Consequences of Premature Sexuality

MO-Survivor

Registrant
@davids1, @DanielQ432, @B06SAJ,

This is a great discussion. You guys are highlighting what so many others have shared when discussing the consequences of their abuse and what they struggle with. This would be a great post to pin in the Introductions forum. Pulled from your posts, something like this:

If you have suffered Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA), regardless who the abuser was, you likely are suffering with some or all of the following:​
  • Carrying the shame of enjoying what happened to you
  • Wanting the CSA scenario to happen again (repeating the abuse) with yourself in one of multiple roles (victim, perpetrator, witness)
  • Same sex attraction, especially in the context of repeating the abuse
  • Body shame
  • Guilt for what happened - both the CSA and sexual acting out (repeating the abuse)
  • Self hate
  • Sexual fantasies based in the abuse
  • Self blame for the fact you didn’t fight back when the CSA occurred
  • Anger
  • Fear of being explicit about sexual abuse with others / therapists
  • Struggle to break the symbiosis caused by feeling that you deserved what I got
  • Loneliness & isolation
  • Feeling somewhat empty and bereft after therapy that dissolved the sexual fantasies about repeating the abuse
The more I learn about CSA in general, the more posts I read by guys here, and the more I get to know myself - the more I have realized that the template for CSA consequences is pretty consistent. There are variations, dependent upon the individual, external factors (support from others, life events, etc.), the severity of the trauma / abuse, who the abuser was (parent, family, sibling, peer / friend, random stranger), but by and large - we all suffer with all these things to some degree of severity.

I can confidently tell you:
  • The CSA was not your fault, no matter your physical and emotional enjoyment of it and no matter if you returned to your abuser:
    • Think about the first time you were abused (if you can). How did you feel? The fear, the revulsion, the unwillingness to participate with your abuse sexually represent your true desire and feelings about the abuse. We adapt to survive to the point where we will stuff the fear, the anger, the revulsion - but those feelings are all still there
    • Kids are natural optimists. How many times did you return to your abuser to seek out the attention and to fill your emotional tank - with the hope in the back of your mind that, "Maybe things won't turn sexual this time?" You didn't want the sex - not really
    • You were a kid / teen. And while as teens, we think we are adult and capable of making our own choices - we aren't. The adult (or older peer) in the situation owned that responsibility due to the age and power difference
  • The shame and guilt is not yours to own. I love the picture of wrapping up the shame and guilt of CSA in a package and handing it back to your abuser. Even better - think about standing face to face with your abuser, holding a mirror up. The abuser is sending you shame and guilt through the atmosphere, but you put that mirror up between you and the shame and guilt bounces right back to them - where it belongs
  • You are not alone in this. We suffer together here, and we also encourage and heal together here
  • Healing requires the help of a witness - usually a qualified therapist. Therapists trained in counseling CSA survivors and trained to help trauma survivors is crucial. Cognitive based therapists who only want to focus on the behaviors in the here and now don't address the root trauma issues. That said, it's not either / or - it's both:
    • We need to investigate the abuse and the trauma that happened in the past, to uncover that child in us - how he felt, what he thought, so we can provide comfort, affirmation and healing for him. But we also must make choices about our thoughts and actions in order to implement life-long change that has been enabled by addressing the trauma
Being here and talking openly about what happened to you is great. It's a support during the individual healing journey. Guys - I am really glad you are here, are talking and are looking for healing. It will happen :)
 

DanielQ432

Registrant
Well you’re welcome, but really we’re all here for this purpose, it really is necessary to shsre these things even though it’s hard. We all bring our own baggage and backgrounds into it too. Some of that is pretty freaky stuff. In my household there was all of this stuff going on but any “normal” references to sex or sexuality or even anatomy and physiology were taboo, it was culturally unacceptable to acknowledge anything sexual, but I could get molested on the qt. So I had what little knowledge going through adolescence and puberty I got from a brief 6th grade half-day sex ed presentation and what I picked up on my own.

So as an adult, even in therapy, I’ve had a hard time talking about sex in any form. I still feel some inhibition here too, and I know that is counterproductive.

