Minor/youth attraction

From MAP Wiki

Minor/youth attraction is an attraction of an adult towards a child or a young teenager, or of a child or a teenager towards a much younger child. It can also be described as a youth age gap attraction. Typically, in order for this label to be applicable, the people you find attractive must be below 15 and younger than you by at least 5 years. This is an orientation, and it can be romantic, sexual, or present any different type of feelings that the attracted person processes as something other than friendly or familial. A person with such attraction can be called a map or a myap.

This attraction includes subcategories: nepiophilia, pedophilia, hebephilia, and, sometimes, ephebophilia. Its main purpose is to distinguish pedophilia from other forms of attraction to younger people and give a better umbrella term.

This term appeared from a merge of two other synonymous terms, minor attraction and youth attraction.


From the point of inner division, minor/youth attraction can be classified in several ways.

By presence of other attractions

  • Exclusive, an attraction to children and young teenagers only;
  • Non-exclusive, an attraction to children and teens alongside an attraction to peers/adults.

By gender preference

  • Boylove, an attraction prioritizing boys;
  • Girllove, an attraction prioritizing girls;
  • Enbylove, an attraction prioritizing nonbinary youth;
    • Xiplove, a subcategory of enbylove that's specifically about xenogender youth;
  • Childlove, an attraction with no gender preference.

By age preference

  • Infantophilia, an attraction to babies under one year old;
  • Nepiophilia, an attraction to toddlers, typically under the age of 5;
  • Pedophilia, an attraction to prepubescent children, typically aged between 5 and 10;
  • Hebephilia, an attraction to pubescent teenagers, 11-14;
  • Ephebophilia, an attraction to postpubescent young people, 15-19 (this attraction may not be a map attraction inherently, but ephebophiles can identify as maps).

By type of attraction

  • Sexual;
  • Romantic;
  • Queer spectrum non-allo attractions.

Term origins and history

Minor attraction as a term


The first mention of minor attraction is attributed to a journalist Heather Elizabeth Peterson, who used a construction "minor-attracted adults" in an article called Not An Oxymoron, published in Greenbelt Interfaith News in December 1998[1]. H.E. Peterson recalls that she has brought it up on a pedophile forum BoyChat on October 19, 1998: "So what do you think of the term 'minor-attracted adults'? It sounds a bit silly to my ears, but maybe that's just because I hate neologisms. It certainly says what I'm trying to say. It's more accurate than 'child-attracted adult' because there's a lot of dispute over what constitutes a child, and though it does leave teenage boylovers out of the picture, one could always use the term 'minor-attracted person' if one wanted to include them."[2].

The official Twitter page of B4U-ACT, a map mental health organization, states: "We started using the term MAP around 2007. The late Michael Melsheimer, our co-founder, introduced 'minor-attracted person' as an alternative to 'minor-attracted adult,' to reflect that most MAPs realize these attractions before they are adults themselves."[3]

The first registered instance of the usage of the term "minor attracted person" by B4U-ACT dates June 22, 2007[4]. Earlier mentions of this term are extremely hard to trace. An archived copy of a BoyChat post says: "Here's the term for everyone: MAP! - Jason 2001-December-20 04:57:27, Thursday"[5]. It is believed that the abbreviation "map" first appeared there, and its creation is attributed to a user going by GhostWriter, who passed away in 2013[6].


In popular usage, the following derivatives exist:

  • MAA, minor attracted adult, now rarely used.
  • MHAM, male homosexual attraction to minors and minor attracted homosexual are terms that were in use in early 00s[7]. Their appearance was a result of male maps and boy-loving maps being the two most visible demographics.
  • NOMAP, non-offending map.
  • SOMAP, semi-offending map, a troll term coined by a confirmed anti[8] who ran the fake MAP blog pinkpetal-pedo[9]. It was implied that the term denotes a MAP that has sex with consenting children[10], but actual pro-contact maps do not use this term.
  • Mapness is the state of being a map. The term differs from minor attraction by shifting the focus from the attraction itself onto the whole spectrum of social and psychological aspects of this identity.
  • Mapmisia is prejudice and hate towards maps. Coined by Kamui in 2019. It is possible to also call mapmisiacs "antis" or "anti-maps."

Some other derivatives can be found at uncommon map identities.


Criticism from anti-maps

Many antis seem to believe that "map" was an attempt at rebranding pedophilia, tricking the public into supporting it. Such a plan would be unlikely to work out in reality, because the name of this attraction contains a straightforward description, immediately alerting people who already are against attraction to the youth under some other name. Antis claim that maps' goal is to "normalize" pedophilia, despite the fact that many prominent pedophile and map activists are against assimilating their traits into the social concept on "normal" and believe fighting for equal respect for non-normativity[11]. On the opposite side there are maps who believe their attractions to be normal and reject the word "map" as too pathologizing. 

