sexual abuse affecting sexual orientation

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 31, 2011 2:48 AM GMT
    Hey guys,

    Just wondering what are some peoples thoughts on this topic.

    How much, if any, does being sexually abused at a young age contribute to forming ones sexual orientation.

  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jan 31, 2011 4:18 AM GMT
    yeah been there, done that. I was gay before he abused me. You can't hang all your gay stuff on him.
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    Jan 31, 2011 4:31 AM GMT
    barriehomeboy saidyeah been there, done that. I was gay before he abused me. You can't hang all your gay stuff on him.


    This.
    Believe me, placing all the blame on a single incident is the easy option. Most cases this is simply not true. I was gay since birth. Thinking that someone's actions made you gay will only harbor contempt.
  • Syphon

    Posts: 366

    Jan 31, 2011 4:40 AM GMT
    I think it has a lot more to do with genetics and prenatal influences than 'nurture', per se.
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    Jan 31, 2011 5:20 AM GMT
    I was molested when i was around eight, and it went on until i was fourteen. But i remember before that, that i was already attracted to guys before i even knew the label for it and what it meant.
  • Vaughn

    Posts: 1880

    Jan 31, 2011 5:28 AM GMT
    I was never sexually abused and I'm as straight as a 360 angle. I encourage you to google gays and twin studies as well as the gay gene. Also look into gender identity and nature. There is a famous case involving a circumcision gone wrong.
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    Jan 31, 2011 5:48 AM GMT
    While certainly not agreeing with any one or idea that would assert that the entirety of an individual's sexual orientation is shaped solely by one instance of abuse, I also don't believe we can totally discount that individuals are affected. To what degree, I can only imagine, would differ from person to person.

    I've come in contact, even dated several individuals who have been sexually abused. If only in the dating situations, this became apparent with time. Sadly, many of them were abused at a very young age. For this reason, I'm willing to contend that, if only depending on the age at which it takes place, it may in fact impact their developing sense of sexual identity.

    Given that things tend, often, to get buried in our unconscious from an early age, only to reemerge later in life, sometimes in strange, often, if only initially, unrecognizable ways, it's no wonder that there are many who discover that who they thought they once were or preferred sexually, they no longer are or desire. And, so, they change. I think we have to especially allow for this change in cases where we come to discover some type of abuse in the course of that person's life, especially if it happened at an early age.

    I recall hearing Oprah (who I'm not a big follower of) once commenting on her own sexual abuse and how in the course of it, when looking back on it, she recalled that it felt good. Obviously,this didn't change the fact that what happened to her and so many boys and girls is wrong.

    Though, I do believe it speaks to the potential for individuals at an early age, when still developing on many levels, to make false connections as to who they may or may not be, if only in this case regarding one's sexual orientation. They then carry it into their more maturing years while, hopefully, becoming more aware of themselves. They, perhaps, begin experimenting and discover that what they once thought was, is not necessarily so and thereby begin to question, perhaps change, and in those rare cases they get "stuck".

    I think it's when they get "stuck", due to numerous variables, is when potential problems can arise and is also reason for why many are not able to feel that they can be in a "stable" relationship or experience intimacy. If only due to intimacy requiring a considerable degree of transparency, how can one be transparent about something for which they are confused within themselves about? They're "stuck".

    Anyway, I think it's definitely possible and does hinder individuals from living whole and happy lives.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 31, 2011 8:21 AM GMT
    This is such psychobable. Sexual experiences, abuse or not, do not make one gay or not. There is absolutely no scientific evidence of that whatsoever. But there is plenty of evidence of people of all sexual "orientations" being confused by all the stupid and cruel attitudes they grow up being bombarded with and by the misinformation they are constantly fed.


    CLH1978 saidWhile certainly not agreeing with any one or idea that would assert that the entirety of an individual's sexual orientation is shaped solely by one instance of abuse, I also don't believe we can totally discount that individuals are affected. To what degree, I can only imagine, would differ from person to person.

