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ken wat
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This is related to the topic i put out before with some additions. I will restate it. I am 15 year old male who had a time of sexual experience with a man when I was 12 or nearly 13. There were 4 days to this experience. On the first night, I didn't know what sex with another man was. An older child around 15 years old, pushed it onto me, and being a curious child didn't stop it, I actually physically was ok with it, but mentally and emotionally I felt uncomfortable because I was doing sex with a male. That is why the next day, when the older kid came with the same thing, I told him I didn't want to do sex, but was fine with touching, so we masturbated each other and that was it. The next day the same thing happened that night. The last night of this set of experiences, he put his penis in between my thighs and rubbed, I was uncomfortable with it, but still physically it felt ok, before i knew it his penis slipped into my anus, and it hurt, I felt uncomfortable and I didn't want it, but it happened, and that was the end of my sexual experiences with a man when I was 12. Now I look back on it and agree that I liked it physically, thats why it happened over a 4 day period. However mentally and emotionally I didn't like it, it felt awkward doing it with a man. Also we didn't kiss or do oral sex. And i did not have any affection and was not attracted to the man. Right now, I would not do anything with a man, from kissing to sex, I just find it grose (no offenses) and its not something that I would do. Since then I have had 3 girlfriends and I love them all very much. From kissing them, to almost having sex with the girls, I enjoyed every part, and I am positive that I am attracted to them sexually, emotionally, and physically. Right now I look back at my gay experience, and I think I did it because as a teenage boy I had a lot of sexual lust. Since I was at an all boys school, and any girl would not do sexual things at that age, I could not satisfy that lust, and I think I did it for that reason to satisfy my lust. However I had no affection or feelings for the guy I did it with. However right now I have the problem, I have a girlfriend that I love very much, and I want to be truthful with her. I know myself that my sexual orientation is straight, because I have been attracted to girls all my life, but never have I been attracted to boys. I really want to tell my girlfriend about this experience I had. However I am afraid, because I have no real reason for doing it. Also I am afraid that if I say I physically liked it, but not emotionally or mentally, my girlfriend might start thinking I am bi or gay. Which I am not.It is something I did in the past but never would do now, or anything with a man. I know that I am straight, but I want to be with my girlfriend for a long time, and I want to be truthful to her. How can I tell all this to her in a way that she can understand? I want her to know that I am not gay or bi, but how can I tell her about this situation without her thinking that?
Thank you very much

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Heather
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Ken: before we talk any more, what I am hearing in this post really doesn't sound like consensual sex to me. It sounds like a form of abuse or assault. And I think this also explains a lot about some of how you have been feeling, the troubles you have had letting go of your fears around this, etc.

Someone "pushing" any kind of sex unto someone else, someone doing sexual things when someone says no, someone putting their body parts into yours when you don't want that: these aren't things that happen in consensual sex, but in sexual abuse or assault.

So, before we talk more, I think it would be best if you'd take a look at these two pieces:

• This one describes what consensual sex is like: Driver's Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent

• This one outlines different kinds of abuse and assault: Blinders Off:Getting a Good Look at Abuse and Assault

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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I feel like in my situation, it wasn't sexual assault or abuse. Saying so, I feel like some parts of it might have been. However can you answer my questions from the first post in two different ways. If some parts of it were sexual abuse. If everything was consensual.
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Heather
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This is why I asked you to read those links, in order to give you that information.

I need to ask you to please take the time to do that before we talk further.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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I think i know the answer to that now, and that is on the fourth day, I didn't say yes to the putting it in my anus. But when he did I didn't mind it too much, and decided to let him do it. Also one piece of information i forgot to add is when doing anything sexual, we were both imagining female pornstars. And during intercourse were closing our eyes imagining a female pornstar. So I think the answer is no to the sexual assault part. Now can you we talk further?

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kenty

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Heather
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You read both of those pieces in ten minutes? I'm a fast reader, but I'm not sure even I could manage that.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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yes, I split reading the articles in two times. I do not think it was abuse, because I went with it throughout the four days. However the reason it didnt happen anymore after those four days is because I felt uncomfortable doing anything sexual with a guy. I think the last day may have been abuse, because I said and felt "I am not sure if i want to do this" and he just did so. However after starting it, it felt alright, so I just let it happen until the end. He told me after the fourth day "it was just in between the thighs so its ok right?" and me not wanting to admit I did it again just said "yes..."
However other than that I do not think anything else was abuse. Also, the person I did it with was my friend, he made sure not to do anything I didn't want to.

