First let me say that I really appreciate the honesty and forthrightness on this site... I have been struggling with this for a long time but I really feel like this is the kind of place I was looking for to begin finding answers/myself.
This is very personal but I am going to do my best to get through it all in one post... warning for those who don't want to know too much about me.
I am a probable survivor of abuse that would have taken place before I was 5 or 6 years old. I say probable because I only have one memory of it that for many years I convinced myself was a dream/sick fantasy. I do not have ANY memories of my life before first grade (age 7) and have never been able to explain why that is. Over the years I have come to put the pieces together (low self-esteem, phobia of sex and sexual intercourse, extreme guilt and shame about sex, panic attacks, fear of being touched by any person) and believe that I was sexually abused by my grandfather, who has since passed away. The biggest aftermath of this has been a struggle with my sexual orientation.
Right now I am 23 years old and have for the past few years identified as gay. This came as the result of several years of feeling no strong sexual attraction towards anyone. When I first started to masturbate (age 13 or so, shortly after the death of my grandfather), I thought of boys about my age being tied up by older men, which incidentally coincides with my one memory of abuse. I have never fantastized about myself in any kind of sexual situation, but characters I have created. (And I'm aware that dissociative identity disorder is common in survivors of abuse, but let me assure you I am entirely aware that they are fictional people I created and no part of myself.) At the time I was beginning to date a girl in my class, who I felt a very strong emotional attachment to, but nothing physically. We kissed once in two years of dating and it felt extremely uncomfortable. I had no desire for any sexual intercourse with anyone of either sex.
In high school, I began to develop what I suspected were crushes on guys but never acted on them. I avoided dating until my senior year of college, where I was in a short-lived and sexually unsatisfying relationship with a male. At that point my family had been pressuring me to date women and ultimately my mother cornered me and asked me if I was gay. I told her I thought so and have been "out" to my family and close friends ever since.
After college I moved to a different city and am selectively "out" to my friends and coworkers. I have my first real boyfriend and am starting to realize that our relationship is severely troubled. I have never been able to climax in the presence of anyone (including the current bf) and have difficulty maintaining an erection for more than a few minutes at a time. When I do get an erection, it's thinking about tying the other person up/being tied up. I feel as though this is more of a sexual festishization than an actual physical attraction to my boyfriend or anyone else I have been with. During the time I have identified as gay I have not thought about women sexually and have not seriously entertained the idea of dating one, with the exception of my best friend whom I have been close to ever since third grade (and in fifth grade, before puberty, I believed I was in love with.) We live in different cities now and I have told her I am gay, but I believe she does have romantic feelings for me.
My problem now is the relationship in which I have found myself. I have disclosed to my boyfriend that I believe I was abused and that I have never been able to "perform" sexually. He has been nice and understanding about it, but it is beginning to put a strain on the relationship. He has said several times he suspects that I am not gay, and I don't know what to say to him.
At this point in my life I have not dated a woman since early high school (14-15) and have never attempted to hook up with one. The last thing I want to do is lead anyone on (whether it be my boyfriend or a "test" woman) and I'm quite confused by it. I have never been effeminate and am extremely uncomfortable identifying as gay, especially since I am finding myself repulsed by so much of the physical component of my current relationship and all my past encounters with men. I am open to the possibility that it may be internalized homphobia combined with low self-esteem and emotional vulnerability, but I am not sure. I am planning to move again within the next few months to a city about an hour away. I do not know how long I can continue faking my way through the relationship I am in, but I wouldn't have the first idea how to approach a girl romantically.
If anyone can relate to this in any way, I would really appreciate any help or advice you can give me. Thanks much for reading.