MAPs Wanted for Study on Relationship to Erotic Materials

B4U-ACT is collaborating with researchers from the University of Surabaya to support research on how MAPs relate to online pornographic or erotic material featuring “lolicon” and/or “shotacon.”
People over 18 years of age who identify as primarily attracted to persons below 18 years of age are invited to participate by completing this six-question survey.
The following additional information was provided by the researchers:

Participants needed for a completely anonymous survey, hosted with SoSci Survey and consisting of 6 open-ended questions. If you are over 18 years of age and find yourself preferentially attracted (emotionally / romantically / sexually) to people below 18, we need your help! There has been much media speculation about online pornographic / erotic hentai material featuring “lolicon” and “shotacon,” and how MAPs relate to such material. And yet, to our knowledge, no English-language research has asked MAPs to reflect, in their own words, on their relationship, thoughts, feelings, and experiences regarding such material. We hope to change that.  

 We want to make it clear that MAPs who know pornography featuring lolicon and shotacon exists but have never engaged with such material are eligible to participate. Whilst we are particularly interested in hearing from those with a pedophilic / paedophilic age of attraction, this survey is open to all MAPs. To find out how we ensure your safety and security, as well as other details of this project, please read our introduction by following the survey link below: https://www.soscisurvey.de/276391/

Ethics approval has been obtained by Teguh Wijaya Mulya, faculty of Psychology at the University of Surabaya, Indonesia. Ethics approval number: 167/KE/VI/2021

 If you have any questions or concerns specifically about this research, please contact Steven Dibben at dibbenscholarship@protonmail.com.


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B4QR Issue 3 Out Now

The Summer 2021 issue of the B4U-ACT Quarterly Review, has just been released and is available here.


This issue includes short critical summaries of seven studies published between February and June 2021. The featured scholar in the “Meet The Next Generation” section of this issue is Maria Sklavou, from the University of Sheffield. The full text is available to read for free on our site.


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A Therapist’s Perspective – Dr. James Cates

This article was originally published as part of our Spring 2021 Newsletter. Click here for the full issue.


The B4U-ACT Referral Service: A Therapist’s Perspective
James A. Cates, PhD., ABPP

The B4U-ACT referral service relies on counselors who have been vetted and approved to offer services to MAPs requesting help. But what skills are needed to become a mental health provider (MHP) for a MAP? No doubt there are as many answers as there are MHPs offering services. Two warning labels attach to this article. First, at b4uact.org, a tab labeled “For Therapists” has excellent information for MHP involvement with the organization, with much more specificity than I provide. Second, this list is based on my experience counseling sexual minorities (including MAPs), those who have sexually offended, and those who have been the victims of sexual offenses. With that in mind, consider the following essential criteria:

1. Comfort with one’s own sexuality. As we mature and life circumstances change, perceptions of our sexuality, sexual orientation, and intimacy evolve. A willingness to challenge and be challenged by these internal changes is essential for the MHP who intends to serve the minor-attracted population.

2. Discerning the difference between respecting and accepting the views of others. MAPs seeking care through B4U-ACT know that the organization strives to protect children. Still, there are differing views on how a child can be harmed. If a client respects the law, the goal of the MHP is not to change these views. In a broader context, MHPs meet with clients whose viewpoints are routinely set aside for the therapy hour. Differing views on religious beliefs or politics never become an issue. In contrast, boundaries with children becomes a focal point of treatment for a MAP. Therapists must respect differences of opinion, even when they do not accept the viewpoint of the client.

3. A corollary to this principle is the ability to stand among the trees and still see the forest. MAPs who feel safe with their MHP might report longings and desires demonstrated in overt behaviors. Whether these behaviors place a minor at risk can be open to interpretation. MAPs overcome tremendous fear to meet with a professional. The MHP who too readily reads abuse into any suspect behavior, rather than rationally considering context, intent, and the applicability of reporting laws, risks victimizing the client.

