Sexual contact with younger children

With treatment children and youth with problematic sexual behaviour grow up  to live healthy and safe lives in their communities. 

National Center on the Sexual Behaviour of Youth

What if I have sexually touched someone younger than me?

Sexual touching between children can also be sexual abuse when there is an age different of 3 or 4 more years, or if the children are very different developmentally or size-wise. Sexual abuse does not have to involve penetration, force, pain, or even touching. If you engage in any sexual behavior (looking, showing, or touching) with a child to meet your interests or sexual needs, it is sexual abuse. This includes taking pictures or looking at child pornography.

Even if a child or underage teen gives you permission or acts willingly, this is not consent. A child’s permission or even request to play a sexual touching or watching game never excuses you, as the older person, from taking full responsibility for the interaction. A child is never accountable.

It is always your responsibility to set boundaries with children and youth who are younger than you. You can't justify sexual activity with children by saying the child “wanted” to or the child touched you first. You are misreading a child’s affection if you think it is sexual. It is never okay to engage sexually with a child in any way. It’s a crime that does a lot of harm for everyone, including you.

You are not alone.

Other people have been in your shoes. Sexual behaviour problems happen to all kinds of people in all kinds of families. If you can find the courage and face the situation you will come out the other side stronger. There is help available and the research says that yes, you can change your attitudes and behaviour. What kind of a person do you really want to be? It’s up to you.


Further Reading & Resources