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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am extremely worried that I am a paedophile. I am a 20

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Hi there,
I am extremely worried that I am a paedophile. I am a 20 year old male and have never had any attraction to children or to other men. However, I was visiting a school around two weeks ago and found an 8-9 year old boy 'cute' or 'pretty' but not necessarily sexually aroused. Since then I have been sick to my stomach because I fear that I could be developing homosexual paedophilia. I haven't had any mental arousal about this child since then but that funny feeling I got when I saw him was strange and unprecedented.
I just wanted to ask wether paedophilia can develop at my age out of no prior attraction? I am especially worried because despite being straight I developed an attraction to transsexuals a few years ago out of no innate interest. While I consider the transsexual fetish as immoral and something I want to get rid of, if I ever develop an attraction to children in a similar way I would not be able to live with myself.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
You are not describing any thoughts or behavior that shows you to be a pedophile. A pedophile is someone that is usually not concerned that he/she is attracted to children. They may actually feel their thoughts and behaviors are normal and that sexual intimacy with children is also natural.
Thinking that a boy you saw is cute or pretty is harmless. You may have had feelings like this because either the boy was cute, or seeing him reminded you of something in your past.
People almost never become molesters without having been molested themselves. A person really doesn't develop sexual feelings towards children unless somewhere in their childhood someone made that behavior acceptable to them either through direct molestation or exposure to it. So just becoming a pedophile out of the blue is almost non existent. There would have to be some trigger in your past to have that happen.
If you feel these thoughts are bothering you to the point you are having trouble functioning, you may want to consider getting an evaluation for OCD- Obsessive Compulsive disorder. What can happen with OCD is you get an "unacceptable" thought in your mind and you obsess over it which creates anxiety in you. It becomes an obsession to try to get rid of this thought only to have it come back to you again and again, making you anxious and upset.
If you feel therapy will help talk with your doctor about a referral. Or you can search on line for a therapist through this site:
I hope this has helped you,
May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Kate,

This is very re-assuring considering that I have never myself been molested and the thought of molesting children repulses me.

However, there is one more factor that could be problematic. I have been going through a period of sexual chastity for the last 3 months. While I have found this satisfying I have noticed changes in my reactions which are confusing. Last year I was heavily into casual sex and I engaged with prostitutes. It took me around a year to realize that this behavior caused me tremendous pain. So for the last 3 months or so I have completely abstained from pornography,casual sex and severely limited masturbation. Instead,I have focused on finding a suitable long term partner and improving my health and college performance. However, I have been experiencing the compulsion to sexualize things which I before would not have sexualized. For example, I have been constantly scanning myself to make sure I am not sexually attracted to my mother, male friends and now children. This is problematic for two reasons- firstly, my mind plays tricks on itself to convince me that I am gay, incestous or now a child molester. Secondly, it is as though the chemical circuitry that used to give an automatic arousal whenever I saw a pretty girl seems to have shut off. I still find girls attractive but only 'cute' or 'pretty' in a mild sense, which is making it difficult for me to differentiate between sexual arousal and merely finding someone visually pleasing in an innocent way.

Could you shed light on why this occurs? Is it sexual repression, OCD or chemical changes?

It certainly sounds like OCD to me. Thoughts that disturb you and make you alter your behavior to avoid the anxiety that comes with the thoughts is an OCD symptom. An evaluation will tell you for sure, but from what you have told me, it sounds like OCD focused on sexual feeling and thoughts.
Here is a site that might help you:
Therapy and medications can help you work through your anxiety and the thoughts that cause them.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Alot,

I do want to note that my desire to change my sexual behavior from more promiscuous to abstinent was not due to anxiety solely but because I rationally wanted a more clean lifestyle.

Just to double check that I am not attracted to children I have been seeing some pictures of children on the internet(normal pictures not porn!) and have not been aroused. However, troublingly, i have done this twice and felt subsequently felt the urge to go masturbate to heterosexual porn. AM I subconsciously covering up an attraction?

As far as OCD goes, I have not felt so paranoid about something for a very long time. However, I have been under a lot of stress lately and my grandfather who I am close to has just died. Could stress and grief spark up OCD like symptoms in a nonclinical patient?

It could be that the drop in serotonin in your brain during stress and grief may have triggered the increase in sexual drive you are experiencing. Sex, especially in men, is often used to cover up feelings and deal with stress. But the fear of being a pedophile is most likely OCD and not a real desire.
Take care,
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