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#293682 - 06/30/09 09:10 PM s
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State

Edited by Freedom49 (05/21/10 10:16 PM)

#293686 - 06/30/09 09:33 PM Re: SSA or Gay [Re: Freedom49]
king tut Offline

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 2488
Loc: UK
This is a good discussion!

At the moment i think i am in agreement with the things that you have said, but i must consider it more carefully. The use of the word "attracted" i think can be easily mis-interpreted, or maybe not, but i think this is certainly something that is difficult to describe and distinguish easily because of the delicate technicalities and connotations of language. I think that peoples difficulty in understanding the term SSA lies very much in the connotations of the word attraction which is similar but different in that context to the more general meaning of the word.

Also i think it does take a careful and thoughtful understanding to define it- and lets face it, most people don't open their minds wide enough to really understand the delicate dances of life (and also fear looking at such things).

If you could choose a more appropriate word within the term SSA (if you don't think that "attraction" is the most appropriate word) what would it be?


#293688 - 06/30/09 09:43 PM Re: SSA or Gay [Re: Freedom49]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 2614
Loc: Central PA
I agree completely that Gay and SSA are different. Although someone who is Gay does have SSA, I think it is possible to experience the SSA without being Gay.

I simply look at myself and see that to be true. I'm not Gay. I know that completely. When I'm feeling safe and strong and not triggered, I feel no SSA whatsoever. When I'm in a bad place (Triggered, down, depressed, feeling alot of self-hatred etc) though, I struggle with it. For me it connects straight to the abuse. I feel a need to be used and trashed and yet at the same time I feel this need to be wanted. Sounds weird and crazy but I know from the work I've done on recovery thus far that it makes perfect sense from a survivor stand point.

Physically wise I don't find men attractive. I don't check them out. But like I said before, when I'm triggered or in a bad spot, I find myself with this drive for sex. Nothing more. No desire for relationship or anything like that. Just sex, just like when I was used as a kid.

#293690 - 06/30/09 09:49 PM Re: [Re: king tut]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State

Edited by Freedom49 (05/21/10 10:17 PM)

#293711 - 06/30/09 11:48 PM Re: SSA or Gay [Re: king tut]
Trucker51 Offline

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 2826
Loc: Denver, CO

Over the last couple of months, I have referred several of our members who are facing this issue to a topic that Lynchmob started in April entitled: Confused Beyond Belief, in which Ken Singer contributed a preliminary chapter out of his upcoming book. Here is a link to Ken's first post within that topic.

I find it interesting your assertion that all of us guys start-out with a bunch of mostly male friends in grade school through high school, before most of us choose to embrace our sexual identity, whether that identity is on one side of the proverbial fence or the other. It makes sense that abuse victims might very well tend toward sexualizing their same-sex friendships at an early age despite developing eventual opposite-sex attraction.

One thing that I have read is that from ancient times, men and boys are psychologically-predisposed to working and playing together. As far back as the caveman era, men had to be able to work together in order to get the work done. Girls will play together but adult women are often in competition with each other for the best of the males, and many women tend toward smaller groups of same-sex social friendships then is common for their male counterparts. I might lean more toward male/male social and working relationships being more the effect of a genetic predisposition toward the working together and playing together ethos combined with the effects of culture and socialization in childhood and into adulthood rather than referring to this phenomenon as same-sex attraction. We hang-out with each other moreso because it is socially-normal to do so, less so because of same-sex attraction.

Just my two cents. Your writing raises some intriguing questions though. Keep up the good work.


Edited by Trucker51 (06/30/09 11:50 PM)
Edit Reason: add two words and change one
"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark

