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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5785
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi there, Here is my situation: For over a month I have

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Hi there,

Here is my situation: For over a month I have been suffering from an irrational fear that I am a pedophile. It started when I saw a young boy whom I found cute and the sensation I got was a tingling in the tip of my penis. I honestly thought this meant that I was attraction to little children and I went into a huge depression. I saw two counsellors, told my mother and I got an assurance from all three people that they were confident I was not a peadophile. In addition, I saw videos of children, child fashion models and tried to visualize sexualized children in my mind. Fortunately, these thoughts never gave me any sexual arousal and I did not get an erection. In contrast, if I were to visualize heterosexual sex I would both get mentally aroused and get an erection. I suppose I have 'evidence' that I am not attracted to children.

However, whenever I see a child the sensation I still get is a tingling in the tip of my penis as well as a burning feeling in my throat and left side of my chest. This feeling has caused me great confusion and distress. Do you have any insight on what it could mean? I have felt this penis tingling when I look off a huge cliff or wait for the result to a huge assignment-anxiety related etc.

I just don't want to be confused anymore.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

What you describe feeling is an irrational fear, just as you said. Pedophiles do not fear what they feel. They actually think what they feel for children is natural and normal. They usually experience no distress about it but feel that they are not doing any wrong and even go as far as being convinced the children they victimize feel the same way. If you fear that you are a pedophile, then it can indicate that you are not one.

The sensation you have at the tip of your penis is most likely a learned response which is aggravated by your fear of it. What I mean is that you had the sensation happen once out of the blue when you were young. Since then, you have attached a fear to it. In your mind, it means that you are a pedophile. So each time you have it, it "reinforces" your fear. But what you are actually experiencing is just a fear and not feelings about sexually molesting children.

It is not uncommon to be sexually attracted to someone of the same sex. And when you experienced that as a child, it might have triggered some sexual feelings for you. But feeling something and acting on it are two very different things. Plus the guilt you already feel even though you have not done anything indicates how bad you feel being a pedophile is. Add to that the fact that you are attracted to other adults and have a response to heterosexual sex tells you that you are ok.

Because of your intense worry over your feelings, you may want to consider exploring if you have OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Repeated worrying over the same thoughts can be as a result of OCD. And sexual concerns are common with OCD. Seeing a therapist for an evaluation can help you to determine if you do have OCD. And if you do, there are treatments. In the meanwhile, here are some ideas on how to deal with your thoughts:

To address this, try changing the way you think about your fear. When the thought comes into your mind that you are attracted to children, instead of thinking that you are going to become a pedophile, recognize that you are having an obsessive thought about becoming a pedophile. Make it about the obsession rather than what you are obsessing about.

Refocus your thoughts. When the thoughts come into your mind, distract yourself. Find something that interests you and focus on it as long as you can.

Do not give your obsession meaning. The more you focus on it, the more importance you give it. So treat it like it's nothing. "It's only my thoughts. It does not mean anything".

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Kate I believe I miscommunicated one thing:

I did not ever get this experience when I was young. I never have experienced a same sex attraction or a pedophilic attraction, or doubts concerning one, prior to one month ago. I was visiting a school around one month ago when I saw this child and got the tingling sensation in my penis. I have been sorrounded by children all my life never got it before I saw that child last month, but I have got it afterwards.

However, I have never has any enjoyable 'sexual thoughts' about children, I actually dislike the thought intensely and get no arousal from it.


Is is possible to 'develop' pedophilia in your twenties?

Oh I see. Sorry about that.

You cannot just develop pedophilia. Most people who are pedophiles have a background in being molested themselves or they grew up seeing someone else molested or experienced another kind of sexually related trauma. You cannot just develop feelings like that. The behavior is to intense to just come out of nowhere. And your feelings about the boy you saw were just that, feelings.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

But what were the 'feelings'? That is what I'm concerned about. I didn't clearly feel sexual, and I never had sexual thoughts about the boy. But tingling disturbs me, because I haven't discerned what it meant.

As a matter of fact, I have felt this tingling in the tip of my penis all of the time recently, even before I saw that boy. It has given me a bit of a sexual identity crisis because I don't know if I am feeling a sexual emotion, some non-sexual emotion or a physical process.

It may be that you found the idea of being attracted to him so against your morals that you became worried about it when you experienced the sensation out of the blue. Getting to the root of this issue may take seeing a therapist so you have the time to explore it deeper. But at this point, it could be connected to OCD. Seeing a therapist for an evaluation would help to determine the cause and give you an answer about if OCD is at the root of your thoughts and feelings.



Can I help any further?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm not sure Kate.

I have done counseling, hypnotherapy, exposure therapy through mental imaging and watching videos of kids, consulting with loved ones etc. I have not yet in this two month ordeal felt attracted to children. However, I am still haunted that I am and I am not quite sure why-I think the tingling sensation has something to do with it. I get the same sensation with I am put in a position of discomfort-meeting someone I don't trust, fear of heights etc.

I am trying to deal with it but frankly it is fatiguing me greatly

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I think these experiences have a lot to do it the fear
- I developed an attraction to transsexuals at one point and acted on it. This made me feel terrible afterwards and seriously question my sexuality. It is a lurking fear that I may develop a similar response to children(but has not yet occurred)
- I was highly promiscuous at one point and this made me very unhappy. I felt that my sex drive was truly out of my control. If I develop an attraction to children, I fear that I will not be able to control myself.
- I am highly,highly stressed about life. I have recently attended a funeral of a close family member, I am deeply behind in university studies and I am very lonely since I have cut off many friends after trying to build a new life.
- An abnormally low libido. Even though I consider myself straight, I just don't have much attraction to women these days. I find it hard to tell attraction from mere cuteness or the difference between arousal and a desire to urinate(really). This has triggered a bit of an identity crisis with me, I don't really know where I stand sexually.

I am sorry that you were unhappy with your answer. However, next time please consider responding with the new information about your situation before you rate. This is information that I was not aware of before I provided an answer to you and I cannot provide a thorough answer without it.


What you are describing sounds like OCD and I recommended you try seeking face to face therapy to explore the deeper issues behind what you are feeling. It is not possible that if you started experiencing some of these symptoms just a month ago that you have had enough therapy to help you work through this. And you should also seek help from your regular doctor for something like low libido, which can be a physical issue which should be ruled out first.


However, Just Answer is a question and answer site, not a therapy site. So going through the deeper reasons why you have these feelings would not be appropriate in this format. That is why I gave you the best impression I had of what you might be suffering with and recommended you seek therapy. It is unethical for me to diagnose you on line without providing a face to face evaluation. You need to be assessed in person. And if your previous experience with therapy were unhelpful, it could be that you saw the wrong type of therapist or you need to speak to your doctor about the appropriate therapist.


Because of the distress you are experiencing at this point, therapy is your best choice. If you feel in person therapy is not effective, I'm not sure what you expect through an on line question and answer format.


Again, I am sorry you did not get the answer you were seeking. At this point, the information I gave you was the best recommendation I can provide given the limits of Just Answer.



TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm sorry I rated you poorly Kate.

I just feel desperate for an answer. I just can't stand feeling depressed anymore.

Thank you. I appreciate that very much. I understand that you feel desperate. It can be hard to struggle with the kinds of feelings you are having. Sometimes you need to have a starting point though in order to deal with a larger issue. Exploring the possibility that you have OCD may be that starting point for you. And if you do have OCD, then there are treatments that can take away the depression and other symptoms and provide relief so you don't feel like you do now anymore.


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