Counting on my readers

I saw this comment pop up on the site this evening, and thought this was a serious topic that I really want to have a discussion about. Unfortunately, I’m also leaving for San Antonio early in the morning so I won’t have time to give this enough thought to form a proper answer for a few days. So, I figured I would repeat the question here, and let you all have at it with the caring, thoughtful comments you normally provide. 🙂

i have burning question for other survivors and i wasn’t sure where to ask it, so here it is in the comments section of your blog. i hope that’s okay.

i’m a 28 year old survivor of sexual abuse who untill recently has completely avoided dating and anything that engaged me as a sexual person. I started dating recently but i’m don’t know what i want, or even what i like. I don’t even know what or who i’m attracted to. It’s as if i have kept that part of me shut away for so long, i can’t feel it anymore.

I feel badly because i’ve had a friend hit on me recently and while flirting is fun i don’t know if i’m attracted to other women. I had a man ask me what it is i find attractive in men and i don’t have an answer. i know attractive when i see, i guess.
So here is my question, do other survivors feel this disconected from their sexuality?

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  1. Mike, enjoy the vacation.

    Kinky Karma, hello from London. Firstly that wasn’t a rant and secondly no need to apologize. Congratulate yourself for getting the confidence back to go dating at all.

    Personally, people have been questioning my sexuality since the year after being abused, then I questioned it myself in my teens, then I felt nothing at all, then, like you was attracted to a female workmate when it dawned on me that I was perfectly comfortable in her company and felt generally attracted to women again, though I haven’t been on many dates. Now that I’ve begun therapy, my sexual feelings have “switched on” again but I know they are natural without the distortion of abuse so I don’t seek to repress them anymore.

    I would say to you to never feel bad in the dating game, the fact you are concerned about not leading people on is in your favour, when most people would subscribe to the hump and dump mentality. At the same time, you have to make sure no-one’s taking advantage of you.

    Life would have been so much easier if someone had assigned you a gay or straight label when you were younger and you would have just got on with your life based on someone else’s decision (your abuser’s, or your peers’ ). Do not label yourself or let anyone label you either, even though you’re left with the confusion that brings. If you haven’t started therapy yet, then do so and if you’ve been in the past without any help, find a different therapist and start over.

    I say that because counselling helped me really sort out the sexuality issue in my own mind. It takes a lot of work in your own head and until you figure it out, sticking to just dating is the best idea. When you start making progress in therapy then hopefully you will know what’s right for you, though of course every story’s different and I can only tell you what worked for me.

    Best of luck with it and come back and tell us how you’re doing.


  2. Same here. After I allowed myself to try out dating, I feel that I only got scorned further. Now, I’m more scared than before. Once bitten twice shy, I suppose. I hope you have better luck than I did.

  3. hi,
    thank you so much for posting my question for others to answer. it means a lot just to hear other people feel the same even if they are no solid answers, by now i know they are no easy fixes. just knowing i’m not alone makes a difference. thx everyone.
    much respect,

  4. I guess I’d say I didn’t loose my sexuality so much from sexual child abuse but had so much shame, fear and difficulty working through all that, that I guess I say (30 years later) that I never really got to explore my sexuality normally. I’ve gotten comfortable with a certain range of expression for me that is workable in a relationship, but I still feel there’s a lot of fear and unknown. I’m quite afraid of my more “aggressive” feelings particularly. It’s an ongoing process still.

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