Non-map researchers such as Allyn Walker have claimed usage of the term "map" instead of "pedophile" is helpful for destigmatization. B4U-ACT has also made this claim[12]. However, this is now how this word is used inside the map community, where it functions mostly as a convenient umbrella term.

Some also believe the "map rebranding" was an attempt to "make pedophiles a part of the LGBTQ+." However, the myth about maps trying to join LGBTQ+ comes from 4Chan trolls[13], not maps themselves. It's also worth a note that many maps are nevertheless queer - due to being non-straight, non-cisgender, intersex, or polyamorous. 

Gay non-map researcher James Cantor has attempted to speak for pedophiles, claiming consistent application of the principles which "give" gay people their rights necessitates default inclusion of pedophilia as part of the LGBTQ+[14]. His statement has been criticized by LGBTQ+ maps as well as numerous antis.

Criticism from maps

Anti-assimilationist maps have criticized the term "map" for defining their attractions through antis' perspectives (as in, including only sufficiently stigmatized attractions into mapness). Non-Western maps have criticized it for being USA-centric[15] because it contains the term "minor," a legal construct which does not exist in every country. Youth liberationist maps have also criticized it for the same component, as the construct of a "minor" is an oppressive one which they wish to abolish. Queer maps have criticized it for resembling "same-sex attracted," a term which originated from conversion therapy[16]. "Youth-oriented" has been proposed as a potential alternative, but it has not gained any traction or actual individual usage; the adjacent "youthlover", common in amatonormative pro-contact circles, was coined previously and separately.

Youth attraction as a term

Youth attracted person or yap is a term that was coined by Lilitha more recently than youthlover or youth oriented, around the New Year of 2023. On April 25, 2023, Lilitha made a Twitter post about this identity, which attracted a lot of negative attention.

This term gained popularity among those who dislike the word "minor" and is used as the main name for the phenomenon of youth age gap attraction on some other resources[17].

Term merge

Merging "minor attraction" and "youth attraction" into one singular word combination was proposed by Pappy on May 12, 2023. It was created as a compromise that could be used by everyone and prevent fragmenting of the community and complicating the search for resources and people.


The existence of minor/youth attraction has been a topic of speculation for a long time, and several theories of its development exist. Some of them have no scientific basis, some have limited credibility. There is no single solid theory yet.

Theory of choice

According to this theory, minor/youth attraction is voluntarily chosen. This theory is propelled by people who want to attribute sexual and romantic feelings a moral value and it does not have any scientific data to back it up [18].

CSA theory

This theory links development of minor/youth attraction to sexual trauma in childhood. The fact that many maps are child sexual abuse victims is used as supporting evidence. However, maps share high rates of CSA with other marginalized minorities, and there are many CSA survivors who are not maps.

Non-sexual trauma theory

This theory belongs to Dr James Cantor, who studied maps, convicted after a sex offense, and published a study Intelligence, Memory, and Handedness in Pedophilia in 2004 [19], where he drew a correlation between mapness and such features as poor memory and low performance on intelligence tests. He developed the topic in later works and connected being a map to smaller height, low brain matter amount, and history of head injuries in childhood. Further research disproved his conclusions, as the findings were not repeated in studies working with maps who had no history of offenses [20] [21].

Nurturing impulse theory

According to this theory, minor/youth attraction develops as a result of wrongly applied nurturing signals that get interpreted as sexual desire [22]. This theory, although popular with some maps who like defining their identity as "attraction to cuteness", has several limitations. First, it starts with an assumption that the impulse must be either nurturing or sexual, overlooking romantic feelings. Second, it presents minor/youth attraction as a feature exclusive to men.

Genetic theory

A study of twins found higher numbers of instances of minor/youth attraction in twins with identical genes than in genetically diverse twins [23]. This is the first and the only study of such a kind, and while the findings seem realistic, it cannot be used as a guide till the results are repeated.

It is most likely that minor/youth attraction develops as a result of a combination of events, and choice is not one of them. Maps tend to refer to their attractions as something they discovered unexpectedly, typically in early youth. A large part of maps is aware of their attractions by the time they are 13-15 [24].

Social reception

Minor/youth attracted people are one of the most stigmatized minority demographics. Experts remark that "it is reasonable to presume that maps encounter far greater stigma than do sexual minorities who are attracted to adults or age-peers"[25]. Violence towards maps is normalized and seen as desirable, and maps do not yet have major human rights organizations taking their side, like most minorities do. Non-maps who defend maps in that regard and gain publicity tend to be harmed by the same stigma [26]. The whole sum of prejudice and harm towards maps is called mapmisia.


