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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » Questioning sexual orientation after rape

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Author Topic: Questioning sexual orientation after rape
imogensjourney
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Backstory:

I lived in an emotionally abusive household as a child. At 11, my parents divorced and my absentee father moved out. Within a year of the divorce, my dad was remarried with a baby on the way and moved across the country. Needless to say, I have some "daddy issues."

At 17, I was anally raped by my boyfriend of over a year. At this point, I had been diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, much of which related to the abuse and neglect I suffered as a young child during my parents' divorce. Matthew was also depressed, and though we had experimented sexually before (it was always more about curiosity than desire), he went too far. He tied me to his bed and went at it, despite my telling him to "stop" repeatedly.

I blocked that event out of my mind completely for about a year. It was brought back up when I was 19, shortly after having vaginal sex for the first time with my new boyfriend Brian. We had done it a few times with no problems, but one time I started crying hysterically in the middle of it. He didn't pull out or even stop, and to this day he claims that he didn't notice I was sobbing and shaking underneath him. This happened twice. I am still somewhat hesitant to call this "rape" because I had such a hard time saying "no," but it was apparent that I was physically uninterested and tried pushing him off me several times.

After my relationship with Brian ended, I found myself interested in my best friend Dani. She had been very supportive throughout the Brian drama and we grew very close. Soon I had sexual feelings for her, and found out that they were returned. We entered into a relationship a little over a year ago.

Today's problem:

It's been months since I've felt sexually attracted to Dani, and we rarely have sex anymore. I've been struggling lately with the question of whether or not I'm gay, or if maybe I just felt so safe and supported with Dani, and had been through so many unsavory experiences with men, that it was natural for me to feel sexually attracted to her.

I hadn't had sexual feelings of any kind for a man since Brian, but just recently I have felt extremely sexually attracted to a male friend, Matt. It has been 2 years since I was with Brian and I haven't really thought of sex with a man since, as the idea was nauseating. Now I find myself fantasizing about Matt and get very excited whenever he's around.

This makes me wonder if perhaps I'm finally healing from the incident with Brian and I'm interested in entering into a sexual relationship with a man I trust. However, I'm confused about Dani - could I really be bisexual?

Any advice?

Posts: 1 | From: Denver | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I think it's helpful to consider whether or not you think of bisexuality or same-sex attraction as abnormal. Not unnatural, mind, that isn't what I mean. But if you think that you or anyone else who had a same-sex attraction or relationships was somehow deviating from the norm.

In other words, would you be looking at this this way if you didn't have the idea that something traumatic may have caused you to behave differently than you would otherwise? Is your relationship with Dani somehow any different than if you had had a new relationship with a guy and your attraction changed or faded there?

(FYI, if you dig around, you can find some statistics about the rates of sexual abuse among those of us who are gay and bisexual, and while they're often touted as higher than those who are heterosexual -- usually by folks with an anti-gay agenda trying to prove it's not as natural as anything else -- if you look at general rates of abuse, you'll see they are pretty much the same in all groups, so statistically-speaking, there's really nothing to show that having a same-sex relationship is more common among people who have been abused or assaulted by someone opposite-sex.)

But yes: if you were attracted to a female friend, you most certainly could be bisexual. Your attraction to her could have had something to do with feeling more safe around a woman due to your rapes -- and they all were rapes, from what you have described -- or it could have had nothing at all to do with them. It may just be that Dani was the first woman you were attracted to and you would have been attracted to her without those other experiences at all. As your life goes on, and you experience attractions to people more over time, this is likely a question which will answer itself.

By the by? In most long-term relationships, people's sexual desires will tend to change or diminish over time, in any kind of sexual relationship with a partner of any sex or gender. having sex much more infrequently a year into a relationship is very common. It's also normal to have phases of high desire and low desire, some of which can last long periods of time. Obviously, too, relationships are bigger than just the sex in them, so if you're on the fence about staying in this relationship with Dani, you'll want to look at it as a whole, particularly since this is a "snag" you're likely to hit in anything long-term.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 67118 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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