Heterosexual shame


It seems I’m getting in touch with some deep stuff here...
I’m starting to realize how deeply my heterosexual feelings and urges have been shamed.
It started with my mother who feminized me and emasculated me, thus shaming my masculinity. My older sisters took part in this as well, as it was all supposed to be playful teasing, a game, never mind that I didn’t want any of it.
Then I underwent systemic constant bullying by kids in school, the bullying was focused on the fact that I was feeling attracted to a girl, for which I was mocked and humiliated mercilessly.
I was molested by another boy around that time, thus adding a lot of confusion, and I couldn’t reconcile being heterosexual with having been molested, because it happened several times and I got to the point of looking for it.
This is in the cultural context of women asserting themselves and voicing their hurts around men, and I got the message “men are pigs”
Then on to counselors that could not see past the “gay” label and didn’t take my early heterosexual feelings seriously enough to affirm them. They couldn’t understand the terror I felt around asserting myself when it comes to heterosexuality.
I did get a chance in my 30s but I had no clue on relationships, so I failed 3 of them, and the last girlfriend broke up with me and got married to somebody else that she had just met a month before, thus reinforcing the message that I was unworthy and undesirable and inadequate.
Today, after grieving my partner’s death from cancer, I’m becoming aware of emerging heterosexual feelings. I started noticing women walking around in the park and thinking “I would like to...her”. It’s interesting that I can’t even say it or write it, because I feel so horrified, because having such specific sexual thoughts means that I’m objectifying women.
It doesn’t help that I’m getting my counseling at a center focused on sexual assault survivors and victms, so it feels extremely inappropriate to me to even discussing these heterosexual feelings when there are women clients that have been hurt by men. It feels like if I was one of them, which I’m not.
I wish I could muster the courage to talk to my T about explicit sexual matters. For example (POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING), normally I feel repelled by the sight of bare female breasts, but lately, I’m finding a small subset of breasts that seem very beautiful and I want to grab them. I feel like a pervert even mentioning this. I think the degree of terror I feel about mentioning stuff like this is quite telling. Somewhere I got the message that “I’ll get in trouble” for talking like this.
It burns me that something so natural like having sexual desires for women have been so thoroughly, systematically humiliated, belittled and discounted that I feel extremely ashamed for even thinking these thoughts. But I can always have a man use me sexually and that’s perfectly OK and encouraged, never mind that’s not congruent with my identity. My identity is not gay. It is not bi. It is not “fluid”. No. Hell no. Nothing wrong with that, but I can’t identify with any of that. Sadly, there was so much shaming around heterosexuality that getting in touch and reclaiming that part of myself is terrifying and almost re-traumatizing.
And yes, my apologies if this offends anybody. Which goes to reinforce my belief that heterosexuality is shameful and terrifying and will get me in trouble.
No wonder I’m so messed up!

Thanks for sharing this!
No apologies necessary.
I think it’s great that you have connected so many dots and have brought so much understanding to your story and to the journey you are on.

I’m sorry that you were taking so off course by your childhood trauma. I would also put the systematic shaming and attempted deconstruction of someone’s sexual identity into the CSA catagory.

Healing light


I don't reckon your post is offensive in anyway
You raise alot of very valid things I'm sure others can identify with
I'm coming at my response from a slightly different angle where sex , and sexual thoughts as a whole were made shameful. In my culture perhaps the only person you will talk about it with is siblings of the same gender , peers of the same gender I had little idea when I married my wife of what I was meant to do or behave like neither did she though past how a baby is made and that what she wanted a baby
My shame lies with wanting to be sexual and wanting to feels pleasure.
A deep shame
I'm trying to work threw
Keep talking and posting


