Does fantasy cause or prevent offending?

Prostasia Foundation is collaborating with university researchers on research into child sexual abuse prevention, initially focusing on the topic of whether fantasy outlets such as fiction, art, and role play are correlated with offending against children, if so whether this correlation is positive or negative, and in either case whether any causal relationship can be established.

In simple terms, this question can be expressed as follows: do fantasy outlets increase overall levels of child sexual abuse by stimulating unhealthy attitudes towards offending within the general population, or do they have a preventative effect by acting as a safe outlet for those who already have sexual feelings towards minors? Laws and policies that are being promoted to ban such fantasy outlets rely on the former assumption being correct, but there is scant evidence to back this up.

Planning phase

The planning phase of the project has been fully funded and implemented.


  • Exploratory work including literature review, methodology development, collaborator agreements, and external peer-review.
  • A formal, written, completed, peer-reviewed, professional quality scientific research proposal.


  • Original concept note (item 2 under Activities and Outputs describes this research project)
  • Year 1 research proposal and budget (available on request)

Events: At the 2019 ATSA Conference we co-presented on a subset of this research, namely the effects of the use of sex toys such as dolls or robots by those with a sexual attraction towards minors. Further research into this understudied topic could inform current public debates over whether such toys should be prohibited by law, on the assumption that they would have a negative impact on rates of sexual offending. However a contrary hypothesis is that in some cases, the availability of toys may provide a safe, private sexual outlet for some people who would otherwise be at risk of turning their attention towards actual minors. Our research should test these hypotheses.

Does fantasy cause or prevent offending? Planning phase

Does art and fantasy lead to child sexual abuse, or can it prevent it?

of 15,034.00 $
  • Basic
  • Student
  • Professional
  • Corporate or foundation
  • Custom
Year 1

We are now raising funds to support the first year of research, investigating psychiatric associations of the use of fantasy and fictional sexual outlets (FFSO) by minor attracted persons (MAPs).


  • To investigate psychiatric correlates of fantasy and fictional outlet use among MAPs.
  • To identify risk-enhancing and protective uses of fantasy and fictional outlets among MAPs with and without existing psychiatric histories.


  • Press release [link to be added soon]

Events: We will be presenting at the 2021 ATSA Conference on “The use of fantasy and fictional sexual outlets and offending behavior among MAPs: what do we need to know?”

Does fantasy cause or prevent offending? Year 1

Does art and fantasy lead to child sexual abuse, or can it prevent it?

80,000.00 $
  • Student
  • Professional
  • Corporate
  • Foundation
  • Custom