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kenty

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Heather
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So, I hear you saying that some of this was abusive, but you feel other parts of this were consensual.

Mind, given your age -- 12 -- in most places you wouldn't have been considered sound to even understand and give consent, and given that at least one of these people was several years older than you, it likely would have legally been considered assault either way.

I want to also be clear that "letting" abuse happen -- in other words, we aren't asked for consent at all, or are but say no, someone does what they wanted anyway, and we don't fight back, etc. -- doesn't make abuse not abuse. It generally just means the person being abused is scared, has given up, doesn't know how to fight back, or feels safer going along than fighting back.

But what makes sexual abuse and assault what they are isn't about what a victim does: it's about what someone not asking for consent, or ignoring consent, then doing something sexual TO that person does. That's primarily how we -- and the law -- determine when something is and isn't assault.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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When he first asked me if he could put it inside, I didn't have much knowledge about sex. I was attracted to him, and I didn't know sex was something that loved ones do together to make a stronger love. So I said yes, tried it, but felt uncomfortable during and afterwards, and ashamed after I researched and knew what I had done. But the first time wasn't abuse because I consented right?

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kenty

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Heather
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You said, "On the first night, I didn't know what sex with another man was. An older child around 15 years old, pushed it onto me, and being a curious child didn't stop it,"

That doesn't sound ANYTHING like consensual sex, like consent, or like someone even able to understand what they would be given consent to IF asked to me.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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so is this abuse also?

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kenty

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Heather
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As both of those pieces I linked you to explain,

quote:
Forcing -- physically, verbally or emotionally -- someone to engage in any given sexual activity they do not want to (or orgasm they do not want to have), have not consented to or have not been in a position to give full consent to -- usually manual sex, oral sex, vaginal or anal sex or fondling -- is rape and/or sexual assault. When a rapist is known to the person who has been raped, it is called acquaintance, partner/spouse or date rape. It is rape if a person consents to a sexual activity at one point then later, rescinds that consent -- changes their mind and says no -- and their partner continues with the sexual activity despite their protests. It is rape ANY time one partner does not want to be engaging in sex and the other engages in it to or on them anyway.

Coercion is also a form of sexual assault. For example, arguing for or initiating a sexual activity to the point that a person gives consent by being worn down. Sexual activity which is initiated under duress, or when someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol can also be rape and sexual assault. Sex which involves physical abuse, a person being forced to view pornography, to wear certain clothes or go without the clothes they wish to, to look at the genitals of someone else against their will or to watch certain sex acts (like masturbation) against their will, name-calling during or other forms of emotional, verbal or physical abuse during sexual activity can also be classed as sexual assault.



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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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the thing is, I am not sure if i knew what anal sex was. I didn't know that sex was something intimate partners do later on in the relationship. I didn't even ever think about doing sex anytime soon until he asked me one night. However after I did it, I was ashamed because I realized what I had done later on

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kenty

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ken wat
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would this be abuse?

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kenty

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Heather
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I think I've been pretty clear that I hear you describing abuse or assault here. I'm not sure how to be more clear about that.

It also sounds like you don't understand what informed consent means. In a nutshell, it means that if and when someone does ask us to do something, and we do say yes, we understand what we are saying yes to. Someone cannot give real, informed consent if they don't know or understand what someone is asking them to do.

In what situation people have sex varies: not everyone saves sex for later in relationships, and not everyone engages in sex in romantic, or serious relationships. Those things aren't what make sex consensual or not (especially since nonconsent or abuse can, and does, happen in those scenarios, too).

To understand what consent is or isn't, look back to those links I gave you. I truly think they make it very clear, so if there's something you feel you're not understanding, it'd be helpful to me if you could try and explain what that is.

But ultimately, like I mentioned the other day, it is very much sounding to me -- and all the more today, with you telling this story that,in my eyes, so clearly details some abuses -- that you would be best served by getting some help from a qualified counselor or therapist. Ideally, I'd say, someone both qualified to help make survivors of abuse, and to help with unpacking homophobia, which can be particularly tricky for male survivors of abuse to do, more so than for those who did not survive abuse as a male person from a male person.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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and heather can you please answer questions and concerns I have from my first post in this thread?

