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Am I a Pedophile?

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I am an 18-year-old transgender male, and I’m afraid I might be a pedophile. I have never touched or acted towards a child in an inappropriate way, nor do I intend to. However, I have been aroused by cartoon images of children, and I sometimes fantasize about seeing a child in a sexual way. Sometimes I view cartoon images of children online. I’ve thought about it, and I wouldn’t want to touch a child inappropriately if I had a chance. It’s only in my fantasies that that might happen. Even then the fantasies only involve a child and not myself participating in anything.
I am gay, and I am attracted to adult men as well.
My professional goal is to be a music therapist to children that have developmental disabilities, but I’m concerned that these thoughts I have might lead me one day to act inappropriately around a child. I’m not concerned I will hurt a kid, but I don’t want to touch or scare one by slipping up or indulging myself by accident. I’ve worked with many children in the past, and it hasn’t been an issue yet. Being a music therapist is the only job I can imagine for myself, and I love working with the kids. Should I abandon this professional goal to avoid any potential incidents though?
I’m also afraid to ask any medical professionals for help because I think they might see me as a danger to others and lock me up or something. I don’t want my family or friends to know about this.
I’m not sure if I’m even a pedophile either, as I am attracted to adult men as well.
Is there any advice that might help me?
Thank you.

Am I a Pedophile?

Answered by on -


Sexual fantasies are normal, even healthy. It’s not illegal or unusual to have fantasies. No therapist is going to report you for having sexual fantasies, no matter their nature. Fantasies are a way for you to think through something without actually having to do it. Most people never carry out their fantasies, even when presented the opportunity to do so. Fantasies are a thought process. A therapist would have to report you to the police if you were engaging in behavior that was harmful to children but that’s not what’s happening in this instance. You’re fantasizing and thus cannot get into any trouble for fantasizing.

However, there are healthy sexual fantasies and there are abnormal sexual fantasies. Another way of saying this is that there are common sexual fantasies and there are uncommon sexual fantasies. For instance, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine analyzed the results of over 1,500 individuals asked about their sexual fantasies. About half of the participants were women and the other half were men. The average age of participants was about 30 years old. About 85% of the sample were heterosexual, 4% indicated that they were gay and the rest identified as being somewhere in between. The rarest of all fantasies reported was sex with a child or an animal. The vast majority of fantasies were more typical involving sex in a romantic location or receiving oral sex. The fact that you are having rare fantasies is concerning. It’s not normal to have fantasies involving children.

You asked specifically if you are a pedophile. That’s not an answer I can provide over the internet. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, the guidebook mental health professionals use to diagnose disorders in the United States, includes a definition of pedophilia. The latest edition of the manual, the DSM-5, says that one indicator of a pedophilia disorder is that an individual has “acted on” their sexual urges. “Acted on” means that an individual has engaged in sexual behavior involving a child. It’s also important to note that it could mean that an individual has masturbated to these fantasies or has viewed child pornography.

Based on what you have described, it does not appear as though you have “acted on” these fantasies, however, I can’t be certain based on only a short letter. You did mention fantasies, but you did not specify whether you have masturbated to them or not.

The very fact that this problem concerns you means that you should speak to a therapist. As I mentioned above, it’s not illegal to fantasize and no therapist would report you for having fantasies. A therapist would work with you to determine the problem and help to redirect your fantasies. It’s also important to note that therapists are not legally allowed to reveal confidential information about their client’s therapy unless there is an imminent threat of danger. It does not seem that this situation would fall into that category.

My suggestion is to go to counseling to address this problem, especially because you are hoping to work in a field involving children. When it comes to children, it’s imperative that you do everything in your power to ensure that you never harm a child. Therapy can help you to achieve that goal.

As for your professional goals, you might put them on hold until this issue is resolved. That way, you can ensure that no child is ever harmed by you, on purpose or accidentally. Protecting children, and ensuring that you never act inappropriately, is of the utmost importance. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Am I a Pedophile?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Am I a Pedophile?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 26 May 2020 (Originally: 30 May 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 26 May 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.