    I've come in contact, even dated several individuals who have been sexually abused. If only in the dating situations, this became apparent with time. Sadly, many of them were abused at a very young age. For this reason, I'm willing to contend that, if only depending on the age at which it takes place, it may in fact impact their developing sense of sexual identity.

    Given that things tend, often, to get buried in our unconscious from an early age, only to reemerge later in life, sometimes in strange, often, if only initially, unrecognizable ways, it's no wonder that there are many who discover that who they thought they once were or preferred sexually, they no longer are or desire. And, so, they change. I think we have to especially allow for this change in cases where we come to discover some type of abuse in the course of that person's life, especially if it happened at an early age.

    I recall hearing Oprah (who I'm not a big follower of) once commenting on her own sexual abuse and how in the course of it, when looking back on it, she recalled that it felt good. Obviously,this didn't change the fact that what happened to her and so many boys and girls is wrong.

    Though, I do believe it speaks to the potential for individuals at an early age, when still developing on many levels, to make false connections as to who they may or may not be, if only in this case regarding one's sexual orientation. They then carry it into their more maturing years while, hopefully, becoming more aware of themselves. They, perhaps, begin experimenting and discover that what they once thought was, is not necessarily so and thereby begin to question, perhaps change, and in those rare cases they get "stuck".

    I think it's when they get "stuck", due to numerous variables, is when potential problems can arise and is also reason for why many are not able to feel that they can be in a "stable" relationship or experience intimacy. If only due to intimacy requiring a considerable degree of transparency, how can one be transparent about something for which they are confused within themselves about? They're "stuck".

    Anyway, I think it's definitely possible and does hinder individuals from living whole and happy lives.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 31, 2011 8:27 AM GMT
    really? ive known girls who only dated guys and had been raped and then excluslively dated girls. guys arent the only ones who are gay, you know. so id have to say sexual trauma can effect peoples sexuality. i mean ive seen it happen to people i know.
  • coastguy90814

    Posts: 661

    Jan 31, 2011 9:47 AM GMT
    adamax saidHey guys,

    Just wondering what are some peoples thoughts on this topic.

    How much, if any, does being sexually abused at a young age contribute to forming ones sexual orientation.

    I'm curious because a friend of mine just recently shared with me that he was sexually abused. We were seeing each other secretly and it was good for the first few months until he stopped contacting me. Eventually he told me via text that he was sexually abused, also saying he wants to date girls, hes confused etc. thinking being abused made him gay. I don't really know how to react. upset for leading me on, not telling me sooner. or not blame him, its not his fault, hes just confused. or was I just too forward and scared him away.


    Sorry man...this has got to be one of the lamest things I've heard, to connect one's sexual orientation with sexual abuse is not only ignorant but irresponsible. Would you or your friend connect someone being sexually abused with them being straight? YOU ARE BORN GAY or having a sexual orientation. Most respected scientific studies lean being Gay is biological so why would you think otherwise? This post is simply gross.
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    Feb 01, 2011 2:35 PM GMT
    coastguy90814 said
    adamax saidHey guys,

    Sorry man...this has got to be one of the lamest things I've heard, to connect one's sexual orientation with sexual abuse is not only ignorant but irresponsible. Would you or your friend connect someone being sexually abused with them being straight? YOU ARE BORN GAY or having a sexual orientation. Most respected scientific studies lean being Gay is biological so why would you think otherwise? This post is simply gross.



    What in the world? I think it's the other way around. I hardly see how it is either ignorant or gross. Both are over statements of what may in fact be a possibility, no matter how remote. And even science would support that. To rule it out entirely, now that would ignorant.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2011 2:58 PM GMT
    Sorry .. that's a talking point of the religious right morons as an excuse.
    "truth" is not used as an excuse for that group at all.
    Your orientation is biological and 'trauma' or 'abuse' has not a damn thing to do with it.

