Every time I publish something deeply personal I get met with wonderfully surprising amount of incredible support. Still somehow I find myself scared to write some of my most personal stuff. So I decided to take part in August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. If you’re not familiar with August, she is an amazing writer and podcaster who has inspired me to write a little bit about one of my most difficult topics: sexuality.
When I talk of my own experience with sexual abuse, I often mention how lucky I was. So many other survivors I know suffered for years and much more severely. Despite my luck, however, I was deeply scarred by the experience. I was much too young to learn about sex, and when those teenage hormones arrived years later, I had an especially hard time handling them.
Having sexual feelings made me feel incredibly dirty. It’s hard to say if being abused by a female made it worse for me as a heterosexual male, but I certainly had a hard time accepting my sexual attraction to girls. I went through phases when I tried to convince myself I was gay. These were extra strong when a particular young woman caught my eye. When someone pointed out being gay meant I would be attracted to men, I gave up on pursuing that lie.
Later in life, I explored asexuality. Even though I’d had sex in the past, I knew people often pushed themselves outside their comfort zones to conform with societal norms. I’ve lost count of the number of gay people I know who’ve had heterosexual relationships despite knowing it wasn’t what they really wanted. I mentioned the idea to a therapist who knew me well enough at that point to assure me that I was quite wrong on that idea as well.
Relationships have often been difficult for me. As a young adult, I had multiple women break up with me because I wasn’t “fast” enough. My lack of pushing boundaries came across as disinterest. My first sexual partner had known me for years before our first time. It got easier for me after that, but I still had… have a hard time thinking of my sexuality as something beautiful.
While I’m on the subject, I should say a little about the beautiful lady in my life. We met in very modern fashion online, and I will freely admit that I fell for her quickly. An important reason why is that she is so patient and understanding of my sexual shyness. I won’t share intimate details of our relationship, but despite the fast emotional development, the physical was much slower in progressing. And I am ever so grateful for that.