#293750 - 07/01/09 02:44 AM Re: SSA or Gay [Re: Freedom49]
Sam I Am Offline

Registered: 10/27/05
Posts: 7
Loc: Chattanooga, TN
I did not see any discussion (maybe I missed it) on the 'trauma bond' with the perpetrator mentioned with SSA attraction. In my case, I was abused by my uncle when I was 8 years old and it began with him grooming me. He had a broken leg and needed 'help' getting in and out of the bathtub and dressing. Somehow he always got undressed by himself?? The first night was a traumatizing experience not because of physical sexual abuse but the covert sexual abuse that I experienced. Just seeing an adult male up that close; the size of his body parts in comparison to my body parts; me having to help him into the tub and back out; me experiencing body smells I had never smelled before; me seeing body hair in places on his body that my body didn't have; the experience of helping dry him off or helping get him dressed, etc, all left an indelible image in my mind. I believe strongly those situations did cause a trauma bond between him and me. I had never been that close to a nude adult and all of my senses were on high alert: sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing. How I imprinted what I saw and what I thought and what I felt I am still uncovering and discovering. I do remember later that evening, after that first night of abuse in the bathroom, while I was sitting in my uncle's lap in the living room I now had a knowledge of what the lumps were in his pajamas. He had been at our house for two months (before the grooming began with my Dad's approval) and I had sat in his lap many times during that time. I had never even been aware of the lumps in his lap because I was too caught up in how exciting my 8 year old day had been. So, after that first night of bathing I felt I knew a secret about his nudity (I had seen it), which was most likely a big part of his dance. And after that first night I thought he must love me (emotionally I felt loved) very much to be willing to share his nudity with me. I felt priviledged and that experience in itself has to be part of a trauma bond. So today, nearly 50 years later, I can see a body type like his on another man, or smell his cologne on another man, or smell a musky smell from another man (I work in construction) and I may feel a same sex attraction to that man. It doesn't mean I want to have sex with that particular man, but I may feel triggered (by any of those senses from years ago) and I may experience a sexual feeling or response within my body. And this is an important part for me to remember in recovery. Where are those feelings authentically coming from? Having that feeling from so long ago doesn't mean that I want or have to act out with that person,(that other person may not even know I feel attracted) it simply means I feel an attraction to him. And sometimes that can make me feel uncomfortable at first and then feel repulsion. Not at the man I may feel attracted too, if I am honest with myself and if I stop to think where the repulsion is coming from I will have to be honest and say those feelings come from what my uncle did to me. My abuse went on for 3 years and near the end I hated my uncle because I was getting old enough to sense his betrayal so during the course of the CSA, I experienced elation (or how I imprinted it) in the beginning and repulsion in the end. The truth of all abuse is that what my uncle did to me was wrong. So, I am not sure how all our senses, our old imprints (definitions of what was going on during the abuse are imprinted in my brain) and sexual triggers work. I just know that they do work. And I know today that my sexuality lies somewhere on a great continuum and that because I feel attracted to someone of either sex doesn't mean I have to act on those feelings physically or label myself as being on one end of the spectrum or the other. I have done this earlier in recovery and found it to be crazy making in itself. I finally learned that some people may wish to clarify their position on one end of the sexual spectrum or the other without ever knowing or understanding their true feelings (I've been here); and some people may be comfortable that they feel desire for either females or males only; while some people may feel comfortable being attracted to both males and females; and some people may be comfortable with being non-sexual with either sex. I have lived long enough and been honored to know people all along this spectrum. I think the important part for me is to feel comfortable with why I have the feelings I have about either sex and to always know that I have the right to choose to have sex or not to have sex with either. Peace and love.

"It is the TRUTH we ourselves speak rather than the psychological treatment we receive that heals us."

Peebles, OH - WOR 2007
Dahlonega, GA - WOR 2009

#293778 - 07/01/09 05:01 AM Re: SSA or Gay [Re: Sam I Am]
petercorbett Offline

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2509
Hi my brothers.

This is confusing to me, the term SSA or Gay. Another label to be attached to us.

Any one who has read my post on my 69 year journey will see where I have always had very strong emotions towards to males.

My first sexual agressor, along with the emotional, physical & mental abuse was my "mother". Whom as a young boy always wished she was DEAD.

Now Ralph whom was my main male sexual agressor for years, had shown to me his "love", his compassion and understanding. He was the parent(s) that i never had. He was the only person at that time that ever had paid any attention to this emotionally and love starved young boy.

Now I had gotten into a few sexual things with a younger cousin 2 years or so younger than me.

Then I was sent to that Catholic orphanage/Home (all boys) we were between 10-14 yrs old. Me and another boy got into some things too. I was there for 4 years. 10-14 yrs old.

Then at exactly on my 17th birthday I joined the Air Force again, 99.99% male. Stayed for 22 1/2 years.

Then I got myself into an homosexual affair with a friend of the family. I was 18 yrs old at the time. That was a one time affair.

The only time that I was with a girl/female was when Ralph had me and that little girl (8) yrs old rubbing our little faces into his crotch. Then in the cellar together. All during that time and up to my late 20's I never had aanything to do with girls/females.

