An Open Letter to Pedophiles
To People Who Love Children Sexually
The following 'open letter' is addressed to any and all pedophiles, namely, to people who feel sexual attractions to children. Pedophiles often do not understand why they are so strongly drawn to children and what they can do to alter their compulsive urges to act sexually toward children. This letter reaches out in an effort to offer help.
The pedophile's dilemma: If a pedophile goes to a psychologist or any other type of therapist for help, the therapist is required to notify the proper authorities about the pedophile and his (or her) sexual urges and activities. Many pedophiles are afraid to approach therapists and seek help because they fear being turned in and perhaps being arrested. This open letter is designed to help pedophiles (anonymously) by making the therapy for pedophiles public knowledge that is readily accessible in an easily read format. Most pedophiles are male, so we have written to males to avoid awkward wording such as numerous repetitions of he/she, his/her and himself/herself. The advice works equally well for female pedophiles, however, so simply change the gender of the examples in the open letter if you are a female pedophile.
In case a pedophile does not understand why people respond so strongly against pedophilia, don't miss the last section, titled: 'Why the big deal about pedophilia?'
If you are a pedophile and desire help, but fear turning yourself in, there are several ways you can modify your inappropriate sexual attraction to children and develop alternative thoughts, feelings and actions that socially acceptable, legal and sexually gratifying. You can overcome your attraction to children by using three sex therapy techniques called (1) masturbatory reconditioning, (2) social skills learning, and (3) cognitive self-direction. None of these techniques involves aversive or painful experiences (as did some of the therapy methods used in the 1960s). All three of these therapy tools can be altered and modified in many different ways, customized to your unique needs. In addition, you can use the electronic research tools in libraries--along with references that we provide at the end of this letter--to learn more about the modern therapies for pedophilia.
Pedophiles are people who have developed sexual 'turn-ons' to children at some phase of their lives. Once they have eroticized children, merely seeing children, thinking about children, touching them, and/or being with them turns them on sexually and makes them feel sexual arousal. This, in turn, can lead them to want to approach and touch children in sexual manners. If you feel this way, you can change your sexual conditioning by using the sexual pleasures obtained through masturbation to recondition your sexual turn-ons. The goal of masturbatory reconditioning is to leave behind your old sexual conditioning associated with children and shift to being turned on sexually by adults.
First, buy several magazines that show sexy pictures of women and find several of your most favorite pictures. (If you are a gay man, find magazines that contain attractive pictures of men.) Select several pictures that excite you the most and study the details of the pictures carefully. You will need to recall visual details of these images in the next phase of the therapy, so memorize all the most interesting details of the pictures. There are two things you might want to do next: Plan A is the best method, if you can make it work for you.
Plan A: In the privacy of your own bedroom, place on your bed the most exciting pictures of the adults you have chosen. Then begin to masturbate in ways that you personally have found to be most pleasurable. If you can begin your masturbatory fantasies with the pictures of adults about your age, that is great. Look at the pictures while masturbating in order to pair adult images with the pleasures of sexual self-stimulation. Now try to close your eyes and fantasize about those images while masturbating. Enjoy the pleasures of sexual self-stimulation while focusing on various adult images in different postures and doing different things and the adult images will gradually become sexualized. They will take on ever more erotic power and become sexual turn-ons that excite you. You might want to go to movies or view videos/DVDs that contain pictures of adults, memorize some of the images of adults, and use these images as you masturbate. Gradually you will find that the adult images will turn you on sexually in much the same way that the images of children once did in the past, and you will begin to hunger for sexual contact with adults more than contact with children.
Plan B: If you cannot become excited by adult images, you will need to step back one step from Plan A, and work gradually from a more basic position toward the goal of finding the adult images erotically exciting. The following is Plan B, which you can use if Plan A does not work for you. In Plan B, you will again use the pleasures of masturbation to recondition your favorite sexual images. Plan B differs from Plan A in that it allows you to begin your masturbatory activities with fantasies with images of children, but you must switch your focus to images of adult images just before you reach orgasm (at the time of ejaculatory inevitability). Lay the pictures of adults on your bed, so you will be able to switch your attention to them after you start your masturbation with images of children. As you get increasingly excited, switch your attention and look at or fantasize about adults before you reach orgasm and ejaculation. As the days go by, your goal is going to be to change the time at which you shift from child to adult images so that less and less time will be focused on children and more and more time will be focused on adult images. You can start by switching to adult images just before orgasm, but the goal is to switch to the adult images at earlier and earlier phases during each masturbatory session. Eventually you will think about adult images all during masturbation, and not think about children at all: You will be able to masturbate, from start to finish, with age appropriate stimuli. By repeatedly eroticizing images of females of the appropriate age, your sexual thoughts about children will diminish over time. It may take months of masturbatory reconditioning before you can switch to adults early in each masturbatory session, but that is not uncommon. The goal is to gradually spend less and less time focusing on images of children, and to switch to adult images sooner so you spend longer reconditioning your sexual interests to focus on adults and ever less time thinking about children.
