If you’ve ever heard the term pedophile or pedophilia, you know they seem to mean many different things. These terms are often misused by the general public and the media, and in ways that tend to scare people away from learning more information. Here, we unpack what these terms mean and what this site is about.
Pedophilia is often overused to mean something sinister involving children. Far-right extremists and the media slap the pedophilia label on almost everything they disagree with, from trans folks and their quests for dignity and rights to live in peace, to any significant age gap relationship.
Pedophilia was always intended to mean the sexual attraction to prepubescent children, or children who have not entered puberty. This term is a subset of minor attraction. This is typically below age 13, but because children hit puberty at different ages, it could just as easily mean a child who is 15 and has not entered puberty and has no secondary sex characteristics (pubic/armpit hair, developing breasts, etc).
It does not mean or infer sexual activity with children, and it is harmful to make this inference. Many people who have pedophilia, the attraction, do not harm children, and many who do harm children do not have an attraction to children. For example, according to this study, over 35% of child sexual abuse is committed by juveniles, not adults, so it would not be fair to say they have any abnormal sexual attraction.
A pedophile is someone with pedophilia, the sexual attraction to prepubescent children. Like pedophilia, this term is overused especially by far-right extremists to mean a variety of different things. To them, it could mean someone who is LGBTQ+, when this inference is harmful both to the LGBTQ+ community and to actual pedophiles. Pedophile is a narrow term for a narrow subset of minor attraction.
A MAP is a minor-attracted person or minor-attracted people (MAPs). This is a term meant to catch multiple categorizations of attraction to minors under one umbrella, and was created by researchers and one MAP organization, B4U-ACT.
The idea of minor attraction is not to make something ordinary like a 21-year-old attracted to a 17-year-old unusual, but to recognize the wide range of people who are attracted to people much younger than them and may feel distress about this attraction, and therefore need support.
While there are of course overlaps between any given group of people, there is no established relationship between communities of minor-attracted people and LGBTQ+ people. The idea that there was any relationship between the two comes again from far-right extremists who initiated a troll campaign to smear the LGBTQ+ community with fake images and fake announcements. Neither communities had anything to do with these inferences and both have been victimized by far-right extremists.
Most minor-attracted people are against any association with the LGBTQ+ community with the understanding that the issues both communities face are different. For a minor-attracted person to exist ethically, they cannot act on their attractions where that is not true for those in the LGBTQ+ community who do have ethical ways of being in relationships with people they are attracted to. To confuse the two issues is to intentionally harm both communities.
The short answer is no, it cannot.
There have been studies done on this, and while a notorious researcher by the name of Paul Fedoroff claims to have the key to changing minor attraction, the evidence does not support his claim.
There are medications that can lessen the sex drive, such as antidepressants and chemical castration, but these medications are not without risks and can cause mild to severe issues.
There have been therapies that seek to change attractions called conversion therapy. However, therapy of this nature causes severe harms that can even put children at more risk because they involve repressing one’s sex drive rather than trying to meet those sexual needs in healthy and ethical ways. When people’s needs are not met in healthy ways, people can and do turn to unhealthy ways of trying to meet those needs. Conversion therapy for minor attraction is just as harmful as conversion therapy for any other attractions.
Ultimately, minor attraction as far as we know it is here to stay. The only ethical course of action is to support those with this attraction in living healthy, law-abiding lives.
There are two different approaches to this question.
- Approach one is to see sexual orientation as a behavior. In other words, to view the behavioral aspect of sexual attraction only. However, this approach can have issues because to have a homosexual orientation for most people means to have an attraction, and attraction is a feeling, not a behavior.
- Approach two is to see sexual orientation as a fixed feeling of attraction. To most sex researchers, a sexual orientation means a sexual attraction that:
- Manifests and is discovered during puberty.
- Has no way of changing.
- Persists for a long period of time, generally longer than six months (someone’s lifespan).
Minor attraction, particularly pedophilia and hebephilia, meet all three criteria in approach 2. However, because approach 1 involves behavior, it can be difficult for some to view pedophilia as a sexual orientation, as this idea sounds to some people like saying that child sexual abuse is a sexual orientation. However, typically when experts discuss this topic, they’re discussing an attraction to children, not the sexual abuse of them. Behavior and feeling are two separate things, after all.
Let’s see you be hated by almost the entire world for simply existing and then you can answer that question yourself. No, seriously. Do you expect us to take all the hate that gets thrown at us and just stay quiet about it? We’re not your punching bag to smack around as you see fit and not say a word. We’re human, and we deserve support, not hate.
Many of the authors of this site were victimized as children in addition to being a minor-attracted person. Many of us have been contacted privately by victims/survivors to affirm our mission and ask us very private and sensitive questions. Ultimately, our aim is to ensure minor-attracted people get the support they need, whether that is prevention-focused or not, so that minor-attracted people can live their best lives free from poor choices, including child sexual abuse and harmful sexual imagery of children.
The so-called ideologies of minor-attracted people are not a monolith. Some, like the authors on this site, take the position that any sexual activity between children and adults risks harm, is illegal, and is best avoided. However, there are also people who believe otherwise, and the stigma against those with minor attraction plays a big role in their beliefs. Many have been so thoroughly harmed by this stigma that anything they can do to rebel against the people who harmed them is fine by them.
The common belief among the authors featured on this site is that child sexual abuse, or sexual activity between a child and a much older child or adult, is best avoided.
Absolutely not! Child sexual abuse is a serious social harm that causes a lot of trauma.
Pedophilia is the sexual attraction to prepubescent children. Sexual attractions are not a choice, and therefore cannot be “normalized”.
We believe the phrase “normalize pedophilia” is a far-right gotcha phrase meant to shut down conversation. Its meaning is vague and unhelpful. Even if the commonly accepted meaning was to make sexual attractions normal, it would not make sense because minor attraction is and will always be a minority attraction.
Pedophile ring is a news term that is made up and does not have a clearly defined meaning. It generally means people exploiting/abusing children as a group, and that is obviously not the aim of this site.
This page is an extremely exhaustive resource page for anyone who thinks they may be attracted to children and has a table of contents to break down most things you may need help with, including support groups.
Provided they agree with the important ideological points and are a known and trusted member of the MAP community, yes, we are. Please contact Timothy N. Frode, Elliot Porter, or Robert West or use the contact form.
Timothy N. Frode is a longtime member of the MAP community, as is Robert West and Elliot Porter. This site and its administrators have not been contacted by the FBI or any law enforcement agency in connection to its operation.
We’re not. We’d also rather not be confused with minor-attracted people who do harm children, since we choose not to. Would you want to answer for a rapist because that rapist happened to share your sexuality? Of course not.