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Self-help program


What happens when sexual interest is oriented towards children?

Sexuality is an integral part of being human. Sexuality is manifested in different ways in everything that a person is, how they interact with others and what they do. Sexuality is much more than just sex and intercourse.

Sexual interest is one aspect of sexuality. You may feel sexually interested in people of different ages and genders. Some people are sexually attracted to certain objects or items.


Sexual acts towards children are not covered by the right to freedom of sexual expression. They are crimes and they will lead to punishment.

Sexual interest in children

Sexual interest in children can refer to thinking about children sexually, sexual fantasies or being sexually aroused by children. 

Thoughts and actions are not the same thing

Sexual interest in children is different from expressing that sexual interest with actions. In other words, being aware that you are sexually interested in children is different from watching images of child sexual abuse online or sexually suggestive chatting with children.

People with sexual fantasies about children may never realise these fantasies. This is based on the understanding of sexual acts being harmful for children.

How common is sexual interest in children?

It is estimated that 1–5 per cent of the adult population is sexually attracted to children. However, the actual number is difficult to estimate. Sensitivity of the subject makes it difficult to carry out the research and collect accurate statistical data.

Most of them are men. However, anyone regardless of gender and sexual orientation can experience sexual interest in children.

How do people treat their interest?

People are different in how they feel about their sexual interest in children. Most people find it distressing and would like to act responsibly and correctly.