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#208403 - 03/02/08 02:16 PM Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers
SpiritRisingMan Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/02/08
Posts: 11
Hi group. Really glad I am here. I was abused as a 5 year old by a neighbor. MBd him. Probably since then had a penis fixation. I am married and would act out with men to get them to expose themselves to me. Hardly touched them, would ejaculate before anything happened. Came clean to my wife 2.5 years ago, and have not done anything with others since. I still focus on mine -- measure, measure, measure (as if it'll shrink or grow). Just nuts.

I am starting to understand my abuse -- it seems I did it to turn the tables on them (mastering my abuse, my therapist says), but I can't get over the constant penis comparison. Sort of a litmus test for manliness or something. Used to stare at crotches a lot too but not anymore. Just wondering of others had this issue also. Makes me scared about sexuality. Tried gay life, but that wasn't for me. I just went back to the activities described above. Didn't like male love/sex but was still fixated with men's penises. What gives? Any help would be a life saver.

#208409 - 03/02/08 03:13 PM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: SpiritRisingMan]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
This is from my book that is under review by several publishers so please don't distribute this.

Am I Gay If I Think about Penises a Lot?

Sometimes the victim becomes fixated on penises. Thoughts of performing oral sex on men or boys become the theme of sexual fantasies for some survivors. For those who are truly homosexual this is a natural source of arousal. For the male victim of same-sex abuse, the penis may have a different meaning in such recurring fantasies. What we find sexually stimulating can also be termed “erotic”.

If you are heterosexual, the thought of a woman’s body can be quite stimulating. Because our sexual conditioning may involve a focus on body parts, some men become particularly interested or aroused by breasts, buttocks or legs. Others become attracted to the vagina. Likewise, if you are gay, the arousal to a penis or a man’s body can be stimulating for you. There is no “right” way to be attracted.

Years ago I worked with a man who was obsessed (or “fixated”) by legs, feet and women’s shoes. He reported that his mother used to come home from work and ask him to massage her legs and feet. She moaned as he worked on her legs and said things like, “Oh, you’re so good. That feels great, yes, yes!” He said he remembered often being sexually aroused and during one massage session with her, when he was about eleven, he experienced his first orgasm and ejaculation. He later associated sexual response with women’s legs, feet and shoes. The greatest turn-on for him during sex was to kiss his partner’s feet and massage her legs. He was also a big consumer of pornographic magazines that cater to those attracted to legs, feet and shoes. He concluded that had he not been eroticized to his mother’s legs and feet as a boy, he would have had a more normal sexual attraction to a woman’s body and not be fixated on her legs and feet.

This man associated sexual pleasure with his mother’s (and later his partners’) legs, shoes and feet. Similarly, if a boy experiences powerful sexual feelings while stimulating his abuser’s penis, or from having his own penis stimulated, he may make a similar connection. In addition, as teenagers discovering masturbation, we reinforce the pleasurable feelings with the sight and feel of our own penises. So, with a non-abusive sexual history, we will have a neutral to positive association with penises. Our penis can make us feel good, give us a sense of power, and can alleviate boredom.

But when the sexual feelings are forced, unwanted, confusing and even painful, the association with the penis can be contaminated. Some men hate their penis because it “betrayed” them by becoming erect in an abusive situation. Because the male abuser, particularly when there are negative feelings towards him, involves his penis in the acts, some survivors may associate the penis with the hurt, betrayal, pain, humiliation, shame and guilt from the abuse. Think of the confusion you might feel from having these negative emotions about the abuse or abuser, and at the same time trying to feel good about your sexuality, and about a part of your body that is so central to your sexuality as your penis.

Many survivors report a desire or temptation to look at the groins of other men, or at their exposed penises in situations like a restroom, changing room in school, gym, or at a swimming pool. It is natural for boys and men to be curious about the penises of other guys, and no amount of reassurance that size doesn’t matter seems to lessen this curiosity. Just because you are looking at someone else’s penis, doesn’t mean you are gay or interested In sex with that person.

For survivors, however, the penis is also a symbol of the harm they have suffered. You may think, for example, that your penis is what “attracted” the abuser; this is often why survivors, both teens and adults, report feelings of wishing they were not boys, or of wishing they didn’t have a penis. Although this is not very common, some survivors are so conflicted about having a penis that they sometimes seriously think about cutting theirs off.

The sexual parts of other males can also arouse feelings of discomfort and peril in you: that is, you are looking at other men not because you desire them, but because you are on alert for signs of possible arousal, which for you would be a danger signal. But notice once again how, when you experience these feelings, you are in fact also re-experiencing the control that the abuser had over you. The abuser’s penis was the source and symbol of so much of what was happening to you as a boy. Now, even though the abuse has ended and you no longer need fear harm from the abuser, these old defense mechanisms are still active. What the abuser did years ago still has the power to influence how you think and behave.