4. An understanding of the differences between MAPs and those who sexually offend. Not all persons who sexually offend are MAPs, and not all MAPs sexually offend. There are multiple reasons that a person can engage in a sexual offense, and not all sexual offenses target minors. MAPs identify as attracted to younger persons, of varying ages. Treatment interventions for those who sexually offend may be appropriate for MAPs who have engaged in illegal sexual behavior. For those who have not offended, however, there is no evidence that such treatment is beneficial. In addition, treatment for sexual offending is targeted specifically to reduce the risk of re-offense. It does not address the broader spectrum of minor attraction as a sexual orientation.

5. Capability to empathize with both victims of sexual abuse, and people who identify as MAPs. MHPs are aware of the frequency of sexual abuse against children. Because people identify as minor-attracted, it does not exempt them from the potential to have experienced unwanted, and even traumatic sexual acts perpetrated upon them in childhood. If so, they need support to explore the impact of abuse on their perceptions of sexuality and intimacy, every bit as much as persons with other orientations.

6. A willingness to educate both fellow professionals and the public about MAPs. Pervasive prejudices and stereotypes mean that mental health providers who offer treatment must also function as advocates. Erving Goffman has said, “Stigma is the process by which the reactions of others spoils normal identity.” Many MAPs, especially those whose orientation is a closely guarded secret, live in the shadows, fearful that they will be outed and despised by those with whom they interact. Only in demonstrating solidarity and support can we further affirm their worth.

The MHP whose skill set includes the ability to work with MAPs is much-needed. I do not fault those whose skills fall outside this population. (Over the years, I have found my limits. For example, there have been periods when I was determined to learn the art of play therapy, diving into books and workshops, only to find myself once again thoroughly enjoying playing with a child, with no clue what therapeutic benefit we were achieving.) Every MHP has areas of expertise. To those who work with MAPs, you have my respect, and my thanks.


B4U-ACT would like to thank Dr. Cates again for contributing this piece. For more information on this topic, see our guide “Psychotherapy for Minor-Attracted Persons” and our Principles and Perspectives of Practice.

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MAPs Wanted for Study on Experiences of Stigma

Update July 18, 2021: Data collection for this study has ended, and the link has been deactivated. Thank you to all who participated.


Minor-attracted people are being invited to participate in a study by Marta Zeloni, a masters student in the International Master’s in Advanced Research in Criminology (IMARC) program. The study is titled “Behind the stigma of paedophilia – The experiences of minor-attracted persons following public stigma due to their sexual attraction.”

A link to learn more and participate in the study is below.
The following description was provided by the researcher:

The University of Kent and Ghent University, Belgium, are currently conducting research through an anonymous online survey. The research aims to understand more about the views, feelings, emotions, mental health and experiences of people who are sexually attracted to children and who have faced social stigma due to their sexual attraction.

Please click here if you would like more information or to take part. If you have any questions or concerns specifically about this research, please contact Marta Zeloni.”


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MAPs Wanted for Study on Experiences, Pandemic Impact

B4U-ACT is collaborating with researchers at the University of Lincoln to support a study titled “Investigating the Experiences of People Who Have a Sexual Interest in Children.” Those who are 18 or older, have some level of sexual attraction towards children, and have never engaged in illegal sexual behavior involving a child, are encouraged to participate.

If you meet these requirements, a link to participate is below:
The following additional information was provided by the researchers:

Participants needed!! We are looking for any adults (18+) to take part in an online study for a forensic psychology thesis. We are interested in examining the experiences and sexual thoughts of people who have some level of sexual interest in, or attraction to, children but no desire to act upon this interest. There will be four questionnaires to complete, all of which involve answering some sensitive questions about child-related sexual thoughts and interests. This important research will help inform prevention and treatment strategies. The study will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. All responses will be completely anonymous. You must be over 18 and not have ever committed a sexual offence towards a child to take part. The study has received ethical approval (PSY20211278). 

Study link: https://unioflincoln.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0jE0EJDc3FODxgq


Note: The survey includes hypothetical scenarios from a standardized scale called the “Child molestation scale scenario.” Some may find this scale offensive due to its stereotypical nature. The authors of the study did not create the scale, and they cannot modify it since it is standardized. However, they have agreed to let the research team at B4U-ACT give feedback on future drafts of publications based on this study. The B4U-ACT research team will assist the authors to make sure that no unfounded stereotypical/stigmatizing conclusions are drawn from the data.


