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Self-help program

3. Identify your actions

What causes me to act in a way that sexualises children?

In the next exercise you will examine

  • what kind of situations act as triggers for your child-sexualising thoughts and mental images
  • what the actions are about
  • how often does this type of activity occur. Is it daily, weekly or monthly?

This exercise examines sexual activity related to children. Examples of such activity include

  • searching online for material that sexualises children or depicts child sexual abuse
  • viewing such material
  • sexually suggestive online conversations with children

Thought processes

It is important to identify your own actions and the related thought processes. It is difficult to stop your own actions without changing the thoughts for justifying them.

An example of a justifying thought is: “I'm just looking at pictures.” A more truthful version of this is: “This is abuse of a child against their will.”

Exercise: My child-related sexual activity


You will have a better understanding of what your sexual actions related to children are like. You will discover what kind of explanations and justifications you have used to give yourself permission to act. 

The exercise also helps you get a better idea of how much time this activity takes up in your daily life and in your mind.


Think about the answers to the questions in your mind, or type the answers in the boxes below.

You can also, for example, keep a journal for a week and observe your sexual activity related to children and your thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations related to it. You can also use these questions to help you with the journal.


Describe a situation in which you engaged in sexual activity related to children. Start by writing down the day of the week and the date.

  • Where were you? Who were present? What did you do?
  • What kind of sexual activity related to children did you engage in?
  • What happened before you started the child-related sexual activity?
  • What were you thinking during the situation?
  • How did you feel during the situation?
  • What kind of bodily sensations did you experience during the situation?

For example:

“Monday, 5 November, evening. I was at home in my room, and I went online. It had been a boring day, and I needed a pick-me-up. I wasn't tired yet. I was stressed about the following day. I had important things to think about. I didn't feel like thinking. I was browsing the internet, and suddenly I found myself on a site with pictures of scantily clad children. I noticed that I was interested in the pictures, and I immersed myself in looking at them. It felt nice and a little arousing, too. Later that night, I found myself searching for actual so-called child pornography pictures. It was so arousing and thrilling because it was so different from what I am used to.”

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