I was never attracted either sexually or emotionally to females until my late 20's.

By the same token I was never SEXUALLY attracted to any males either. I WAS emotionally attracted to my military buddies, as we were brothers, as our very lives might someday depend on each other. We knew more about each other than did our wifes.

I really wasn't sexually attracted to the lady that Imarried. But Igot her pregnant and took my responsibility and married her. But I was NON sexualy attracted to her son 11 yrs old, and just like I was as a boy, neither his mother nor stepfather was paying any attention this boy. So I took him under my wing and we stayed together and did things on base and outdoor guy type stuff. He eventually became my stepson when I married his mother.

Now up to this time in my life 33 yrs old. I had 3 dealings wuth females. One was with a young German girl, (non sexual). Next was a German lady old enough to be my mother. She was looking for a young guy to take care of her. She knew that I was a "cherry boy" so she duitfully plucked this boys cherry. There was no emotional connection. Then came the lady that I married, at first it was for the sex that she was giving me. And I canhonestly tell you that there was no emotional connection there at that time. We were married for lmost 36 yrs.

When this sexual abuse memories came to the surface last August I was in the depths of emotional and mental hell. I was a terror to my wife, she was at the brunt of my anger and violent mood swings. We went to 2 therapy sessions together. She had told my T that I was an emotional disaster towards her for 35 years. I had shown her absolutly none, zero emotions.

But I was ALWAYS telling my boys that I loved them, I was always giving them hugs and kisses. Then came my grand sons, and from the moment (almost) from their very first breath always held them, kissed them, always told them that I loved them. Tonnes of emotions for males.

So when my wife told me that we just couldn't keep living like I was with all those mood swings, plus I needed all the time for me and that lost boy. I told her that I was going to leave her, period. Then she says to me "so you are going to leave me and go marry a man". I had never implied that to her.

But you can see just where my emotions are.
Now I have had a few sexual encounters with a male adult since i've been back here. But those are things of the past.
I do not feel like I have to have this guy or that guy. There is no real emotional connection, just a sexual one. At this time in my life.

Screwed up lost boy for sure. But I really didn't know me, until now. SSA or Gay?? I'll let God put on the label at the pearly gates of heaven.

Heal well my brothers/friends.

Pete (Irishmoose.

Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.

#293812 - 07/01/09 01:13 PM Re: SSA or Gay [Re: Freedom49]
myboyhoodfears Offline

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 457

Edited by myboyhoodfears (08/31/09 04:15 PM)
Post Nubilia Pheobus

#293815 - 07/01/09 03:13 PM Re: SSA or Gay [Re: Freedom49]
Sans Logos Offline

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5796
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
sorry for the tome; it is merely an analysis.....i've been working on this response since yesterday, and it really does not say completely what i intended to say, but hopefully it comes close. i realize i write from a different perspective, and since i am not trying to apologize to anyone for any of my sexual orientations, i certainly don't see myself as deficient in spite of the fact that i have worn both pants AND a dress in my day.

for me the greatest challenge of my life, perhaps growing out of the experiences of incest, is that i cannot tolerate pretense in any form [at least those forms that are meant to be covertly deceptive and therefore harmful to all parties involved]. it is obnoxious and toxic for me. it's a big part of why i live in such isolation. exposure to pretense of any kind leaves me with a sense of sunburn on my soul. and pretense is everywhere.

having said all that, i apologize in advance if my words are found to be difficult for anyone who reads them. i choose to respond to this thread based on those qualities that we have in common, ie, the survivor connection, however, i realize that we all have our own unique ways of surviving, and mine happen to be such that in all my living, i feel this intense and almost desperate need to integrate all my components, not segregate them into little anterooms, causing me to be further divided from those with whom i seek deep connection. for integration to happen, validation must precede it.

As I understand it all boys start out attracted to other boys. They like being around them, hanging out with them, admiring things about them like their look or they way they dress or handle themselves

i bolded the word 'all' because unless 'all' boys have been polled, there is no way to verify this statement. and so for me, everything that follows it, is built on a false premise.

for me the all too human tendency to stereotype is at the root of the problem we encounter with generalizing such an abstract construct as sexual identity. i am at the point in my understanding, that these types of discussions' seem to take on more of an apologetic type of tint. they are raised within the framework of a dichotomy [ie am i gay versus am i straight]. and they are raised because some stress force is bearing upon a person causing them, out of some as yet unidentified need, to conjecture a definitive solution as to what is perceived by them to be 'an issue' or a problem in the first place, requiring an 'all or nothing' resolution.