Here’s a minor example of how hard it was talking with even my male therapist about anything sexual, who had this definite “bro” vibe about him - young, tall, athletic, beard, kind of outgoing in a way when appropriate. One theme has always been “not man enough” and something that has played into that has been the fact I had a testicle removed at 12 1/2 due to testicular torsion. So I always wondered about testosterone levels and fertility- could I father a child(even though a purely fantasy-based question, no way am I father material).

Well, I brought this up a number of times with “I could get tested but no real-world reason to so out of the question”.

Finally I discovered there are home test kits now. So I ordered one and did it -then I brought it in my next therapy session. It was still really awkward to say I did that and I still couldn’t use the proper terms like masturbate or semen or sperm count even with this man who himself was a married father of an infant.

It came out as “you know, I, I did … that … into a cup, then put some of … the sample … on a slide to check my … level”.

Like it was the hardest thing in the world to admit in this very safe space.
 

DanielQ432

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Amazon is delivering my copy of the book today. I expect it to be pretty eye-opening based on the discussion here and on his website materials. I’ll certainly share my thoughts and questions here.
 

AlexBoyd

Registrant
It doesn't give me the same sexual charge anymore. That's what I was looking for, but now I miss it. God I feel like a sick FUCK. I didn't want to write the above because now everyone will know how sick I really am.
Please don't think of yourself as sick fuck. If you are one, then it means most of here are sick fucks. Do you think that's the case? I'm only asking to help you find some perspective. Don't beat yourself up over missing something that once helped you find pleasure to cope with pain. It would be like judging a recovering alcoholic for missing drinking. It doesn't make you a bad person.
 

davids1

Registrant
You know when I was on this site last night, it was like a box I had hidden under my bed with all my secrets and I let out some of the most secret of the secret to others not in bed with me acting out this fantasy. I was so afraid and hurt at the same time. All that stuff has come out in dribbles and bits with different people. I don't think my sponsor in NA nor my T knew all of it. Some, yes, but not all. I have been so used to keeping things compartmentalized so not everyone knows the whole me. I had it all typed up and sat and read, reread and read it, again and still could not push the post button for 15-20 minutes, But knowing from the work I've done in the 12-steps and therapy that the truth would set me. It just hurts like hell doing it. So I decided to do it. I have this knowledge in my head about recovery from drug addiction and even some CSA but it doesn't always stop the fear, so the only way for me is to go through that fear. F.E.A.R (Fuck Everything And Recover). But I don't know if I could said all of this to you guys in a live group. This thread has triggered so much in me, for the good eventually. Thanks for listening.
 

Brian76

Registrant
***possible triggers****

I have never perpetrated abuse on others. My problems were manifested through pornography and later fetish. I find it near impossible to get aroused without some fetish aspect. I put some child blocks on my pc so I have not watched porn in several weeks. I have a history of acting out and I know it is a direct result of my childhood rape and loss of innocence. This is a fascinating thread...
 

DanielQ432

Registrant
The anonymity of the internet helps. Personally just putting what I want to say in writing is far easier for me than in person, it’s too threatening and confrontational in person many times to me, or I lose my nerve or just get flustered and feel stupid like I can’t get things out.
 

MO-Survivor

Registrant
The anonymity of the internet helps. Personally just putting what I want to say in writing is far easier for me than in person, it’s too threatening and confrontational in person many times to me, or I lose my nerve or just get flustered and feel stupid like I can’t get things out.
And you know what? That’s fine. If I were in your shoes, maybe anonymous posts in forums. Then, when you’re ready, private messages here with someone you think seems trustworthy and level-headed, based on what you read over time, then maybe sharing face to face with a person in your circle of family / friends that you trust, etc. Again, all as you feel able and ready. It will get easier to talk about. I told a school counselor when I was 17 but I couldn’t tell you what I said. Probably just very high level (“I was sexually abused”). When I was 18 and had made my lifelong friends (house parents at an abuse / neglect shelter I volunteered at; can’t get much safer than that), I was only able to answer yes / no questions. And even then, I didn’t share details of what occurred - with anyone - until I shared my story here at age 51. My only regret looking back is that I wished I hadn’t waited so many years to look back, talk about the actual abuse and trauma. Because healing is difficult without that.

