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#71504 - 08/10/02 08:07 AM my unsolicited opinion
Roy Offline

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
Hello everybody!
Tonight I read some of the posts of the last 30 days or so in this section pertaining to the determination of sexual orientation and its relationship to abuse. Thought I would throw in my thoughts on the matter, and I have thought about this stuff extensively.
I believe there is a fundamental biological predisposition toward homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. In other words, there is a continuum from full on hetero at one end to full on homo at the other, with most people falling somewhere in the middle to varying degrees. Then you add in environmental influences, which for whatever reason are predominantly heterosexual, and you end up with most people thinking of themselves as heterosexual. For some at the far end of the spectrum, say the last 10%, their natural attraction toward those of the same sex is so singular or so strong that they are fairly resistant to societal pressure and end up with an internal definition of themselves as gay or lesbian, which just feels intuitively "right". I am one of those people. However, as society gradually is becoming more aware and tolerant of a broader range of human expression, more and more people are getting in touch with their bisexual nature and exploring the possibilities therein. There are probably strong regional and cultural components to this. Working a lot within the HIV community and gay community in Los Angeles I have seen a lot of this in the latino community especially.
I think the issue gets even more complicated when you factor in sexual abuse and molestation. It is already difficult to grow up gay in a straight world. We are exposed to all the same negative propaganda about queers, faggots, homos, etc. that the rest of society gets, so is it any wonder we arrive at adulthood with a fairly substantial amount of internalized homophobia? Then, as if that weren't enough, if a naturally gay or bisexual boy is sexually abused, achieving a healthy sense of self by adulthood is next to impossible. The abuse issues complicate the successful devlopment of a positive gay identity, and the sexual orientation issues complicate recovery. It is only natural to wonder if one is gay because they were abused. At this point, though, it is important to remember all the straight men who were abused sexually by men and are quite certain they are straight. Why didn't the abuse make them gay, if you follow that line of reasoning? Also, what about all the gay men who are very secure and certain about their sexual orientation who were not abused? What made them gay?
So what I'm saying here is that they are really two seperate issues, which overlap and blur the whole picture, if you will, making recovery all the more difficult and complicated for the gay or bisexual individual.
And that, my friends, is my unsolicited opinion. I welcome your feedback and appreciate the freedom to express myself here. I wish all of you who are struggling with these issues peace of mind.

Respectfully yours, Roy.

#71505 - 08/11/02 05:14 AM Re: my unsolicited opinion
Eddie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Cub Hill, Md

You must be very confused about SA to say ...

At this point, though, it is important to remember all the straight men who were abused sexually by men and are quite certain they are straight.
SA complicates the successful development of a positive identity for ALL MALE VICTIMS... The experience of being sexually traumatized by another male leads most of us to question who we are and what we want.. This is the "Gay Survivors" forum, but some of us who post here are "simply confused" and "married with children"...


#71506 - 08/11/02 05:05 PM Re: my unsolicited opinion
BlueOne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/29/02
Posts: 27

I have to say that I completely agree with you. I don't really spend much time thinking about why I'm gay, but if I were to flesh out my ideas I think they'd sound a lot like your post.

As far as Brian-Z's statement that we don't know how to be anything but gay...I don't know. It struck such a chord with me when I read it, but not because I agree. It's such a sad statement. I hate to think that I'm gay just because I don't know any better--I don't think I'm gay because of the abuse and what was "imprinted" on me. I think I've mentioned this before in another post, but I really feel that I would have been gay no matter what, because the experience of abuse and the experience of sex now are so different. It's hard for me to draw a parallel between the abuse and consensual sex because the feelings I have are so different about them. I mean, I literally feel sick when I think about the abuse, but sex with my boyfriend is joyful and fun. So, I don't know, I really can't feel that I'm just doing what was imprinted on me while being abused, because when I'm with Will it's about love and it actually feels spiritually healing sometimes.

That said, before I started getting help about the abuse, and even during the beginning phases of my healing, I had a lot of acting out behaviors that were kind of compulsive, and I think I was replaying or recreating the abuse to some degree. I don't like to talk about that much, because I'm so embarassed about it. I know that I have to look at and understand the things I did, but for me that's the hardest part of healing so far, accepting and understanding why I'd do stuff like blow guys in parks or whatever, even when I didn't really enjoy it. So I guess that was kind of imprinted on me? I don't know. This is such a weighty topic.