  1. Heather E.P., "Not an Oxymoron", Greenbelt Interfaith News, Philia, December 1998.
  2. Text of Heather Peterson: Origins of "Minor Attracted Adult", via NewgonWiki.
  3. B4U_ACT via Twitter.com.
  4. "Togetherchat Submits Report To BMHS", B4U-ACT.
  5. BoyChat.org via Archive Today.
  6. BoyChat.org.
  7. MHAMic.
  8. Starfall System [star-fall-system]. (2018, Jun. 18). as much as I hate pedos, I have to tell you that pinkpetal-pedo isn't an actual map. its a troll account made by an anti to try and garner support from the map community. [Post]. Tumblr. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://star-fall-system.tumblr.com/post/175021329787/
  9. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://archive.ph/xG8Fx
  10. accABANDONED. (2018, Jul. 1). SOMAP. In Urban Dictionary. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=SOMAP
  11. Lecter. (2019, Sep. 9). Rebellion vs assimilation. MAP Science Archive. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://wierstamann.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/rebellion-vs-assimilation/
  12. B4U-ACT [@B4U_ACT]. (2020, Mar. 31). First of all, one of our foremost goals is to promote communication. Other labels ascribed to this population carry connotations that can be misleading, prejudicial, and even derogatory. Those are barriers to understanding. [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://twitter.com/B4U_ACT/status/1245106699410833410
  13. "Pedophile Activism" hoaxes, Newgon Wiki.
  14. Cantor, J. [@JamesCantorPhD]. (2018, Dec. 8). Speaking as a gay men, I believe we SHOULD include the P.  To do otherwise is to betray the principles that give us our rights. [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://twitter.com/jamescantorphd/status/1071499969910198274
  15. Americentrism. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americentrism
  16. Conversion therapy. In Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_therapy
  17. Adult-Youth Attraction via wiki.radqueer.net.
  18. Summary Of MAP Research, B4U-ACT
  19. Cantor, James & Blanchard, Ray & Christensen, Bruce & Dickey, Robert & Klassen, Philip & Beckstead, Lee & Blak, Thomas & Kuban, Michael. (2004). Intelligence, Memory, and Handedness in Pedophilia, Neuropsychology. 18. 3-14. 10.1037/0894-4105.18.1.3.
  20. Massau C, Tenbergen G, Kärgel C, Weiß S, Gerwinn H, Pohl A, Amelung T, Mohnke S, Kneer J, Wittfoth M, Ristow I, Schiltz K, Beier KM, Ponseti J, Walter M, Kruger THC, Walter H, Schiffer B. Executive Functioning in Pedophilia and Child Sexual Offending, J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2017 Jul;23(6):460-470. doi: 10.1017/S1355617717000315. Epub 2017 May 17. PMID: 28511726.
  21. Kärgel C, Massau C, Weiß S, Walter M, Borchardt V, Krueger TH, Tenbergen G, Kneer J, Wittfoth M, Pohl A, Gerwinn H, Ponseti J, Amelung T, Beier KM, Mohnke S, Walter H, Schiffer B. Evidence for superior neurobiological and behavioral inhibitory control abilities in non-offending as compared to offending pedophiles, Hum Brain Mapp. 2017 Feb;38(2):1092-1104. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23443. Epub 2016 Oct 21. PMID: 27767244; PMCID: PMC6866877.
  22. Ponseti, J., Bruhn, D., Nolting, J., Gerwinn, H., Pohl, A., Stirn, A., Granert, O., Laufs, H., Deuschl, G., Wolff, S., Jansen, O., Siebner, H., Briken, P., Mohnke, S., Amelung, T., Kneer, J., Schiffer, B., Walter, H., & Kruger, T. (2018). Decoding Pedophilia: Increased Anterior Insula Response to Infant Animal Pictures, Frontiers in human neuroscience, 11, 645. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00645.
  23. Alanko, Katarina & Salo, Benny & Mokros, Andreas & Santtila, Pekka. (2013). Evidence for Heritability of Adult Men's Sexual Interest in Youth under Age 16 from a Population-Based Extended Twin Design, The journal of sexual medicine. 10. 10.1111/jsm.12067.
  24. Ender Wiggin, "Growing up a pedophile", September 11, 2018.
  25. Cohen, Lisa & Wilman-Depena, Sherilyn & Barzilay, Shira & Hawes, Mariah & Yaseen, Zimri & Galynker, Igor. (2019). Correlates of Chronic Suicidal Ideation Among Community-Based Minor-Attracted Persons. Sexual Abuse. 32. 107906321982586. 10.1177/1079063219825868.
  26. Reinstate Professor Allyn Walker, Change.org.