That said - regrets like that are ultimately dumb. Because I wasn’t ready for all this until 51. And I have to believe all things in their time.
 

DanielQ432

Registrant
@MO-Survivor thank you for saying that, and sharing your experiences. I know with me, the thought of someone I don’t want to know about it still really bothers me. Intellectually I know it shouldn’t- I was 2-4 when it started and obviously I was powerless to stop it. But it still makes me feel like other people would view me as damaged, or responsible or “tainted” or “unclean” in the way that those terms are used in a lot of religious contexts.

I mean … it shouldn’t. But survivors of various traumas do that, so it must be some deeply instinctive response. I guess part of it is even self-denial, it helps to pretend it never happened, and the fewer others who know, the less likely that it will ever come up. I guess that’s why they say a lot of Holocaust survivors would cover or hide the numbers on their arms.

I’ve glanced through the book but haven’t read it yet. I know everyone has unique experiences, so not all of it may resonate. But I think it will be pretty insightful.
 

MO-Survivor

Registrant
@MO-Survivor thank you for saying that, and sharing your experiences. I know with me, the thought of someone I don’t want to know about it still really bothers me. Intellectually I know it shouldn’t- I was 2-4 when it started and obviously I was powerless to stop it. But it still makes me feel like other people would view me as damaged, or responsible or “tainted” or “unclean” in the way that those terms are used in a lot of religious contexts.

I mean … it shouldn’t. But survivors of various traumas do that, so it must be some deeply instinctive response. I guess part of it is even self-denial, it helps to pretend it never happened, and the fewer others who know, the less likely that it will ever come up. I guess that’s why they say a lot of Holocaust survivors would cover or hide the numbers on their arms.

I’ve glanced through the book but haven’t read it yet. I know everyone has unique experiences, so not all of it may resonate. But I think it will be pretty insightful.
When we share our stories with others who have no training or background in CSA, or worse - they were abused but don’t remember or do remember but have kept it a secret from everyone, the responses we get can cause us to feel all of the things you say: shame, damaged, tainted, unclean, “freaks,” etc. Some people may have even had their own (usually fleeting) thoughts toward a boy or girl and have shame for even thinking such a thing. And there is always the perpetuated lie that all those abused will become abusers. And these responses exacerbate our feelings of shame, isolation, and loneliness.

It’s stated in the book and stated here multiple times: people don’t want to hear or talk about CSA. And this is even more true for male CSA, still. So it is appropriate to be guarded in who you tell about your CSA. No, it shouldn’t be a secret, and the shame and guilt belongs to your abuser no matter your childhood response to the abuse, but being discreet about who you tell is wisdom, in my opinion. That’s what is awesome about Malesurvivor.org. There are many men who do understand, who will make you feel less alone, and who you can talk to about the abuse and where you are with things. Very freeing.
 

DanielQ432

Registrant
@MO-Survivor that’s all true. And for me one of the parts of this book and theory and IRL like in therapy that bothers me is the thing you mentioned about the stereotype of perpetrating the abuse. It kind of offends me because I can honestly say I find nothing at all attractive about children, I never have, but it does seem like everyone thinks a CSA victim is somehow automatically untrustworthy. In general if you have any kind of MH issue I think a lot of people put you down or stigmatize or make jokes or whatever. My former employer knew about some of my MH challenges and my PTSD diagnosis and treatment and made inappropriate comments always veiled behind humor, about me as well as about others like a bipolar client. And that was hurtful. The one I really remember was after the Sandy Hook shootings he made a “joke” about how “all of them” should be locked up. Felt like I was in Germany 1939 during “Aktion T4”. I was and am “one of them”.
 