  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Feb 01, 2011 3:21 PM GMT
    I think sexual abuse can have a profound impact on how a person deals with their sexuality.
  • jc_online

    Posts: 487

    Feb 01, 2011 3:27 PM GMT
    There is a connection in how one deals with the abuse and their orientation; but one does not "cause" the other. Your friend would likely benefit from seeing a counseling professional - one that is gay positive AND has clinical experience with abuse victims.

    This is not your fault; and it is not his fault.

    Hard work with a counselor will help him.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2011 3:38 PM GMT
    First I think that you are either born gay or not. Abuse violates trust and generally manifests in a host of problems that show themselves at various stages of life. I was abused right as I was developing sexually. It never made me question if I was gay. However, it changed my views on sex and stripped me of my right to grasp my own sexuality in a healthy way.

    I can see how some people may wonder if the abuse made them gay. the thought has crossed my mind - What if this never happened to me? Predators that get to kids before they are able to make their own decisions are to blame for so many troubled lives. As gay kids, we are naturally curious and the taboo around being gay keeps us from exercising healthy sexuality with our peers. this makes gay kids easy prey for adults to take advantage of them.

    I suggest that your friend do some reading. If possible he should look into speaking to a therapist or joining a group for adult abuse survivors. I probably do not deal with my abuse enough. Though it is something that I know is a part of me, but not what has defined who I am as a gay man.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Feb 01, 2011 4:15 PM GMT
    People are born with a pre-disposition towards sexual orientation; however, they are not born with a pre-disposition for sexual abuse. The two are unrelated matters.
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    Feb 01, 2011 4:23 PM GMT
    First of all, I don't think sexuality is a choice. However, I can see how sexual abuse can affect the type of relationships one seeks, particularly with women. In general, I find female relationships place a greater emphasis on emotional bonding as oppose to sex. If a woman has issues trusting men, I suppose she may opt for a same-sex partner.

    But whatever, I'm not a psychologist.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2011 4:35 PM GMT
    For information on sexual abuse, sexual orientation, etc....

    www.rainn.org

    www.1in6.org

    These two websites will/should provide excellent information on sexual abuse, what it is, what it is not, long and short term effects...etc...

    Tell your friend to visit these sites, find a support group in person or online, find a therapist who understands rape trauma, PSTD.

    Recovery from Sexual Abuse is possible. Trust can be rebuilt. Happiness can be achieved.

    Best of Luck to your friend!
  • tokugawa

    Posts: 945

    Feb 01, 2011 5:18 PM GMT
    Kinsey scale:

    Rating Description
    0 Exclusively heterosexual
    1 Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
    2 Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
    3 Equally heterosexual and homosexual (bisexual)
    4 Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
    5 Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
    6 Exclusively homosexual
    X Asexual

    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_Reports#Kinsey_scale
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2011 7:11 AM GMT
    NNJfitandbi saidIs this a black or white issue?


    wow....really?
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    Feb 06, 2011 7:39 AM GMT
    This is a really good topic, and a sensitive one I'm sure so I'll choose my words carefully. I have never been sexually abused, but I know those who have. A close friend of mine was sexually abused by his father while growing up, he now happens to be in a healthy relationship with another man and identifies as gay.

    On the other hand I know a guy who only tries to be intimate with other guys when he's drunk. He was sexually abused by his legal guardian growing up. He identifies as straight, not bisexual.

    And lastly, my mom's boyfriend was sexually abused by a male adult in his life growing up and happens to be in a loving and healthy relationship with my mother and also identifies as straight.

    Three men, all sexually abused yet all with different outcomes. The first one believes he was born gay, the middle one only talks about it when he's drunk and its usually very painful for him so I don't push the issue, the last one I haven't talked to about it directly but have with my mom who has said that he never questioned his sexuality and believes he was born straight.

    I also know a guy who I used to date that once got drunk and let it slip that he was raped by his uncle, he worries that that might be the reason that he's gay.

