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#131546 - 08/23/04 07:01 PM Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
FastForward Offline

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
I am borrowing from Dave postin in the F&F Forum. Quote:

"Our whole set of "ideas" concerning sex are distorted, they can be altered, but it takes a lot of hard work and comittment. It's worth it though."

I want to start discussion about how SA distorts ideas about sex.

I am wandering what are they distorted from? Is there a basic model we would otherwise learn?

And what are they distorted to? What does SA do to our sexual thinking?

Thank you for considering sharing your view.


L&P - always.

#131548 - 08/23/04 08:11 PM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
SeeingMe Offline

Registered: 03/18/04
Posts: 60
Loc: USA

I started reading books like "Real Boys" and "Reviving Ophelia", etc. to get a clue as to how bous and girls develop. I had to quit reading for a while becasue anger surprised me. I realized I was angry because I grew up with so much fear and so many missed opportunities.

WillP is right. it would be great to define what normal development is. It would be difficult but probably very necessary to healing and growth.

Something like


Seeing Me

#131549 - 08/23/04 08:13 PM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
SeeingMe Offline

Registered: 03/18/04
Posts: 60
Loc: USA
OOOOPS technical difficulties!



Seeing Me

#131550 - 08/24/04 12:58 AM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Thanks for the topic, guys. There is little doubt in my mind that sexual abuse has effected my sexuality. Not in the "am I gay, am I straight" way, but in more insidious, damaging ways.

So, the idea of trying to determine how far off of some imaginary "normal" behavior I may have strayed because of the sexual abuse in my life sounds interesting.

But then I am struck by the notion of how absolutely false any idea of "normal" turns out to be.

As someone once observed about so-called normal [I] families,(and I feel it applies to [I]normal sexuality):

"The only normal families are the ones with whom we are not very well acquainted."

Rather than pursue some hypothetical measure of purported deviation from an imaginary normal standard of behavior, it has been much more useful for me to explore, understand and come to accept my own sexual behaviors, good, bad or indifferent.

Figuring out how the sexual abuse has influenced my sexuality has been pivotal in my development.

Only by accepting who I am sexually as I find myself, am I able to begin to have the power to choose: To choose sexual expression that suits me and allows me to fulfil my legitimate needs.

Understanding is almost never enough. A level of acceptance of myself must be achieved before I am truly able to allow change to occur.

This Sexual Identity forum interests me as male survivor of sexual abuse who also happens to be gay.

I don't wonder at all if the abuse made me gay. It just doesn't seem to fit. I seem to have been gay from the very beginning of my life.

But the sexual abuse that occurred to me was at the hands of a supposedly heterosexual man who had been married, had children and kept his homosexual behavior completely secret. He used sex for something on the boys he molested me included.

I don't even know if he was gay or not. He was just a perpetrator.

Still as I go on with the process of recovering from the sexual abuse, and the alcoholism that came in it's aftermath, I now see that my choices in the object of my sexual desire influenced by the abuse. I tend to very often confuse sexual desire with a "provider" or "surrogate father" figure.

This is, I feel, because the man, who was 55 having sex with me when I was 15, was my provider. He gave me shelter and food when I was homeless. He then took sex from me.

The pattern of me linking sex with security is one that I have replayed over and over again in my life. Only after having recognized, begun to undertand and learning to accept this in myself have I been able to start to undo this pattern.

Another thing is that I tend to be attracted to men who are like the man who abused me in their sexual status. I have fallen for the "straight" acting guy who only wants to have sex when he's drunk or in secret; the needy married man who just wants to be comforted by having sex with another guy.

This has had a terrible effect on my self esteem since I began to think of my own sexual desires as shameful and as something to be hidden. I seem to take on their shame, their guilt and their self hatred.

Just this last week I have come to realize that while I am attracted to this type of man, in the closet, married, unavailable emotionally etc., at the same time I resent the hell out of them.

I want my love to be able to fix them--but it can't. Just like I wanted the love I thought I felt for the man who abused me to "fix" him. To make him stick around, instead of throwing me away when I got too old to meet his age requirements...about 17.

I have a lot of strong feelings about I have hesitated to post here, not wanting to discourage or offend the many guys who are perhaps basically hetero but still enjoy sex with men.

But I've decided to post my feelings, my doubts and my reaction to the abuse in my life here, because I do feel like it has affected my choices as far as the sexual identity of the men to whom I am attracted.

I feel a great deal of compassion for those of us who struggle with issues of sexuality involving other men.

The devastating effects of the entrenched homophobia in our society makes it almost impossible to discuss.

It takes a lot of courage for us to come here and be honest.

I'm glad that this place is here and especially this forum.

I have not found any magic bullets or easy answers to the situations that have been so difficult for me.

I have found that talking about them with people who understand and learning to accept and love myself is better than any easy answers I might have tried before.

So yes, the sexual abuse in my life has affected choices I make regarding my sexuality.

Older, responsible, mature, provider types have always been attractive to me....especially if they were in someway emotionally or otherwise unavailable. Strangely, that fits the de>
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

#131551 - 08/24/04 04:12 AM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
heart Offline

Registered: 08/14/04
Posts: 48
Loc: UK

I was very interested in reading your reply.

The first time I was abused, aged 9, by a man, I had no concept of gay/straight etc, did not even understand sex, and although I know it has affected my sexual life when I think about this abuse I tend to be more concerned with the emotional damages such as losing my voice (I could not scream or utter a single word), my body freezing to a stand still (I was paralyzed with fear).

On the other hand, when I was abused aged 13 by a gay man, I knew I was gay before it happened and I am stuck with a distorted way of relating to male sexual partners. I am happy being gay, out to most people and yet everytime I disclose my sexual orientation I feel like I am disclosing my abuse and even when I hear others saying they are gay I get a pang of pain across my stomach, like they are exposing my secret.