#71507 - 08/11/02 10:52 PM Re: my unsolicited opinion
Roy Offline

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
If anyone took offense at anything I stated above, please understand that my only intention in writing the above post was to offer another perspective on the question of how one's sexual orientation is established and to seperate that issue from sexual abuse. When a person is struggling with both issues, it is easy to get them mixed up in one's own head, thinking the abuse determined your sexual orientation. Also, I think being gay makes recovery from sexual abuse all the more difficult, as if it weren't difficult enough. I certainly do not mean to imply that recovery is anything close to easy for straight guys. If this stuff seems overly obvious to some of you, fine, but it is not so obvious to others who spend years locked in torment.

To brian-z:
As a passionate man myself, I appreciate your strong feelings on the subject. Some of your comments do seem hostile, and I don't take it personally. You don't even know me, so how could you make a rational case for hostility directed at me based on our very limited interaction? Rather, I see your not so hostile "hostility" as generalized anger toward having had the dreadful experience of abuse in the first place, and for that you have my utmost respect, empathy, and compassion. We're all in this together.
I must disagree with your statement that "the sexuality of perpetrators should be defined by actions not preferences". I think sexuality for anyone is determined by what is in their mind, not in how they act. I could have full on raucous intercourse with a female but that does not make me heterosexual. A male perpetrator may have sex with boys as a way to control or overpower another but that does not make him a homosexual. And I definitely do not believe anyone "chooses" their sexual orientation. I don't recall ever being given the opportunity to choose what I am sexually attracted to, nor do I know anyone who has. Even bisexuals who are equally attracted to both sexes have no choice in the fact that they are attracted to both. The only choice involved is who to have sex with. Again, I might choose to have sex with a woman but that does not make me straight or heterosexual. It works just the same the other way around.

If you are a man who is attracted to and has sex with other men, and you do not have sexual desire for women, they you're gay or homosexual or whatever name you want to put on it. If you also experienced sexual abuse at the hands of another male, then you're a gay guy who was sexually abused. The abuse didn't make you gay, you were gay to begin with and who knows why. I don't think "they" know why yet, but recent studies indicate a probable genetic predisposition. The "why" is not as important as how you handle it and what you do with your life. Hopefully, you get to a place of acceptance of your sexual orientation and move on.

To eddie:
Something in my original post on this subject seems to have upset you. I want to be very clear about the fact that I was referring specifically to the difficulties experienced by gay men who were sexually abused, not "ALL MALE VICTIMS". I was trying to make the point that ones sexual orientation is not determined by sexual abuse, using the example of straight men who were abused and do not question their heterosexuality. If being abused did not make them gay, why would it make someone else gay?

And BlueOne:
Thanks for the affirmation. Yes it does sound like we are in alignment on this issue. I hope you won't spend a lot of time being embarrassed or ashamed about your sexual activity prior to recovery. What matters most is what you do now and in the future. What you experienced before in the park or the restroom or wherever might, by some, be called an unfortunate rite of passage in coming to terms with your homosexuality. We are kind of socialized to believe our sexual desire is something to be ashamed of. For years (and still for young people)public places were the only places men knew they could connect with other men to have sex, which was furtive and usually dangerous. As you grow you discover there is more to it and hopefully leave that behind. I hope this will improve with each generation, and I think it has, but it will take a very long time.

Love to you all,

#71508 - 08/12/02 01:03 AM Re: my unsolicited opinion
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I',ve done the quick blow job stuff, for me it was acting out, nothing to do with being Gay.
And one very good indicator for me is who's arse do you watch going down the street in tight Levi's ???
I watch the girls every time......confusing ?

It was, but I'm getting to grips with it now
Lloydy ;\)

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#71509 - 08/12/02 09:27 AM Re: my unsolicited opinion
BlueOne Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/29/02
Posts: 27

OK, I'm confused. How are sexual preferences and sexual identity not the same thing? I guess I think of them as two different terms to describe the same thing. Can I have a definition of what you think they mean so I have a better idea of where you're coming from?

If I read your post right, you said that a man who has sex with a woman has a sexual identity of "straight" even if he's gay. This is where I'm confused, because to me sexual identity has to do with preference, not action. I mean, a person's identity is defined by who he is at his core, not by his actions. I actually have had sex with a woman, and I can guarantee you that at no time was I ever straight. This is similar, I think, to men who self-identify as straight but sometimes have sex with men--they're still straight, though they may be participating in "gay activites."

