SSA & Sexual Disorientation

LoneWolfX

Registrant
I think SSA & Sexual Disorientation is one of the most controversial issues on MS. It is so sensitive that I am hesitant to even bring up the topic - I am scared of screwing up even writing about it. I am not even going to bring religion into it. I have seen, through friends on MS, that the topic can be alienating for gay or bi members because sometimes it verges too close to the implication that SSA is wrong. I only came to this realization recently. At the same every individual has every right to feel what they feel and to express themselves - so if someone feels the SSA is due to CSA in their case, I don't have the right to question it. Personally I do think that CSA can bring about SSA.

And then the sexual disorientation concept. This is particularly problematic because of the negative connotation of the word disorientated - "I have SSA so I am lost". From a gay or bi person's point of view I fully appreciate that this makes it sound like SSA is bad. In a nutshell the perception SSA is an undesirable and terrible thing. On the other hand the individual experiencing this feeling of unwanted SSA is saying "I feel this SSA thing isn't really me and I feel it is due to the CSA". I appreciate that too and who am I to question it? The issue of this sexual disorientation is so complex for example innate sexuality vs sexual fluidity. The concept that perhaps everyone is sexually fluid and the CSA may have shaped that is disturbing and enraging in the extreme. And if this is framed in such a way that the "CSA made me gay", for example, we are back to turning SSA itself in to a bad thing.

I wish there was a solution. I see the argument from both sides. I see the need for members to express how CSA has affected their sexual identity and at the same time I totally get how this is often going to upset gay and bi members - if I were in their shoes I would feel alienated as well.
 

Jacob S

Registrant
SSA is a problematic term because of how it has been used for decades by the anti-gay crowd. But the way it is used here has a valid meaning. I've also known queer survivors whose abuse delayed their coming out of the closet for decades. The journey for us all is to become our authentic selves. No two people start or end at the same exact place.

Here's an article that has helped me

 

PRFL

Registrant
Rant alert, with plenty of apologies to my fellow LGBT survivors

There's nothing that makes me feel more alienated than seeing so much effort and energy in supporting and affirming and celebrating LGBT identity while people like me with unwanted SSA are being overlooked, questioned and dismissed as "homophobic". The center where I receive services has all kinds of information and literature to serve their LGBT clientele, but there's nothing, I mean NOTHING addressing my concerns. When I hear the word "inclusive" usually that includes LGBT but I most certainly do not feel included. Even my T's can't seem to completely wrap their heads around the idea of SSA, as I don't fit into the LGBT mold nor do I want to. While I completely support LGBT rights and all those affirmation efforts are commendable, good, and necessary, I personally feel forgotten and overlooked. It's got to the point that I'm resenting seeing rainbow flags because it is not supportive of my struggles. I do not understand what is so negative about the word "disoriented" because that is exactly how I feel, disoriented, if that word is problematic, how about "confused"? On a related topic, my heart sinks when I hear stories of states banning conversion therapy, and while I understand that nobody should be forced to undergo such therapy, I don't understand why I would be denied the choice to give it a try. It would have meant so much to me when I was a teenager to know that at least somebody was trying to help me in something that was painful to me. I'll say that I do not agree with the religious approach to conversion therapy, and perhaps a better term for me would be "reclaiming" instead of conversion. I was cheated out of my heterosexual identity and that wound will hurt until the day I die, because nobody believed that reclaiming that part of myself was a legitimate goal. Even the words "I am a heterosexual man" are incredibly frightening for me to say, as this was never supported, rather, it was systematically shamed. So, yes, when I see all those efforts to be inclusive of LGBTs, I'm happy for them that they are being included, but I'm not a part of that inclusion. I support their goals, but I want some of that support for myself.

Again, my heartfelt apologies if this upsets anybody, this is not my intention. I'm simply screaming in pain about a wound that keeps getting re-opened every time I see a rainbow flag. Sadly, to some people this is simply evidence of my "homophobia", which adds salt to my wound.

and to LoneWolfX, no, I'm not upset at you for posting this, I hope you are not upset by my response, if so, I'm sorry.
 

jacats

Registrant
omg lightbulb over here!
I posted a post about this like for real asking how im supposed to read ssa not as homophobic because you know i get the human nature to be like uhhhh this must be about me lol. And honest i want to not feel turned off by people talking about they own selves because you do you and shit. But ya tbh its how i feel reading it. Like idgaf if they are but, you know, noted. In real life im sort of an asshole lmao so honest im trying soooooo hard to be sensitive in shit i write here.