    I can't pretend to know what goes through the mind of someone who has been sexually abused, I'm merely relaying the information I've gathered to contribute to the discussion. I sincerely hope that I'm not being offensive.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2011 2:52 PM GMT
    I've personally known cases where men or women, of any sexual persuasion, were repeatedly sexually abused, not once, but repeatly throughout their childhood, and today are living in a healthy sexual partnership, gay, bi, or straight union. While some are still dealing with the traumas, of course, there are others who overcame or even became better parents then their own as a result of this awful experience!! and yes there are sexually abused victims whose sexual orientation got all mixed up because of the experience. These are usually people who allow themselves to be fed into believing they are ONLY just victims because everyone else pity them or sees them as such! while there is no doubt victims is what they are, there is no doubt in my mind that traumas, obstacles, challenges, and the difficulties we all face can also have the great potential to make us stronger and more compassionate human beings within our life time!!

    I don't know what parenting feels like? but even living the so called normal life as a single, divorced, or married parent, all can be just as traumatic as any other experience where the presence of others we have responsibilities for can cause all sorts of traumas and personal struggles!! Having said that, any experience no matter how good or bad, can cause the emotionally and spiritually vulnerable/unstable person in our society to repeat a cycle of all sorts of abuses to other innocent victims. And while professional help is the primary tool to fix or lessen these traumas of sexual and emotional abuse; it is one's own inner strenght and self determination that in truth can and will overcome them, which in my opinion it is most powerful tool we have.

    In conclusion: any kind of trauma will affect each individual differently depending on their inborned inner strength to overcome the hardships and challenges in life; and gay people are not the exception, we too can overcome anything and as a result become better human beings! after all isn't that our goal, or real goal in life!?

    I have a very simple philosophy that works even in the worse of times! My sole purpose in this life is to strive at being a better person no matter how bad things are or even turn out at the end. I and only I is the only one who can either realize my full potential or allow "my spirit" to self destruct. No one, thing, or circumstances can have control over the only thing that rightfully belongs to me and me alone! I am worthy, even more so when external forces will try to tear me apart!


    Leandro ♥
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    Feb 06, 2011 11:14 PM GMT
    what came first? the chicken or the egg? classic comparison in questioning this. If you're only studying cases of gay males who have been sexually abused, then you might come to the conclusion that one causes the other. Conversely, studying straight males that have been abused would tend to contradict the former study........to adhere to the former is giving in to the idea that we are socialogically gay.........i prefer to believe we are wired in the womb....................................Keithicon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2011 11:28 PM GMT
    I used to always believe that sexual orientation was determined biologically but it will always be a gray area. Given certain circumstances I believe people would be more inclined to experiment with the same sex.

    For example, many men in ancient Greece and Rome were bisexual and actually practiced sexual acts with men before they could marry women. I highly doubt that the 'gay' gene was more ubiquitous back then and now it is starting to diminish. I think it's just repressed because of today's society.

    Secondly, many men in prison engage in sexual acts. There is no correlation between crime rates and homosexual males so most men in jail are straight but given the circumstances they will have sex with men.

    Also, if you leave two men on a deserted island for a few years, they will probably eventually bond and engage in sexual acts. This isn't their "gay" gene springing out on them, but it's the circumstances they are in.
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    Feb 06, 2011 11:50 PM GMT
    I am no psychologist, but here's my two cents. I think that abuse is more likely to manifest in someone's behavior later on, but not their orientation. If they were gay or bi-sexual, they would still be gay or bi.

    I have to agree with one of the previous postings in that associating one's sexual preference with the fact he/she was abused as a child is a stereotype perpetuated by proponents of certain radical religious (generally) opinions.

    They will stop at nothing to associate gay with bad. Sex abuse, child abuse, drugs, whatever.

    There are too many abuse victims who are not gay to draw that line, It's insulting.