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Module 1. Understanding motivations

This module aims to help you explore and gain understanding of the following:

  • Your current problematic sexual behaviours
  • Your motivations for engaging in these problematic sexual behaviours
  • Patterns and trends within your current behaviour which help to maintain such problematic sexual behaviours
  • The process of offending



Sexual behaviour is influenced by your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values and experiences; however, it is not beyond your control. Even if you experience sexual feelings prompted by an unanticipated trigger (e.g. someone passing you on the street), the behaviour, which follows, is a choice and one within your control.

For example:

  • Fantasising
  • Masturbating
  • Accessing sexual content
  • Sexually touching another person.

The majority of people who engage in sexually harmful behaviour have a cycle or pattern of behaviour which is repeated, despite internal promises to never do it again. Therefore, while it remains a choice, the behaviour can become habitual and seem almost automatic. This can be seen in other patterns of potentially harmful behaviour, such as speeding when driving or chronic overeating.

The list below offers some common motivations we hear from people who have masturbated to sexual thoughts of children:

  • Boredom
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress
  • Desensitised to adult sexual fantasies and/or pornography depicting adults
  • Sexual gratification
  • Loneliness
  • No sex life / decreased sex life
  • Sexual attraction to children
  • Comfort
  • Buzz of the ‘taboo’
  • Relationship problems
  • Sexual addiction or preoccupation

To understand your motivation(s) it is important to learn as much about yourself and your behaviours as possible. As a starting point, consider which of these might apply in your case and whether these may have changed over time. This may then help you to complete the following two exercises. 




Continue to problematic behaviour