I am now in my mid 40s, living in Australia. I first realized I was attracted to the junior male form when I was around 12 or 13 and hoped it was just a phase I was going through. As I became older, it soon became apparent that I was attracted only to boys younger than me.
I kept my feelings to myself for many years. When I was 18, I watched a TV program that provided a help line for minor-attracted people, but when I called the number, there was no specific help available in my local area. The operator suggested I visit my local doctor instead. I had no confidence my doctor could help me, so my search for help stalled.
When I was in my mid-20s, I read (or possibly misread) a signal from a 13-year-old boy I was close to that developed into a sexual relationship, my first ever. The result was a criminal conviction and probation.
I came out to my parents and my sister before my trial. I wanted them to hear it from me rather than to read it in the local paper. They supported me and continue to support me.
Before the court case, I met the mother of a friend of the boy’s. She was a very understanding and compassionate single mother of four boys. After her sons told her about my past, I came out to her and she supported me through my trial. When her boys went to live with her ex-partner, she came to live with me. We became close and even though I am not attracted to the female form, we had a child together. We will soon celebrate 10 years of marriage. To this day, it still surprises me that I am in this relationship, as I never thought I would ever be married and have a child of my own!
With my legal problems behind me, I was scared that I might again become too attached to a boy and began pushing away any that I felt I was getting too close to. This included my four step-sons, who eventually came to live with us.
Through personal development and the support of friends, I was able to forgive myself for what happened in my 20s. I learned to trust others and in the process, to trust myself. I also came to accept that being a minor-attracted person (MAP) was how I was born, that I couldn’t change it but that I could make my own decisions about my behaviour. Being able to connect and talk honestly and openly with non-MAP men about these attractions was life-changing for me and the positive effect on my mental health was huge.
I have now come out as an MAP to quite a few trusted friends and want to change the commonly held beliefs about us. If everyone had a son, brother, cousin, uncle, or friend whom they trusted and admired and who was able to explain to them what it is like to be an MAP, I believe that is what would make a difference to how we are perceived.
I should point out that I took a risk each time I came out to someone, but this was a risk I thought was acceptable for me and my situation at the time. So far this has worked for me, but this may not suit everyone.
Without professional help, it took me nearly 30 years from the time I realized I was attracted to minors, to feeling comfortable with who I am.
I am convinced that if there had been some professional help readily available to me as a young adult, then I would have come to terms with and managed my feelings for boys much sooner. It is also likely that rather than searching for answers for much of my life, I would have been happier and more confident.
Over the last few years I have become involved in some local men’s groups. I have shared about my own past and heard about challenges other men have faced. This has helped me gain some perspective and realise the challenges I have faced are not especially unique even though my attractions may be.
In many ways, and for much of my life, I let my attraction to boys define who I am. More recently, I am able to see myself as a husband and father, and professional in my work.
Keeping busy stops me feeling sorry for myself and besides work and family, I attend and help run men’s weekends, help with some local sustainability initiatives, and enjoy motorcycling, photography and travel.
If you can relate to anything I wrote here then I hope that this helps you realize you are, in fact, not alone.