Well done – by using this self-help guide you have taken a brave step forward.
Presumably, you are concerned about your sexual thoughts and want to take positive action to deal with the problem. You have the power to stop yourself from acting on these thoughts. This guide will give you the information and tools to help you manage unwanted thoughts and avoid acting on them in any way that could be harmful, to yourself or others.
What can change?
‘Change’ means different things for different people. Different people will have different goals when using this guide. Some people will recognise they need to change harmful behaviours, such as viewing sexual images of children or contact sexual abuse. But some people won’t think they need to change their behaviour, perhaps because they have never offended and have not had a strong urge to do so.
‘Change’ can include what you do in your thoughts, fantasies and ideas. For some people, change could mean feeling better or spending less time thinking about illegal sexual fantasies.
Working on these problems can be difficult and distressing, as personal growth and change often can be.
Change happens over time, rather than suddenly. As this process begins to unfold, a person’s motivation changes. Before even beginning to change, you need to meet certain conditions, listed below. Don’t worry if you think you don’t meet these criteria yet. Choosing to use this guide is an important first step, and working through it will increase your understanding and awareness.
The seven precursors to change
These are the personal qualities and beliefs that are important in helping people make positive changes in their lives.
- Sense of necessity: to make any change, you have to believe that you need to make that change and there is a good reason why things have to be different. It can’t just be because other people have told you to change. But it doesn’t mean that you know how to make that change, just that you want to.
- Willingness or readiness to experience difficulty: change can be difficult to deal with and it can make us anxious. To make changes in our lives, we need to be prepared to experience these emotions and not stop making changes to avoid uncomfortable feelings.
- Awareness: to make a change, you need to know what the problem is. What are the thoughts, feelings and behaviour that are linked to the issue that needs to be addressed? If you understand these, then it is easier to know where to direct your efforts.
- Confronting the problem: This is about keeping your eye on what you want to change. It is about looking at a problem squarely and directly, even if it is intimidating or confusing until you fully understand the nature of the change you are making.
- Effort or will to change: It takes mental and physical energy to make changes. It also involves making a commitment, coming to a decision, and taking action. This effort appears in two ways: in the mind, internally, in changing one’s thoughts and attitudes; and externally, by acting to deal with situations.
- Hope for change: To make changes, you need to believe that change is possible. This is not about mindless optimism; it is about having a realistic expectation that the future will be positive and worth experiencing as a result of the changes you want to make.
- Social support for change: It is very difficult to make changes in your life without the support of other people. The support of other people will make change easier, provided you let them help you. Supportive friends and family can also be an inspiration to you on your journey of change.
By using this website you have recognised that you have a problem that you want to address and are at least in the preparation stage. Move into action and start using the self-help guide today.
Your problematic sexual thoughts are only one part of you, they do not define you.
Take one step at a time and don’t rush through the guide. You need to engage in the work and reflect on your life.
It has taken a long time to get where you are and change can take time too. Don’t be hard on yourself if it doesn’t happen overnight.