Questioning Sexuality

LeiaFlower

Confident
I previously posted about wanting to be affectionate with my friend. Though I realized it was due to being a trauma state after a falling out with my previous therapist that I had negative transference with, it did make me wonder if I do like girls or not, and if I do have a crush on my best friend. How do one know if their attraction isn’t the result of past thinking that one has to be sexual with those who are nice to you, or if it’s genuine attraction? I do find men physically attractive; however, I’m equally scared to have sex with them as I am with girls. But with girls I still seek out affection. I wish the past didn’t affect me and I just knew what I actually liked.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Good question! I don’t know if you *can* know! And I’m unsure whether it ultimately matters? If you feel more comfortable or drawn toward certain people then why would you avoid them? I would think you would avoid people based on how they treat you rather than gender, unless this is important to you for reasons like religion or social pressure?

CSA affects us in a variety of ways, and accepting them rather than fighting them in order to be—what, “normal” or how you “would have been”?—might reduce symptoms.
 

prynne

Confident
And I’m unsure whether it ultimately matters
would think you would avoid people based on how they treat you rather than gender
This is almost exactly what I was going to say. I used to stress out over labeling my sexuality until one day I decided that the label really wasn't that important. What do I really need it for? I'm attracted to whoever I'm attracted to. Ironically, I figured things out not long after I stopped obsessing over my sexuality. I also agree that how people treat you is the most important thing. Does it matter if your trauma has affected your sexual preferences as long as your relationships aren't harming you or anyone else and it feels like the right choice for you?

When it comes to knowing if you have a crush on your friend or if you just feel obligated to be sexual with her, that's a hard one. Would you still be attracted to her if you didn't know her and if she hadn't done nice things for you before?
 

Roland

Confident
I consider myself bisexual. It took a long time before I came to that conclusion. I am very religious so being in a same-sex relationship isn't something I intend to pursue but the attraction is definitely there. I also think it's trauma based for me, I was sexually abused by my dad. I avoid men and I'm afraid of men. When I feel even more so afraid than usually (as in, I've been triggered) I get more attracted to women. When I'm actively trying to work through my fear of men, and relationships and things are going well, I am attracted to men. It doesn't really define you. If you feel safe and ready to do something with someone sexually, go for it. If you still feel scared and confused, maybe wait a bit. It's tricky to sort out, but if you are attracted to the same sex, it's something to accept about yourself whether you pursue a relationship or not.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Lesbian here.
I struggled for a while about if CSA caused my lesbianism. I hated the thought it might have. But then I thought, jeez at least something good came out of CSA. But actually,looking back, the lesbianism was there before the CSA. I remember the first crush I had on a woman when I was 4. And various crushes in primary school. All before CSA. So there were signs.

The obligation to have sex though. Gosh I struggle with this still! And I've been in a relationship for 18 years. For me that's about being really aware. Am I actually feeling desire and am I turned on (which would not be obligation but my sexual desires) or am I calculating how to have sex and putting myself through it when not really in the mood (which is the obligation playing out). It's bringing that into awareness.

So: what is your body telling you?
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
Good question! I don’t know if you *can* know! And I’m unsure whether it ultimately matters? If you feel more comfortable or drawn toward certain people then why would you avoid them? I would think you would avoid people based on how they treat you rather than gender, unless this is important to you for reasons like religion or social pressure?

CSA affects us in a variety of ways, and accepting them rather than fighting them in order to be—what, “normal” or how you “would have been”?—might reduce symptoms.
I think it matters in the sense of triggering myself. My main abuser was female. I’m not sure how far it went but I know I keep getting warning signs that the grooming that I’m told happened by siblings could’ve went further to abuse. Whenever I read about finger penetration or heavy breathing from oral I get triggered. Recently tried to read Sexual Healing and ripped the book involving female offenders hurting a female victim.

