B4U-ACT conducted an online survey of minor-attracted people over a six-week period in March to April, 2011. The survey asked respondents about their awareness of their sexuality during their youth, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and efforts to find mental health assistance. Responses were received from 193 people. Major findings are given below. Click on each finding for supporting details.

Question: Looking back now, how old were you when you first had a preferential attraction to boys or girls younger than yourself, whether or not you realized it at the time?
Result: Of 192 respondents answering this question, the most common age of first attraction was 12. Eight-five percent began to experience the attraction while still minors themselves.

Question: At what age did you first realize you were preferentially attracted to boys or girls younger than yourself?
Result: Of 190 respondents answering this question, the most common age of first realization was 14. Sixty-six percent began to realize they had the attraction while still minors themselves.
Question: Have you ever seriously thought about ending your life for a reason related to your attraction to (younger) boys or girls?
Result: Of 171 respondents, 45% answered yes.

Question: Did you plan a method for ending your life?
Result: Of the 171 responding to the question about suicidal thoughts, 32% answered yes to this.

Question: Did you carry out an attempt to end your life?
Result: Of the 171 responding to the question about suicidal thoughts, 13% answered yes to this.

Question: (For those reporting suicidal thoughts:) How old were you the first time?
Result: Of 79 respondents answering this question, the most common age of first suicidal thoughts was 16. Of those respondents with suicidal thoughts, 42% percent began having them while still minors.

Question: Were you able to talk to another person about these thoughts?
Result: Of 85 respondents, 67% answered no.

Question: (For those reporting a suicide attempt:) How old were you (the first time)?
Result: Of 22 respondents answering this question, the most common age of first suicide attempt was 14. Of those respondents who have attempted suicide, 36% did so while still minors.

It may seem counter-intuitive that the most common age of first suicide attempt is lower than the most common age of first suicidal thoughts. This may be explained in a number of ways. It is possible that those with such thoughts at a lower age may experience them more intensely and may be more prone to carry them out. On the other hand, it is possible that those who carry out an attempt at an older age are more likely to succeed, and to therefore no longer be available to respond to our survey.

Question: Have you ever wanted mental health care for a reason related to your attraction to boys or girls, but did NOT receive it?
Result: Of 159 respondents, 40% answered yes.

Question: Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?

Sometimes minor-attracted people could benefit from mental health services for reasons related to their attraction other than changing these attractions.
Result: Of 175 respondents, 82% agreed.
I would seek help from a mental health professional if needed for an issue related to my attraction to minors.
Result: Of 176 respondents, 59% disagreed.
Mental health professionals have a good understanding of attraction to minors.
Result: Of 176 respondents, 88% disagreed.
If I told a mental health professional about my attraction to minors, (s)he would treat me with respect.
Result: Of 177 respondents, 54% disagreed.
If I told a mental health professional about my attraction to minors, (s)he would respond non-judgmentally.
Result: Of 177 respondents, 62% disagreed.
If I told a mental health professional about my attraction to minors, (s)he would treat me ethically.
Result: Of 177 respondents, 46% disagreed.
If I told a mental health professional about my attraction to minors, (s)he would keep my feelings confidential.
Result: Of 177 respondents, 51% disagreed.
Question: Select all of the following items that have influenced your agreement or disagreement with the above statements.
Result: Answers given by 175 respondents:

75%: General societal attitudes
67%: Articles or other materials written by mental health personnel
67%: Public statements in the media made by mental health personnel
66%: Knowledge of other minor-attracted people’s experiences with mental health care
61%: Personal experiences with mental health care
43%: Beliefs of other minor-attracted people
15%: Other

Question: Have you ever received mental health care for a reason related to your attraction to boys or girls?
Result: Of 168 respondents answering this question, 42% said yes.

Question: How old were you at the time?
Result: Of 71 respondents answering this question, therapy related to their minor attraction was typically not obtained until well into adulthood.

Question: How satisfied were you with the care?

Result: Of 70 respondents answering this question, 39% were satisfied and 39% were not satisfied.

Comments:

  • I learned a lot about myself.
  • My counselor was very understanding and accepting, and I got the impression he knew what my feelings were about.
  • The first three that I went to didn’t know a thing about attraction to minors and were just going by the media etc. But then I got to this guy who stayed with me for two years. He was very non-judgmental and very nice to talk to.
  • It took years of self-education and becoming comfortable with the therapeutic process to advocate for myself and demand the type of health services that I needed; something that someone in a vulnerable state would typically have a difficult time doing.
  • The treatments centered around addressing pedophilia that I received all seemed to be based on a sex offender model, i.e. a pedophile who molests a child. That wasn’t my issue.
  • It was all geared towards making sure I understood how bad of a person I am.
  • The “information” they shared was not even accurate — not in conformity with scientific research. Also I was not asked to tell my story. I was told how I was to tell my story. Also was forced to submit to and pay for a lie detector test — and had to say I was doing this voluntarily.
  • I felt that the methods used to “cure” me of my attraction towards children were invasive of my dignity & privacy.
Question: Have you ever felt you needed mental health care for a reason NOT related to your attraction to boys or girls, but chose NOT to get it because of your attraction to boys or girls?
Result: Of 169 respondents, 27% answered yes.

Question: Have you ever received mental health care for a reason NOT related to your attraction to boys or girls, but that attraction prevented you from getting adequate care?
Result: Of 171 respondents, 18% answered yes.

Comments:

  • With threats of civil commitment and lengthy incarcerations for people who are honest about their issues, it is hard to discuss what is really going on and who can be trusted with information.
  • The energy you waste dancing around issues you can’t reveal takes away from the dialogue… It’s vastly counterproductive, and yet I never had any reason to believe that revealing my attractions would’ve been anything less than catastrophic, either.
Gender: Of 192 respondents:

98% male
2% female

Age: Of 193 respondents:

3%: Under 18
16%: 18-23
17%: 24-29
23%: 30-39
17%: 40-49
11%: 50-59
11%: 60-69
2%: 70 or over

Locale: 190 responses came from 22 countries:

48%: United States
10%: Germany
8%: Canada
8%: Netherlands
7%: United Kingdom
4%: Europe
2%: France
2%: Australia
11%: Other