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Frequently Asked Questions

For mental health professionals

What do you mean by minor-attracted people?
Why have I never heard of law-abiding minor-attracted people?
Why is B4U-ACT promoting communication with minor-attracted people?
Why would minor-attracted people seek mental health services voluntarily?
Why don’t minor-attracted people trust therapists?
Why do you say that minor-attracted people are stereotyped?
Why are you focused on the well-being of minor-attracted people? What about children?
What goals and methods of therapy do you recommend?
Who are the people involved in B4U-ACT?
Can I get involved in the dialog with minor-attracted people?


For minor-attracted people

Why is B4U-ACT promoting communication with mental health professionals?
Why would minor-attracted people seek mental health services?
If I seek mental health services, does that mean I’m saying that my attraction to minors is a sickness?
Can someone like me lead a decent life and contribute positively to society?
How can I trust therapists?
Won’t mandatory reporting laws require that I be reported to law enforcement?
I’m interested in therapy. Can you recommend a mental health professional where I live?
Who are the people involved in B4U-ACT?
Can I get involved in the dialog with mental health professionals?
Can you help me with my legal case?
FAQ for mental health professionals

What do you mean by minor-attracted people?

We use this term to refer to adults who experience feelings of preferential sexual attraction to children or adolescents under the age of consent, as well as adolescents who have such feelings for younger children. It is important to realize that these sexual feelings are usually accompanied by feelings of emotional attraction, similar to the romantic feelings most adults have for other adults. It is also vitally important to note that the presence of such feelings do not imply anything about behavior; n
on-criminological researchers note that many minor-attracted people live within the law (see our fact sheet). Such people are involved in the work of B4U-ACT, and more are known by people who work with B4U-ACT.    [Back to top]

Why have I never heard of law-abiding minor-attracted people?

Because of extraordinary stigma, such people rarely let anyone know about their sexual feelings. They fear rejection and harassment from family, friends, employers, and their community. They rarely come forward to mental health professionals voluntarily because they are not sure if they can trust them to maintain confidence, focus on their mental health needs, or treat them with respect, compassion, and understanding. Only those who violate the law come to the attention of law enforcement authorities and therefore mental health professionals and the public.
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Why is B4U-ACT promoting communication with minor-attracted people?

Many minor-attracted people would like to receive mental health services but are afraid to seek them due to severe stigma and lack of trust. In addition, an accurate understanding of the attraction to minors is essential for professionals to meet the mental health needs of minor attracted people compassionately, ethically, and effectively. Also, mental health professionals frequently make statements that influence public perceptions and policies regarding minor-attracted people. Such statements need to be informed by accurate, first-hand knowledge about minor-attracted people, especially about those who do not violate the law or otherwise come to the attention of professionals and the public. Only through communication can mental health professionals and minor-attracted people develop the necessary trust and understanding, begin the work of reducing stigma, and disseminate accurate information that will benefit all segments of society.
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Why would minor-attracted people seek mental health services voluntarily?

Like all people, they sometimes want mental health services to deal with issues unrelated to their sexuality, but they feel the need to be honest about their sexuality and still accepted. Some are dealing with depression, anxiety or other issues that are found throughout society. Some minor-attracted people seek services to help them deal with issues that result from society’s negative reactions to their sexual feelings. Others seek assistance and support in developing fulfilling lives and relationships while living within the law.
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Why don’t minor-attracted people trust therapists?

Some minor-attracted people have had very negative experiences with therapists who did not understand them, or who saw them only as criminals and did not value their mental health needs. Those who have not interacted with mental health professionals suspect that professionals, like most Americans, are strongly influenced by the negative messages in the media and from politicians. They especially notice stigmatizing and stereotype-perpetuating statements made by some professionals and professional organizations. As a result, minor-attracted people often fear that therapists will not understand them, will ignore their mental health needs, or will not treat them with respect and compassion.
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Why do you say that minor-attracted people are stereotyped?

Popular beliefs about minor-attracted people are not supported by the evidence. Research shows that they are no more violent or aggressive than the general population, nor do they suffer from psychopathology or personality disorders. As a group, they do not share any particular characteristics or behaviors other than their feelings of attraction. For more information, see our fact sheet.
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Why are you focused on the well-being of minor-attracted people? What about children?

Forcing minor-attracted people to remain secretive and without access to mental health care does not protect children. Stigmatizing and stereotyping minor-attracted people inflames the fears of minor-attracted people, mental health professionals, and the public, without contributing to an understanding of minor-attracted people or the issue of child sexual abuse. Minor-attracted people are unable to seek services when they want them, and mental health professionals are unable to reach out to them. Perpetuating secrecy, stigma, and fear can lead to hopelessness and even self-destructive or abusive behavior on the part of minor-attracted people, and disrupts the fabric of society.

It is also important to realize that some of the children or adolescents in need of protection are themselves developing an attraction to children. The attraction to minors does not suddenly appear in adulthood; minor-attracted people usually become aware of their sexual feelings in late childhood or adolescence, and are harmed by stigma.
Finally, no person should be denied their dignity and humanity because of feelings of attraction that they did not choose. Some experts have estimated that 0.5% to 7% of all males are attracted to minors, although there is no solid research to confirm this. If they are correct, it is likely that most Americans, without realizing it, have a good friend or loved one (possibly their own child) who is attracted to minors.
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What goals and methods of therapy do you recommend?