what sets up this dyad of opposition, this need to argue for one state or position for or against another? i see words and concepts such as 'unhealthy' and 'unnatural' being ported into the conversation about same sex attraction and gay orientation, and immediately a red flag goes up for me giving evidence of a conflict, a dissonance within the psyche of a person who is at odds with two opposing states. where did that dilemma come from? and what purpose does resolving its dilemma serve?

what i perceive to be the answer to that question is found in the tendency, the need for secrecy. and i feel intense compassion for those self-proclaimed 'heterosexuals' who withhold the truth from partners for whom having to live with the idea that accepting a non-traditional sexual orientation[s] would be the most horrific and tragic of acceptances. the need to construct a life lived on pretense is simply an extension of the legacy of abuse, and in reinforcing the secrecy, we have gnawed off our own arm to avoid suffering the consequences of disclosure.

the subconscious dialog in a conflicted person needing to hide/deny unwanted attraction[s] may go something like this:

'in spite of my abuse experiences, i have made my choices; i have made my bed, and now i must 'lie' in it. if i admit even to myself to being 'gay' [ie, attracted to males in any way shape or form] then all of my choices, all that i have created in my life, my wife, my children, my image in the job market, would be compromised in disclosure. how could i ever explain this truth about myself, without risking losing my security and all that i have spent my life building; the very foundation upon which i have constructed everything that represents verity for my own life. who am i outside of the idea of who i imagine myself to be; outside the shell of self i have projected into the minds of my spouse and children and social community? the answer is clear: i am a sham, a fraud. ' of course, this logic is flawed, but people still cling to the notion of a bi-polar model, but guessing at why that is, would best be discussed in another thread and forum.

when these types of arguments are raised, i get the sense that they are predicated upon apriori acceptance of a certain set of preferred values as being the benchmark against which to measure another. [ie culturally condoned values such as males are men and their equipment are 'supposed' do go into a female] as if were some kind of division problem to be solved. [well, maybe multiplication.....] it is shameful how the legacy of abuse has duped us with fear and threat of loss of emotional spiritual and psychological support, into twisting ourselves into some concrete representation of who we believe we need to be. we are ever mercurial beings, always in a state of flux, more spirit than flesh, yet we seem to want to encase our entire being in concrete, or rather plastic.

in my opinion, SSA vs Gay is not the issue; the need to quibble about it is. there are much deeper issues beneath the surface that need to be addressed before this argument will go away. hopefully discussion such as this from many perspectives will serve to kick the legs out from under it, and if not put the question to rest along with the dinosaurs, it will at least give us yet another tool for excavating the deeper layers of the onion of self, and at least lead to more enlightenment and personal acceptance and integration.

all the best,

a very opinionated ron blush

ps dan, what you wrote gave me the balls finish this and to hit 'send'. thanks, i think.....

Ron Schulz, MSPC, NCC

#293816 - 07/01/09 04:29 PM Re: SSA or Gay [Re: Freedom49]
Jim1961 Offline

Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 1201
Loc: Pa, but likely traveling...
Originally Posted By: Freedom49
Sometimes boys who are highly sexual or have been sexualized by other males tend to want to sexualize these desires they have for other males also. For some of them these desires feel unnatural and does not feel right for them. They may be strongly attracted to girls but because of abuse conditioning when sexual feelings arise they are confused about these feelings and are uncomfortable with the desire to want to be sexual with another male. I feel this is primarily because the SSA desires tend to draw them back into abuse reenactments that have nothing to do with love, caring, nurturing in a healthy relationship.

Unlike what you are feeling for your boyfriend, it is usually just a need to get off and does not usually concern who, when, or where. Love and devotion and other emotions usually do not even come into the experience and on the contrary a numbing and shame and isolation is usually the outcome. SSA in this sense is what many of us feel is unwanted because we cannot develop a loving lifelong relationship in this condition. This may appear to only be possible with someone of the opposite sex and therefore this other attraction seems unhealthy for them and detrimental to their happiness.

This explanation perfectly fits my experience. Thanks for articulating it so clearly!

I feel I know myself better now than I ever did thanks to Recovery work. I'm comfortable with the choices I have made and understand that what was done to me twisted my true identity. Now that's progress I think!


Loneliness is a power that we possess to give or take away forever. -Yes, Starship Trooper

My Story

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