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#267606 - 12/17/08 11:07 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: trb]
Bewlayb1 Offline
Guest

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 241
Loc: NYC
There are some sentiments in your post which can be interpreted as offensive. High self esteem makes you straight. Low self esteem makes you gay. Yet, I know what you're saying. Sometimes, I think I can marry a woman, and have the family I've always wanted. Sometimes, I doubt I'll ever be successful enough, or confident enough to create the ideal future I envision for myself. It's not exactly that I resort to being gay because I don't think I'm worthy of a woman. It's more like, I can't handle the responsibility of being a husband and father. Again, one can be a gay husband and father, but when I think of loving a woman, I think family, stability, forever.

Obviously, my thoughts are very convoluted regarding sexuality. One minute I'll think in stereotypes, the next I'll lash out against them. One day I'm certain I'll never sleep with a man again, the next I'll be infatuated with a new guy. My brother, who's straight, make jokes about it. When I see him, he always asks: "So, are you gay, or straight this week?"

Just a few days ago, I was thinking about a man I met who flirted with me. I was attracted to him: it was instinctive, sexual. I compared him to a woman in my office who I've been getting closer to. My feelings for her were less overwhelming, but I felt as if I would be happier with her. She's sweet, kind, maternal towards me. I feel safer with her. It seems less fleeting. I've accepted that I am bisexual. Where that will lead me, I have no idea.

Anyway, I have a theory about the self-esteem issue. Maybe you just feel gay some days and some days you feel straight. One day you'll like a guy. One day you'll like a girl. You're self-loathing doesn't lead to feelings of homosexuality. Rather, the abuse you experienced causes you to feel shame and despair from your urges. You think you're doing something wrong. You're correlating it to the horrific trauma you endured. I'm not suggesting you should be gay. But it's possible that abuse didn't make you gay, it made you not able to be gay. That's how I feel it is with me. I, for one, don't think I'll overcome the shame and guilt I feel with men.

Regardless, it doesn't matter who you would have been. All that matters is what you want now: only you can decide that.


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#267697 - 12/18/08 11:54 AM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: Bewlayb1]
trb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/16/08
Posts: 16
Loc: Tulsa Oklahoma metro area
Bewlayb1

I certianly didn't mean to be offense in anyway and I appologize if I was. I don't think for a second that my abuse set my sexuality, however it did in my mind cause a great amount of confusion and all the rest.

I don't have any answers just alot of questions. Again I am sorry if my post was in any way offense.

_________________________
Hanging in there One Day at a Time
RB (trb)

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#267701 - 12/18/08 12:15 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: trb]
petercorbett Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2434
Loc: TEXAS
Hi, to all my Brothers/Friends in recovery from a old boy who still has low self-esteem. I believe that just about all of us in this web site, and on this page inparticullar, have gone through this question. But I had my doubts also. However anyone whom has any question on their sexuality, I, Me, AKA as Irishmoose, will ACCEPT YOU, without question for just WHO YOU ARE. I invite you to read my part #1 of Little Pete and Big Pete's 69 year journey. And inparticular the part about the dog. Talk about low/no self-esteem. In part #2 I will get into my homosexual affair. Heal well my Brothers/Friends.
Pete (Irishmoose)



Edited by petercorbett (12/18/08 12:16 PM)
_________________________
Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
____________________________________________________________
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.


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#267710 - 12/18/08 12:45 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: petercorbett]
nonchalant Offline


Registered: 11/17/08
Posts: 42
Loc: Northern Ireland, UK
If the offensive remark was directed at the thread as a whole, i did set out in my first post that in no way wanted to make out like i believe homosexuality is caused by low self esteem

But no matter what the masses may claim, there are men like myself who know we were not "born gay" (how could i have been when i am 23 years old and have never had a romantic thought about a man or a crush on one in my entire life?) but we can appreciate some homosexual (strictly sexual) desire within us. To people like myself, obsessions about whether or not we are simply in denial is commonplace, and it seems that low self esteem is one of the biggest factors in making the person believe they must be gay. This is entirely different to someone who knows they are gay and loses all self esteem because of it





Edited by nonchalant (12/18/08 12:46 PM)

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#267738 - 12/18/08 03:53 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: nonchalant]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
i admit it! i ping-ponged!

i got married in 1977 because at the time, i lived out of the belief that homosexuality was choice, and i all i had do was simply make a committment to my 'choice'. [my ex-wife knew at the time that i had a prior history of 'choosing male partners', and that i had been abused and raped....but she never suspected for a moment that she herself was 'a choice']. yuk i hate myself for that!

anyway, after we split up following 8 years of reconfirming the 'choice' and 3 kids later [how the hell did that happen?].

and i spent 6 years in recovery and working toward accepting my orientation to other males. had a couple flings, got involved in the gay sub-culture as a drag performer and cocktail pianist, dj, etc yadayadayada..... and eventually got bored, and began to think......well, i must be bi, because i had been married previously, and thought that i now had an evolved perspective about my sexuality, and made the 'choice' to become partners with another woman.

yuk! that was not right!

what i finally started to see for myself was that when i got bored or lonely, i had a tendency to vascillate back and forth between males and females.

once i realized that, i put a stop to it, and finally came to accept that i love the male energy and need to be close to it.

and no, i did not miss out on it in the formative years.... i was one of 6 brothers. we had 2 sisters, and plenty of male cousins also.

as it turns out, the gay gene is pretty prominent in my family. my two daughters are in relationships with other people who also have female genitalia, and my daughter sarah teaches at berkeley while completing her phd in gender studies.

alsoone of my brothers is gay [he is one who had been unaffected by my older brothers abuse], and two other siblings who had been molested both have participated in relationships of both sexes/genders.

but, yes, i vascillated in times of loneliness and boredom.

but those days are long gone, 'cause i finally admitted to myself.... i can't stand the smell of fish!

sorry, no textbook answers here! LOL

ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#267752 - 12/18/08 04:27 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: Sans Logos]
trb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/16/08
Posts: 16
Loc: Tulsa Oklahoma metro area
Hey Ron,

I really don't care for fish either or tuna taco's for that matter. Seriously, though I do relate to that vascillating aspect although in my case I have stayed married, raised the two kids (and I do know how that happened!)through it all, but today I am just so tired of not feeling right that however things turn out I think I am now ready to start to moving down a path that unfortunately is quite likely to generate a lot of emotion in it and OH do I HATE dealing with emotions mine and others.

Gay or Bi I don't know all I can rule out today is str8 I guess and that is a problem for me in a managomous relationship with my wife. She has a perfect right to expect it but OMG is it so not what my head tells me.

I guess all I can say is like you said Ron in the begining 33 years ago (in my case) I made my wife a choice and that wasn't right but now I have to figure out what is right for me and then face it stright up and honestly.

Praying for the stenght to do it no mater what it is.

_________________________
Hanging in there One Day at a Time
RB (trb)

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#267775 - 12/18/08 07:56 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: trb]
Bewlayb1 Offline
Guest

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 241
Loc: NYC
Hi. I think I should have worded my post differently. I wasn't offended. Someone uses the word "offend" with a sensitive topic like this and it's bound to be misinterpreted.

I just think it's wrong to suggest feelings of low self-esteem lead to questioning one's sexuality. Not morally wrong: it just doesn't make sense. Desire is one thing. Self-loathing is another. I hate to put it coarsely, but say, everyone has made fun of you your whole life and your parents didn't care about you. Will that cause you to get an erection when you stare at a naked man? I don't believe so.

Now, I'm probably being offensive. When I read some of these posts, I recall a friend I had in college. He was kind of effeminate, but he was very defensive about being straight. Over time, he opened up about his homosexual feelings. He once playfully kissed me at a party. (I didn't kiss back.) Senior year, he experimented with another guy. Yet, he would always provide reasons for his behavior. His favorite was that he was called gay all throughout school, so it somehow damaged his self-esteem. People can justify anything. They'll go to any length not to see what they don't want to.

Add a history of sexual abuse, and it's damn near impossible to navigate through the self-delusions. Yet, last time I heard, my college friend had a girlfriend, and was happy with her. Who am I, or anyone, to say he should be gay? I've tried being gay, and it's left me hollow and disillusioned. Maybe he's lying to himself. But so what? We all lie to ourselves. Maybe his life will be better for it.

As for me, I have no desire for gay sex. Does the fact that I'd rather be in a caring, platonic relationship with a man make me more "gay" than someone who only wants men to get off sexually? Despite the fact that he refused to admit he was gay, wasn't my friend in college actually "gayer" than I was? Who knows. I empathize with someone who doesn't want to be referred to as gay, because I don't like it either. It's not accurate. I don't feel lust, or, if I do, it's overpowered by my dread and unease.

I'm trying not to fixate on labeling myself. Call me gay, call me bi, call me nothing: whatever. Instead of obsessing about the past and why I am who I am, I'm trying to determine what's better for me now. I can't undo my innate sexuality. I think concentrating on the present and the future is a better attitude. That's all I was trying to say.


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#267806 - 12/18/08 09:16 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: Bewlayb1]
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1961
This is a very good thread, and I thought I might add a couple more thoughts related to my experiences. Maybe the use of having low self-esteem and feeling gay is not a good choice of words. I think probably we all have our own unique experiences and for certain individual nuances. So I don't think there is an easy and clear answer here for all of this. But talking about it allows us to explore some of the ideas and thoughts and also realize we are not alone with this stuff.

For myself, when I am down, I think about the sexual acts that took place between my friend and I (he was a friend at the time) and the trauma effects that get triggered in me. It tears me down emotionally. I think for me, when I am feeling like that, I don't feel very confident in myself and am depressed. As a consequence I don't feel very sexual at all and then start to question things. It is complicated, that is all I can say. I have never engaged in same-sex sexual activity outside of what happened when I was 13 or 14 with that one person. But I also understand why men act-out with other men who would otherwise identify as being straight. I thought about once if mb made you like hands? I don't think so. All I am saying is that sexuality can be a very complex thing, especially if you have been abused.

But it doesn't really matter, and maybe I have bi tendencies, I don't know and I am not going to try and defend it one way or the other. Instead of beating myself up over it or worrying about it, I'd rather stick to what I read once here: "labels are for cans". Again, this stuff is complicated and I do not think there is a "once size fits all" answer in regards to this, which is why this is a good thread and great topic of discussion.

Eric


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#267849 - 12/18/08 11:29 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: ericc]
AndyS87 Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 302
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
Yeah, saying that something like being teased or called "gay" can make you gay is absurd, I think most people are aware of that. But if you were already confused or maybe just weren't even getting any attention from girls and you were actually straight and people started ripping on you regularly for it, doesn't it make sense that if you were feeling down on yourself and that had made a significant impact on you, it would also make you wonder, no matter how ridiculous that wondering or those thoughts seemed to everyone else, or even the not-depressed you?

Also, there are quite a few people out there in the mental health field who believe that a some "gay" fantasies (NOT behaviors, just fantasies) or dreams are sometimes indicative of several different things. For example, wanting to feel more accepted by male peers might manifest itself that way. A need to integrate what one feels to be a more "feminine" part of their personality or just needing to accept oneself as a person may manifest itself that way, especially if you're identified as heterosexual.

To me, I was already an outcast, and so after the abuse ended and people started calling me "fag" or whatever variation of that all the time, I would wonder "are they right? Is that who I am? I guess I should just accept that then, in their eyes that's who I'm going to be" yet at the same time I would wish to myself that I could have a girlfriend. But since I was a "loser" I told myself I had no chance and would never even try. I'd dismiss crushes and say "whats the point, I can't ever have it so who cares." On top of that, up until I was maybe 16 or so I couldn't tell if I had "crushes" or just admirations of my male friends that I sexualized in my head because of my past relationship with my cousin. They were gone by the time I was 17, but sometimes I would entertain the fantasies just to see if there was anything to them, as a way of "checking" my reactions and behaviors. That led me to experiment with gay porn until I was 20, and even though I don't really enjoy it or find it attractive I still check it sometimes compulsively to see how my body reacts, as if that would somehow hold an answer( I'm now 21, and with therapy I notice these thoughts are fading, or at the very least not scaring me or making me anxious anymore). Every time I do it, I feel like I'm tearing open these scars on my soul, but I feel like I HAVE to prove something to myself. All very confusing to me, even now. Before that I was reasonably positive I was straight, I mean shit, I enjoy being with women sexually. I feel emotionally fulfilled when I'm with a girl who I find attractive, whether we're cuddling or doing something else more active. I've never had an experience with another male besides my cousin. When I was 12-14 there were 2 or 3 close friends I had who I considered asking if they wanted to watch porn together and get off to it. I hear that's not at all uncommon for boys that age to engage in, but in my mind even now that makes me wonder. It's like I have these two sides of me, which led me to believe for a long time I was bisexual, but now the more I process with therapy about it and the older I get the less "attracted" (if that's even the proper word, everything before seems more towards a compulsion or acting out than it does actual attraction) I find myself to the same sex. It's the questioning that kills me.

If you add in all the confusion that manifests itself after sexual abuse, then you can definitely get mired down and just have NO idea about something like your sexual orientation. Some people have healthy ways of trying to figure that out, some people don't. Every person is ultimately different. I know personally I've been trying to just leave all of that questioning and hyper-analyzing stuff alone after telling my family about everything going on in my life and have just been trying to go with my gut. It's helped me out a lot because I told my family that I was unsure, and they said "hey, whatever you are you are and we love you either way." Then after that I told my friends and got the same response. My gut seems to point to me being not gay.


If I'm gay, there's nothing to keep me in the closet, and I've tried to say to myself "ok, let yourself be 'gay' today and see where it gets you." And as much as I try to see if I'm attracted to other guys, or if I feel like having a relationship with another man, I tend to always end up in the same spot, and I just don't feel like that's who I am. I'm not blind, I can see a guy who's good looking and say "yeah that dudes good looking" or "that guy's ripped", or even "I wish I was as good looking as that dude, I'd have girls(maybe?) all over me" but that's as far as it seems to go for me. If I see an attractive women I usually think "wow, she's freaking hot" but I can never muster the confidence to talk to them. I also try to imagine myself in a relationship, and I just can't. I literally can not see myself with anybody, and I hate that. I get nervous if people talk about sex or getting laid around me. I think that might have a lot to do with performance anxiety at this point in time though, girls I'm comfortable around who approach me I perform fine with, but even something like going to a strip club where there's no familiarity I get so nervous I can't enjoy myself. That inevitably leads me to wonder "what if I'm lying to myself? If I can't perform, can I really be heterosexual?

So to me, this question still goes mostly unanswered. I doubt that I'm 100% straight, I think very few people are absolutely one extreme or the other when it comes to sexuality. It gives me a lot of anxiety though, and that in turn makes me so nervous that I can't perform even if I'm with a woman unless she takes the initiative, and that's so rare that in the past five years it's only happened twice. It sucks, and I'm having a really hard time trying to break it.


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#267856 - 12/18/08 11:55 PM Re: Sexuality and self esteem [Re: AndyS87]
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
My quick reply is perhaps those who struggle with the issue...which is truly not surprising and I have empathy for anyone that struggles, but stop and think how gay people feel before choosing to come out.

I don't hear clear suggestions that being gay is horrible per se but it is clear there is a resistance to the possibility. As someone said he was not suggesting all gay people have low self esteem but the truth is it is all about perception and acceptance.

Now you might have an inclination of why so many in GLBT community feel so tread upon by the larger culture for being who they are.

Just something to think about.

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

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