Also, to me, gay is the same thing as homosexual and straight is the same thing as heterosexual. Again, I'd like to hear your definitions so I could understand better.

You asked if we can honestly say that our sexual choices are our own. In my case, the answer is no. And not because I feel a compulsion to act out sexually anymore, but because I know I didn't choose to be gay. I just am. I never made a decision, it's just the way my brain or soul or genes happened to turn out. So, no, being gay is not at all under my control, but what I choose to do sexually is.

And you're not alone in being miserable and denying your homosexuality, in not wanting it. I never felt that way for whatever lucky reason, but I know a lot of guys who have, who either overcame it or still feel that way. Yes, abuse complicates the matter (um, that's an understatement), but there are, unfortunately, hundreds of things that make some gay men feel that way, abuse being only one of them.

Kind of off topic--I mentioned a few paragraphs up that I think we're all responsible for our actions. This is actually why I'm embarassed to talk about my acting out, because I know that as out of control as I felt at the time, I actually was making decisions and choosing to do the things I did. So, OK, maybe my choice of options was limited, and maybe I didn't really have the most stable base to rest my decisions on, but I still made those choices. Sometimes, I guess, I feel like I didn't have any control over what I did, but that just doesn't sit well with me. I'm not sure what I could have done differently, but I do feel like I have to own up to all the bad shit I did. Thankfully, I never hurt anybody but myself, but it's still hard to face.

#71510 - 08/13/02 06:55 PM Re: my unsolicited opinion
Roy Offline

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
You guys are great! Although things got a little testy here, I am so glad to see that my original post provoked so much discussion and thought. We are all big boys now, and I believe we grow through vigorous conversation.

I understand more fully where you are coming from now. It totally sucks that so much time and energy in your life has been spent in this state of mental and emotional consternation (not your fault given the abuse, limited support, lack of resources, indifference of society, etc.). Not to mention the fact that you were a child for gods sake! The good news is that you are actively engaged in the process of healing, or so it would seem. Regarding your statements around identity v. preference, it sounds like you are saying that sexual identity is what we impose on ourselves or what we go along with for the sake of others, and sexual preference is what's at the core or how we feel inside. Did I get it right? I would say I agree with those concepts
I don't know what your experiences with the gay & lesbian community have been like but it sounds as though they have been less than positive and affirming. I urge you not to give up and hope you find a healthier group of people within that community to connect with. Sometimes I think the "healthier" gay people, at least the ones past their mid-thirties, tend to be less visible. They are more likely to be engaged in the rest of their lives, spending time with friends & family, developing a career, home improvement projects, travel, etc. Therefore, they are a little harder to find, since they're probably not spending lots of time in bars or foraging for sex. Also, having spent a fair amount of time in Reno (with lesbian friends, no less!), with no offense intended, you wouldn't exactly call it the most socially progressive place in the world. \:\) You may thrive better and find the community you seek more easily in a larger metropolitan area. Not that I'm recommending LA (my neck of the woods and not the friendliest place). Of course there are good people everywhere, but gay communities in large cities tend to be more fully developed, possibly offering a broader range of opportunities to help you define yourself.

It is very reassuring to know that there are young gay men like you coming along twenty years behind me. You express yourself very well and reading your posts has given me an intuitive "feel" for what you and your life are about. I suspect you will be one of our community leaders in some fashion one day, at least I hope so. Remain humble, and you will effectively change the world for the better.

Finally, I would like to state for the record that I think there is a fundamental difference between sexual preference and sexual orientation. The word preference implies having a choice. In terms of being straight or gay, the word preference does not work for me as I never felt like I had a choice. Ask most straight people if they felt like they had a choice in what sex they are attracted to and they will most likely say no. As a gay man and kind of a big guy (6'1", 220 lbs.), my sexual preference is for shorter guys with dark hair or features, while my sexual orientation is toward those of the same sex.



#71511 - 08/14/02 10:36 AM Re: my unsolicited opinion
michael Joseph Offline

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 2719
Loc: Virginia
before I was abused at 10 I never wanted to be with guys now I do, there is an argument for the abuse to change things.

each of us is different and each makes their own choice, I hope I am making the best choices for me. It is hard being married and thinking about men, and sometimes wanting to be with men.

Non of this is easy that is why we come here.

The prison wasn't mine at last it was yours.
Unfortunatly what those men did to me has changed my life forever.


Standing together is so much better than hiding in the dark.
***I am a three time WoR Retreat Alumni***
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