One important consideration for those who are sexual with other men is to look at why you desire to act sexually with them. If the behaviors are reenactments of your abuse, it may be because the trauma is still unresolved and the sex is a way of returning to the trauma, perhaps hoping – on an unconscious level – that this time you will not be the helpless victim.

One example of this is familiar with those who know or work with abused women. How many women in abusive relationships end their relationship, but then return to the abusing partner or wind up with another man who turns out to be abusive as well? On some unconscious level these women may be hoping that “this time it will be different”. This way of thinking leaves them in a situation where they find themselves in a repeating cycle of bad or abusive relationships.

It may also be that you have been taught or conditioned that behaving in this way will bring closeness, acceptance or some other emotional need that you may not have in your life at the moment. Or you may have learned that by giving in, you will not be beaten or hurt more.

Again, look at all these situations and you can see the continuing control of the abuser. The bad times are gone, and perhaps the abuser too, but the emotional responses you learned as an abused boy may still be with you.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#208439 - 03/02/08 04:28 PM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
SpiritRisingMan Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/02/08
Posts: 11
Thanks Ken for your great response. I can say this, the penis really triggers me (more quickly than female triggers). But when I sit back and dream about who I want to be with, I dream of my wife, starting a famly and growing old with her. So, in my head, I feel very comfortable with the concept of being straight. What is scary is that there is so much energy connected with the penis that it gets me all tied up. When i used to look at these people, I never said "I want to have sex with them". Maybe my thought would be, I want to see their penis, show them mine, ejaculate and be done witht the experience. Reliving my abuse (I masturbated a neighbor to completion) except this time I am in control. Does that make sense? Also, the male body is interesting to me because I wish I was in better shape and have envy there too.

#208490 - 03/02/08 08:57 PM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: SpiritRisingMan]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
That makes perfect sense SRM. it is a common this to want to repeat the abuse with you in control to try to understand it and control it and understand what you perp was thinking and feeling.

#208590 - 03/03/08 03:03 PM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: Freedom49]
AndyJB2005 Offline

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1249
Loc: Minnesota
I know for me, starting as young as 3rd or 4th grade, I was fixated on just touching my penis. Not in a mastibatory way so much, but I needed/wanted to just keep my hand down there if I was sitting idle. I guess it comforted me.

I can't tell if that is just normal kid stuff, or because of the abuse. Hm. *shrug*

I still do it, but it's not automatic anymore, I guess.

Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

#208645 - 03/03/08 11:45 PM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: AndyJB2005]
dancr6 Offline

Registered: 12/02/07
Posts: 383
Loc: georgia
I have an 8 yo son who has been brought up in a very safe environmet, since he could walk he has kept his hand on his penis. My wife and I don't want him to think that he shouldn't touch himself so we just tell him that he has to be aware of it in public and we remind him, gently but still remind him. I think it's just a boy thing that we CSA victims, understandably, put a negative on. My touching of my penis was not as innocent but I have very different circumstances than my son.

I'm a freeman now, his authority's dead
no pain monger lies in my comfortable bed!

#208731 - 03/04/08 10:55 AM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: dancr6]
sabata Offline

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1950
I Dont know if this belongs here------------------but when i was a boy----------------------7 8 or 9 cant recall-----when the neighbor kids came by-------------------boys and girls-------------------------------i would strip off my clothes-----and chase them around--------------------shaking my little penis at them--------------------------they would screem and run-----------------------------it was sorta like a penis power trip----------------where does a small boy dream up stuff like that?????????????????????????????????steve

#208747 - 03/04/08 01:20 PM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: sabata]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I can't add anything to the chapter from ken's book. I'll just assure you that you aren't alone. Don't feel ashamed or guilty about these feelings; it's a survivor issue and can be addressed in therapy.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#208761 - 03/04/08 02:03 PM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: roadrunner]
SpiritRisingMan Offline
New Here

Registered: 03/02/08
Posts: 11
Thanks everyone. This has been really helpful. I will try my best to accept and love myself. If the shame starts up, I'll just tell myself that I am a good person who had some really bad stuff happen to me and the penis thing is part of the bad stuff working its way out. Again for me, it's about looking, comparing and somehow feeling close by doing that. It's got nothing to do with doing anything with the penis. So it's not about sex. It's about how I connected with someone when I was young (even just once) that was so damaging I am dealing with it 30 years later. God bless everyone.

#212381 - 03/23/08 02:41 AM Re: Penis Fixation ** Possible Triggers [Re: SpiritRisingMan]
freemen Offline

Registered: 11/20/05
Posts: 18
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I thank you for sharing. I went on chat this week to get some answers, but was being told if I'm fixated on a penis - I must be gay.

I find that I especially look at or search for the same type of penis that abused me. When I see it, I feel like I must be with that person as often as possible, to guard myself OR to just do the oral act and get it over with. It doesn't happen with every penis I see....I mean I always look, but if it isn't like my abusers, I don't care.

Does that make sense?

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