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Am I Hebephelic?

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From India: Initially, I identified myself as a gay, being attracted to boys my age as I hit puberty. With time, however, I lost my inclination towards them and retained the same feelings for boys around that age and even began checking out tween boys.

But I must clarify that I never have had any sexual interest in any of them. I simply love their adorable looks, their innocent joy, their bantering talks and their affection towards anybody who reciprocated the same. And I can’t help thinking about them all day long. I’d gaze at them from a cover for as long as I can and enjoy their antics.

Sometimes, I think about going out with them or have a play date with them, but I know that’s impossible. When I was appointed as prefect, I could fraternize with a lot of children and thus satisfy my desires (though I didn’t run for it with this intention). And so when my term as prefect got over, I entered into this state of depression, from which I’m still suffering.

It seems to me nothing pleases and relieves me as much as an occasional glance and a little chat with a younger boy. They keep me alive. They give me a direction, a reason to live. Even I study and ace my classes, just to be popular with those children at school and get their attention.

This obsession of mine is killing me. As I’m going to leave school, I get terrified at the thought of having none of my little friends with me or making new ones. I don’t understand why I feel this way and what my sexual orientation really is.

Am I Hebephelic?

Answered by on -


I’m very glad you wrote. You’ve been suffering with these questions for far too long. As long as you have no answer, it makes sense you are increasingly “obsessed” with the questions.

At 16, it is normal to be exploring one’s sexual identity. For many teens the question isn’t settled until well into their 20s, so please, first, take some of the pressure off of yourself.

The answer to your question isn’t simple. Longing to be with children may be an expression of, or it may reflect something about longing to be still in that stage of life yourself, or it might be something else all together.

Without talking with you in depth, I can’t resolve the issue for you. I can only assure you that it would be a mistake to land on an “answer” without doing some exploration with a professional who has the ability to get to know you and to explore your questions with the attention and support you deserve.

Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the services available to you in India. You might find it helpful to talk with your physician to get a referral to a professional who has experience with teens and with questions of sexuality.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Am I Hebephelic?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Am I Hebephelic?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 4 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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