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kenty

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Heather
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I'd say before talking to your girlfriend it'd be a good idea to first talk to the kind of professional I am suggesting you seek out. Primarily for your own emotional safety and self-care.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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In my situation I cannot do that. If it was sexual abuse that I went through those nights, I am already over it. I just want to know what I can do now. I do not need a professional counselor. You are the closest person I can get to that. Can you please lead me in the right direction, a direction that I can think in peace, and tell my girlfriend what actually happened on those four days when I was 12.

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kenty

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ken wat
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Can you please tell me what would be the best way to tell my girlfriend this situation?

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kenty

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Heather
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When I suggest something like this, part of why is knowing my own limits, knowing what I am and am not capable of helping well with. As well, if you trust my skills enough to ask for my help, I'd expect you also trust me well enough to know my own limits, and to know when someone would be served better by someone else or a different kind of help.

All of these conversations with you so far, and the way they have been happening, pretty much tell me "over this" is the last thing you are. No one "over" something is this messed up about it years after the fact. You are clearly in crisis, clearly struggling, can we agree on that?

Again, I don't hear you sounding in an emotional space that tells me disclosing any of this to someone who isn't very educated about all of this, and isn't trained to have these conversations is a good idea. It seems like it would be very hard for anyone who is not that kind of person to do right here, and for you to handle, well, even a slight lack of education or understanding.

So, that's not something I feel responsible about offering you help with, because from all I can tell, I'd be advising you to do something I strongly suspect would go poorly for both you and your girlfriend, just because of where your head is at and has been, and how much you are still struggling with this, and are doing so without, from what I can gather, any kind of safety net. (We don't count.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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If you'd like one online place to start with the kind of people I'm suggesting, this is an excellent group and resource: http://www.malesurvivor.org/

They have many things to read, as well as forums and chat like we do here. They could likely also help you find in-person help like I'm suggesting.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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My question is that, was what happened actually sexual abuse? It didn't seem so, it wasn't something horrible like he was physically damaging me or anything.
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ken wat
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Even if I consented, if my age was too young? Does it make that sexual abuse?

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kenty

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ken wat
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and also they will not let me join because of my age.

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kenty

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Heather
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I feel I have given you all the information, with links to more information, that I possible can about that question. I have also said, several times, that some of what I hear you describing here sounds clearly like abuse to me.

Please understand that the idea that sexual abuse "physically damages" people is ignorance. Certainly, some victims or survivors DO get injured during their assaults, and some assaults are more physically violent than others. Some result in genital or other injuries, STIs or pregnancies: others result in none of those things.

Whether or not someone sustained injuries does not tell us anything about if someone was or wasn't sexually assaulted.

I am feeling like some of the way you're zipping back to these conversations very quickly is making some of this more confusing and tougher than it should be: a lot of what we have talked about in the last 24 hours or so are things where a person is going to need to take time to think and feel through these things and this information. Where coming to answers isn't going to be fast or easy. Where you can't really have someone else guiding you to them, but need to really take the time -- not minutes, or even hours, but days, weeks, months, sometimes years -- to sit with them yourself, sort them through yourself, and come to your own conclusions.

And once more: if that feels impossible, or you're stuck in it, or it feels too emotionally scary, that's when we know we need to seek out and ask for qualified help with that, the kind I have been suggesting this morning you look into. A kind that truly, we, as an online service primarily working in sexuality education, and without licensed therapists on staff, are in no way capable of taking a lead with or serving users well by doing in this medium and without the kind of setting and training someone like a therapist has.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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heather can you help me in discovering if what I did when I was 12 was sexual abuse or not? Can you ask me questions or something? And if it wasnt sexual abuse... can you help me explain what I did to my girlfriend in a way that she will understand?
Thank you so much until now, but I see no need to go see a professional right now.

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kenty

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Heather
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I really feel like you're either not hearing my limits right now, or are choosing to disrespect them.

By all means, you get to choose not to pursue counseling. But I also get to say no to things or users any time I feel that I am not qualified to help in any way, or know, by virtue of being capable at my job, that I am not able to serve them in the way it seems to be they need to be served.

