What should I do about my sexual thoughts about children?


Dear Stop It Now!

I have never hurt a child and never will. But I’m very scared by the sexual thoughts I’m having about children. What should I do?*

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Dear Concerned Adult,

Too often people don’t know that there’s help available for someone who is having sexual thoughts or feelings towards children. We have heard from many people who struggle with their thoughts about children. You’re not alone.

Self assessment
Even though some people who have sexual thoughts about children never act on them, most people who sexually abuse children had sexual thoughts or fantasies about children that came before their offending. Even when someone feels that they will never harm a child, sexual thoughts or fantasies about children are warning signs to get help. You may want to look at our tip sheet, Fifteen questions about your behavior only you can answer.

Professional help is available
There are caring people who can help you understand your thoughts or feelings and help you to be sure that you never act out those feelings with a child or underage teen. Because therapy for this type of problem is specialized, I encourage you to find a therapist who works with people who have sexual behavior concerns. If you are unable to talk to a specialized therapist, seek out another therapist who you believe can help you to stay safe. When possible, also find support from other adults to help you behave safely. 

Help and support from therapists and other supportive adults is key in reinforcing a safe life style. Sexual abuse of children is a crime with serious consequences. If you are starting to think about being sexual with children or underage teens, get specialized help immediately before you completely change your future. Please look refer to our resources in locating specialized treatment providers.

Plan for safety
An immediate step you can take involves creating a plan for safety. By developing a plan for safety, you are taking responsibility for protecting children and, there are steps you can take to help guarantee children are safe, such as avoiding locations where children are present.

Writing us for help and information could not have been easy; it was a brave and important first step!

Take care,
Stop It Now!

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Last edited on: October 1st, 2020