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Am I a Pedophile?

From the U.S.: This is awkward but I need help. I am a 15 year old male and i’ve been diagnosed with OCD for a few months now due to what my psychiatrist thought was intrusive thoughts about harming children. I think its more than that, really. When I masturbate (sorry, awkward) I think about little kids, and I look at cartoon online, I always feel so guilty about it but it’s the only thing that i think about when i feel like that. It’s gotten worse now, when i see girls around 9 to 12 i find them attractive. I am mostly attracted to guys my age but i’ve been really concerned about my other attraction, if you’d call it that. Anyways, am I a pedophile???

Am I a Pedophile?

A.

I’m so glad you wrote. You’ve been diagnosed with OCD. You managed to stop thinking about hurting kids but now your brain has latched on to another intrusive thought: having sex with them. The reason you can’t stop the thoughts on your own is that orgasm is a very, very powerful reinforcer (reward). When a person is rewarded for doing something, they want to do it again. Every time you masturbate to orgasm while watching children, you are connecting kids with the pleasurable feelings.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you are a pedophile In fact, I doubt you are. I do think your OCD is at the root of it and that you need more treatment to help you break the reinforcement cycle you are in.

To do that, you need to go back to the psychiatrist and have a completely honest talk about the problem. A doctor can only help you fix what you tell him about. If the doctor specializes only in medications, you may be referred to a counselor to work on stopping the thoughts.

Do take your letter and my response with you to the first session as a way to help you share your concerns with the counselor (or psychiatrist).

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Am I a Pedophile?

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 a Pedophile?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 11, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/12/04/am-i-a-pedophile-3/

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 3 Dec 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Dec 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.