Something that puzzles me is that I was raped by a woman aged 19 and I was also incested by my mother during my teens and yet I have never acted out sexually with women, I have never tried to re-enact the abuse with women but I have done it with men.

FastFoward I have heard or read that healthy sex is meant to be loving, fun, pleasurable, nourrishing, emotionally fulfilling, an expression of love etc...
Well I have been single since I am recovering from CSA because I find sex frightening, emotionally draining, hard work, painful and many more other things I can't think off right now.

So what I have learned from being abused is that being gay equates being abused, having sex is not what I choose to do but what someone else wants to do to me whether I want it or not.
I have learned that I am dirty, shameful, my body is to be used for someone else's sexual gratification and my feelings don't matter.


#131552 - 08/24/04 04:43 AM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
TJ jeff Offline

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3594
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
Hello FastForward

I believe that this is a very good thread to discuss

Children learn everything from the environment surrounding them

I have indeed spent much time thinking about what things would have been like if I had grown up in a loveing, careing, nurturing, supportive family and had not been sexualy abused by an Uncle at such a young age

Would I have grown up with a much better self image instead of constantly hateing myself? - Would my first sexual experience have been with a girl and not a man?

I do believe that things would indeed have been much diffrent for me if the early years of my life had gone diffrently

We cannot change the past though - it is what it was - history written in stone - unchangeable - the only thing that we can change is our choice of what we are going to do with our tommorow...

I know that for me personaly the SA by my Uncle at such a young age really distorted my sexual thinking. I mean... - It actualy felt good even though I disliked doing it - even to this day I cannot seem to get the feeling out of a sexual relationship with a woman that I felt with him - guess that's part of why I'm still single at 32.

Hope this helps...


Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

#131553 - 08/24/04 11:48 AM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
FastForward Offline

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
Thank you all! Tis is turning out to be a more wonderful than I imagined it could be. That is thanks to your honesty and willingness to share.

I noticed that not much is mentioned about the boys you were before the abuse. I wonter if becasue like me you cannot remember much about that. I seem to have almost no memories of my childhood. I just know that when I am in the company of kids, playing, I have a great sense of loss and sadness. But I also learn what it means to be a child and just be.

Thanks again. I am looking forward to more posts. Take care.


L&P - always.

#131554 - 08/24/04 12:53 PM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
FastForward Offline

Registered: 08/10/04
Posts: 188
Loc: US
I may have just discovered why I have been wondering about these things! I just read in a book called "Putting Away Childish Things" (David A. Seamands) the following line:

"Any experience for which you do not make the required payment of emotion, you will later pay for with compounded interest."

I think I am beginning to feel the weight of that coumpounded interest!


L&P - always.

#131555 - 08/24/04 01:18 PM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
Kenn Offline

Registered: 07/10/04
Posts: 146
Loc: Toronto, Canada
This a very compelling topic and my response may be triggering.

As I may have mentioned in my introduction to this group - if not, I do so now - around the time I was beginning puberty, and before s.a., my mother slid a booklet under my bedroom door (by Johnson & Johnson, not Masters & Johnson). The book was full of all sorts of questions and answers about sex in a language I could understand (although it was some time before I would no longer confuse masturbation with menstruation but, thankfully, one of them was a moot point \:o ) I recognized an affinity with the terms "homosexual" or, at least, "bisexual".

Anyway, suffice to say that my Mom - who was June Cleaver on the outside but a lot more liberated on the inside - felt more comfortable letting me read a little than she was talking directly about sex. And I probably was too. Lesson? It's uncomfortable to talk about but worth reading about. Mom and Dad were high school sweethearts, both virgins until their wedding night. At the time of my puberty Dad was going through a severe depression so was "unavailable" for man-to-man talks, even if he had been so inclined.

The s.a. started as I began to venture further and further away from home on my bicycle and found what only recently has become proper, secure parkland. Back then it was remote and (I later learned the word) "cruisy".

So the innocence of a "Summer of '42"-like childhood curiosity quickly spiralled downward into the hell of s.a. Other than some tender fooling around with a boy friend my age, and the inherent secrecy of that, sex became a tug-of-war between curiosity and my much older abuser's use of power (his age alone embodied power to me).

Ever since then I have had a lust-disgust relationship with older guys. The dye was cast way back then. Sex was, and continued to be for many years, about power imbalance (I've played both roles with consenting adults), raw lust and outright rejection when I tried to make it more affectionate. Ultimately it became about the risk of death as I acted out more and more, then contracted HIV fiteen years ago.

I didn't read about any of that in the book my Mom gave me.

I have never - ever - "made love". It seems like a worthy goal.

"This above all; to thine own self be true."

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

#131556 - 08/24/04 05:38 PM Re: Distorted "Ideas" about the S-word.
Dan88 Offline

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
Here's my two cents on it. I don't think the question of what's "normal" is really the issue so much as the fact that we survivors always want to know what "normal" is so that we can act the part.

I think the biggest effect is self-doubt. Whoever or whatever you turn out to be sexually, if you are molested as a child, I think you always wonder "is it being molested that made me who I am?" And that makes you want to not embrace that particular desire. So you're never comfortable in your own skin.

Say you've got two guys who both get excited by eating chocolate ice cream and having sex at the same time, and one of them is a survivor. Well, the non-survivor will happily go through life eating chocalate ice cream and fucking his brains out with a big smile on his face.

The survivor, on the other hand, will get so obsessed by what people will think if they catch him eating chocolate ice cream that he can't enjoy it at all. And then, with the "abnormal" desire bottled up, it's just a question of what way will he find to offset it.

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