MO-Survivor

Registrant
@MO-Survivor that’s all true. And for me one of the parts of this book and theory and IRL like in therapy that bothers me is the thing you mentioned about the stereotype of perpetrating the abuse. It kind of offends me because I can honestly say I find nothing at all attractive about children, I never have, but it does seem like everyone thinks a CSA victim is somehow automatically untrustworthy. In general if you have any kind of MH issue I think a lot of people put you down or stigmatize or make jokes or whatever. My former employer knew about some of my MH challenges and my PTSD diagnosis and treatment and made inappropriate comments always veiled behind humor, about me as well as about others like a bipolar client. And that was hurtful. The one I really remember was after the Sandy Hook shootings he made a “joke” about how “all of them” should be locked up. Felt like I was in Germany 1939 during “Aktion T4”. I was and am “one of them”.
Yeah, the stereotype of CSA screwing people up is true, but then again - who isn't screwed up by something while they grow up? :) And male CSA survivors almost always repeat the abuse - as stated in the book and as seen here on this site. Sadly, as is also stated in the book, some CSA survivors do repeat the abuse - either in their minds and / or actually acting out with children - introjecting and identifying with the perpetrator. Developing / coping this way was not their fault as children - it just happened as a consequence of someone else's perpetration upon them. We should have zero tolerance for fellow survivors acting out with children - it is never, ever okay. At the same time we should still have compassion for them, and for what they suffered through. Their response to CSA "just happened" just like everyone else's. And repeating the abuse in this way surely, in most cases, is completely contrary to anything they would have ever wanted and must be horrifying to live with. I think the Traumasexuality author says it this way: "An unknown percentage of abused men desire sex with a boy and do not understand why they want this. The very idea is abhorrent to them." The author also leaves hope for them that as they "turn themselves inside out" and learn to stop trying to heal their deep pain externally but instead start to heal the abused boy inside them, this type of acting out will cease.

Regarding what you experienced in the workplace, that kind of harassment should never be tolerated. As a Director at my company, I would never allow that to occur for anyone under my management. I have had to deal with one mental health issue with someone and it was a serious issue. It did affect his performance at our client, and he was not able to stay on there. However, my company patiently stuck with him and helped him, for which I was grateful. But comments like you reference - veiled or not - should be escalated to HR right away. If you worked for a privately owned company and it was the owner of the company saying those things, it makes it more difficult for sure. But yes, mental health issues are still stigmatized in the US and some other countries. If it helps, my 18 year old says that Gen Z doesn't hold that stigma. She says it is common for her friends and her to say, "My therapist said...." I am glad to see that change. I'm sorry that you have faced harassment & stigma in the past. I hope you won't hear such things in the future.
 

DanielQ432

Registrant
Yup. And my father was proof in my mind that abused boys can and do become men who could do that. And really the why or why not of who will or won’t - don’t know, but for me I really did have a healthy loving relationship with my mom despite his crap, and overall with my sisters although some normal sibling rivalry. That had to have helped. Maybe genes too? I think he had things that drugs now might have helped.

But if I said to myself “who would get you all hot and bothered” (ew, sorry about that) it was always someone my own age who I would view as an equal in terms of “power” and “social standing” etc in a relationship - and I think that’s pretty healthy actually. I never found that person for a lot of reasons and never will unless something really changes but it’s what I would want.

Yeah 3-4 person company - that is now my past. Adios to him.
 

DanielQ432

Registrant
Ok, now that I’ve really sat down properly with this book, I have a comment. I’m about a third of the way through it.

A lot of what he describes is not my experience, mainly I think because I was really young when the physical sexual abuse happened, under 6. I don’t remember it in the ways that most of the victim quotes describe. In my mind I really have a hard time differentiating between the physical abuse incidents and the physical sexual abuse incidents, it all was just feelings of being trapped, assaulted, scared and hurt. The second period of abuse was my early-mid teens and that was basically voyeurism on his part, not physical unless I’m not remembering something I really don’t want to remember.

And honestly I think I should be grateful for that. In the book he talks so much about shame and sex being linked in the mind because the assaults caused victims often physical pleasure during great pain, and I see how that massive contradiction would really mess with someone’s mind.

