist.
Is it dangerous for me to be near kids?
Probably not. Just like most adults aren't dangerous around other adults they find attractive, most MAPs are perfectly safe around kids. If you feel uncomfortable around younger kids and want to avoid them when you can, that's okay, but it's not bad to be around people you find attractive.
How can I stop these thoughts?
There is no known way to change someone's attractions. Some people try to get rid of their attractions using conversion therapy, but this doesn't work and can be dangerous. Remember that thoughts you didn't choose cannot make you a bad person. Having these attractions doesn't mean you don't deserve kindness and support.
Who should I tell about my attractions?
A lot of people believe false information about MAPs and may want to hurt anyone they realize is a MAP, so you should be careful when telling people about your attractions. Remember, once you tell someone, you can never undo that.
If you decide to tell someone, you should start by trying to figure out their opinion on MAPs by sharing this article about a teenage pedophile and seeing how they react. If their reaction makes you think they would understand your situation and want to help, it may be safe to tell them.
If you've already told someone about your attractions, you can share this page with them so they can learn more about MAPs and how they can help you.
This is probably a lot to think about, especially if it's your first time looking for information about your attractions. Looking for help can be scary because a lot of people say bad things about MAPs, especially online. You can come back to this page later if you need a break, and you don't have to read anything or follow any advice here if it makes you uncomfortable.
Stories about MAPs
A lot of MAPs feel alone sometimes, but reading about the lives of other MAPs can help you feel more connected and understood.
This article by Luke Malone tells the story of Adam, a 16-year-old pedophile who had to create a support group for himself and other minor MAPs after realizing that there were limited options for people like him to get help.
The beginning of this article talks about child abuse, which might be upsetting to some readers.
After being publicly outed as a pedophile by vigilantes, Todd Nickerson went on to become a well-known MAP advocate and now talks about his experiences as a non-offending pedophile on his YouTube channel.
There are a lot of people, including other kids and teenagers, going through the same thing as you. Some MAPs share their stories on social media or other websites to help other MAPs find support. There are also scientists and regular people who try to make the world safer for MAPs.
Tools to help you
Some MAPs need more support to feel comfortable and live a happy and healthy life. These resources can provide that extra help.
Life as a MAP can be hard, but you're not alone. It might be difficult to believe, but there are people who understand what you're going through and want to help. You can find messages from some of them below.
"There are so many others who are going through this same thing with you, you’ve never been alone."
"There is hope, and when things get rough, you gotta have trust in the world."
"You’re not alone; there are so many people who have been through or who are going through the same struggle."
"This doesn’t make you a danger, and you are not a bad person for this. You can still live a happy and fulfilling life."
"You are not alone. No matter what, you are deserving of love and support like any other person."
"We deserve love, and when it comes to love, you've gotta take a leap of faith."
"You can choose to use what you have inside as a force of Good and Love. We trust in you and are here to help you find your way."
"You are no less of a person because of an attraction that you didn’t choose."
"No matter what anyone tells you, you are never a bad person for having attractions or thoughts."
"We are all human and worthy of love"
"We are not alone in this."
"As a 17 year old MAP, associating with people who share the same attractions as me has helped me to realize that I'm not the monster I thought I was."
"I know what it's like to feel like a monster and wonder if the world would be better off without you. If you remember one thing, make it this: there is always somebody who cares."