My sexual thoughts

Thoughts and fantasies are different. The following questions can help to understand the difference between sexual thoughts and fantasies.

What are thoughts?

Thoughts include ideas, opinions, beliefs, values, judgements and impressions. Thoughts are the voices in our heads that determine what we do.

We aren’t always aware of our thoughts, but they are always there. Thoughts can be automatic, quick or happen over a longer time. Thoughts help us put ideas together to make decisions using reason, logic, common sense. Your mind rarely has no thoughts – even when you are asleep your mind is active.

What is fantasy?

Do you ever think about winning the lottery? How would you spend the money? Where would you go?

This is one example of a fantasy. A fantasy is something that is imagined.

Any fantasy that brings feelings of sexual arousal or increases arousal is a sexual fantasy.


Think about these questions.

Do you have sexual thoughts about children who are:

  • 0-5 years old
  • 6-12 years old
  • 13-18 years old

Do you have sexual thoughts about:

  • boys
  • girls
  • both boys and girls

How often do you have these thoughts?

  • every day
  • once or twice a week
  • occasionally

Does anything in particular trigger your sexual thoughts about children? For example a sight, sound, an image, a person, mood or situation, use of pornography

When do you usually have these thoughts?

  • at night
  • during the day
  • at any time

Do you have sexual thoughts about adults?

  • yes
  • no

If the answer to question 6 is yes, which sexual thoughts do you have most often?

  • sexual thoughts about adults
  • sexual thoughts about children
  • about the same

If you answered ‘no’ to question 6 and you have only ever had sexual thoughts about children, how long have you been aware of this?

  • all my life
  • for a few years
  • I only recently became aware of this

List the feelings you experience when having sexual thoughts about children.

What do you say to yourself when you have sexual thoughts about children?

What do you feel like doing when you have sexual thoughts about children?

Do your sexual thoughts about children ever develop into sexual fantasies about them?

  • always
  • sometimes
  • never

If the answer to question 12 is always or sometimes, think about whether in the fantasies:

  • the child is consenting
  • the child has been persuaded, forced, or coerced
  • the child is unhappy, distressed.

How often do you masturbate to sexual fantasies about children?

  • always
  • sometimes
  • never

Do you have any other sexual thoughts that concern you?

Do you feel more emotionally close to or intimate with children than you do with adults?

Do you feel you relate more easily to children than to adults?

Do you spend a lot of time in the company of children? For example at home, work, or during leisure activities

Think about your answers and which of these statements best applies to you:

  • most of my sexual thoughts are about age-appropriate adults.
  • most of my sexual thoughts are about children. (If this applies to you, what is the age range of the children you have sexual thoughts about?)
  • I have sexual thoughts about both adults and children but most are about adults.
  • I have sexual thoughts about both adults and children but most are about children.

Based on your answers what do you think is your main or primary sexual interest?

  • prepubescent children
  • adolescents or teenagers
  • adults

Do you think this is your only sexual interest?

Having thought about which statement in question 20 best fits you, think about what concerns you have about these sexual thoughts. Remember that sexual thoughts, whatever they are, don’t determine behaviour by themselves. It is possible to manage the sexual thoughts that concern you.

What should I do next?

Now that you’ve thought about questions, you might find it helpful to summarise your answers and what you think before continuing to the next section.

Try not to feel down. If you have answered honestly, then you have been brave. You have also taken the first step towards change, which is defining the problem.

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