i, George - F
irst a personal perspective. Sharing my experience seems a good way to start, since these discussions can feel quite personal. I think that is because we are survivors and we hold tight to the truths we have fought so hard to understand for ourselves. Knowing that is important, because it says we can disagree with respect. It removes the personal element and allows the flow of intelligent discussion. And for that I am grateful to you, George. I suspect others could
respond defensively to this, but all I am doing is sharing my
experience and trying to make sense of differing views.I
used to believe in SSA as a separate condition from homosexuality/gay identity. The notion that my abuser "made me gay" was beyond sickening. When you said that nobody wishes for a gay child, that wish is true for the child as well - no child wishes to be gay. If there was a way to define myself as something other than gay, then that was not simply a concept - it was a lifeline. For me, following the impulse to act out sexually with other men while at the same time denying that I was gay was like engaging in a crime and yet not admitting that it was indeed a crime. My abuser molested many of us in the neighborhood - but he never saw himself as a child molester until I confronted him about it years later. I suppose a lot of things are like that - it is easy to avoid looking hard in the mirror and admit less palatable truths. To me - for so long - SSA was simply another way of not looking at myself. Your comparison of homosexuality and SSA to drinking or drug addiction was particularly spot-on for me. I have see a lot of denial in people who have been affected by substance abuse. One of my close friends drank a case of beer every morning and stayed functionally drunk all day. One day I dared to suggest he had a problem with alcohol. "What are you saying - that I'm an alcoholic? Is that what you're saying?" was his response in such bitter rhetoric that I thought he was going to follow it with a fist in my face. In my own very personal experience, SSA was precisely that. Yeah - I have sex with guys. But don't you dare tell me I'm gay. There's a heterosexual in there because I can look at naked girls and appreciate them, or I don't "fall in love" with guys like I do with girls.
Nobody could tell me I was gay - and yet in every sense except personal admission, I was. In my darkest, most honest moments, I finally had to face a truth I evaded, denied and even renamed "SSA." It was at that moment I finally possessed myself. It was when I dared to acknowledge I became who I had to be to survive my abuser that I finally kicked my abuser out of my head and out of my life for good. Sometimes I think the biggest damage my abuser left me with was setting up this civil war with myself called SSA.B
ut I am not close-minded. I thank SmartShadow and EdfromNYC for bringing up the term "Same Sex Attraction" here in this discussion, because that is essentially what Dr. Kort is talking about in the article that has grown this thread. If I truly saw evidence that SSA as a distinct condition existed, I would reconsider it, for I have no agenda to prove or defend any more. But everything in my personal experience - to me - has proven SSA to be a lie. The harder truths are always the deeper ones, and if your deeper truth proves otherwise, then I respect that because it is your journey. But this is an important discussion. Many people who are questioning SSA come to MaleSurvivor.org. Some will read this thread, looking for their own answers. To them we owe this dispassionate and deep conversation.T
he fact remains that the difference between SSA and homosexuality - as you have defined it twice now - still seems undefined. Here is your earlier definition of homosexuality:
No one chooses to be an alcoholic or drug addict, but due to circumstances, and reinforcing they find them selves in a place they never planned on being, it wasn't a choice. I think it is the same thing with homosexuality, for a lot of guys they are turned on to it either by early childhood sex play / exploration with the same sex, CSA, masculinity / bonding issues from their fathers, bullying that they are perceived gay, early porn, etc. A young child who is suffering in silence can come to form all kinds of coping skills / behaviors, not all of them will make sense or bring harmony.