Heres my deal though. I was a sex worker from 14 to 23ish and the vaaaaaast majortity of my clients were married straight men. Didnt use the term then but ya men with ssa. A emotional relationship thats sort of fake and fully me acting this role hearing about they struggles and being super sexual about them is what was expected of me. So idk i dont think about that when i hear ssa not directly buuuuut
Would be fucking crazy to think it didnt colour shit in my brain.
Converstion therapy and shit like that is too contraversal to mention lol i dont want to start a fire. Same with spiritual or religious reasons. Get it exists but i am not the dude to comment on it.

J
 
PRFL - thank you for sharing this. I share in many of your frustrations. I think respect of ALL opinions here is important. We need to support each other, regardless.
 
I wish there was a solution. I see the argument from both sides. I see the need for members to express how CSA has affected their sexual identity and at the same time I totally get how this is often going to upset gay and bi members - if I were in their shoes I would feel alienated as well.
I really appreciate you bringing this up.

At this point I would have to take a wild guess as to my pre abuse sexual orientation.
I would probably be more accurate if I just closed my eyes and threw a dart.

My early physical abuse began when I was an infant at the hands of my older brother.
By 3 years of age I realized that my father could become a violent monster even though he still showed me closeness and affection at times.
It definitely confused the hell out of me. Males were dangerous and unpredictable. I became certain of that.

I do know that early physical abuse and subsequent sexual abuse, has influenced my outlook significantly.

When I have an impactful dream I tend to wonder what’s going on in my subconscious.
I also tend to wonder what’s going on in my subconscious when I have an intrusive or conflicting fantasy.

When it comes to my sexual fantasies I know there’s a lot going on in my subconscious.
I used to think that my sexual orientation was what was driving my sexual fantasies.

I now believe that most of what has driven my gay sexual fantasies is actually pain on steroids.
Unresolved intense emotional pain.

Sexual trauma and childhood sexual abuse has created a terrible amount of distortion for me.
I think my sexual orientation has played almost no part in what has driven the intrusive sexual fanticys over the years.
 
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2Bnormal51

Registrant
Rant alert, with plenty of apologies to my fellow LGBT survivors


:cool: PRFL,
I totally understand your frustration, and I for one which lived in the "gay" lifestyle for nearly 2 decades can tell you, that even within the "gay" community there is division's, biases, and prejudice. There are those that are "conservative" and those that are very "liberal". So they are not all that the press makes them out to be. Many suicides, alcoholics, drug addicts and lonely people are common place within that life.
The "gay" community was always under great fear for being arrested, black mailed, beaten, bullied, attacked by haters, and yes during the "Anita Bryant" years, some were killed for being "gay". So the push is on for full acceptance, all based upon fear.

I have had terrible experiences within certain "Christian" circles, where I was not accepted, even as a Christian because I did at one time live in that life.
I still have many struggles regarding SSA, disassociation, and just knowing how to be the real me, when I do not know who that is.
Anyway, I do not have any problems with you writing your frustrations, that is what MS is for. For myself, my "natural" self was taken from me, due to parental/adult sexual abuse since a toddler till eight or nine years. So me being heterosexual is a misnomer, I guess I am "A sexual".
So keep on being honest and feel free to share what you need to share. Freedom to express, helps one to come out from hiding or living behind different masks to be accepted.
Take care,
Later.....
 

MACH123

Registrant
I don't see that it's sex anymore. It's about dominance and submission and narcissistic injury to very young children.

Just like obsessive thinking is actually a feeling, SSA is a reaction to something else. It's only a symptom IMO.

This is a generalization and oversimplification but it's also just an opinion. I didn't mean to imply that it's not serious, or that people aren't getting tied in knots trying to deal with it (or not deal with it)
 
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Perhaps it's worth saying that being gay is an identity. SSA is an orientation (or disorientation if you buy into the semantics.) The difference is that identity cannot be assumed unless it is embraced by the individual, while sexual orientation is the opposite - a predilection that embraces the individual. So I'm not sure how one can feel left out seeing others embrace an identity they don't embrace themselves.

I have known many people who have what they describe in the same terms as SSA and have not had CSA. In fact I would argue that essentially every person who is gay was once SSA. I know very few (if any) friends who were thrilled to discover their orientation to the same sex, and most anyone who identities as gay has gone through a serious attempt at self-conversion at some point in their lives. I know when I did that I was convinced my heart was for girls but my body was for men to use, with my CSA being the sexual template. Sex was an exercise not of love but of hate - self hate, while girls were the unrealized better promise of love. And in my struggle to be straight, I saw gay people as weak - as guys who weren't strong enough to push beyond SSA. Their self acceptance threatened me, and while I wished them no harm, the whole concept of LGBTQ pride was anathema to me. It took me a while to grow beyond that.