So, to be clear:
• I have set a limit about helping you figure out how to disclose to your girlfriend right now because I believe you have shown me, in your posts, that it's not emotionally safe or sound for you to do that right now. And thus, it would be irresponsible of me to try and help you figure out how to do something I know, in my capacity, is not at all likely to be safe for either of you or serve you well. I have said no to assisting you with having that talk at this time. You need to respect my no.

• I have done, and said I have done, all I believe I can to give you the information and tools to figure out if this is abuse or not. I have made clear that if you need more help than the kind I am offering, you need to seek it out from someone who can sit down with you and offer you something different than we have the ability to offer. You are saying you don't need that person, and instead keep pushing me to help you, but I keep trying to make clear to you that I am not that person, and all the pushing from you in the world won't make me that person.

• I have also tried to set a limit around how much you are asking for right now, and asked you to please take some time for yourself with this information and these conversations to feel and think things through yourself, rather than bouncing them right back to me in rapid fire.

I very much understand that you feel scared right now in a lot of ways, and are having some very hard feelings, hard feelings it sounds like you have been struggling with now for a while. I have all the empathy in the world for that, and I am very sorry that's the space you're in.

The limits I keep trying to set with you are not about me blowing you off: they are both about doing the best I can to serve you well, and to avoid serving you poorly, doing the best I can to do my job here responsibly and ethically, and are also for my own self-care, as I too, am a person here -- and one with her own history of traumas, no less, as well as a queer person, who finds it very painful and difficult to listen to people voice homophobia at her -- not a machine.

[ 08-15-2013, 11:44 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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I am sorry heather, I am very stressed now, and did not know that I was being rude. I do not mean to disrespect you or your boundaries in any way. I am sorry I will think through it myself first.

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kenty

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Heather
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I understand you're feeling scared and stressed: like I said, that's really clear. And I appreciate the apology.

I won't be here working for the next two days, but if you'd like to check in again when I'm back, and we can see where you're at then, I'm happy to do that with you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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thank you so much heather! I will talk to you then, ill just post another message here in two days
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ken wat
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Hello Heather and other staff it has been 2 days and I have sorted myself out quite well. I thought through the event itself and came to a conclusion. I realized that some parts of what happened when I was 12 was sexual abuse, but not on a large scale. However I realized that the sexual abuse is not the part of it that is bothering me. The part that is bothering me is that, I physically liked the sex with a man. However I realized that emotionally and mentally I felt uncomfortable during the event, that is why I didn't want to have sex after the first time. I thought some more, and I came to the conclusion that at the time I was at an all boys boarding school, and the amount of lust that I had was building up, that is why I thought out a male to satisfy that lust. It wasn't that I desired having sex with a man or touching with a man, it was just that feeling of lust that I needed to satisfy. Also during the events we both had to imagine a girl doing that to us, closing our eyes while doing it. Right now I would not do such a thing with any guy, I can't even imagine kissing a guy or doing anything sexual with another male. Throughout my life I have not had an attraction for a male, but have had many for a female. The reason why I can't get over this is, I am still unsure whether I am bisexual or heterosexual. I observed that sexual orientation is about who I am attracted to, and females being the only gender that I have been attracted to throughout my life, I can only be heterosexual. However if I was heterosexual is there a possiblilty that I can enjoy sex with a man physically? Even though I wouldn't do it now, or wouldn't enjoy it now, I physically liked it in the past. Even though emotionally and mentally I did not, physically it felt ok. I am pretty convinced that I am heterosexual, but how I enjoyed it physically in the past is confusing me. Even if I have never had feelings for other men, because of my past, I still cannot get over this fact. Does liking it physically have to do with my sexual orientation? Also, if I wouldn't do it now, is that possible, that ones liking for a certain type of sex can change over time? Thank you I feel like if i can figure out if I am either straight or bi, I can get over this memory and move on with my life. Heather, and other staff, please help me with the questions I have, and I understand that I am the only one that can choose which sexual orientation I am, but please help me to think in the right direction. THANK YOU
Posts: 69 | From: usa | Registered: Aug 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Hey there, ken. It sound like you did a lot of processing with this, and I'm really glad to hear that.

I suspect a few things are going on at once here. One thing that is often a struggle for people who have been sexually assaulted or abused, and which causes a lot of hard, conflicted feelings is when, physically, any part of the abuse felt good. And that happens sometimes: after all, our bodies respond to things in ways sometimes that aren't in alignment with our minds.