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MAPs Wanted for Study on Sexual Identity Development

Minor-attracted people are being asked to participate in research from Nottingham Trent University aiming to develop a theory of sexual identity development in MAPs. Participation involves completing a one-on-one audio interview online.
Interested potential participants should contact Jasmin Stevenson by email at jasmin.stevenson2013@my.ntu.ac.uk.
A flier provided by the researcher with additional information, as well as the participant information sheet, are provided below.



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Call for Participation in Study on Engaging with Sexual Fantasies Involving Minors

Adults who have sexual thoughts or fantasies that involve minors are being asked to participate in a study being conducted by Siri Gillespie, a PhD candidate at Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies, with consultation with B4U-ACT. If you meet the requirements, a link to participate is below:
Here is a flier provided by the researcher, with additional information. Click below to open the document in a new tab.


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B4U-ACT Quarterly Review: Issue 2 Out Now!

The second issue of B4QR, our quarterly review publication, has just been released and is available here.


This issue includes short critical summaries of eight studies published between December 2020 and March 2021. Many articles published in this time period took on the issue of stigma around attraction to minors and efforts to reduce it, while others included research on supportive services for minor-attracted people and attempts to understand attraction to minors within the field of neuroscience.

Thank you to our committee members for this issue, Harriet Dymond, Sarah Moss and Gary Parmlee, and to Kailey Roche for agreeing to be the our next featured young scholar.

Further issues and updates about B4QR will continue to be available on this site. We hope you enjoy, and find the journal informative and helpful!


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Where Stigma Meets Isolation – Mental Health Support for MAPs during COVID-19

This article was originally published as part of our Spring 2021 Newsletter. Click here for the full issue.


One year ago, in spring 2020, the novel coronavirus became truly recognizable as a global pandemic. The first deaths outside of China, including in Europe and the United States, were reported in February, and by the end of March, widespread lockdowns had brought daily life to a halt. The direct impact of the disease over the last twelve months has been both immense and tragic, with over 2.5 million recorded deaths worldwide. But, although it is widely discussed, the mental health impact of the pandemic is harder to measure.

We do know that the pandemic has decreased measures of mental health around the world. The B4U-ACT Signatory and Referral Program has also seen a sizable increase in requests for mental health care during this time. No studies have yet attempted to document the effects of the pandemic specifically on minor-attracted people. So, for context on how MAPs specifically may be impacted, we reached out both to therapists in the program and to minor-attracted people in various communities, including B4U-ACT’s own peer support group. The responses show the myriad of ways in which a singularly isolating year has impacted a uniquely demonized group of people.

The therapists who responded to our question about what had changed during the past year gave mixed answers. While none reported having any MAP clients who indicated that they were seeking therapy as a direct result of the pandemic, there were other indicators of the effect it has had.

Brian Finnerty (LPC), one of the therapists to whom B4U-ACT refers MAPs, has started working with multiple new clients since the pandemic began. “Of the six MAPs on my caseload right now, four of them began their work with me during COVID,” Finnerty told B4U-ACT. “No one has explicitly stated that COVID had any link to their decision to seek therapy. But I suppose having extra time at home and being exposed to additional stressors could have been a motivating factor in seeking out therapy.”

To understand the impact the pandemic has had, it’s first important to understand that minor-attracted people reach out to B4U-ACT’s referral service for a variety of reasons. Some may be dealing with stigma and minority stress related to their sexuality, while others may have general mental health concerns (e.g., anxiety, stress, relationship problems, substance abuse) for which they feel uncomfortable seeing a therapist who may be hostile to their sexual identity, distress over their sexual attractions directly, or a combination of these and other issues.