ou clearly draw lines comparing homosexuality as "the same thing" to drug and alcohol abuse. And you clearly list CSA as a cause of homosexuality along with a myriad other causes. You have defined both SSA and homosexuality as "behaviors" subject to learning with the implication they can be unlearned. I do not argue that what you define as SSA is learned through a different and less fortunate set of circumstances. But the end result - homosexual behavior - is precisely the same - according to both your definition and your attempt to define it again. I still fail to see any difference between SSA and homosexuality at any truly fundamental level beyond the origins of the behavior.N
ow here is your second and more recent attempt to delineate the distinction for me between SSA and being gay:
...there is a huge difference between ssa & gay. Using myself for example, I never ever had hopes or dreams to ever becoming romantically involved with any man. It was NEVER ever about love, honoring or cherishing. It was 100% mechanical, 100% selfish, it was about me trying to fill a great hole in my soul at the expense of some poor guy. The second it was over I'd be hit with a truck load of guilt & shame. It was me being still trapped in that abuse cycle, only it was me abusing myself. It would be no different had I started drinking or drugging to dull the pain & confusion. My *control* issues (thanks to the abuse) would never let me ever touch a drink or drug due to NOT wanting to be in a vulnerable state (like I was as a child) again. My use of the male on male sex started out as a faultily cobbled together childhood coping measure that ended up being an addiction no different than drugs or alcohol. I was hooked and needed my fix when triggered.
cannot tell you how many people I have known in the gay community that those same standards describe. Many have no desire for romantic involvement. You don't have to be sexually abused as a child to approach sex as "100% mechanical, 100% selfish." Don't heterosexual womanizers often exhibit the same promiscuity? Or men who patronize the sex trafficking industry? You don't have to be sexually abused to "fill a great hole at the expense of some poor guy." Such dearth of fulfillment can come from many other things such as distant parenting or the inability to forge meaningful friendships. My abuser felt disconnected from his parents and was never abused himself - and I was the "poor guy" with which he tried to fill that hole. The "truckload of guilt and shame" can belong to anyone who is in denial of their sexual identity, expects something different of themselves, or feels the pressure of societal or religious judgment. Control issues and the indulgence in sexual activity as a "coping mechanism" to the point of sex addiction is as common in the gay community as I suspect it is in the straight community. In short, nothing you have said defines SSA as discretely different from homosexuality, and in fact, both of your explanations seem to make an even stronger case that there really is no difference.
Academia is wrought with biases too, like any other person or group. The same APA you sited as an authority also came out with / published something that basically said that sex between adults & children could be beneficial.
ctually, I did not cite the APA. I cited the APS - the Association of Psychological Science, a research organization unaffiliated with the APA. In fact the APS is more of a scientific and research arm, while the APA is essentially a practitioner's guild. There is a significant difference. The study I cited was published last year (Sexual Orientation, Controversy, and Sci...17(2) 45–101)
hat said, I fully agree with you on the problem of bias. There is simply no way to eliminate it entirely, yet a goal of complete elimination of bias is still effectively sought by any good researcher and is reflected in the nature of reputable, peer-reviewed research publications. Raw data must be shown, methods described, statistical analysis applied, and conclusions defended. The purest science is that which removes all agenda-driven motive and gives other researchers every tool to disprove the logic of the hypothesis being argued. Ironically, the author of the article you used to illustrate that single instance of perceived bias (which was repudiated by the APA later) is not without her own illustrious biases. Judith Reisman has campaigned on a clear anti-LGBTQ agenda to remove gay novels from schools (citing them as tools for grooming students to homosexuality), has endorsed the criminalization of homosexuality, and has claimed that homosexuals gave rise to the Nazi party in Germany (despite the vast record of objective evidence showing quite the opposite - that they were in fact victimized by that party along with the Jews). None of Reisman's contentions would pass a peer review of any studied group of experts in education, psychology, law or history respectively. But if your point is to illustrate the importance of citing reliable sources, it is well-taken.W
ith my reply here, I am going to respectfully withdraw from contributing further to this discussion. I think I have made the points that were important to share - especially with respect to those here who are struggling with the concept of SSA and coming to terms with their sexual identity. While I am stepping off the playing field, I will certainly read with interest any further responses in this thread from the sidelines. And I may share my own personal journey with SSA, but if I do so, it will be in a separate thread. Anyone who wishes to continue this discussion with me should certainly feel free to do so via private messaging (PM). Thank you and good luck.