That's obviously really confusing, especially if our understanding of abuse or assault is that for it to be that, every part of it must be or feel bad. Some people also feel like their bodies betray them if they experience any pleasure or enjoyment during abuse.

Of course this gets even more complicated if and when we throw homophobia into the mix, and then another layer more complicated when we experience things where some of what has happened was abuse or assault, and some of what happened was, or may have been, consensual and wanted.

Just what feels good to our bodies or their parts doesn't tell us anything, really, about sexual orientation, though. Again, sexual orientation is about to whom, in terms of gender, over time, and as a pattern we feel sexually and emotionally attracted, in our hearts and minds.

Again, it'd be just as okay if you were bisexual or homosexual, but over and over, I keep hearing you say you nearly always only find yourself attracted to women. And someone who feels that way will generally identify as heterosexual, not bisexual or homosexual.

By all means, some people also do experience orientation shifts over time, but only you can know if that happened with you. At the same time, most people who work in this field a) aren't going to consider anything nonconsensual when considering orientation, and b) also aren't going to put a lot of emphasis on very early sexual experience since it's common for children and the youngest teens to explore their sexuality or attractions by just trying things out to find out what -- and who -- they do or don't like. In other words, generally, children and teens are more fluid sexually than people tend to be even by the time they're in their 20s. So, we'd not be making any big assumptions based on feelings or sexual experiences (when consensual) based on that time of life for people.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
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I realized that looking back at this experience, and trying to figure out if I enjoyed this, or didn't enjoy this, or if this was sexual abuse or not, will not help me find my sexual orientation right now. I realized that the only way I can identify my sexual orientation, is to look at what attractions I have had through life, not looking at if I had pleasure from doing a certain type of sex or not. I realized that I have only been attracted to females, and if I am only attracted to females, how can i consider myself bisexual or homosexual? I just cant because its not the definition that fits. Also, I may have liked sex with a man physically back then, but I wouldnt do it now, and Im sure I wouldnt enjoy, because I wouldnt do it from the first place. You being the specialist on sex, told me that I shouldnt consider big assumptions from things I did early on in my life, because of that, I will not consider the experience too greatly, because I was 12 and I did not have a full idea of what I was doing at the time. As for now, I will consider my self heterosexual, because I can't seem to find any attractions for males now, and in earlier times of life either. As for who can understand this regarding my partners in the future, the ones that can understand are the ones who are educated about sexuality, and the ones that really love me. May i just ask one more question, is it possible for a girl/guy to change orientation from their childhood? For example, a guy used to like sex with men until the age of 15 then, he realized he liked girls and didnt like sex with men any more? Can this happen, you being the sex expert I'm sure have come through many cases where the person changed their orientation through life. And again thank you so much heather.

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kenty

Posts: 69 | From: usa | Registered: Aug 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Like I said, generally we wouldn't even talk about people as having orientation in childhood, given that most sexual development hasn't even started, for one, and again, given that children, on the whole, tend to be very fluid.

Since orientation is also about patterns over time, and feelings over time, that's another reason we generally wouldn't look at childhood. Make sense?

But yes, again, at ANY time of life, people's orientation can shift and be fluid. However, I'm really not hearing you say that even when this happened when you were 12, that you recall feeling strong feelings of emotional and sexual attraction to these other boys/guys/men. So, in your case, it doesn't sound like there would be a shift for you to even talk about. I hear you saying that for all the time you have known yourself in this regard, those feelings are feelings you have had for women.

I do want to try and keep reminding you that liking sex with a person of a given gender really isn't any kind of primary criteria around orientation: orientation, again, is mostly about FEELINGS of attraction, sexual and emotional (or romantic, if that's a term that makes more sense to you), not about actions. So, as we've talked about before, I think you really need to let go of the idea that engaging in sex, or being abused/assaulted, is something that somehow assigns orientation to a person. It doesn't: that's not the real framework for these terms, even if some people don't know or understand that.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ken wat
Activist
Member # 108243

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I see, thank you so much heather, and now I feel strong enough to tell my girlfriend, if I have any other problems in the future I will ask you again here in the message boards

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kenty

Posts: 69 | From: usa | Registered: Aug 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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