Support for children and teenagers who are attracted to younger kids
If you're reading this you're probably one of millions and children or teenagers who have sexual (or romantic) thoughts about younger children. These thoughts might feel weird or confusing or make you wonder what's wrong with you and how to fix it. Just a few years ago, I was like you; a teenager trying to figure out why I was having those thoughts and what I should do about them. I've learned a lot since then, so I made this website to help people like us find support.
Many people with these attractions have questions but don't know how to get answers. Some common ones are listed below. Select a question to see the answer.
What is a MAP?
MAP stands for minor-attracted person, which means someone who is attracted to children and/or teenagers who are much younger than them. You may see people use "MAP" instead of "pedophile" because a pedophile is someone who is attracted to children who have not started to go through puberty, while a MAP can be anyone who is attracted to minors, regardless of whether those minors have started puberty. The term MAP was created by and is used by experts who do research on MAPs and how to support us.
Some people have a hard time knowing for sure if they're a MAP, especially when they're young. In general, 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. The information on this page can help you figure that out.
Am I a bad person?
No, you're a regular human being, and like most humans, you have attractions that you did not choose and cannot change. Since attractions aren't a choice, they cannot make you a bad person. Your friends, family members, and people on the internet might say bad things about MAPs and pedophiles, but that's usually because they're confused about what the word means 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 to 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. A common method of trying to change or get rid of someone's attractions is conversion therapy, which doesn't work and can hurt the person being treated. Remember that thoughts you didn't choose cannot make you a bad person. You don't need to get rid of your attractions in order to deserve kindness and support.
Who should I tell about my attractions?
Unfortunately, a lot of people believe false information about MAPs and may want to hurt anyone they realize is a MAP, so telling people about your attractions can be dangerous. If you need to tell someone, a good way to do that is 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, but remember, once you tell someone about this you can never undo that.
If you've already told someone about your attractions, you might want to share this page with them so they can learn more about what you're dealing with and how they can help.
This might seem like a lot to think about, especially if this is your first time looking for information about your attractions. The first time I started trying to find support I saw people saying bad things about MAPs online, and it took 3 years before I felt safe asking for help, so I know it can feel scary and uncomfortable. If you need to, feel free to take a break and come back when you're ready. Remember, you don't have to look at or do anything if you don't want to or aren't ready.
A lot of MAPs feel lonely sometimes, so hearing about the experiences of other MAPs can be a good reminder that there's millions of us and you're never truly alone.
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.
Note: If you find discussion of child abuse triggering, the beginning of this might be a difficult read.
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.
Hopefully you're starting to realize that there are a lot of other people, including other kids and teenagers, going through the same thing as you. MAPs like me talk about our experiences on social media, in support groups, and on websites like this one to help people like you find support. There are also scientists and even regular people who understand that MAPs are not bad because of our attractions and try to make the world safer for us. These people are called allies.
Some MAPs need more than this website to feel comfortable with their attractions and live a happy and healthy life. These resources can provide that extra support.
Living with these attractions can be hard, but you don't have to go through it alone. The resources above can help you learn more about your attractions and the experiences of other MAPs, find ways to deal with uncomfortable feelings that can be caused by unwanted thoughts or hurtful things people say about MAPs, and meet other MAPs who can tell you about their experiences, give you someone to talk to about your attractions, and help you if you need more support.
For most MAPs, a support group is the best place to find answers and extra help, but if you aren't comfortable joining one, these resources can answer your questions.
A lot of MAPs and allies helped me make this website. Many of these people were once in the same situation as you are now, and some of them, including me, only got through it because they asked for help when they needed it. It might be hard to believe, but there are people who understand what you're going through and are willing to help. I asked some of them what they would say if they could send a message to people like you and I've shared their responses 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."
"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 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."