I've just got newsletter from Dr. Kort (he used to write in Ask the Sex Doc
part of the board ) which fills in very nicely to my issues and could be interesting for reading:
"This month I will be presenting a talk at the National Conference for Male Survivors
of Sexual Abuse (www.malesurvivors.org
) which will be in New York.
I have long worked with this population. I am presenting a workshop on Erotic Logic
to help these men understand that even if their sexual thoughts, feelings and desires
originated from having been sexually abused, they don't have to be labeled as bad
Often sexual abuse survivors have hypersexuality, trauma re-enactment where they
return to the sexual scene of the crime repeatedly in an unconscious effort to
resolve the trauma. Clearly doing this is unhealthy and re-traumatizing.
However, after the therapy heals the abuse and resolution occurs, these men--and
many women--are left with a sexuality that now has an imprint from the abuse. Therapists
often tell these clients that as long as they engage in any behavior or fantasy
that involves the sexual trauma that occurred toward them they are unhealthy and
I disagree with the fact that if sexual play originates from abuse it is always
bad and wrong. While it might be true for many people, it is certainly not true
My goal in my therapeutic work is to help people understand that all of our sexual
fantasies and behaviors have positive intent.
No matter how crazy you think your sexual thoughts, fantasies and behaviors are,
experiencing shame around them just makes it worse. Most people feel shame because
they feel alone, odd or that others who share their sexual desires appear marginalized
and negative in the media. Shame is never good for sexual issues.
As Jack Morin, author of The Erotic Mind, says, "If you go to war with your sexuality,
you will lose."
I wholeheartedly agree.
Obviously some sexual fantasies and desire are better left alone and not acted upon
either because they are illegal, will go against your values or the values of others
and harm others. I am not addressing those when I speak of removing shame. I am
not saying, "do whatever feels good and don't consider the consequences."
What I am saying is that pretty much all our sexual fantasies and desires come from
both the positive and negative experiences we had in childhood in our families,
religions, communities and peer groups. This is no different for sexual abuse survivors
except that theirs included trauma.
To be clear, I am not talking about sexual orientation. I do not believe in any
way that orientation can be learned or shaped. Sexual behaviors are shaped and imprinted,
not sexual orientation.
Have a happy November and enjoy your Thanksgiving.
Joe Kort, Ph.D., LMSW"