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2. MY LIFE AND MY USE

Why do some people use CSAM and others don’t? Here we will ask you to reflect on your life situation, including your relationships, sexuality, daily life and your values.

The use of CSAM is a complex phenomenon​, which can occur as a result of a number of underlying factors, including:

  • sexual interest towards children
  • desensitization to legal adult pornography
  • sexual abuse
  • relationship problems
  • boredom
  • stress
  • low self-esteem

What makes people do it?

A person can have deviant sexual fantasies and thoughts about CSAM, and this does not necessarily lead to them viewing CSAM or other sexual offences.

There are certain factors which may lead to sexual interest in children and factors which may push a person to act on these thoughts, including individual motivators, behaviors, emotions, and other variables.

Emotions and urges

Each emotion you have is accompanied by an action urge. This is an automatic urge that arises in response to biological stimuli.

For example, when you feel hungry, you experience the action urge to eat. Similarly, when you feel sexual arousal, you may experience an action urge to search for CSAM or other illegal materials to satisfy your sexual emotions. However, this is not the only option you have.

Risk factors

Risk factors or predisposing factors are personal characteristics, traits or behaviors that may increase the likelihood of harmful behavior. Different factors form “sets of risk factors” unique to each individual.

Possessing risk factors may make certain individuals more likely to search for and use CSAM.

List of risk factors that may increase harmful behavior

  • Supportive mindset/attitudes of using CSAM
    • E.g. children as objects of sexual interest, strong/obsessive sexual interests.
  • Difficulties in sexual self-regulation
  • Sexual interest in children
  • Poor socio-affective functioning
    • Feelings of inadequacy:
      subjective experience of loneliness, low self-esteem and sense of being under external control.
    • Distorted intimacy balance:
      intimacy balance is more easily achieved with children than adults.
    • Grievance thinking:
      difficulty understanding other people’s perspectives.
    • Emotional intimacy deficits:
      failure to build emotionally fulfilling intimate adult relationships, whether unwilling or incapable (lack of intimate adult relationship, difficulty building relationships).
  • Self-management problems
    • E.g. lifestyle impulsiveness, poor cognitive problem-solving, poor emotional control.

In theses exercises, you will look at different aspects of your life situation that may be related to your use of CSAM. These aspects include yourself, your relationships and sexuality, your daily life, and your values.

Read through exercises 5-8, reflect on the questions and write down your answers. Once you have completed the tasks, fill in the Summary Form to summarize your thoughts.  

Help us to help you survey 2021

Approximately 50 % of the users of the CSAM (N=1 360) said they had sexual thoughts or feelings of sexual arousal and 30% said they had sexual thoughts about children or illegal material before viewing CSAM.

Approximately 50% (N=1 360) of the users of the CSAM said they masturbate or stimulate themselves in other ways before the search and use of CSAM.

Remember

It is important to understand what causes you to use CSAM, as this is where you can step in to ReDirect your path and change your behavior and actions.

You can learn to respond to this action urge in a different way, in order to break the chain.