Thanks, SmartShaadow and Healing light.
I know, cognitively, that I’m not saying anything offensive.
My gut, on the other hand, is terrified and I think that’s very important to notice. I’m terrified to talk, verbalize and articulate heterosexual desires. The fear and terror in and of themselves seem to me that are more significant than the sexuality itself. Although very important, the shame/fear/terror makes the identity issues a lot worse.
I had no brothers to talk to. It happens that I see my T as a brother I wish I ever had, so this may be part of the trigger. He’s a lot younger than I am but in my mind, he’s the cool, more successful brother than I am.
When I was molested by another boy, we would talk about girls, explicitly so, while engaging in mutual MB (I can’t say that word, either). This was very confusing to me, as I couldn’t reconcile my healthy interest in girls to what we were doing.
No way I could talk with my dad about this stuff. He would be asking me how many girlfriends I had, not understanding that I had no clue on how to approach one and not knowing about my bullying or molestation, so he was puzzled why I didn’t engage in pursuit.
The last time I fell in love with a woman, I was around 20. It was the most intense feeling of attraction, but since I felt so tainted by my same-sex experiences, I felt utterly unworthy and undesirable. I would have sexual fantasies around her, but she was, in my mind, totally off limits. She and I were in college and we were part of this group of friends, so we socialized often, sometimes studied together. Eventually, I got over it. THEN I mustered to courage to tell her how I had felt about her, since there was no risk of rejection because I wasn’t interested any more. She knew, of course, and it seemed she felt pity for me. That night I had the most fantastic sexual dream about her. But I moved on. She ended up marrying a very nice, gentle guy and has been successful in her career, still married and has now adult children. Good for her.
I struggle with the notion that having SSA disqualifies me to have a heterosexual relationship, because my gut feels these two things are mutually exclusive. My T tries to reframe this with things like the “Kinsey Scale” and being “Sexually fluid” and that drives me up the wall. Both these concepts seem to me to be based on the assumption that any same sex attraction and behavior is healthy and part of a person’s identity, and that’s not how I experience it. Wanting to internalize another man’s masculinity, wanting them to use me and abuse me and humiliate me is not part of my identity. I’m starting to wonder if there’s a similar dynamic to things like cutting. I don’t cut myself, never have, and up until now, I couldnt’ wrap my head around why anybody would do this to themselves. I obviously need to learn more about this. It is my (possibly inaccurate) understanding that cutters do this as a way of FEELING something, otherwise they would be numb. If that’s correct, my SSA is simply an attempt to FEEL something, if I’m hurting, it means I’m feeling and I’m alive. This may or may not be acurrate, so I’ll assume this is just speculation on my part.
The point still seems to me that it is about the shame I feel about talking about heterosexual feelings with other people. It seems to me extremely risky because it will open me to even more shame and ridicule. I can almost see and hear the skeptical voices that say “yeah, right, that’s what he thinks. He’s in SO much denial, it is amazing the elaborate beliefs people can come up with because of internalized homophobia. This guy is a piece of work, and keeps resisting accepting who he truly is, how he was born”. Of course nobody is actually saying this, but I still wonder if they (my T and my counselor) secretly are thinking like this. I would think that after decades of sexual contacts with other men, maybe I have the right to decide that I don’t want to do that anymore because it’s something I didn’t want to do to begin with.
Sometimes I feel that, as far as the mental health professionals, I’m not supposed to exist, because I don’t fit into their dogmas.
And my life keeps wasting away and I don’t sense I’m any closer to healing this very wounded area of my life...
Thanks to all for listening.

Healing light

I can't accept that any of my sexual behaviour has been "normal" or unimpacted upon by abuse and certainly the same sex hook ups I have had in adulthood are not healthy and I don't want them as part of my identity.

I surprised myself commenting on this thread it's deep for me , talking about sexual feeling and thoughts all pretty ailen
Always been about other people's wants and needs I'm furfilling

Your entitled to feel however you want too.

I can identify with feeling like I don't fit therapists ideas , I feel they find me difficult and exhausting , I had a volunteer mentor once he earns the acalade of volunteer of the year with the charity he worked for in my head he got that cos he worked with me the "difficult" client in reality it was because he is a commited to the cause person who has come through so much to earn that award he should be proud of. It was an acknolodgement of him not a reflection of his clients.
We wouldn't really know what they felt or thought unless we asked and I'm trying to personally work on trying not to negatively assume things like I do

I offen feel fear of shame , humiliation and ridicule born from the abuse but also from racism. And inequality I have experienced prior not necessarily precifically just sexuality but in general too
Wish I was more self secure.
Theres many forms of self harm I believe. My T is trying to help me see self destructive patterns sexually , physically and emotionally. But physically I have done many things for many reasons. I physically hurt myself over a previous scar caused during SA that wasn't to feel that's were cos I were overwhelmed over feeling , things are more serious for me if I'm numb and lash out at myself like I have .an expression of feeling towards myself internally externally feeling the pain then a release of the emotional turmoil though I don't discuss what I have done by means of harm as I don't think it's therapeutic for anyone
Self harm or destructive pattern I truly believe only safe , sexual incounters based on mutual respect we should take on as identity.

It's fascinating somewhat, because my story is a little like yours without the CSA. As a preteen and young teen, I was bullied by my both boy and girl classmates, who constantly called me "faggot" and told me I was gay. I was very confused. I was pretty sure I was a heterosexual, but I wondered if I was actually gay anyway since they seemed to be able to see something about me that I couldn't.

That definitely helped set me up for being abused as an adult, no doubt about it. When I was I teen and a girl showed some romantic interest in me, I immediately latched on to her and eventually married her, even though she was a horrible person and we had nothing in common. She would eventually go on to abuse me. But I felt I had to show the world that I wasn't actually gay, and I doubted any other woman could possibly be interested in in me, a heterosexual faggot.


