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#174186 - 08/18/07 07:52 PM attraction and level of comfort
Nate Offline
Guest

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 94
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
do any of you gets get uncomfortable when someone checks you out? ever wonder if someone is your friend b/c you later find out they think you're attractive? this disturbs me greatly - so just interested in your experiences. if i'm ever checked out i feel dirty - i hate it and i get angry.

_________________________
"Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments. Therefore, each moment is vital. It affects the whole. Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed."

- Corita Kent

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#174198 - 08/18/07 08:51 PM Re: attraction and level of comfort [Re: Nate]
brian-z Offline
Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 770
Loc: Western USA
There is no rule for atrraction, no one can control who they are attracted to. You don't need to feel dirty about anything.


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#174260 - 08/19/07 06:39 AM Re: attraction and level of comfort [Re: brian-z]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Nate,

For a long time I was uncomfortable when anyone would 'check me out' or try to strike up a conversation, or offer me a compliment, or even just try to be nice to me. I was always suspicious of their motives; what did they want from me? I would put myself in places where I could try to find friendship, but I couldn't get past the 'he's just trying to pick me up' mentality. Didn't win me many friends.

Then I met my partner. He doesn't have the self-esteem issues that I have/had, and he's a big flirt with everyone he meets. Long story short, he taught me that just because someone flirts with you or is attractive/attracted to you doesn't mean you have to have sex with them. For some reason, I always thought that if you flirted with someone you were automatically giving them the go-ahead for sex. Gee, I wonder where THAT idea came from???

So one of my biggest accomplishments in my recovery is that now I am able to take a compliment and just say, "Thank You." And maybe start up a conversation, with no strings attached. I don't feel suspicious anymore, and I don't feel guilty when I say, "Well, it was nice meeting you. See ya later!"

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#174285 - 08/19/07 10:47 AM Re: attraction and level of comfort [Re: Lazarus]
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
Nate,
I have heard others express those feelings (both sexes) but rarely have I had that experience of being checked out. Usually, I would be uneasy also but for different reasons I suppose. I never felt attractive but on occasion have believed I looked pretty good and so I have been checked out... but while I was flattered I was very insecure about it and felt like it was about sex. I now believe our uneasiness may stem from CSA. In fact I believe that I am confused about what anything means in most relationships. I never know what they want, or if they are sincere. I tend to think it is always about sex... although I am getting better at changing my thinking.

However, as I heal and grow, I am getting a handle on what is healthy and what I actually want. I have had countless sexual encounters that turned out meaningless and empty.I tended to believe if they were interested in me I was somehow worth something... BUT it was always in sexual terms. I believed the statements that I was Good looking, sexy or on occasion that I was hot. I now realize that many men just want to have sex. That is a sad distortion because it ruins the possibility of emotional connections and a more satisfying relationship. At least that is how I see it now.

I also think because we were sexually abused, we suffer the consequences about being unsure of what others really want and on some level being cruised or checked out diminishes our value in ways that really matter. Trust issues are skewed, it is damage to our self-esteem and in MY case at least it is the legacy of CSA.

I hope I am making sense for you, and of course my statements are not universal...we all have differences but more similarities here. My plan now is to accept the compliment but be guarded about responding to it. I will try to graciously accept it and move on from there by changing the subject to a normal and neutral topic. If they are then willing to be conversational without sexual innuendo, I will relax a little. That is my plan to help me sort out the truth from the distortion. I hope that something I have said resonates with you and others because pain is pain and discomfort is discomfort. Your reactions are appropriate to your experience as far as I can tell. It really believe this issue goes to trusting others. ....Just my two- cents for what it's worth.
Dan

_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#174371 - 08/19/07 07:23 PM Re: attraction and level of comfort [Re: Danbuff]
cbfull Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
Do you mean like learning how to make a mean face all the time to scare people away from you? Nope, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Of course I am just kidding, but I quickly learned to appear "unapproachable" without even realizing it. It doesn't take long to develop either. I guess I learned to send out body language that sort of said "leave me alone". Now that I am much more mature (ahem..) I can see how this has worked against me. Sometimes I make a conscious effort to unfurl my eyebrows and uncross my arms, and I generally end up having a much better time with people.

