For the longest time I’ve not been able to pinpoint exactly what this fantasy of mine I have is about.

For some backstory, I do enjoy content that isn’t what I’m about to talk about, but as far as I can see I don’t see a definition that defines what I have I suppose?

I like fantasizing about students whether that be middle or high school in sexual situations, and I also tend to like to focus on other points such as the clothes or outfits they wear. (Skirts, Gym Clothes, Small Shirts)

I know Schoolgirls are a common fetish among men, but what I’m talking about isn’t exactly that. I suppose the best way I can describe it is an enjoyment in Taboo fetishes such as age. I greatly enjoy fantasies that revolve solely around age or the minor in the sexual encounter.

I would never truly interact with girls that are not of age, but it is part of a fantasy I often have. Whether that be 14 or 16, I’m certainly not a Hebephile or any such since like I said I have other sexual interests that aren’t limited to that I simply enjoy “age” more.

I have not talked to anyone else really about this because of a lack of a serious answer. I thought perhaps I could finally get an answer since even I’m not that sure myself. (From the USA)

First thing first: regardless of the answer to your question the most important thing is for you to recognize your courage, persistence, hope, and perspective in asking the question. I am glad that you know you do not want to act on these thoughts. This is important. These uncomfortable thoughts, your struggle with them, your detailed understanding of what is and isn’t happening to you, are significant strengths being used in coping with it all. I admire your ability in facing this issue so directly and trying to figure it out.

There are several possibilities. None of what I am explaining should be thought of as a diagnosis, but merely a way of understanding that the kinds of thoughts you may be having are things that have been studied and treated by mental health professionals and we have some labels for them. I’d like to sort them through for clarity.

The first is a distinction between being a pedophile and Pedophilia OCD, or POCD. The POCD is when there are unwanted harmful or sexual thoughts about children. What is important about this differential diagnosis is that with POCD there is no desire to harm a child, but the intrusive thought plague the sufferer. The result is often panic, anguish, shame, and depression. In other words, the intrusive thoughts are repulsive and not something the person wants to act on. From your description it seems like these thoughts are unwanted — this can sometimes be how the repulsion is realized.

Pedophilia is termed pedophilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5.) To be classified as a pedophile according to the DSM you would need to be at least 16 years old, at least five years older than the child, and the sexual urges and fantasies have either been acted on or caused actual interpersonal difficulty or severe distress because of the intense, recurring urges. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11)… a sustained, focused, and intense pattern of sexual arousal—as manifested by persistent sexual thoughts, fantasies, urges, or behaviours—involving pre-pubertal children. In addition, in order for Pedophilic Disorder to be diagnosed, the individual must have acted on these thoughts, fantasies or urges or be markedly distressed by them. This diagnosis does not apply to sexual behaviours among pre- or post-pubertal children with peers who are close in age.”

I am elaborating on the definitions because typically acting on the thoughts or severe stress surrounding those specific thoughts are part of the diagnostic profile from either the DSM or the ICD-11. For more information please read here.

You’ve not acted on your thoughts with children and they concern you. This means you have some degree of understanding and control over them. This is the most important thing about what you’ve said. This implies that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may be a very effective treatment for intrusive thoughts as it aims to give you control over them, which you already appear to have at some level. You can learn more about this and other styles of therapy here.

While I can’t offer a diagnosis I can offer my encouragement is to find a therapist very familiar with CBT for treatment. The find help tab at the top of the page can help you locate someone in your area. Your ability to reflect on your own thoughts combined with your above-mentioned strengths are good indications that with the right therapist these unwanted, intrusive thoughts can be effectively dealt with.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral