Hi Publius

I've been actively engaged in my journey of recovery for coming up to 9 years now and I have to tell you that things do change and mostly for the better. Things that I struggled with a few years ago are now no longer much of an issue. Somethings, though, don't seem to go away but others just get outgrown. Let me tell you what I've come to realise about the issues you talk of:

SSA and acting out. When we realise that the only difference between rape and sex is the issue of consent it is comparatively easy for us to start to understand what our therapists tell us about acting out. The childhood sexual abuse was traumatic (even if it didn't feel like that at the time) and our subconscious searches for ways to lessen the pain of that trauma.

As adults, acting out, we can put ourselves in similar positions / situations to the ones we were in when we were being violated. In 'choosing' to do this as adults, we are attempting to put a veneer (counterfeit) of consent on top of the childhood experiences. It dulls the emotional pain for a while but tends to increase the sense of shame and blame.

How do we stop these episodes of acting out? Again, from the experience of the experts; take a look at the times that the urge to act out is at its strongest. When we are tired, stressed out, just had a fight with friend/family/spouse, in feelings of crisis etc. When we can spot the triggers we are in a better place to look for alternate replies to those triggers.

It is worth noting that crisis is always time limited - it just is not possible to live in a state of perpetual crisis. There are always times that things subside.

It is also worth noting that engaging in any form of consensual sexual activity requires that perennial triangle of 1 - Desire, 2 - Availability and 3 - Opportunity. For guys, if we get 2 out of 3 it is easy to find the third.

So taking those two principles, the suggested course of action is simply to put in place delaying tactics. Looking at the situation for what it is (the desire to act out), we know where to go to find the availability. That leaves 'Opportunity'. Making a conscious decision and following through with it is then required. "OK, so this is how I feel today. I know I can go somewhere and get laid but as this is not something that I want long-term, today I'm choosing NOT to act out - I'm going to wait until XXX? and if I still feel the same way, then I'll act out". Set a short time frame. Don't beat yourself up if you don't hold out. In time, you should be able to regain the control that you currently feel you've lost.

Remember that all of these things that we do to ourselves are self defense measures that are doing a pretty good job at helping to keep us alive. As we process more and more of the long term effects of what was done to us as boys, so we move on to other things that need to be processed. But it is a bit like Nicotine addiction - in times of heightened stress and crisis the desires can come back and we need extra support and personal vigilance to avoid these behaviours.

Now, about the issue of being around kids. If you are like a vast number of adult male survivors then you will have absorbed a whole load of the bullshit about yesterday's victims are tomorrows perpetrators. This is hard to challenge in conversation with others and even harder to ignore in ourselves. As a consequence, we withdraw from occasions where we come into contact with kids - we know that we would rather die than hurt the kids but that doesn't stop us from the fear of being wrongly accused. This is especially true relating to kids who of a similar age to us when we were being violated.

Another thing that frightened the crap out of me, was the natural process that we have of using the same forms of words to children that we heard when we were kids. On two occasions, I recall using totally innocent phrases with kids that I know that the perpetrator had used on me when I was a kid. Don't get me wrong, like you, I have absolutely no desire at all for hurting kids in any way and I have to tell you that I was quite traumatised when I realised where those phrases had come from.

The depression you speak of when seeing the boys across the street, I identified in me as being a form of grieving; for what was lost, stolen, destroyed in my life. Now, I try to remind myself that I'm not that little boy anymore and that I know that I'd move heaven and hell to make sure that no one else has to go through what I went through - and indeed, am still going through.

Now, my friend, it is time for me to head to bed. I trust that there is something here in what I have written that you will find able to be of use to you.


I endured all my yesterdays. I prevail in all of my todays. I exercise my right to be able to enjoy my tomorrows. I choose not to do it alone.