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#176386 - 08/27/07 09:10 PM Re: attraction and level of comfort [Re: cbfull]
cat lover Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/05
Posts: 89
Loc: Denver, Colorado
Nate:

I've only felt objectified a couple of times in my life - and have been uncomfortable with it. The one that sticks in my mind was shortly after I dumped my ex b.f. (the one who raped me) and went to visit a friend out of state three or four months later. My friend is 30 years older than I am. He and his b.f. invited over some other older gay guys and they wanted to go in the hot tub. They all stripped down and jumped in. I wore a bathing suit. They wanted me to take it off. It was a huge trigger for me and I got out crying and locked myself in the guestroom. My friend came in and tried to calm me down but it was hard.


I don't really recall having a lot of other guys attracted to me. I was surprised when a different friend told me that his b.f. of a few years had considered asking me out before he asked out my friend. I had no clue. Maybe I just haven't noticed it.


I was shy, though, in school locker rooms. Some guys would pick on me. Mercilessly. I was a sensitive gay boy.


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#176424 - 08/28/07 12:12 AM Re: attraction and level of comfort [Re: cat lover]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Cat Lover, we were ALL sensitive gay boys at one point or another... that's one of our most appealing features!

Everybody had their moments of insecurity. It's not that we have these moments, it's how we deal with them and what we learn from them. I have also been so intimidated that I ran and locked myself in a room to get away from... what... nothing really, looking back from the wisdom (ahem) of my years... But I was also a 'sensitive gay boy'.

We have an excuse, a REASON why we act the way we do...

Or do we really? Everybody has their shy moments, why not us? Just because we are shy at first, is that because we were abused? Are we attributing more than necessary to the ghosts of our past?

I think that anybody, any young gay guy, invited into a hot tub full of naked guys 30 years older than he was would feel uncomfortble and if he was smart, would run screaming into the night. I have seen young guys walk into the lair of a leather bar totally oblivious of the signals they were sending, and I said to one of them, "Do you have any idea what you are doing? You better run, if you know what's good for you..." Of course he didn't, and I didn't stick around to see how he fared...

Sometimes it's hard to tell if our reactions to a situation are those of an abuse survivor or the reasonable reactions of an ordinary person. Being objectified, as you put it, is a common occurance in gay life and before you let it send you into a tizzy, perhaps you should know why it effects you like it does. Maybe it's a huge trigger of your abuse. Maybe you're shy. Maybe it's something in between, or a combination of both.

I don't know the answers. All I suggest is that you don't obsess over this, and give yourself some time to digest this. Perspectives change over time. Being hit on can seem intimidating, or flattering, depending on your perspective. If your perspective is skewed to far one way, you can end up being taken advantage of. If it is skewed too far the other way, you can end up living an awfully lonely life. The answer lies somewhere in the middle, and only time and experience can show you where that middle ground is best for you.

I wish you luck!

Laz

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

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#177896 - 09/02/07 10:41 PM Re: attraction and level of comfort [Re: Lazarus]
ca_tallguy Offline
New Here

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 17
Loc: California
I hear what you are saying, Lazarus, but whatever the root cause, I can very much relate to Cat Lover, Nate and others in this thread. It certainly is uncomfortable and personally I don't know how to handle situations like skinny dipping. I wish I could let go and not think about it too much, but I end up in a tizzy because there seems to be no way out. If I strip down, I feel like I've been pressured to do something my mind and body strongly resist. If I don't, I feel like I'm screwed up because I can't be comfortable in my own skin, and that this insecurity stands out like a sore thumb. I send myself into a tizzy either way, wondering what other people are thinking if I do or if I don't. I can either be physically exposed or exposed for my insecurity/issues. I desperately wish that I could just relax and be "normal" and confident, not caring what people think. What makes it hard for me is that I don't think americans, especially gay men, can be nude without it being sexual to at least a tiny degree, maybe more.


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