Pandemic related stressors can intensify any of these concerns, but also can’t be considered the only factor, even as requests for support increase. For example, Sona Nast (MSSW, LCSW, LSOTP), another therapist to whom B4U-ACT refers MAPs, noted of one client that while “these stressors have been topics of discussion during treatment, most of the issues he is working on have been long-standing and unrelated to the pandemic.”

Without dedicated studies, it’s not yet possible to measure whether mental health has been significantly more affected for MAPs than for other groups, or whether MAPs have been affected in a substantially different way. But it has become increasingly evident throughout the pandemic that marginalized groups have faced a disproportionate amount of its harms.

Research points to social support networks as a protective factor against adverse mental health effects. In addition, a recent study in Journal of Homosexuality identified gender and sexual minorities (although attraction to minors was not explicitly mentioned) as disproportionately more affected during this time by symptoms of anxiety and depression, and having lower perceived social support. With this in mind, it’s reasonable to consider that MAPs might have been more susceptible to the stresses of a pandemic that has left all of us more fatigued and lonely.

Research on minor-attracted people elucidates how mental health is greatly impacted by the stigma surrounding their attractions. Social withdrawal and avoidance are more common among MAPs as a result. B4U-ACT’s Summer 2011 survey of MAPs found that over half of those who had seen a mental health professional mentioned dealing with society’s negative response to their attraction as part of their goals. The need for MAPs to keep their attractions secret, and fear of discovery, can be debilitating to networks of social support, and result in increased levels of loneliness and isolation.

“I think COVID has affected us all,” Brain Finnerty reflected, “but I suspect that communities which already tend to be more isolated have probably struggled a bit more.”

Michael Harris, director of B4U-ACT’s Signatory and Referral Program, brought up another subgroup that might be particularly affected. “We have certainly seen an increase in requests during the pandemic,” Harris reported, “and an alarming number of them have come from minors themselves… In recent months we have heard from MAPs as young as 12 who are seeking help.”

Research indicates that minor-attracted people usually begin to realize that their sexuality is different from their peers’ in late childhood or adolescence, and youths beginning to realize they are attracted to younger children are especially at risk when it comes to adverse mental health outcomes, including suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Given findings that children and adolescents in general have been at higher risk of depression and anxiety symptoms during the pandemic, the need to reach these people with care has never been greater.

While the B4U-ACT Signatory and Referral Program represents a venue through which this need can be met, more efforts are needed. “Although our network of therapists is ever expanding,” Michael Harris explained, “we still do not have representation in all the areas of the country, or for that matter the world, where MAPs seek assistance, and so we are constantly seeking additional therapists.”

The backbone of the Signatory and Referral Program is a confidential list of therapists who are willing to provide compassionate, affirming therapy for MAPs that meets their needs. We do not publicly disclose any therapist’s presence on the list without their explicit permission. Instead, MAPs seeking therapy are sent names and contact information from professionals on the list who can practice (either face-to-face or telemedically) in their area. Therapists who join the list are also asked to reflect the goals and values in our Principles and Perspectives of Practice and our pamphlet Psychotherapy for the Minor-Attracted Person, which is crucial in assuring that the MAPs we refer receive compassionate therapy focused on their well-being.

While there are other therapist lists available to MAPs, our signatory based program, which affirms to MAPs that they will be treated in line with best practices, with compassion and responsively to their needs, is unique. Our 2011 survey found that over half of surveyed MAPs had wanted to see a mental health professional at some point in time, but did not do so, mostly due to fear of a negative reaction from the professional, or fear of being reported to law enforcement, family, employer, or community.

Signatories to the referral list are addressing these concerns by making their services available to MAPs who may not otherwise feel safe seeking support. As we all try to move through this difficult time, B4U-ACT is committed to expanding and improving our resources for MAPs to meet the growing need. This includes the effort to expand our list of participating therapists in the referral program, as well as broadening to include professionals in a larger number of geographical areas.

Minor-attracted people who are struggling and considering professional mental health support are encouraged to contact B4U-ACT via email at findtherapist@b4uact.org. Mental health professionals wishing to accept MAP clients are encouraged to contact the Signatory and Referral Program through Michael Harris at signatorylist@b4uact.org.


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