I don’t want to only be attracted to my friend or females in general simply to reenactment past traumas, does that make sense? I just don’t want to retraumatize myself by attempting a relationship only for triggers to happen. But I feel like I really like my friend but I don’t know I f it’s just a friendship like or a sexual like. Should I even tell her this? Would it ruin our friendship? she’s in a serious relationship with a guy and is expecting a child. There’s no way for anything to happen but I can’t help that I like her but I genuinely don’t know if it’s just a friendship like or more. I didn’t really have friends growing up which made the abuse even more worse in regards to my sexuality. And my whenever I was affectionate to anyone especially other girls my siblings would call me gay and weird. One sister used the d word a lot when I use to dress tomboyish.

When it comes to knowing if you have a crush on your friend or if you just feel obligated to be sexual with her, that's a hard one. Would you still be attracted to her if you didn't know her and if she hadn't done nice things for you before?
I don’t know if I’ll be attracted to any girl if I didn’t know them. The attraction only starts once they’re nice to me while the attraction to men are instant.

The obligation to have sex though. Gosh I struggle with this still! And I've been in a relationship for 18 years. For me that's about being really aware. Am I actually feeling desire and am I turned on (which would not be obligation but my sexual desires) or am I calculating how to have sex and putting myself through it when not really in the mood (which is the obligation playing out). It's bringing that into awareness.

So: what is your body telling you?
I don’t know if it’s just promiscuity finally hitting due to more symptoms of the abuse coming forward. Or genuine, normal sexual desire to want to have sex. At first it just was with anyone now I want to with someone I’m close with. But I don’t want to have sex with girls. It scares me. I just want to be affectionate and kiss them.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Should I even tell her this? Would it ruin our friendship? she’s in a serious relationship with a guy and is expecting a child.
What would you want to achieve in telling her? Sure you have these feelings about her, whatever those are, but she's in a relationship and having a child. I think you risk losing a friendship if you tell her. Your feelings can change again, but could your friendship get over you telling her? What would you even tell her? Doesn't sound like you are in love with her?

I don’t want to only be attracted to my friend or females in general simply to reenactment past traumas, does that make sense?
So I would separate the two out. I e. Who you are attracted to and if you act out abuse.
Maybe lumping them together is causing some confusion? Although I understand why they can be linked.

. And my whenever I was affectionate to anyone especially other girls my siblings would call me gay and weird. One sister used the d word a lot when I use to dress tomboyish.
So you're also dealing with homophobia from others and is this clouding how you see yourself?

I don’t know if I’ll be attracted to any girl if I didn’t know them. The attraction only starts once they’re nice to me while the attraction to men are instant.
I think this is important. There is a distinct difference between your attraction to men as opposed to women. That tells you something. Along with.....

But I don’t want to have sex with girls
....this.....

. It scares me.
...and then there is this ^^.
What scares you? The thought of reenacting abuse? Or just not wanting to have sex with women? (If you don't want to have sex with women, you're not lesbian or bi....)

I just want to be affectionate and kiss them.
This sounds a non sexual wish.


promiscuity
What does that word mean for you? Because for one person it might mean any sex outside marriage, for anothe person it might mean having 10 sexual partners in a life time, for another it might mean having 10 sexual partners in a week. Etc.
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
What would you want to achieve in telling her? Sure you have these feelings about her, whatever those are, but she's in a relationship and having a child. I think you risk losing a friendship if you tell her. Your feelings can change again, but could your friendship get over you telling her? What would you even tell her? Doesn't sound like you are in love with her?
Idk it’s selfish and I would rather keep our friendship as it is than lose over something that might pass. Especially since I’m not in love with her nor do I necessarily think this is romantic interest.
So I would separate the two out. I e. Who you are attracted to and if you act out abuse.
Maybe lumping them together is causing some confusion? Although I understand why they can be linked.
May I ask, how would I do this? How do I not lump them together. Am I supposed experiment to see if I’m actually attracted to girls or if it’s the abuse. I feel like experimenting might cause more trauma as well as make things uncomfortable when I don’t actual want to have sex with girls nor pursue a relationship.
So you're also dealing with homophobia from others and is this clouding how you see yourself?
Yeah, I grew up in a religious household and I use to get taunted that I was gay because I had close female friends. Whenever I would try to be platonically affectionate with my siblings they’d call be gay. Or when I would dress a certain way one would call me “dy**”. I also had a lot of reenactment during the time the abuse could’ve happened. Where I would have what I thought was crushes on older women in my life. Which confused me even more about my sexuality. Though I strayed away from religion because I knew if there’s a possibility of being gay non one would accept me.

