The following quotations come from individuals who had either successfully completed a course of therapy within the Prevention Network “Kein Täter werden”, or who were engaged in the therapy at the time of the interview. All personal information - name, age, profession – have been anonymized for publication on this website.
Ralph, 38, director
At the age of 15 or 16 I noticed myself looking at younger children – a strange feeling, given that you’re normally supposed to find people your own age more interesting. At that time I tended to find the 10 or 12 year old girls more interesting. At 15, that’s still just about ok, but I did find it strange. Then, I just repressed it. When, at 18 or 19, nothing had changed, and younger kids were still more interesting to me, I then started to think it over more seriously. Until I was in my mid-20’s, I continued to have the feeling that, ok, this is something I would be able to deal with somehow.
Manuel, 33, computer scientist
When my friends, unlike me, started to be interested in girls our own age, it became clear to me that I am different, but I couldn’t really classify it. I couldn’t share it with anyone, I was far too afraid of that. So I just hid myself and evaded uncomfortable questions.
Alex, 24, student
It was irritating and I didn’t feel entirely normal, always just put it to the side and thought that maybe it’s just a phase that I’ll get through and it will change at some point.
Paul, 60, salesperson
I realized that I felt sexually attracted to children for the first time when I was around 24 or so. It was a summer day. I had my first flat of my own and was looking out the window. Some girls ran by, scantily clad, like they tend to be in summer. And that’s when, for the first time I felt how strongly drawn to them I was.
Ralph, 38, director
When I was about 25 or so, I noticed that actually, this really is a problem. I wouldn’t have thought that it could be so bad, I’d thought it would definitely go away, but then the thought only got worse. That’s when I started to get myself some materials from the internet to try and compensate somehow. I knew I could never actually turn to a child - that had always been clear to me. But still, it’s not easy to achieve, as it’s a feeling I always have inside, totally normal feelings of love or security, to feel close to someone, and that’s always a problem.
Stefan, 36, sound engineer
At first I didn’t want it to be true, repressed the feeling, pushed down the desire. Later, I started to retreat from social life more and more. I neglected friendships, family, and colleagues out of fear that my sexual preference might be discovered, but also out of shame and a growing feeling of being worthless in relation to other people who thought of me as their friend and partner. I convinced myself I wasn’t worthy of their friendship or affection.
Sven, 45, teacher
When I was in school I had already noticed that I was interested in girls who were a lot younger than me, and I noticed then that other people found that strange. I didn’t really think too much of the fact that, at 18, I would find a 14 year old cute and attractive. Still, I had already started to not talk about it anymore. Then, when I was studying, I made contact in a chat room for the first time with a chat buddy who said she was 14 years old. I knew right away that I had done something forbidden, and that I wanted more of it. It was around this time that I told a psychologist about this for the first time, hoping that I could find a way of dealing with it. Unfortunately, I felt misunderstood during our sessions and resorted to forbidding myself such contacts in the future. But that didn’t work forever.
Moritz, 58, orchestra musician
In spite of all the signs being there, I didn’t want to admit to myself that I am a “pedophile” until I had almost turned 40. I just told everyone I “haven’t found the right one yet”, “lots of disappointments”, etc. I had a lot of contact with kids through teaching music, and never abused this trust. In return, my fantasies became more and more vivid. My sexual preference became known through a stupid coincidence, which even led to me losing my job.
Bernhard, 44, advisor
It really became clear to me when I was consuming child pornography on a regular basis and couldn’t resist the need. On the one hand, it was very arousing to see this material, but at the same time I was full of fear, as I thought I would be caught at any time. Then there was always the uncertainty of a relapse. and the fear of landing in prison for it, losing social contacts, being expelled.
Sven, 45, teacher
During my work as a teacher it just got worse and worse. I regularly had sexual fantasies in which my female pupils turned up, and I couldn’t talk about it with anyone. I even kept my preferences from my wife, and strongly denied her chiding that I wasn’t distanced enough from the pupils. It drew me into chat rooms again and again and the desire grew more and more to get closer to a female pupil to satisfy this urge.
Christian, 43, civil servant
It’s a vicious circle: You’re missing something, you feel bad, feel worthless, and then you seek an outlet, even though you know that afterwards you’ll feel even worse. When you look at these pictures on the internet, the guilty conscience comes at some point. Eventually you’re back out of the situation where lust is stronger than reason, and then you realize it feel even worse. And you think, if you’re unlucky, then the police are at the door. You wipe the hard drive. After that youstart looking for alternative gratification in the form of child pornography or with prostitutes. You just look for young, skinny prostitutes that sort of fit the kid-image, you look for them quite desparately. And then you come home again and think: Shit, I’m really fucked up!