Skip to main content

Self-help program

Factors that trigger the use

The use of CSAM does not happen on its own but is prompted by various internal and external triggers.

Understand the triggers 

A trigger is a factor that sets off a chain of events that leads to the use of CSAM. Both internal and external factors can impact your use of CSAM, by leading you to act on your emotions and feelings.

These factors include your personal qualities, emotions, values, relationships, sexual interests and daily routines, as well as external factors in your social environment.

By understanding your triggers, you can​ choose how you want to behave in response to them. You are in control of how you react – you can either choose to use CSAM or take active steps to go in the other direction.

Factors that trigger the use of CSAM and alternative ways to react to triggers

“I, myself, can choose how to react to a trigger - I can choose whether or not I want to use CSAM”.

Internal triggers

  • Deviant sexual arousal
  • Deviant sexual thoughts and fantasies
  • Need for intimacy
  • Negative or positive emotional states (e.g. feeling disappointed or stressed)

External triggers

  • Easy access to CSAM
  • Substance abuse
  • Positive, negative or traumatic life events
  • Other situational factors (e.g. seeing a picture on social media that arouses you)

Try linking your triggering factors to what you wrote in 2. My life and my use.


CSAM users told us about different triggering factors that lead them to use CSAM:

Traumatic life events (such as sexual, physical and/or mental abuse in childhood)

“I was a victim myself and we watched it together.”

“I have been abused in my younger days, and every time I recall what has happened to me, I feel the urge to view this kind of material so I don't feel alone.”

“I was sexually abused when I was really young and this is a coping mechanism, a horrible one.”

Moving from watching legal adult porn to more taboo and extreme sexual materials

“When watching porn, sometimes it isn't enough and I need something more "taboo", so normal porn isn't enough”

“I use CSAM when regular porn bored me”

Easy access to CSAM

“It is very easy to access and the thought of viewing something illegal and forbidden is very sexually exiting”

Negative emotional states

“I was depressed and nervous”