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#519904 - 01/10/18 04:58 PM not orientation but disorientation
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4512
Loc: NE Ohio
quote: "I encounter more of these situations in my office than you might imagine. I have found that the first step is to see the man who has been abused in childhood in individual therapy, working through his grief and his anger at the loss of innocent sexual development, helping him understand how his own sexuality was eclipsed by the sexuality of the perpetrator, leaving him sexually disoriented."

this is a fascinating and helpful article, in my opinion:

not orientation but disorientation
"The wound is the place where the light enters you."
- Rumi

#519908 - 01/10/18 05:33 PM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: traveler]
Chris4TheMill Offline

Registered: 05/16/17
Posts: 692
Loc: NY / NJ Area

Amazing! I had just read this very article over the New Year's weekend. When I got to that very sentence that you quote, something in me broke and I began to lose it, I was sobbing. Much of what I was feeling I cannot put into words well in this format. But part of it was that I finally connected some things that I had not connected before. The loss of innocence for sure, but important for me, the profound truth hit me that it was taken from me without my permission. He took from me. I did not give permission for what this one guy in Florida began doing to me. And by doing what he did, he hijacked my sexuality after that. I have since worked through much of that disorientation, but I was well disoriented for decades after that.

Also profound for me during this episode was the realization about sexual aggression in men. I used to not be able to help but admire it, and I thought well, they go after what they want, they are more 'manly' than me, so they deserve to get it.

I didn't want to think or believe this but I was having a hard time fighting this false belief. Well now I saw things more clearly. I realized that sexually aggressive men (or women) do NOT have the right - AT ALL - to force anything sexual on ANYONE. They just don't. Doing so does NOT make them more 'manly,' it just makes them unable - or unwilling - to control themselves. It makes them weak in a way. They just seem ferocious because they do damage. And maybe they appear all rough and some have physical characteristics that we admire. But character-wise, what they are doing is not admirable at all, in fact there is nothing good in it.

(I realize that on paper, this may not sound all that profound, like, duh...but as my therapist says, there are different levels of emotional depth and awareness, and this stuff just hit me at a new level at the time).

I had wanted to write about all this at some point but my medical issues took me away from being able to sit down at the computer for a few weeks. I am not sure I really expressed what I wanted to express, but this is a thumbnail sketch of some things that hit me while reading the article. Maybe someone can relate to some of it.

I would concur that the article Lee posted is good and would recommend it. Why it hit me so strongly that day however, I attribute to a culmination of timing, where my head space was at, and the intense pain I was under from my medical issues (pain has a way of humbling you). Everything combined just made me more vulnerable and open to what, in hindsight, I would view as a mini-breakthrough of sorts.

#519954 - 01/11/18 04:27 PM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: traveler]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 3257
This is not a new discussion here, and I think that there is much to glean from this article. I am familiar with Joe Kort's work.

I speak for myself here - for no-one else, nor for MaleSurvivor - but I still question this. The underlying assumption in his assertions is that our core sexual identity is immutable. My own feeling is that there is in fact a component to our sexual identity that is variable and subject to environmental influence in formative years. I further think that variable differs from person to person.

The consonance between the words orientation and disorientation sounds so perfect. But disorientation in fact is not the opposite of orientation but rather a type of orientation. If I intend to go to Dallas but I make a wrong turn and end up in Tulsa, I can certainly say that I was disoriented. But I cannot say that I was not in Tulsa because I was disoriented. I cannot say I was in Dallas. Similarly, my own journey has proven to me that the only difference between same-sex attraction and sexual orientation is in my assignation of those terms. They sound like they are different. Perhaps for some, they are. But for others, they really only sound different. I may enjoy gay sex but I'm not really gay - for many that may be true, but for others, it is a recipe for crisis.

A fair question is why do I even bring this up? It's because I know that I am not the only boy who was sexually abused by an older male which made me question my sexuality. I was convinced there was an "inner straight person" in me - as if homosexual eroticisation was only a phase that I needed to grow out of. The fact that suicide rates for gay and lesbian people is much higher than for those who are not is not without deeper significance.

For some people, I do not argue that Kort's contention may not be true. But I would argue that there is simply no perfect answer that can fly in on mellifluous words like disorientation as if that suddenly solves a very complex puzzle that lifetimes and generations of struggle could not resolve. The fact is that I don't think Kort's perspective is true for everybody. And in fact, I don't think it's true for many. Some victims may be more intrinsically gay than straight. Others may be questioning - or simply too young to even be at that point. When I read Kort's hypotheses, I worry about those who are struggling to change their orientation because someone told them it is a disorientation. Like me. Because those years after my abuse were the darkest ones of my life. And in the end, it turned out that my disorientation was my orientation. That was precisely the crime! Healing came to me only when I accepted who I was instead of holding my identity hostage to false promise. Until that point, I was two halves of a person walking around in the same body - in the same skin - constantly at war with myself.

Accepting that some aspect of one's orientation may be from the abuse is one of the most difficult things to come to terms with. It is not easy to ascribe part of one's most intrinsic identity to the whims of a criminal, a bully, a molester, a rapist. The notion that we were made in our abuser's image runs smack against the idea we were made in God's image - heartrendingly difficult to ponder in the context of hope - religious or otherwise. But some of us discover that despite fervent wishes or religious beliefs, the truth remains just that. And to those people, there is another truth: hope does not die.

