What I learned as a MAP’s partner

A man sits in a field of long grass surrounded by trees with a woman who is affectionately leaning her back against his chest and resting her face on his shoulder.

There’s a lot about minor attraction that you don’t know. I (who wish to remain anonymous) feel pretty confident about that because, until recently, there was a lot about minor attraction I didn’t know, even though generally speaking, I know more than the average person about alternative or divergent sexualities. Some of what I’ve learned by being a MAP’s partner has indeed been disturbing. However, more importantly, I’ve learned a lot that gives me hope about the future of CSA prevention.

Thanks to concepts like guilt by association, you will probably not put any more stock in what I have to say than you would if this was written by those I seek to shed some light on. This is my perhaps naive attempt to humanize some members of society who are condemned and demonized for their very existence and, all too often, no other reason.

But I’m not writing this because I want you to think better of them. I’m doing so because my realization that people like my partner are human has given me a clearer perspective on what could drive them towards abuse, and what has kept my partner from doing that. There are important lessons to be learned here for those of us who believe, as I now do, that prevention is possible.

What’s it like to be a MAP’s partner?

My partner is a MAP. More specifically, his primary age of attraction range is around 11-15. In less humanizing terms, this makes him a hebephile. Just as no one person can be distilled to just one character trait, no relationship can truly be distilled to just one element. It sounds strange to the average person on the street, but my partner’s attraction is more of a footnote in our lives than a feature we spend much time on.

We have jobs, families, hobbies, struggles, chores—you know, all the normal stuff. We present as pretty boring and mainstream. There is nothing to outwardly suggest that anything about my partner or our relationship is any different than anyone else you might pass holding hands. And, effectively, there isn’t anything that different about us.

Information is enlightening

You see, my partner is an anti-contact, non-offending minor attracted person. Please allow me to break down what that means. The words you are no doubt used to hearing in reference to minor attraction are pedophile, pedophilia, and for a bit of color, pedo. There are a number of reasons why an individual may identify the way they do, but the terms “minor-attracted person”, “MAP”, or “person with minor attraction” are being increasingly adopted because they are more accurate when used to refer to people who may be attracted to teens rather than to prepubescent children, and also because they don’t carry the same connotation that the individual is an active abuser.

Being anti-contact means being opposed to the concept that sex between adults and children could ever be acceptable, and being non-offending means what it sounds like—and it includes abstaining from the use of child abuse images, which are also unacceptable.

What about the ick factor?

It’s important to be truthful, and the truth is that sometimes my partner discusses things with me that I find uncomfortable to contemplate. I love children, and the things I’ve had to consider since beginning this relationship have, at times, been extremely disturbing. He has attractions that I find hard to process and that are unlawful to act on.

I believe strongly in honesty in a relationship. Despite how tough a pill it can be too swallow, I appreciate that my MAP partner trusts me enough to have come out to me, and I do my best to remain open to his thoughts, concerns, and confessions. Thankfully, nothing I know about him has ever given me cause to worry about his past or future actions, but I am the kind of person who would report anyone if I needed to protect a child.

Maintaining an openness and freedom of communication between us has allowed him to be very informative about his attractions and what it’s like for himself and other MAPs. I have learned a great deal that actually makes me feel a lot better and highlights parts of the MAP community as an untapped fount of allies.

What you can learn

When we communicate, we learn. Knowing about my partner’s attractions and struggles allows me to offer him support, and it allows him to seek it elsewhere when needed. You see, the average person who experiences minor attraction is not the evil cartoon character we make them out to be. Many—probably most—do not embrace their attraction and have no interest in harming children. In some cases, this is so much so that the MAP chooses to remain celibate.

But the more you explore the fringes of society, the more you learn about shades of grey. (Before it was a terrible book about non-consensual BDSM and unhealthy jealousy, “shades of grey” was a very useful term.) It is common to look at minor attraction as a moral issue; those urges are evil, and you are evil for having them. Few people look any deeper than that. But my relationship has put me in a position to do so, and this has given me some rather interesting and sometimes comforting information.

Stigma is a problem

Based on what I’ve seen, stigma feels like one of the biggest reasons that some people with minor attraction end up offending. If you knew you’d be hated just for admitting who you are, would you admit who you are and look for help? I wouldn’t. Unfortunately, lack of help and support is what puts people in desperate situations they don’t know how to handle on their own.

If you live in the dark, without support, knowing people will hate and abuse you—even tell you that you don’t belong as part of humanity and that you should be dead—you’re going to feel like you have no options, no life to speak of. If you were told there was no way out, no way to deal with the attraction in a safe way using sexual surrogacy and fiction, you too might feel you had no choice but to be the monster everyone says you are.

Compassion leads to protection

The biggest lesson I’ve learned being a MAP’s partner and setting foot in the wider MAP and MAP ally community is that compassion may be the key here. It takes compassion to hear another person’s story for what it is and not judge them based on your own emotional reaction. It takes compassion to lead people to help and to encourage them to take it. It takes compassion to teach and protect children and adults.