Labels can be very useful, but it seems they can be a double-edged sword, as they can also become prisons. It feels to me that trying to fit me into a "gay" category is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. That's why I'm so leery of other labels like "bi" or "fluid", because I don't think I fit there, either.
I remember the first time I met my T, he was taking my history, and as a routine question, he asked me what was my sexual orientation. This stopped me in my tracks, because I didn't feel I could come up with an honest answer. Eventually I said I'm a repressed heterosexual, which I think it's a lot more accurate than saying "gay" or "bi" or "fluid". But I'm not completely comfortable with that answer, for two apparently contradictory reasons. I find it hard to reconcile being heterosexual with simultaneously having unwanted SSA (if it was wanted I wouldn't be having this conversation as I could then easily accept the "bi" or "fluid" labels). The other reason I feel somewhat uncomfortable is that I don't think that being repressed is or should be part of my identity. It feels like a disclaimer, leading to something I wrote earlier today. The scariest thing for me is to say, quite simply, "I'm a heterosexual man" It goes to show how much shame and fear I've felt about who I truly am.



When I was in college I saw a therapist provided by the university. I was in early sobriety, and all these feelings were bubbling up. I didn't even tell him about my sexual abuse history. He never asked. All I talked about was how I was starting to have attractions for men, and I was worried I was gay. He totally disregarded the relationships I'd had with women growing up, and the relationships with women I had while I was seeing him. After about a year, and maybe 10 sessions, his diagnosis was that I was really gay. He drew a scale, with heterosexual on one end, and homosexual on the other end. He said I fluctuated a little, but I was really gay, even though I wanted to be straight.

Needless to say, this messed up my mind. Here I was, putting my trust into this man, trying to open up. I was in love with a young woman (who is now my wife), and he took the easy way out and put me in a box. I tried to reconcile his opinion with how I really felt, and I decided I must be bi. I've tried for 25 years to accept being being bi, but I don't even feel like that fits me. I am me. I am also really mad at that therapist for screwing me up instead of helping me. He should never have put me in a box like that. No one can see what is inside me, except for me. I am learning to listen to myself more, and trust who I am.

Most of my sexual feelings are for women. Sometimes I'm sexually attracted to men, and this causes shame. I'm realizing that I also have other, nonsexual attractions, for men. And these cause shame. too. If I feel connected to a guy, I get scared that something bad might happen. Then shame comes in and takes over.

Thanks for sharing.




You are facing the past and the remnants of the damage the abuse did to you. It left you confused as to your identity. Trying to put a label on your identity only adds to the confusion. Delving deep into your emotions and feelings will allow you to see who you are and hopefully unravel some of the confusion the abuse left on you sense of self. People do not realize, a sexual abuse at a young age when the mind is immature and developing can wreak havoc on the brains development--recent studies have shown the impact abuse of a child has on the brains development. Can the mind be redeveloped. According to some yes--neuroplasticity--which requires extensive work to change how we think, how we believe can change the pathways in the brain. You are beginning to identify your issues and starting to think differently about yourself. Talk to a doctor who maybe able to guide you on a path to enable you to see yourself for yourself and not what the abuser left you to believe.



I hear you, Ben, it sounds so much like what I went through. It fits very well my own experience. Well-meaning therapists and counselors that were following the accepted guidelines that (it seems to me) say that what I needed was “gay affirmative therapy” and to address my “homophobia”. To be fair, sure, I grew up in a homophobic culture and that’s a legitimate area of inquiry and exploration, but in doing so, they missed the bigger picture that my heterosexuality was deeply wounded and shamed. Not too long ago, my T tried to explore this by mentioning the Kinsey scale and introducing terms like “sexually fluid” and while I understand this is how he’s been trained, once again I felt like I’m being put in a box that doesn’t fit me. My interest is in healing my heterosexual original self, not embracing something with which I can’t relate, no matter how hard I’ve tried. After 3 decades of trying to fit into these labels, at some point I have the right to decide for myself what is my true identity. Problem is, I have so much self-doubt that I don’t feel confident enough to say that I’m straight. Sadly, my heterosexual self is very rudimentary, not to mention that I also have issues about psychological abuse by my mother, so this adds and extra barrier. Not only was my heterosexuality wounded and shamed to the point that I lived most of my life feeling undesirable to women, I also fear women because I fear being abused by them. So I was given gay affirmative therapy, with all kinds of support groups and resources that I was not interested in. That’s the tragedy about this whole thing for me, I tried so hard to heal, to ask for help, but I made the mistake to trust others that paid more attention to their books and training than to their client. I’m sure that none of their books included a chapter on “straight affirmative therapy” because no such need is recognized. It feels that I’m not supposed to exist.