I still have a massive sense of shame about myself and my body but it’s not linked in my mind to any kind of sense that being sexual in a biological sense - having the physical male anatomy and the psychological male drives and libido - is anything shameful. Honestly I can say I enjoy the feeling of being a man and having that sense of male sexuality, I just wish I were better adjusted psychologically so that I could have pursued more traditional patterns of relationships and just had more and bettrr and longer periods in my life to enjoy what “normal” men may take for granted, The shame I have about my body relates to issues around my weight, physique, strength, health, appearance and perceived defects and inadequacies. Other than the traditional cultural inhibitions I grew up with as an American male in the 1960’s-1980’s that everyone struggles with to some degree I think my overall view of sex is that it’s healthy and “normal” (sorry for using that word again).

I need to read further, I’m actually more interested in his thoughts on how to process trauma to get to some kind of place of peace.
 

MO-Survivor

Registrant
Ok, now that I’ve really sat down properly with this book, I have a comment. I’m about a third of the way through it.

A lot of what he describes is not my experience, mainly I think because I was really young when the physical sexual abuse happened, under 6. I don’t remember it in the ways that most of the victim quotes describe.
@DanielQ432,

I totally understand that comment. Since I had only one abuser, and it was my dad, there is a lot in the book that doesn't apply directly to my situation either. He addresses the uniqueness of a parent-abuser several places in the book, but I too had to try and glean what I could from it that applied to me. That said, once I got into this process deeper, I found that more of what he said did apply than I thought - even though the abuse did not occur by a non-parent.

Similarly, he does address very young abuse victims several places in the book, so he doesn't leave you out. But it is more difficult to relate things to your experience, I'm sure. The chapter on healing the consequences of the abuse - again, you will have to pull out what speaks to you. The things that move your emotions inside - probably has practical application for you. Because even if you cannot recall memories of the abuse because you were too young, you can still determine to give full responsibility of the abuse to the abuser (one of the things he says to do to bring healing).

"I still have a massive sense of shame about myself and my body but it’s not linked in my mind to any kind of sense that being sexual in a biological sense - having the physical male anatomy and the psychological male drives and libido - is anything shameful."​
So I don't view sex that way either - at least mentally. And that is probably partly because some healing has happened in this area. I was scared of the idea of sex as a boy / teen. But as a married adult, I would say I don't view it as shameful or scary, but... if I dive deeper (and my T and I have), there is still fear there - fear of sex, fear of intimacy, fear of distractions during sex and subsequent "failure" as a man. Peeling back the layers is important because although I "adapted" well and healed some things, there is a lot still under development :)

Peace to you Daniel. I hope the issues you do struggle with fade away for you as you walk your own path through trauma healing.
 
Daniel points to what I've experienced as a member of this website... although we're all survivors of sexual trauma, the trauma we experienced differs. One size does not fit all. This means that many conversations focus on events and feelings that have little or no meaning to others. I think we do a wonderful job of supporting one another and those differences don't limit us in expressing compassion or care for one another. But some things simply don't fit.

My sexual trauma began when I was in the crib and it was my mother doing the things that disturbed me. It continued with older boys living next door but I was three when that began. It ended when we moved away when I was seven and a half, but not before I was anally raped by the father of one or more of these boys. The shame I carry has nothing to do with what I experienced but everything to do with how those experiences distorted my relationship to my sexuality... which was warped by the traumas.

As I often say, the real measure of the impact of trauma is how we're doing in life more generally. If we're carrying shame; if being intimate is difficult; if we have confusion about our sexual orientation or about our gender; if we rely on food, drugs, alcohol, compulsive behaviors of any kind, something is amiss. Trauma lies buried somewhere in the system. And like Daniel, we're working hard to unpack it all so we can release the shame, find compassion and learn to care for ourselves as we claim our aliveness. That is challenging simply because we come here only after having lived for a long time marinating in our shame and confusion. Releasing a lifetime of contracted experience isn't easy to do.

I appreciate how you've curated this conversation MO... this is exactly how we do our healing work... sharing our struggles as well as what has helped us liberate ourselves from the suffering of a lifetime.
 

B06SAJ

Registrant
Ok, now that I’ve really sat down properly with this book, I have a comment. I’m about a third of the way through it... etc.

I can identify closely with you at this time, DanielQ432. Some symptoms that I've suffered with for much of my life might suggest for me, though, that I was molested in some fashion as a very young boy (toddler age). I'm studying that, currently. I'm also not as far through the book as you but thus far, I'm in a similar place as you. Thanks for the post.

