Doc,
I am a healthy 49 year old man who was abused from 11 to about 13 years old by an adult man in my community.
I recently (1 month) let my secret out to myself, my family, therapist and pastor. I am married (strained marriage for a few years), father of 2 grown children and have 1 grandchild. Some of my most pressing issues that I discovered relating to my CSA were negative feelings about myself, shame, emotional neediness, a very high sex drive (really obsessive, which I think had to do with my equating sex with love), compulsive masturbation (at least once a day, frequently more)and the feeling of never being able to not be in control or relax. A few weeks ago I experienced what I'm told was a Eureka moment after which I felt a profound sense of relief and weight being lifted of my soul. I realized today that I haven't felt the urge to, and haven't masturbated in almost 3 weeks. I was wondering if it is normal for a change like that to occur so suddenly? Have you ever run into a situation like that before?



--Eureka

Dear Eureka,



Yes I have seen this many times. It may or may not be the thing you need to put everything together. Not knowing what the Eureka moment was I cannot say. You sound like you have done a lot of great start up work by telling others, exposing the perpetrator’s abuse and all of this may be helping you with your negative feelings about yourself including the shame and emotional neediness you describe.



However, you have to watch for whether or not all of this progress will last. In the work I do with survivors they make many connections and they are incredibly helpful along the way with many behaviors and fantasies reducing in intensity. Sometimes sexual abuse can create sexual addiction so that even when the sexual abuse is cleared the sexual addiction persists. You may not have had this issue.



Also I would not call a “high sex drive” involving obsessive thinking equating sex with love as you mention in your letter to me. A high sex drive doesn’t involve obsession and doesn’t rule a person’s life. What you are describing is the result of sexual abuse.



So yes a change can occur suddenly however I would be cautious and not believe that things are completed. When survivors have eureka moments if offers them tremendous relief in the short run. Keep at the work at least one year to ensure this is not a temporary relief. If more needs to be revealed it will be necessary for you to be in therapy and support groups.



Warmly, Dr. Joe

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