Thanks, Ken, your response got posted as I was writing the above post.
Talk to a doctor...I’m seeing a therapist but having transference issues so I’m awaiting a referral to a counselor (whom I’ve seen before) but the T will keep working with me. Not sure what a doctor could add to this. I’ve seen psychiatrists as well that want to pump me up with meds that don’t address the issue and then I have to cope with the side effects. What kind of doctor do you have in mind? I’m open to suggestions (sorry if I’m sounding negative, I woke up in a horrible mood).
Thanks for your comments and feedback!
We didn't get a chance to evolve into our sexuality naturally, things and roles were put on us. Being confused, hurt and lost is natural for survivors of CSA. I would say what your mom did to you was also CSA.

Thank you for sharing
It started with my mother who feminized me and emasculated me, thus shaming my masculinity. My older sisters took part in this as well, as it was all supposed to be playful teasing, a game, never mind that I didn’t want any of it.
This happened to me as well!! I am also the youngest of 3 with 2 older sisters. They all did similar emasculating thing to me as a boy and a teen. This also messed up my own acceptance as a man!!

- Kal
My identity is not gay. It is not bi. It is not “fluid”. No. Hell no. Nothing wrong with that, but I can’t identify with any of that. Sadly, there was so much shaming around heterosexuality that getting in touch and reclaiming that part of myself is terrifying and almost re-traumatizing.
I can very much relate to that - I have had SSA feelings since puberty and had blocked out the CSA until my 30s. Thankfully I was able to enter a marriage with a supportive woman, despite the feelings I had. We are still married, and the CSA didn't get dealt with until several years into our marriage - I don't think regular Hetero-sex helps me overcome. Sadly, due to health issues (physical and emotional) for past 15 years we have had a sexless marriage but still love and support each other. SSA is still an issue but seems to be getting better as I continue T.

Hope this helps you, Prfl

- Kal


Thanks for sharing NC! I’ve never heard of anybody else going through this!
My mother (whom I suspect that she’s been abused as well) seemed to have this weird game of giving feminine names to every man around, for example, somebody with the name Daniel would become Danielle, (made up names, BTW). It was all supposed to be a joke, but I had no choice in the matter. When I complained, she would say “aw, can’t you take a joke?” and she’ll refer to my shirts and pants as “blouses and skirts”, as in: that’s a beautiful blouse you have. No amount of eye-rolling or annoyed “Mooom!” or complaints would make a difference. I can only think that she had a huge hostility against the male gender but I was NOT a willing participant. I wonder why I was able to hold on to a male gender identity (inadequate and incomplete as it always have felt) but holding on to a heterosexual identity has been so much harder. I can only think that it may be that the feminization started first, so I needed to use my resources to compensate for that, but then struggling to also hold on to my heterosexual identity was just too much. It seems now like a miracle that I was able to hold on to at least a sliver of heterosexual identity. I feel a lot more secure identifying as male. I do struggle feeling like a MAN. I just feel “generically” male, always inadequate and incomplete. I love to look masculine although I have a squeaky voice, have a speech impediment, and I worry about coming across as effeminate. But at least I feel male enough, and as I’ve gotten older, man enough and that helps. The heterosexual identity is much weaker and that’s my current struggle. I don’t want to let it die and let the bullies win.
Yes that happened to me too. I got called the feminine version of my birth name (my sisters did this, as well)!! It is like we were raised in the same household!! Being involved with other Hetero men (platonically), either in small groups or big groups, has helped. Perhaps men service organizations would be beneficial. I was in the mind set of "Fake it until you make it" then I looked a bit deeper and saw many Hetero Men are feel equally inadequate in their manhood as I did, if not more. When taking my young son to scouts, I was looked up to as a leader because of my camp counseling experience. Many of them were completely clueless - they are just better at FAKING it!!


Yep, my sisters too, I'm the youngest. I'm sure they feel horrible about it now so I don't rub it in. My mother passed away but years ago I talked about it and remarked "it seems that you have a lot of hostility towards men" and she responded "I need to think about that" which for me is at good as it was ever going to get. The name calling stopped when I disclosed to them that I was involved with another man. They sure shut up in a hurry. But the damage was done.
I did join a men's organization trying to make that healthy same sex connection, I did meet lots of wonderful people but I was also hurt by many others that didn't know how to handle my PTSD symptoms and kept berating me for being a whiner and playing the victim, and that experience wounded me very deeply, in particular because whenever I tried to assert myself, nobody seemed to take responsibility for their own words but blame it on me. I guess I make a very convenient target.
But I'm still here, struggling to reclaim my original, authentic self. I just hope the process doesn't kill me first. It's been pure hell lately, but I'll see my alternate counselor tomorrow, hopefully she'll be able to help.