Being a MAP’s partner is like being the partner of anyone else with different attractions. We are both bi, but I like a different type than he does. I personally have fetishes that, although they don’t involve anyone who can’t consent, do involve consensual non-consent, which a lot of people find abhorrent. He’ll never act on his attraction because we’ve established consent as major tenet of both our lives.

Every relationship has some hurdles to work around—and some hurdles are larger than others. This hurdle is not all that difficult.


If you are also the partner of a MAP and would like information about a peer support group that is for partners of MAPs (of any gender), please contact us for more information.

If you or someone you know struggles with attractions to minors, you can find support and resources here.

Notable Replies

  1. How can we reduce stigma? It looks that no one wants to listen to facts and everyone prefer to write hateful comments and to harm people’s emotions… when i try to talk about reducing stigma, people start insulting me. When Prostasia say something, people say Prostasia supports child abuse… It seems that stigma wont be reduced anytime soon.

  2. This is especially difficult because 1) People have an irrational instinct to protect children even when the danger is not real. And 2) Unfortunately people believe that the stigma itself is what prevents people from abusing children. And I suspect that, ironically, the people who defend this stigma with more fervour are exactly the ones who believe that deep inside they could end up abusing children themselves if pedophilia were “normalized”. So in a way these people “need” to believe that pedophilia is evil. Or at least that is what they believe they should do.

  3. I could do a better job writing an article capable of reducing stigma than this one, and I would make it look less “pro-pedo” to boot, while being functionally the same.

    For starters, stop using the word MAP. Just stop. It’s tainted. It crops up in comments. It crops up in replies. Even the mainstream media has been better about the words they use. I don’t know why you’re so married to it.

    MAP has actually made things worse, because the only time the word is ever in used is for under 13s, and yet the word suggests higher age minors. This makes us all look like a bunch of cunning psychopaths looking to “trick people”, when really it was just a random name a committee chose.

  4. What word do you suggest? No, we can’t use the word “pedophile”, becase this word carries stigma. The word is also used as an insult. If we want to destigmatize people, we have to use new words that carry no stigma.

    The word “MAP” was pointed by APA, as far as i know.

    I would be happy to hear your opinion. :slightly_smiling_face:

  5. You end up spending more time arguing over whether you’re normalizing pedophilia, than you do actually getting a point across, and it is functionally the same. It also reinforces the “stereotype” of pedophiles being crafty and sneaky, much like the stereotypes of jews being greedy, and black people being criminals.

    What particularly bugs me is that there are 130 comments on that very article talking about how they’re “normalizing” pedophilia, and 90% of their points hinge upon that terminology. This isn’t just one or two cranks. People are turning up, seeing that phrase, and getting outraged at it. Even pedophiles have criticized this language for being euphemistic, and attracting negative attention.

    It also creates an incentive for the Prostasia Foundation to mumble bullshit about harmful medical interventions in order to save face, whenever they fall into a random scandal. They know it’s bullshit, I know it’s bullshit, you know it’s bullshit. But, they have to save face, and lie.

    This is far more harmful, than some petty bullshit stigma. This is as bad as the social justice groups when they obsess over changing whitelist to allowlist, because someone might find that “racist” or they get offended by Aunt Jemima, rather than focusing on more important structural problems. The term invites “Stigma”. Stigma, stigma, stigma. I’m seeing plenty of “stigma” as it is. Even your focus on this, rather than serious issues, shows to me that you yourself are perpetuating “stigma”.

    If there is anything I hate, it is self-righteous social justice warrirors who think they know it all, and never help when you actually need it. And behave as if they’re doing you a big, big favor in the pursuit of appearing “woke”.

    There is a big problem here. It needs to be solved. It is only getting worse.

    Six months ago, you could laugh off the cranks, but “MAP” is only becoming more and more tainted with the manipulation narrative. You have no idea, no idea how far away I am seeing the normalization arguments, and how it’s predicated on that word.

    If you have a better way of dealing with it, I’d like to hear it, but it’s only going to get worse. Much worse.

Continue the discussion at forum.prostasia.org

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. This is absolutely sickening. Pedophilia is a paraphilia, not an orientation, and can and should be changed. No, it’s not okay to be a pedophile. No, you shouldn’t remove the stigma. No, it’s not irrational to be wary of someone who’s paraphilia is rape of children, especially since it takes a very long time to get to that point; usually they watch years of increasingly extreme porn with people of younger and younger ages, until they finally have this paraphilia in it’s full-fledged form. No, it’s not fine. No, it should not be accepted. Yes, they need to seek help. Yes, help should be available to these people so they do not end up ruining a child’s life.

    1. A lot of people think the same way as you, but science tells us that for those who have pedophilia (and remember: most people who commit child sex abuse don’t have it), it is very likely to be a lifelong condition. As far as we know, it isn’t caused from watching porn but from early brain development. Also, even though acting on it in real life would be rape, most people who have pedophilia are not sexually aroused by rape (this is a separate paraphilia called biastophilia). Nobody is saying that having unchosen attractions that would be unlawful or harmful to act upon is “fine” or “good” or “okay,” but these attractions exist whether or not society approves of them. We agree on the fact that help should be available to people who have this condition and who would benefit from that support to ensure that they keep their attractions contained.