In both Plan A and Plan B, your sexual self-stimulation is being paired with thoughts and visual images of adults. It can take months and sometimes even years before the temptation to think about and masturbate to images of children vanishes completely and is replaced with a strong attraction to images of adults. At first, when you are trying to fantasize about adults, images of children may involuntarily pop into your mind from time to time, since that has been your old habit perhaps for years. But keep the pictures of adults nearby to help you focus on these adult images easily.
[All along the way, continue to use age appropriate images when you masturbate, never reverting to images of children. Eventually all this becomes very natural and easy. Your new habits will gradually replace your old habits of focusing attention on children.]
[Eventually, you may never experience urges to think about children sexually. When you get there: Great! That is the final goal of the therapy.]
Give yourself months to do masturbatory reconditioning, if you want to do it correctly. It takes a long time to change sexual habits and learn new sexual turn-ons, but most people do change over time. This is easy to see when you think how most heterosexual boys change their targets of sexual arousal as they grow up: They probably masturbated to the images of teen-age girls when they were teens, and then they shifted to females in their 20s as they became older themselves. In the process, their sexual turn-ons gradually changed as they matured and shifted their erotic interests from teens to older females. The same is true for most gay men, too.
Do not feel that you have to rush through these masturbatory exercises. If you try to change too fast, you may become frustrated that the therapy isn't working as expected and give up on it. You will need to take your time, perhaps spending weeks or months at each stage, before gradually shifting to images of older females. If this therapy is done correctly, you will find that you no longer desire young children but have increasing sexual interest in adults. You can even take the masturbatory reconditioning a step further and develop sexual excitement for those individuals near your own age. At each step, pat yourself on the back, for you are on your way to a healthy and fulfilling sex life.
Social Skills Learning:
Many pedophiles are interested in children because they do not have all the social skills they need to interact comfortably with women their own age or men their own age, in the case of homosexual pedophiles. In order to develop a happy and gratifying sex life with a person of your own general age group, it is wise to become involved in all sorts of social activities where you meet and interact with women of your own age or men of your own age group, if you are homosexual.
How do you develop your social skills? Over the coming weeks and months, you can work on learning better skills for meeting and talking with women (or men) of your own age. Join groups or clubs that have activities for people your age, and develop rewarding relationships with some of the women (or men) you meet.
Some people find it easy to join Church groups or sing in their choirs. Others gravitate to the Red Cross, emergency relief workers, the Rotary or Lions Clubs. Search the Internet for any hobby or activity that you like--or would love to learn about--and see if there are any local groups who share your interests. The more you socialize, the better your social skills become.
Most adults naturally pay attention to their own thought processes and give themselves instructions if they see themselves start down a train of thought that might lead to some problematic activity. People who have strong temptations to do destructive or illegal behavior have to hone these skills at self-monitoring to an especially high level. Most pedophiles who want to make sure that they never touch children again in a sexual manner have to pay close attention to their thoughts whenever they are in the presence of children, see pictures of children or notice that they are beginning to think about children for any reason. As soon as you notice that your thoughts are beginning to turn to children, you have to tell yourself: "I cannot let my thoughts go any further in that direction". You should commit a list of alternative things that you can think about to distract yourself from thoughts of children and reorient yourself in a more positive alternative direction. If you have to write down a list of 20 or 30 things and keep it in your wallet, that is OK. As soon as you notice yourself starting to think about children, pull out the list from your wallet and pick the topic that seems most interesting in your current circumstances. It can be anything: getting the car fixed, buying some groceries that you know you need, calling a friend who you know supports you and will chat with you, driving out into the country. You can benefit from thinking about any topic that has nothing to do with children.
Do not let yourself go half way down a train of thought that might get you into tempting thoughts about approaching children. Learn to stop yourself as soon as you first notice your thoughts turning to children. The sooner you stop your unwanted thoughts and switch to an acceptable alternative, the better. It is much easier to end an unwanted train of thoughts early than it is after the unwanted thoughts start to trigger temptations to go further. If you need extra motivation to stop thinking about children, think of all the trouble that those thoughts can get you into. If you allow yourself to follow that train of thought, you might do something wrong, get arrested by the police, get thrown in jail, get labeled as a sex offender and become a social outcast.
Each time you successfully catch yourself starting to think of children and then successfully redirect yourself to better alternatives, reward yourself with some positive thought, such as, ?Good, I am getting control of my own thoughts,? or ?Nice job, I am learning how to conquer old demons and build a better new mental life!? By rewarding yourself for developing your new skills, you increase the chances that your new cognitive habits will grow stronger.
If you want to read more about the actual research on these treatments for pedophiles, see the references at the end of this letter.
Why the big deal about pedophilia?
Why must therapists, police and others report pedophiles to the authorities? The citizens of most developed nations consider pedophilic acts as coercive behavior that should be punished by law. Any form of adult sexual contact with a child is illegal because a child is not mature enough to make informed decisions regarding consent, especially in regards to sexual activities. In order to provide informed consent, a person must have the intellectual and emotional capacity to realize the full meaning and potential consequences of their actions. Children are too young to have a good understanding of sexuality. Luckily, masturbatory reconditioning and cognitive self-direction can help a person overcome pedophilic urges and develop a gratifying sex life with same age partners. The more social skills that people learn for interacting with adults, the less they feel urges to seek our contact with children.