It took me years to understand that we are ultimately everything that we have experienced - good or bad. If my abuser had a say in who I had to become, then that is what I must square myself with. When I continued the war of denial he set up within me for so long, I was only denying myself along the lines of how he trained me. That war he set up was a wall between who I was and who I was meant to be - and that wall stopped my life in its tracks. I believed in that wall and tried to scale it every day of my life - only to wonder why I could not. Until I understood that we bear scars in life. "Disorientation" may be one of them. Like losing a leg, it doesn't mean there is an alternate universe of denial. And there is - in my experience - no alternate universe of "orientation." To me , my journey has proven that to be fallacy. We build our lives upon the broken pieces only when we embrace our wounds. To fix something first requires accepting what is. And the biggest mistake we can make as survivors is to confuse embracing the damage we carry with embracing those who made us carry it.

This is just this survivor's perspective, but I felt it was important to share and certainly respect that others may differ.

#519968 - 01/11/18 06:34 PM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: traveler]
Sterling Offline

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 2203
Loc: Winnipeg, Manitoba,Canada
thanks traveler , I read this article
and watched this video
this doctor gave me hope.
I act out b/c I thought that's what good boys do.
So. I am slowly unravelling it all
Thanks again.


#519996 - 01/12/18 01:57 PM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4512
Loc: NE Ohio
eirik -

thanks for a very balanced, fair, and non-contentious alternative view. i can certainly see it from that perspective, too. as you seem to be saying, i agree that either may be true for some people and most certainly, not any one description can be applied to all.

"The wound is the place where the light enters you."
- Rumi

#520306 - 01/21/18 05:36 PM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: Chase Eric]
chairdesklamp Offline

Registered: 01/19/18
Posts: 152
Loc: Los Angeles County, California
Yeah, the "There is an inner straight person in you" is and always has been kinda at the core of a lot in homophobic society--from "pray the gay away" (If anything, I ask those people if they think that God made mistakes making me bi or transsexual) to us all being bombarded with so much "everyone is straight" propoganda that we often try to live that dual life for decades (I came out as bi 20 years ago, but I didn't even know I could genuinely be free as a man until within the last ten years--should I add before that, once, I was on the verge of it and one of my abusers declared herself an authority and recloseted me?)

If anyone ever doubts that, here's a story about an WWII pilot who only realised she was free to be a woman at 90 (She was aware-but-in-the-closet for a while) ->

For sexual orientation rather than identity, it's the same. I tend to use "straight" to mean combination of cisgender AND heterosexual, more as an opposite of "queer" than as an opposite of "gay" and what I personally can share being delayed well into adulthood is identity, I figured out the bi part in my teens.

The thing is, only YOU know yourself well enough to define it. These feelings are YOUR experience. One of my abusers did, in fact, re-closet me and force me to (outwardly) identify in a way that pleased her.

Are your feelings influenced by abuse? It's possible, but not necessary.

Are you the only one that can answer that? Absolutely.

Is it something you must squash if it was influenced by your experiences? Not necessarily. My first abuser, my mother, was an alcholic whose hydration was boxed wine. I will never drink boxed wine. Who cares? Not me.

An example from something bad happening to me that people might judge: While not trauma, I've lived out of a car before. I ate directly from cans. (I didn't set up a sterno stove because I was afraid of knocking it over. Small car) I still enjoy cream of mushroom soup straight from the can as well as hot or in something. Do other people think I shouldn't? Yes. Do they have a right to judge what I do with myself that harms no one? No

Remember, many modern psychiatrists define things like "disorder," "disability," "problem" as something that actually creates a bona fide problem. Something that impairs you or your functioning. Something YOU REPORT AS A PROBLEM.

I think this is good reasoning, especially here.

Edited by chairdesklamp (01/21/18 05:54 PM)
Edit Reason: Added an even better example
My Story, Condensed

"A man who never makes mistakes must get tired of doing nothing," --Alan Ludden quoting a viewer's letter on Password Plus

#520348 - 01/22/18 11:32 AM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: traveler]
Dan99 Offline

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 195
Loc: Washington DC
Funny, I've been thinking for an hour about how to contribute to this thread because it touches on so many issues that are important to me.

Fifty years ago I was a little boy being raped.

Forty years ago I was a teenager so traumatized that the idea of any sex frightened me to death.

Thirty years ago I was a young man frightened by straight prejudice into fearing I was gay.

Twenty years ago I was a bisexual man sick of feeling pressured by gay prejudice to 'come out and stop hiding who I really am.'

Ten years ago I stumbled across some of the concepts Joe Kort talks about and it was a light bulb moment. What a relief.

Today I think it doesn't matter who you're attracted to or who you've slept with. Just accept yourself and accept others and you're on the right path.
Work like you don't need the money;
dance like no one is watching;
sing like no one is listening;
love like you've never been hurt;
and live life every day as if it were your last.

#520370 - 01/22/18 06:20 PM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: traveler]
Sterling Offline

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 2203
Loc: Winnipeg, Manitoba,Canada
thanks Traveler , this post helped me more ways than one.

#520556 - 01/28/18 09:29 AM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: Chris4TheMill]
EdfromNYC Offline

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 357
Loc: New York City
Another great thread about this issue that so many of us agree needs to be discussed because so many of us share the experience.

Chris, I just used the word "hijacked" in therapy the other day to describe what happened. I've progressed from molested, abused and other words to hijacked. I find that they way I talk about MY EXPERIENCE (because it is MINE and MINE to define) is really important so that I don't continue to re-open the wounds. I'm at a point where I can pin the actions on another person clearly and then clearly take action on my lifelong reactions.

I also agree that stuff that I read one day hits me on another deeper level another day.

Also, the verbiage "disorientation" is perfect and doesn't need explanation. It needs acceptance without question.
And more, much more, the heart may feel,
Than the pen may write or the lip reveal.
Winthrop Mackworth Praed

#522782 - 04/13/18 02:09 AM Re: not orientation but disorientation [Re: traveler]
Northmale Offline

Registered: 03/09/17
Posts: 3

Edited by Northmale (04/13/18 05:26 AM)

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