In a Yahoo interview with Katie Couric, Collins said he did not fit the clinical or dictionary definition of a pedophile.
"I had a distortion in my thinking where I acted out in those ways but I was absolutely not physically or sexually attracted to children," he said.
He said that his therapist assured him that those incidents were such that someone with that kind of attraction would have acted many more times.
Earlier this year, Collins, known for his role on the TV show 7th Heaven, was accused of sexually molesting three underage girls between 1973 and 1994. Two days ago he admitted to People that the charges against him were true. He said he was coming forward now because he wanted people to know the truth.
"I'm someone who gave in several times to exhibitionist urges," Collins told Couric. Someone who had big boundary issues as a young man."
Collins said that in 1973 he exposed himself to one of the girls twice. When she came to visit him and his first wife several months later, he said that after his wife had gone to bed, he was watching TV with the young girl alone.
"I took her hand and moved it in such a way that she was touching me inappropriately," Collins said. "Neither of us moved. I knew immediately in that moment that something unthinkably wrong just happened that I couldn't take back."
Collins attributed his actions to a "distortion in my thinking and need for attention." He said that when he sexually molested that young girl in 1973, it was the end of "anything desirous" and was "the opposite of excitement or gratification."
"I'm a human being with flaws and I've done everything I can to address them," Collins said.
Collins told Couric that most people are broken in some way and choose or get to hide that about themselves.
"I didn't choose this to come out. I didn't want to have to deal with this publicly," he said. "I dealt with it very strongly and committedly in my personal life."
Collins is being investigated for his alleged sexual contact with minors in New York and Los Angeles. There are no charges against him.
The actor said his actions were terrible and that he regrets them deeply. "I don't look at young women that way. I never did."
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.