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#464037 - 04/13/14 05:29 PM SSA, Imprinting, Orientation and Addiction
Letourski Offline

Registered: 03/16/08
Posts: 314
Loc: Canada
Sexual abuse really messes with your sexuality. And I can tell you from experience that sexual imprinting and sexual orientation are different things.

The course of my sexuality was severely altered by the sexual abuse. I was hyper-sexual growing up. I watched porn at all opportunities. It was straight porn. And so I assumed a straight identity to go along with it. I was in an intense sexual relationship with a girl for 6 six years starting at age 15. The sex was purely mechanical. A re-creation of the porn I had been watching as a kid.

When I ended the relationship and finally broke the silence of abuse, everything changed in an instant. My desire for women went down dramatically. And that's not surprising now. My porn consumption was at an all time low. As the use went up, so did my desire for real women. But this was never about a genuine sexuality. In fact, I can have sex with women mechanically without issue but in the context of a committed relationship, it creates the worst anxiety. This to me is sexual imprinting in its purest form. I was introduced to porn through sheer force when my child brain had no way of understanding what I was seeing. In my mind the equation looked like this: straight porn = orgasm = pleasure. I had no other way to frame it. I was 6.

I started to doubt my sexuality at age 22. It's why I joined this site. I was filled with anxiety and thoughts of suicide. I thought the sexual abuse was the reason why I was sexually attracted to men. I thought it was SSA. But it was quite the opposite. The sexual abuse made me hate my sexuality, so I tucked it away. Repressed it to the point where it was literally gone. I strengthened my relationship to straight porn and it became an addiction. The addiction attached itself to my identity and voila, I am straight now. I transposed fantasy on top of reality. And I have been repeating the same thing for 6 years with different women. I have been in denial. But that denial was mixed with a heavy dose of confusion.

I can tell the difference. My attraction to men feels visceral. It's an inner arousal that is so much different than my attraction to women. With women, it's fantasy. Pure and simple. There is a massive disconnect. I don't fantasize about men. I don't have to, because my porn fantasies arouse me sexually. I just go to them. Or I have sex in a way that feels like porn. I have never really "enjoyed" sex with women. The mechanics work like they are supposed to, but my mental arousal is almost non-existent.

I tried explaining away the attraction to men as SSA. I also tried justifying SSA by saying I have no romantic attraction to men. But that's more a product of internalized homophobia and the shame associated to sexual abuse. This is the damage of sexual abuse. It severely alters your perception of yourself and others around you.

Sexual orientation and addiction are two different things. Addiction insulated my suppressed identity, and I copied and pasted it onto my reality. And it felt and looked as real as reality itself. But a repressed sexual orientation finds ways to persist. My tastes in porn slowly but surely started to be more male centric. I thought at first that this was the progression of my addiction. It's well known now that through repeated exposure, the same sexual material becomes less exciting and so more intense/hardcore porn is needed. That threw me for a loop. That confused me more than ever. But one undeniable sign was watching straight porn and fantasizing about being the girl.

All of my straight relationships failed because the moment I suspected there were romantic feelings involved, I broke it off. It was just an extension of action out my addiction.

Sexuality is one of the most complex and complicated issues a survivor has to sort through. I navigated it clumsily and made a ton of mistakes. I still do. I have been confused to the point of wanting to give up, but I have persisted. I know enough now to understand who I really am, but I still have to work at accepting this version of me.

When I tore down the secret of abuse, I tore with it an identity that was based on what others find acceptable. I have said it hear before, when you confront the abuse you are basically embracing a completely different version of yourself.

Edited by Letourski (04/13/14 05:30 PM)
I am the warrior.

#464043 - 04/14/14 01:02 AM Re: SSA, Imprinting, Orientation and Addiction [Re: Letourski]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
It takes limitless courage to face our fears.

It takes even more to face ourselves and accept our present state.

Congratulations on being brace enough to accept the person you found inside. I had similar fears, anxiety, and confusion.

I think what we find a he end of the journey is of little consequence. Having the courage to be yourself is what matters.

I call it no longer waging war with myself.

I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

#464111 - 04/15/14 01:50 PM Re: SSA, Imprinting, Orientation and Addiction [Re: Letourski]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Hi Litourski,

I've always known I'm gay. At 64, I grew up in a time and region of the U. S. (rural south) where being gay was so not ok, dangerous even. Even in the big city of Atlanta in the 70's gays would be viciously attacked in parks when cruising.

What really fucked me up, however, was the brutal sexual abuse from my father. Chemical memories cause me to involuntarily gag in sexual situations. So, even though I've always known I'm gay, I have never had satisfying sex. I am finally getting down to the feeling levels of my very early self, and am finally able to do some ground level healing. I am optimistic many things in my life are becoming different as I nurture the source of my damage.

Thanks for your topic. It is certainly a major one for me. How to I get to who I truly am? For me it's decades of continuous work. I am worth it.

Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#464579 - 04/26/14 01:07 AM Re: SSA, Imprinting, Orientation and Addiction [Re: Letourski]
Rustam Offline

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 474
Loc: UK
Thanks for sharing your journey and the insights you have gained, I very much like what you had to say.


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