It was many years ago when I first remembered that, during the sexual abuse, I wanted to be sexual with my father. When these memories surfaced, I felt a powerful need to visit Internet message boards for abuse survivors. I desperately needed to discuss my feelings with the only people in the world who would understand.
In doing so, I unwittingly affected people who had not yet gotten in touch with their own memories of pleasure. One woman wrote to me that her gut was churning, she became dizzy, her knees buckled, and her blood felt like jelly when she saw my words on the computer screen.
Another female survivor read my posting and then completely blocked out the fact that she had ever seen the message. She later posted that immediately after reading my comment, she left her house and relentlessly drove herself into destructive and dangerous behaviors, but she somehow managed to stop and return home. It was not until this woman returned home and re-read my message on her computer that she was reminded of having previously read my earlier posting. My words clearly held personally painful emotions for her, enough for her to dissociate from them and be driven to act out.
Whether conscious or unconscious, denying any enjoyment in the touching or intercourse is common. Some people are unwilling to accept that any pleasure was experienced with their abuser, because they fear it would mean they were culpable in the abuse. The denial might also be rooted in embarrassment or deep humiliation.
It is even common for adult survivors to become stimulated by reading about incest or by watching certain scenes in movies. I am not referring to children being hurt or assaulted. I am referring to scenes or images with a father and daughter, where the young girl is not being traumatized, or depictions of brother-sister incest where both are willing participants.
Even research information in academic books can create arousal that is unexpected and unwanted. A person who was abused violently might also be sexually turned on by violent sexual acts. Some child sexual abuse survivors and adult rape victims might even be stimulated sexually by scenes of rape.
Some survivors feel no pleasure at all by images, or from reading resource material about abuse. Some abuse and rape victims feel nothing but repulsion. But no one’s reaction is ‘normal or abnormal.’ Each abuse experience and each soul is different. There is no ‘right or wrong’ way to have felt during the acts of sexual abuse. For adult survivors, there is no ‘right or wrong’ way of reacting to images of molestation or rape.
For some people, sexual arousal comes in their sleep. Many previous victims of child sexual abuse will awaken to orgasms, or pelvic thrusting. Some survivors will experience sexual stimulation during the day, at seemingly strange times, and the trigger can be completely unknown. All of these things are natural and happen to countless people who were once abused as children.
The mind of victims is often conditioned to enjoy the abuse, thus, the adult survivor might experience unwanted arousal. This is understandable, natural, and nothing to be ashamed of. But this problem must be healed because it is unhealthy, stress-inducing, and can create problems inside a person and affect their relationships. Guilt and shame induced by sexual arousal can also cause some serious rage in a person. It can even remain repressed rage and cause someone to snap at another person, inflict self-harm, or create ugly emotional outbursts.
When the perpetrator was a person of the same sex, another perfectly common bodily reaction, is for the adult survivor to be stimulated by someone of the same gender. If a male child is sexually stimulated by a male adult, and especially if it is their first sexual experience, there is a significant chance that as an adult, they might become aroused by a man.
As documented by Grace in this article, some people can become gay or lesbian because of a sexually abusive experience in childhood. This is a fact, not a condemnation. It is a fact that natural body energies can create this situation. The human brain is designed in such a way that even if a child is sexually abused with a door knob, then a door knob might become an object of arousal for the adult survivor. This is just simple physiological science.
People who have been abused by a perpetrator of the same gender could be aroused by the same sex and think they are gay, but the abuse could be responsible for creating the conflict inside them. Common sense tells us that being sexually abused can contribute to a person’s inclination towards becoming gay or lesbian as an adult. Sometimes women become lesbians because they were terribly sexually abused by a man. Their hatred of the male sex organs and male energy can cause them to prefer women as an intimate partner.
Other child sexual abuse survivors don’t know what or who they want sexually. They might become bi-sexual, or they can be so sexually confused that they choose to deny, ignore, and reject any kind of romantic relationship.
For other people, being victimized by a person of the same-sex can create fear that they are gay or lesbian if they admit to feeling pleasure with their abuser. They might grow with a hatred of homosexuals, or experience a strong negative reaction to any photos, films, or literature which depict people of the same-sex engaging in erotic positions or kissing. I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with an abuse survivor who feels angry or violated by these images.
Survivors who had their bodies invaded by an adult of the same-sex might be harboring conscious or unconscious pain that shows itself when they see any reminder of their sexually abusive experience. Sexual abuse perpetrated by someone of the same sex is usually much more devastating to the victim. Same-sex child molestation creates deep confusion and severe rage in a child because the child instinctually knows it is aberrant. A person wants to be able to have a choice about their body and who they are stimulated by, not forced into enjoying something that is objectionable to their true nature or their very soul.
People who were sexually abused by priests, ministers, and rabbis also have an incredibly hard road. I have deep sympathy for them and I feel compassion in particular for men who were abused by adult males who represented God.
Male victims of male clergy often felt pleasure in the acts. Many children and adult survivors suffer the added torment of feeling guilt and shame over having “seduced” a priest. They might even blame themselves for “causing” the priest to break his vows. The priest might have instilled this thought into the victim, or the child might come up with the idea on their own. However false it is, the adult survivor who felt this way as a child will assuredly develop severe psychological disturbances and behaviors because of their guilt and shame.
I would also like to acknowledge the pain of women who have experienced sexual abuse by a nun, a female minister, or female rabbi. This is a virtually unspoken subject, one that is under-reported because of the deep denial that often prevails over the victim’s voice.
Guilt and humiliation is profoundly powerful in people who experienced any sexual gratification from an adult of the same sex. This is magnified ten-fold when the molester was a parent. I am certain there are more women who have been sexually abused by their mothers than we will ever know, because few women want to admit to being touched or penetrated sexually by their mothers, or even worse, having performed oral sex on the mother, or having kissed her or her breasts.
The vast majority of men who have been sexually assaulted by their father, or another male relative, are also not reporting it. Few men want to openly admit and speak about having been forced into sex with their own father, or a brother, and they will be far less inclined to deal with any feelings of pleasure during the abuse.
People who are molested by their same-sex parent are also more likely to conceal it from themselves. Undoubtedly, there are an unknown number of people who have dissociative amnesia (repressed memories) for this kind of incest.
One can only imagine the depth of emotional chaos and rage that a child and adult survivor experience if the parent of the same sex created sexual pleasure in their victim.
Experiencing orgasms with my father had filled my life with deep shame, self-denial, and self-hatred. One woman relayed to me that the only orgasm she has ever experienced was with her step-father. Several women have admitted to having sexual affairs with their fathers, well into adulthood. They describe feelings of joy and extreme contentment with the intercourse—even to the point of not having an intimate relationship with other adults because they remain romantically in love with their father. One woman had a “sexual relationship” with her father that began at age seven and it did not end until she was eighteen.
If my father did not die when I was twelve, and if no one stopped his sexual abuse of me, I too might have continued in a sexual relationship with him –out of conditioning, not my own will.