It’s confusing because like I said the attraction only starts when they’re nice to me. But I don’t want to have sex with them, or start a sexual relationship. It gross me out and makes me feel dirty thinking about it. Not in a homophobic way, because I only view this when it happens to me. I could care less about others. I just want to be friends but be overly affectionate if that makes sense? Like I want to hug them, share personal space like sitting next to them and sleeping in the same bed and holding hands. For a lack of a better word an innocent childish friendship. But I still want to kiss them, so I’m confused? How does this not make me gay if I want to kiss them. What does a non sexual wish mean?

Also despite the religious upbringing I don’t see promiscuity as having sex outside marriage. For me I previously wanted to have sex with anyone and everyone to hurt myself. I though if I got in abusive relationship or where someone could possibly assault me then I can finally prove to my family that it wasn’t in my head, and I wasn’t lying.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Sexuality can be fluid and can be many things , and take what I say as no expert on the matter! So take what works and leave the rest ...
Idk it’s selfish and I would rather keep our friendship as it is than lose over something that might pass. Especially since I’m not in love with her nor do I necessarily think this is romantic interest.
That sounds sensible.

I don’t actual want to have sex with girls nor pursue a relationship.
I think this tells you a lot. You repeat this a few times. You're very clear you don't want to have sex with women. I think that is telling you your sexuality.

May I ask, how would I do this? How do I not lump them together. Am I supposed experiment to see if I’m actually attracted to girls or if it’s the abuse. I feel like experimenting might cause more trauma as well as make things uncomfortable when I
Why would you want to experiment sexually with women when you're very clear you don't want to have sex with women?
You're not attracted to then like you are men. It sounds as though there is a closeness you get once you become friends with a woman and it's the confusion of that intimacy in female friendships that's causing you confusion based on the past?
So that's what I mean (I think!) In spearating out. When you think of someone you desire, it sounds as though that's a man? And when it get smessy and confusing, it's a woman?

But I don’t want to have sex with them, or start a sexual relationship. It gross me out and makes me feel dirty thinking about it
This is telling you a lot. If the thought of sex with women grosses you out, that's powerful information to say you're not at all sexually attracted to women?

Like I want to hug them, share personal space like sitting next to them and sleeping in the same bed and holding hands. For a lack of a better word an innocent childish friendship.
This does sound innocent. I don't know if you have done parts work in therapy? But how you're writing about all this, I wonder if this is a younger part of you longing for this?

But I still want to kiss them, so I’m confused? How does this not make me gay if I want to kiss them. What does a non sexual wish mean?
What you write above really. That this wish to kiss women isn't sexual. It seems something else?
Nothing you write sounds as though kissing a woman will turn you on, so it sounds non sexual.
A wish to kiss a woman doesn't make you gay.
It just makes you have a wish or a fantasy about kissing a woman.
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
This does sound innocent. I don't know if you have done parts work in therapy? But how you're writing about all this, I wonder if this is a younger part of you longing for this?
I guess so, I don’t really like my younger self. I know it isn’t her fault and I shouldn’t blame her, but I do. I wish she did more to protect us and my siblings. And I can’t see why she would want a female friend so bad or why she longs for affection from them. Especially when females were the cause of this. It’s weird that she wants this. Though I can see how I need to reframe my thinking to have more empathy and understanding for her. How does part therapy work? Is it as stressful as EMDR? Are all trauma specialist already trained in this? Or do I need to see a specialist?
What you write above really. That this wish to kiss women isn't sexual. It seems something else?

Nothing you write sounds as though kissing a woman will turn you on, so it sounds non sexual.
A wish to kiss a woman doesn't make you gay.
It just makes you have a wish or a fantasy about kissing a woman.
Yeah, there isn’t a sexual component it’s platonically I guess? I don’t mean to be contradicting. It’s like my brain is trying to figure things out as all at once by process of elimination but also causing gaps and contradictions. I just don’t understand why I want to kiss someone to show that I love them? Why do I correlate kissing a girl specifically to me showing that I care about them? I’m mostly thinking out loud. There’s still shame around this that I’m going to try to work through so I can talk to my therapist about.
 