We generally recommend that therapists work with minor-attracted people to set goals, select methods, and develop a treatment plan in the same way they do with other clients who may be dealing with less stigmatized issues, such as anxiety or depression. We do not recommend those components of sex offender treatment that are based on an adversarial, law enforcement perspective. Instead we recommend approaches that are therapeutic and build trust. We see minor-attracted people as whole human beings whose mental health is of primary importance, not as criminals or “deviants” who need to be controlled. (See our Principles and Perspectives of Practice for more about this.)
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Who are the people involved in B4U-ACT?

We are a cooperative effort of mental health professionals and minor-attracted people. Our board of directors consists of members of each group as well as laypeople. We also have a larger group of about 25 people involved in on-going dialogue who are either minor-attracted or mental health professionals.
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Can I get involved in the dialog with minor-attracted people?

We are always seeking to expand our circle of mental health professionals and minor-attracted people. If you are interested in helping us to promote respectful communication and mutual understanding with the goal of making positive mental health services available, then contact us so we can learn more about you and your interest in our work.
    [Back to top]

FAQ for minor-attracted people

Why is B4U-ACT promoting communication with mental health professionals?

Some minor-attracted people would like to receive mental health services but are afraid to do so because of the lack of trust and understanding between minor-attracted people and mental health professionals. Communication between the two groups will develop the mutual understanding and trust necessary for such services to become available.
In addition, mental health professionals frequently make statements that influence public perceptions and policies regarding minor-attracted people. Such statements need to be informed by accurate, first-hand knowledge about minor-attracted people, especially about those who do not violate the law or otherwise come to the attention of professionals and the public. Such knowledge can only come from face-to-face communication. Historically, when mental health professionals have learned that popular stereotypes about stigmatized groups are inaccurate, they have challenged these stereotypes and stigmatization.
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Why would minor-attracted people seek mental health services?

Like all people, they sometimes want mental health services to deal with issues unrelated to their sexuality, but they are reluctant to seek help because they feel they cannot be completely honest as a result of their sexuality. Some minor-attracted people seek services to help them deal with issues that result from society’s negative reactions to their sexual feelings. Others seek assistance and support in developing satisfying lives and relationships while living within the law.
    [Back to top]

If I seek mental health services, does that mean I’m saying that my attraction to minors is a sickness?

No. We are trying to make services available to minor-attracted people who want them to work through issues unrelated to their sexuality, to deal with society’s response to their sexual feelings, or to develop satisfying and productive lives while living within the law. We are not advocating treatment to change sexual feelings.
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Can someone like me lead a decent life and contribute positively to society?

Yes. We realize this can sometimes be a challenge. Part of our purpose is to provide you, if necessary, with tools for finding out for yourself how to do this.
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How can I trust therapists?

We realize that some minor-attracted people have had very negative experiences with therapists who did not understand them, who did not value their needs, or who saw them only as criminals. We also realize that some professionals and professional organizations have made statements that severely stigmatize or stereotype minor-attracted people. However, there are also minor-attracted people who have gotten to know, or have received therapy from, professionals who reject stereotypes, who are compassionate and respectful, who are dedicated to the mental health of their minor-attracted clients, and who are open to learning more. B4U-ACT is in dialogue with such professionals.
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Won’t mandatory reporting laws require that I be reported to law enforcement?

Laws do not require the reporting of sexual feelings and desires. They require only that therapists report illegal sexual behavior, suspicions of such behavior, or plans to engage in such behavior. Therapists who have an understanding of attraction to minors realize that many minor-attracted people are able to refrain from sexual activity with minors.
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I’m interested in therapy. Can you recommend a mental health professional where I live?

We do not recommend particular professionals. Instead, we hope to give you some tools you can use to find a therapist who will meet your needs. We provide you with our Principles and Perspective of Practice as well as a list of questions you can discuss with a potential therapist to help you decide whether that therapist is right for you. We also work with mental health professionals to help them understand the needs of minor-attracted people. In these ways, we hope to empower both minor-attracted people and mental health professionals to work together for the benefit of both.
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Who are the people involved in B4U-ACT?

B4U-ACT is a cooperative effort of minor-attracted people and mental health professionals. Our board of directors consists of members of each group as well as laypeople. We also have a larger group of about 25 people involved in on-going dialogue who are either minor-attracted or mental health professionals.
    [Back to top]

Can I get involved in the dialog with mental health professionals?

We are always seeking to expand our circle of minor-attracted people and mental health professionals. If you are interested in helping us to promote respectful communication and mutual respect and empathy in order to make positive mental health services available, then contact us so we can learn more about you and your interest in our work.
    [Back to top]

Can you help me with my legal case?

No, we do not provide expert witnesses or other legal defense services. Our work is limited to promoting mutual respect and empathy between mental health professionals and minor-attracted people for the purpose of making compassionate and supportive mental health services available.
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Updated August 31, 2008
© B4U-ACT