Am I gay? Probably. You'd think I would know. But LGBTQ pride to me is not about orientation. It's about making peace with myself and coming into full self acceptance whether I am gay or not. The pride is not so much about who I am, but about the strength and integrity to accept who I am.

One more thing - using the term disorientation as if it's the opposite of orientation - with all due respect to Joe Kort who coined the phrase - seems disingenuous. Just me, perhaps. I guess it appeals to those who don't want to be homosexual (and many do not.) It's easier to say they're not and that their sexual attraction is merely a "disorientation." But a compass swings 360 degrees. I can be disoriented on a hike. But I am certainly oriented in a direction, whether I care to say I am or not. On my road to healing, disorientation was a given and for a long time it was the only thing I cared to acknowledge. Facing my orientation was the deepest, toughest, and most honest part of my journey.
 
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I guess it appeals to those who don't want to be homosexual (and who does?)
This struck me. I know quite a few gay men and women who would be pretty offended by this. It's also worth noting that almost all of us here grew up at a time when homosexuals were seen as broken at best and literal demons at worst. In many places, it's no longer like this, and about time too.

The luckiest young men and women growing up today simply love and accept themselves as they are. Their sexual identity makes no difference to their self-love and self-acceptance. All of us here have had our natural ability to love and accept ourselves violently ripped away from us. For many of us, regaining it is our life's work.
 

2Bnormal51

Registrant
Perhaps it's worth saying that being gay is an identity. SSA is an orientation (or disorientation if you buy into the semantics.) The difference is that identity cannot be assumed unless it is embraced by the individual, while sexual orientation is the opposite - a predilection that embraces the individual. So I'm not sure how one can feel left out seeing others embrace an identity they don't embrace themselves.

"I have known many people who have what they describe in the same terms as SSA and have not had CSA. In fact I would argue that essentially every person who is gay was once SSA. I know very few (if any) friends who were thrilled to discover their orientation to the same sex, and most anyone who identities as gay has gone through a serious attempt at self-conversion at some point in their lives. I know when I did that I was convinced my heart was for girls but my body was for men to use, with my CSA being the sexual template"

Forgive my ignorance, what does "CSA" stand for?
Thank you.
 

flying

Registrant
For myself, I am ok with my attractions for men. It's just the automatic shame I get that bothers me. Today I don't label myself, I am me.

In the book Beyond Betrayal one of the symptoms of sexual abuse is worrying about being gay even though most of the person's attractions are for women. This is true for me. Most of my sexual fantasies are for women. Most of the people I am sexually attracted to are women. I fantasize about men sometimes, and am sexually attracted to men sometimes.

There is a voice in my head that says, "you're gay" and it is a shame filled voice. I think it is the voice of the 13 year old me trying to make sense of all of the stuff happening to him. At that age I was homophobic. I thought that there was something about me that caused men to try stuff. It must mean I'm gay, even though I am more interested in girls. I checked out with drugs and alcohol for several years, and didn't have any girlfriends.

This shame has been a burden for most of my life. I am with the love of my life, a beautiful woman who loves me for who I am. But I still have intense shame and get depressed. I just recently started feeling angry at my abusers, instead of sad. It feels good to get mad.

The shame and confusion belong to the abusers. My sexuality belongs to me. My feelings for men are good, just as my feelings for women are. I don't have to carry this shame everywhere anymore.
 

jacats

Registrant
"I guess it appeals to those who don't want to be homosexual (and who does?)"

Ya uhhhhh me? lol I'm a gay, single man, parent of one kid, and I would soooo not ever change any of that. I have never in my life wished I was any other way. I think most gay guys who living they best gay lives would say fuck yes I want to be gay.
Shit like that - "its not a choice because nobody would choose this" fucking sucks. If you dont get how its offensive, then know that theres lots of guys out there thinking this life fucking slays.

This is the one reason im glad i grew up from 6 to 14 with shitty uninvolved foster parents and 14 and up on my own. Nobody never told me who to be and i never had to tell nobody. Just was who i was.

And you know sometimes I see a woman and think shes hot as fuck and have never felt conflicted or shame. It dont mean nothing but some women are sexy.
 
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