What is a MAP?
MAP is an acronym representing the phrase “Minor-Attracted Person,” coined by psychologists at B4UACT as an umbrella term which includes all persons who experience preferential minor-attraction.
What is minor-attraction?
Minor-attraction is attraction by an adult or adolescent to minor children of a much younger age. This presents as attraction to infants and toddlers (nepiophilia), attraction to prepubescent children by someone 16 or older (pedophilia), attraction to pubescent children (hebephilia), and sometimes attraction to older adolescents (ephebephilia).
Is minor-attraction a mental disorder?
Minor-attraction itself is not a disorder. The only type of minor-attraction mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistitical Manual of Mental Disorders, the psychiatric manual usually used in the US, is pedophilia. Pedophilia is listed as a paraphilia, and was depathologized in the DSM-V, the latest version of the DSM, published in 2013. It is listed as a disorder in the current International Classification of Diseases, published by the World Health Organization, but is expected to be reclassified the upcoming edition, the ICD-11.
The DSM-V does include Pedophilic Disorder, for a diagnosis of which the following criteria must be met:
- Recurrent, intense sexual fantasies, urges or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 years or younger) for a period of at least 6 months.
- These sexual urges have been acted on or cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- The person is at least age 16 and at least 5 years older than the child in the first category. However, this does not include an individual in late adolescence involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old.
The distinguishing characteristics of Pedophilic Disorder vs pedophilia are distress or impairment, and/or action on sexual urges (such as viewing child pornography or sexually abusing a child.
Is minor-attraction a sexuality?
Minor-attraction is not officially classified as a sexual or romantic orientation, although it appears to function in the same ways, presenting as unchangeable by individual effort or therapeutic method, usually first noticed at the onset of puberty (between 12 and 14 years of age) and continuing throughout the minor-attracted person’s adolescent and adult life.
Do MAPs always abuse children?
No. There is an erroneous conflation of “pedophile” with “child molester,” and a deeply harmful misconception that all minor-attracted persons must offend. Terms like pedophile and MAP describe attraction only, not behavior. It is unknown the exact percentage of MAPs who do and do not abuse children, but it is believed those who do not constitute a significant number, even a majority. (Hall et al., 1995; Okami & Goldberg, 1992).
Additionally, child sexual abuse is often commited by offenders who are not MAPs, that is, for reasons other than attraction. (Ames & Houston, 1990; Freund, 1981; Okami & Goldberg, 1992). These constitute anywhere from 50% to 66% or more of child sexual abuse cases.
What is “age of attraction,” or AoA?
Age of attraction, or AoA, describes the age range(s) a person is attracted to. These may span many years, or only a few. They may be continuous, or occur in discrete sets. Some individuals AoAs include minors only, some include adults only, and some include both. Everyone who is attracted to other people has an AoA, even you.
What do “anti-contact” and “non-offending” mean?
A person’s contact stance describes their views on the appropriateness of child-adult sexual or romantic relationships. Someone who is pro-contact believes that it is acceptable for adults to engage in these relationships with children (usually younger than 16 or 18). Someone who is anti-contact believes this is not acceptable. There is some ambiguity concerning adult-minor relationships with small age gaps, such as a relationship where one partner is 14 and one partner is 16, or where one partner is 17 and one partner is 19. These relationships are generally considered acceptable (although in some areas illegal, if rarely prosecuted) and their allowance is generally not considered to fall under pro-contact ideology. Evidence-based analysis shows that children cannot provide informed consent to a sexual relationship with an adult before late adolescence at the earliest, and that this age may vary based on the child, the type of relationship, and cultural views and quality of education concerning sex, relationships, and consent. This network takes an anti-contact stance.
A person’s offender status can describe one of two things. First, whether a person has committed sexual abuse of a child, including but not limited to grooming, sexual acts without intercourse, intercourse, and the deliberate viewing of pornography involving real children. Second, whether a person has engaged in legal, but still harmful sexual or romantic conduct with a child, including but not limited to leering, flirting, and dating without sexual activity.
What constitutes inappropriate contact is evaluated with first consideration being toward the wellbeing of a minor.
Is minor-attraction caused by childhood sexual abuse?
Some MAPs may feel that a history of childhood sexual abuse has caused or influenced their sexuality, including their attraction to minors. Some people may find their understanding of or relationship to their sexuality changes during the process of recovery from trauma. There is at this point in time no scientific evidence to support the belief that minor-attraction is cause by childhood sexual abuse. (Freund & Kuban, 1993; Garland & Dougher, 1990; Hall, 1996; Li, 1990a).
Why support MAPs?
Minor-attraction is non-normative, but MAPs are people just like everyone else. The only difference is their age of attraction. Just like orientation based on gender, and just like people who are attracted to adults, MAPs do not choose to be attracted to children, and minor-attraction cannot be changed.
MAPs experience high rates of impaired psychosocial functioning, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, isolation, and suicidality. MAPs may feel like outsiders in their communities, be frightened of themselves and of causing harm, and feel like there is no one they can confide in, even when they would benefit from treatment. Many take their own lives, most commonly in their teens.
MAP advocacy is one of the best ways to reduce rates of childhood sexual abuse- a MAP is most at risk of offending when they are between 12 and 14, feeling depressed, isolated, and self-loathing, and when they have internalized the erroneous social narrative that MAPs are doomed to offend.
By educating ourselves and others, rectifying the climate of misinformation and harmful stigma, providing peer and professional support, and cultivating safe, social, accessible spaces for MAPs which challenge detrimental narratives and feelings of isolation, we can help reduce child sexual abuse and help a demographic of real, brave, complex individuals who deserve our compassion and support.
Where can I find more information? Why don’t you cite more sources?
Previous platforms have purged blogs like this one, in acts of heavy-handed, prejudiced, and ultimately detrimental censorship. In most cases this and other efforts at censorship impeded the admin’s ability to maintain a cohesive source bank.
For more information, and more sources including academic literature and personal statements, visit