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OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I think you risk losing a friendship if you tell her. Your feelings can change again,
I agree, good advice. And sometimes csa survivors fall in love with people who are unavailable as a way of maintaining control and reinforcing a narrative that they are incapable of being loved.
I would rather keep our friendship as it is than lose over something that might pass
This sounds like your wise self talking.
try to be platonically affectionate with my siblings they’d call be gay.
This breaks my heart, I’m sorry they treated you this way—very wrong and hurtful, although from how you describe it it sounds like everyone in your family was steeped in this skewed perspective.
the attraction only starts when they’re nice to me
The rescue fantasy is fairly common for survivors, it happens all the time with T’s—it’s called transference—where the small part of you projects the ideal caregiver onto the person who is nice to you.
innocent childish friendship. But I still want to kiss them, so I’m confused
This is often very confusing to survivors. The best way I can describe it is like this. The transference happens unconsciously of the child parts seeking out the ideal caregiver to do what their real caregiver never did. The fact that you can’t remember your abuse hints to me that it may have happened when you were preverbal, but even if it didn’t the fact that it is hidden from you means you have no words to talk about it, like a baby. In normal child development a baby is merged with its caregivers, they cannot distinguish a separation between themselves and the other. So when an adult transfers this infant longing to merge onto another adult, the adult brain interprets the long to merge as a sexual motivator. Your brain is fighting back against that for various reasons by saying
That this wish to kiss women isn't sexual.
Which is true, but the concept of merging in an adult body is processed as a sexual feeling.

Through therapy, some survivors can experience reparenting with the help of the therapist so that they can gently develop that stuck infant part.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I guess so, I don’t really like my younger self. I know it isn’t her fault and I shouldn’t blame her, but I do. I wish she did more to protect us and my siblings
Yeah,I blamed younger me too. I had those wishes too. I also wanted to distance myself from younger me. But it's part of us and reconnecting and shifting blame and doing that compassion/empathy really helps with integrating ourselves and knowing ourselves. I always felt (feel?) I had no foundations of sexual boundaires and had to work hard on this, but all that is the impact of CSA?

And I can’t see why she would want a female friend so bad or why she longs for affection from them. Especially when females were the cause of this. It’s weird that she wants this.
Because she's traumatised?

Though I can see how I need to reframe my thinking to have more empathy and understanding for her. How does part therapy work? Is it as stressful as EMDR? Are all trauma specialist already trained in this? Or do I need to see a specialist?
I haven't done EDMR so I don't know. And I am not at all knowledgeable on all the therapies so I don't feel confident saying too much other than sharing my experience. My T does parts work. She does relational transactional analysis and psychodynamic therapy. She is all about healing in relationship with others and integrating traumatic parts of ourselves that we cut off to protect ourselves.
I found it stressful and confusing and upsetting as I felt I had lost the plot thinking I had different parts to me. But actually it made sense. And I learnt to like (love?) Younger versions of me.

. I just don’t understand why I want to kiss someone to show that I love them? Why do I correlate kissing a girl specifically to me showing that I care about them? I’m mostly thinking out loud. There’s still shame around this that I’m going to try to work through so I can talk to my therapist about.
If this example helps any:
I have been with my partner for 18 years. Only when I started therapy 2 1/2 years ago and actually dug around the CSA, did I start to cry after sex. Sex with my partner that I know is safe and I know how sex goes and no reason at all for adult me to cry. Made no sense to me. I love my partner. I was enjoying and consenting and yet: massive sobbing after.
But parts work helped to make sense. My T helped me realise that it was younger me not feeling safe. Adult me was fine. But sex for younger me was triggering.
Sharing that as it shows how not compatible younger part's feelings are with adult versions of ourselves. So adult you may be heterosexual. It younger part seeks closeness to females because of the past?idk this is just a theory and I am just a random person on the internet.
 
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