B06SAJ
 
If we're carrying shame; if being intimate is difficult; if we have confusion about our sexual orientation or about our gender; if we rely on food, drugs, alcohol, compulsive behaviors of any kind, something is amiss.
So well put. When growing up soaked in shame, it's hard to see that it isn't normal after decades. It's not until we can process that shame with self compassion that we can sense what living in peace with our own minds and bodies can feel like, and how "normal" we can eventually become in both feeling and acting human.

I spent my normal sexual development age chasing females, sometimes with great earnestness. My goal was only to achieve physical intimacy, but rarely emotional intimacy. I was closed off emotionally to everyone due to hidden shame. And this is how I was, even with no conscious memories of my childhood abuse by older boys.

Despite the above, my whole adult life I pined to experiment with males, always peers, and managed to a few times (enjoyed it, scared to death of it). This has been an interesting revelation for me too: as I got older my attraction to men stayed in my peer age group, while my attraction to females remained mostly just physical and stuck in my developmental ages. Biology and reproductive drives may be at play here too, which is not to be discounted, along with conditioning by all the corner store porn mags on display. But looking back, there was a sense of me wanting to "prove" manliness to others. This was in a world of the 1970s and 1980s when gay men were abused openly in public (midwest attitudes), and my homophobic mother had already beat me for being me (gay) when I was 8. The one openly gay boy in high school was regularly beat by the "jocks", while decades later revelations by those jocks indicated they were also very bisexual with each other. It was a mixed up world of 1980.

I did turn to alcohol and drugs as a teenager and into adulthood. It caused damage to others and myself over decades, which adds more shame. I smoked like a chimney. I did eventually reach 275 lbs about 5 years ago, which made me hate myself more.

I'm sober now. I don't smoke anymore. I train 5 days a week at the gym. I'm gay now (as of just a few years ago), and I remember my CSA very clearly, the events surrounding it, and much of the after effects of months of being 3 older boys' after school sex toy. I'm working on forgiveness, to further help heal myself.

It seems to me that people who forget their abuse until much later in life seem to have some different issues than those that are aware all their life. Forgetting my abuse was no free pass from everything else your list, @Visitor. It was just different variants on the shame underneath it all, and the expected outcomes of life spent in self-loathing and all the attempts to escape it. There is no escaping our shame with any form of escapism, it seems. At best we mask off our shame temporarily with escapism. We must address it directly, like we are doing here, while maintaining a healthy self compassion. Talking/writing/sharing my abuse and myself has been profoundly helpful.
 
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davids1

Registrant
This thread has triggered so much in me. I remembered pretty much everything since I was a toddler up tp present. I was raised in a shame based house with lots and lots of religion to back it up. I was ashamed of breathing, of being alive even. I saw my mother threaten to cut my older brother's penis off when I was a toddler and I believe that scarred me for life. Sure made me uncomfortable trying to have sex with females when I got older even though I tried and even got married, it didn't work. .So when my uncle had sex with me, I felt loved, like someone cared about me. Afterwards he told me not to tell anyone and never did it again. What did I do wrong that he didn't want me anymore, is something wrong with me. Shame on me for not having him again. I tried to seduce him when I was older but I didn't know what to do and it failed and I felt ashamed again. I don't think I ever did not feel shame until I got clean off of drugs. I recently put that shame to my uncle in a present to give back to him along with the guilt for what he did to me and burned it. For the first time in my life I'm feeling less shame than ever. If the shame comes up, especially around sex, I tell myself that that is not my shame but my uncles or my mothers and I verbally give it back to them. My mother covertly incested me that's why I have issues there. I always questioned myself and wondered if that was why I was Gay, because of my mother? I believe I was born this way and that God does not hate me and I'm not going to hell like my mother told me when I came out to her. She also told me she knew her brother molested me. I'm not angry about that anymore but I had to really work on that one. I don't love my mother and if she was alive I would not visit her. It is very difficult to heal from shame but I have a very good therapist that understands CSA and recovery from addiction who is helping me work on these issues.
 
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