Same Sex Attraction and Orientation
I have struggled with this question of orientation for years. Seems ridiculous for a 52 year old man married for 26 years with two grown kids to not be clear on this. However I only really started to confront honestly my early childhood sexualization and abuse ten months ago. Only then did I discover that same sex attraction is common after childhood sexual abuse.
For me same sex attraction didn't start until after my summer of sexual abuse when I was 13. Even during that first summer I didn't really look at other boys with that interest. This would develop more later, especially after the abuse stopped. I was attracted to girls, albeit a little later than for some of my friends. My CSA had added enough confusion and doubt into my self concept that my confidence in myself was severely shaken. But I can recall how good I felt around girls at that age too, how much I wanted a girlfriend. Sometimes they took my breath away. But I always felt damaged and less than other boys. Why would any girl ever want to be with me? I even wondered sometimes if I could even function properly when the time came. My CSA delayed my sexual development by years.
Eventually when I started to have long term relationships with women in my early twenties it felt good and right. There was a quality of peace in my relationships with women. The sex was fantastic, but it was more than that, it was a feeling of wholeness and a sense that they somehow helped to complete me. These relationships healed me, made me better as a man and as a human being. As I have struggled with this question over the years, I come back over and over to remembering this deep and true sense at my core. I have been happy and fulfilled with the women in my life over the last 32 years. I love my wife. I guess that this is probably as clear as it ever gets.
As CSA survivors we lose trust, I mostly lost trust in myself. Lost the ability to truly trust the bearing of my internal compass. I have been fortunate, I know. But I still doubt.
But I have to admit that I do still have some feelings of same sex attraction. I honestly find some men beautiful. I find gay pornography arousing. I can imagine that given the right or wrong circumstances I could function adequately with another guy as a partner. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had taken this route in the early 80's in college. I think it is plausible I could have pursued this path. Would I be happy and fulfilled just as well? More so? I know this knowledge would have come at a high cost. I certainly would have been disowned by my family, but we aren't that close anyway. The AIDs epidemic in the early 80's could easily have taken me. But I ended up being sort of sexually sedated for that part of my life.... a brush with religion, wilderness and preferring social isolation...in the end kept me from going down that path..
So I want to ask..... How do you really know what is SSA and what is true orientation? I know you can't answer for me. But how did you know? I guess I ask this, with just a touch of uncertainty still. The old wounds still making me unsure of my legs and my compass still sometimes gives a bearing I am not sure I can trust. Just wanted to ask. I am so glad I have a place where I can put this out there. Thank you friends.