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Concerned during diaper changes

Question: 

Dear Stop It Now!,

I was searching around and found your information on a child porn site. I change my son's diapers, but sometimes I start feeling around and things start heating up. I was wondering it this was illegal, since I had no ill intent when I first started changing the diaper. 

Response: 
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Dear Concerned Parent,

Thank you for contacting Stop It Now! with your concerns about diaper changing. When you say that things start “heating up,” I’m unsure whether you mean for yourself or for your son. To start, please take a look at our Online Help Center information for those Worried About Your Own Thoughts And Behaviors.

Children's Sexual Behavior
If you’re concerned because of a physical reaction your son might have had while you were changing his diapers, very young children do sometimes get erections, and this is normal. It’s also normal and healthy for infants and toddlers to explore their own genitals. For more information, you may want to take a look at our Age-Appropriate Sexual Behaviors tip sheet or our resources for Children’s Sexuality Development and Behaviors.

Worried About Your Own Thoughts 
You may be saying that you're concerned about your own feelings while changing your son’s diaper.  If this is the case, thoughts and feelings themselves are not illegal, but they would be cause for concern. You may want to ask yourself these Twelve Questions About Your Behavior Only You Can Answer. If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", please consider finding help and addressing these thoughts and feelings. It takes a lot of courage to reach out for help, and I’d like to offer you some resources for support.

Getting Help Through Treatment
Many other people have contacted us who have similar concerns and are looking for guidance, so we’ve put together a list of Treatment Resources for Adults At-Risk to Abuse and Who Have Abused. These resources include organizations that offer referrals for specialized therapists, as well as online support groups and treatment resources for adults who want to address their thoughts and behaviors. I strongly encourage you to find professional support, which has helped so many others address their concerns and live safe and abuse-free lives.

If you’re considering treatment and have questions about what it may look like, you may want to contact Wayne Bowers, the director of CURE-SORT.  CURE-SORT is an organization committed to educating those at risk of offending and those who have offended about sex offender treatment and its benefits. Mr. Bowers has personal experience with treatment, which you can read in his Story of Recovery, and is willing to answer questions and speak to individuals about what to expect. 

Touch and Safety
You mention that you feel around when you change your son’s diaper, so it’s important to know that while this may not have been the intention when you started, touching your son in any sexual manner is illegal. If this is something you find yourself doing when you change him I urge you to make arrangements for someone else to change him for awhile - a partner, friend, or grandparent, for example. This would be a way to keep everyone safe while you find support, as part of Safety Planning for an Adult Worried About Their Own Sexual Thoughts Or Feelings Towards Children.

Child Pornography
I’m also concerned that you may be viewing child pornography, since that is how you found us. Viewing child pornography is a form of child sexual abuse, and is illegal. If you are viewing child pornography, it can also affect your judgment about your behaviors with your son. You may want to view Child Pornography: Getting Help To Stop.

Next Steps
While you think about these options and how to best address these concerns, it may be helpful for you to also read Edward’s and Jim’s Stories of Hope to see what steps others have taken and how they’ve been able to move forward. Please also know that you can contact us back via email or call our helpline M-F 12pm-6pm EST at 1.888.PREVENT for more information or additional support.

Reaching out about your own thoughts takes courage, and we are so glad that you contacted us. I hope that the information provided here will help you with your next steps. Remember that there is absolutely help, support and understanding available.

Take care,
Stop It Now!

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Last edited on: March 20th, 2017