    2. Thank you ‘hey.’ It sounds like you actually have boundaries rather than people who decide to “empathize” and rationalize the behavior of these people, which is why our society is such a mess. It is NEVER okay for an adult to abuse a child and these people are internally violent and seek power and control over innocent children. The psycho-babble from the writer shows you how the rationalization of her partner’s behavior perpetuates the problem and harms children.

      1. The difference between thoughts and behavior is a key one, but you seem to have overlooked that the author’s partner hasn’t behaved abusively and is committed to not doing so. Stereotypes about such people being inherently violent and controlling are based on profiles of offenders. But there is a “hidden” population of non-offenders who don’t match that profile, which is good news for abuse prevention: it means that whatever thoughts you may have, you are never condemned to offend.

        1. But i think there’s a looming problem here: if such attractions begin to be normalized, ‘accepted’, and openly discussed in a neutral and nonmoral atmosphere, then there is a threat that this will somehow legitimize it especially in the minds of those who deeply struggle with it. ‘Hey, i just happen to have an alternative and unpopular form of attraction. Nothing really moral or immoral about this. Society’s openly talking about this in an accepting way.’ Once this thought is embraced, it’s not hard to imagine that, when a temptation presents itself, it’s ‘easier’ to act on the urge to satisfy one’s desire.

          1. That’s not what research suggests is happening, though. People who think that they were born bad and are doomed to offend will be pushed towards doing exactly that. Those who realize that their attraction is not an evil action in itself and that offending is a choice, are more likely to avoid making that choice. The discourse isn’t simply “attraction doesn’t matter” but rather “attraction is not action.” Consent culture, emphasizing the fact that children cannot consent to sex with adults, refocuses us on actions rather than thoughts. It’s a healthier approach than trying to police what goes on in people’s heads.

  3. People like those above are why I’m here. I never will sexually abuse a person, regardless of age. By definition, I will never have sexual relations with someone who is too young to consent. I have watched too much porn but none of it involves children. I don’t want to feel the things I do, I hate myself and want to escape pretty much daily. How do people like me seek help if we can’t come forward? We are immediately demonized, told we are unfit to live, told we belong in jail, told it’s entirely our own fault. I don’t need some random people telling me that. I’m the one trapped in my mind with those thoughts cycling around all day.

  4. This is literally just trying to normalise and endorse child rape. Disgusting and should be taken down

    1. No, it absolutely isn’t, it is doing the opposite of that: explaining that even for someone who is minor-attracted, child rape must be seen as wrong, and that it isn’t an inevitable outcome of the attraction. We certainly won’t be taking down this popular and informative article.

    2. No, it’s not. You’re clearly too stuck in your ignorance to even allow yourself to understand what that person was saying.

  5. I get it….I really do. I have a lot of understanding and heart for these people but I would let my husband rip their bottom jaw off the moment I caught them accidently glancing starting WHATEVER at my daughter or sister and wouldn’t feel a single feeling about it. Yes I get the no touching rule blah blah but they still could ruin a child’s life if it gets too out of control

    1. You’re part of the problem.

  6. Took a lot of courage to write this. Good for you.

    It’s important to not that the trauma associated with a legitimately abusive “relationship”, is indeed a result of manipulation on some level. But what’s equally important to note, that many people seem to miss, is that not all trauma is a direct result of 1 person manipulating the other in said “relationship”. Sometimes the trauma comes from growing up with confusion from being told your whole life that what that other person did was sick and evil, and that it was never real love, when in the back of your mind, you know that’s total BS. Sometimes the younger partner genuinely loves the older partner, and the older partner genuinely loves the younger partner, but something happens. Someone finds out. And because they think that by turning in the older partner, they’re being some kind of hero, contrarily, they’re destroying 2 lives in different ways. The older partners gets completely existentially exiled and probably raped/murdered in prison (at which point everyone laughs and says they deserve it), and the younger partner’s social life is completely destroyed because now everyone knows. When it would’ve been much better to just talk to the younger partner and ask them how THEY FEEL. Now, they might lie, because our backwards society has made us all hate ourselves for who we are born to be, and because they can’t handle the pressure. Or, if they’re in a genuinely loving relationship, they might actually tell the truth. But truth or not, some moron out there will think they’re a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, and because the younger partner isn’t legally an adult, they can’t defend themselves in an effective way, because nobody respects them enough to let them try.

    *****

    My point is that NOT ALL MAPS ARE SADISTIC CHILD ABDUCTORS OR KILLERS. But because most people are too stupid and brainwashed to even consider this as a possibility (when it’s actually the truth), they hide behind their projected judgment & hatred, because they know that’s what everyone else will do. And you know what? Chances are, the more hate you spew, the more you have to hide. If you make a point of saying all MAPS deserve to die, them you’re probably a closet MAP who believes they deserve to die, because you feel like that’s how everyone would treat you if you admitted the truth of who you are.

    *****

    I’m finished.

    🙏🏻💙

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