Best of Luck,
Last Updated 27 December 2009.
Sex Therapy for Atypical Sexual Turn-Ons:
Sometimes people develop sexual turn-ons that are bothersome to them. One boy may be turned on by rape fantasies, even though he knows that this is not right. Another person may be so obsessed with diapers that he cannot reach orgasm unless he is wearing them.
Fortunately, people do not become permanently "fixated" on any one type of sexual turn-on. Most atypical sexual turn-ons are created via Pavlovian conditioning when a new stimulus becomes paired with masturbation and orgasm over and over again. Therapy consists of building more socially acceptable sexual turn-ons via new Pavlovian conditioning, during a process called "masturbatory reconditioning."
Let's consider an example of atypical masturbatory conditioning before seeing the value of masturbatory reconditioning as a therapy. If a teenage boy happens to be fantasizing about a cute child in the neighborhood while masturbating one evening, the image of the child may become sexualized because it is paired with the sexual pleasures of masturbation and orgasm. After several repetitions of the pattern of thinking about children while masturbating, images of children may become sexual turn-ons for the teen. Once the teen realizes that society does not tolerate pedophilia-hungering for sex with children-the teen may start to feel guilty and wish to get rid of the sexualized fantasies of children. But most teens have no way to know how they can do this.
Sexologists have developed a type of therapy that people can use to free themselves of unwanted sexual turn-ons. People need to broaden their range of sexual turn-ons to include many other themes that are different from-even opposite from-the unwanted sexual turn-on. People need to develop socially acceptable sexual turn-ons which arouse their sexual feelings without making them feel guilty or fearful.
The therapy is called "masturbatory reconditioning," and it uses masturbation to help people learn new sexual turn-ons (and forget prior, unwanted turn-ons). Consider the example of Mr. K who comes to therapy complaining that he has pedophilic fantasies (of initiating sex with children) that are his favorite fantasies for becoming sexually aroused. He is afraid that he might sexually accost a child someday. And even if he never has sex with a child, he is embarrassed to tell anyone what he fantasizes about, since he knows it is a deviant thought pattern.
First, Mr. K would be told to flip through magazines that contain sexy pictures of adult women and select 10 or 20 that he finds sexually exciting?but that have no hint of childlike behavior or dressing. These should be pictures that Mr. K could show his friends and girlfriend without feeling guilty. Second, Mr. K would be told to select a time when he can masturbate in the privacy of his bedroom with no risk that anyone will walk in on him. Just before he masturbates, he should select the one picture that he finds most exciting from his collection of 10 or 20 photos. Third, he places this photo close to him so he can see the details very well (with "glasses on" if needed), then he begins to masturbate while focusing on this picture. If any pedophilic images pop into his head while he is masturbating, he must force himself to focus closely on picture of the adult women he brought to bed, so that picture will overshadow any sexual thoughts about children. Fourth, Mr. K repeats this reconditioning process every time he masturbates for the next several weeks or months until pedophilic images no longer come to his mind. While masturbating, Mr. K is told to feel free to select new photographs any time he wants to broaden his range of stimuli for new sexual conditioning. He is told to keep clipping new pictures out of magazines if they excite him, so his collection can grow, and include new adult female stimuli. But he should not hesitate to go back to "old favorite" pictures if he finds them especially arousing.
Mr. K's goal is to broaden his range of "sexual turn-ons." He needs to select pictures-that he can eroticize via Pavlovian conditioning- which will not make him embarrassed to discuss with others, including his girlfriend. She will probably be understanding if he tells her that he masturbates to pictures from men's magazines, especially if he is very considerate of her and helps her have a wonderful time in bed, too (see links to female orgasm).
People can use masturbatory reconditioning to add many socially acceptable tum-ons to their collection of mental images which make them feel sexually aroused. By selecting socially acceptable pictures for their masturbatory imagery, they will not have to feel guilty if other people were to ask them what turns them on. They will not have to fear that they might someday be driven to initiate sex with a child or commit a rape in order to live out deviant sexual fantasies.
Scientific research on masturbatory reconditioning shows that this therapy works well. People can trust that their sexual imagery will change over time if they keep focused on finding exciting pictures and themes that are free of deviant sexual images. But they have to find new stimuli that keep them focused on socially acceptable sex if they are to successfully force themselves to keep deviant sexual images out of their heads. It is up to each person to carry out these exercises as described above. If people are undisciplined and allow themselves to "cheat" (by thinking about deviant stimuli while masturbating), they may not reach the successes that masturbatory reconditioning can offer.
People who have deviant sexual turn-ons have a solvable problem. The information in this web site may be enough to help a person overcome it, but people should see a professional sex therapist if the problem persists.
Last Updated 04 June 2012.