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#447308 - 09/15/13 08:32 PM Dating and Putting Myself Out There
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 224
Loc: Germany
Hey guys!
Now that I have a personal therapist who I am working through my CSA trauma with, one of our goals in my recovery is developing my sexual confidence and building up positive, re-affirming social-sexual experiences with other gay/bi men. My sexual abuse (mostly being used in child pornography) occurred almost weekly for six years as a teen. I came out as gay when I was about 14 and in university lived openly and was heavily involved with LGBT advocacy; however I never really befriended many other gay/bi guys and felt most safe in bars/clubs with my straight friends, where a sexualised environment did not quite apply to me. I have been to numerous gay social events like bars and clubs in several countries, and even participated in three parades, but never felt like I was “deserving” of finding a guy, always becoming timid and feeling unsexy. At the same time, most of those who I have slept with were straight, closeted, or in relationships- often men much older than me- and I had learnt to detach and numb out during these sexual encounters.
Now I am in a big city with a large gay community and I am volunteering at an LGBTQ advocacy group. Yet, I feel like I am somehow an outcast, as though I am 13 again, trying to make my way through the dating world without any proper dating experience. I have never had a boyfriend before nor have I had sex with the same person more than once. How do I talk to other gay men and make conversation to get them to notice me? Where do I go for them to notice me? Most of my friends live in other cities/countries, and so when I do go out, I won’t have a group to hide in and deflect possible attention from other men.
What do I do? I feel so lost and overwhelmed around social-sexual environments.
_________________________
H.U.G.S.- Helping Us Grow Spiritually

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#447468 - 09/17/13 02:18 PM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: JayBro]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 224
Loc: Germany
As an update, last night I was chatting with a gay friend of mine who I have known for many years and was telling him about my "predicament". He was suggesting that it is often necessary to go out alone and to think of ways of starting conversation with others near me. He, like my therapist, said that often when one goes with friends, they are kind of closed off from everyone else. Sometimes when one goes out they migh not have too many conversations with others or have that good of a time, but it is often hit or miss and that I should try going to bars and clubs a lot more often to build up my chances so-to-speak.
_________________________
H.U.G.S.- Helping Us Grow Spiritually

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#447470 - 09/17/13 02:22 PM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: JayBro]
1lifenow Offline


Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 385
Loc: west coast
Jay I know that boat - it's about finding the right paddle

I asked my T this very question.

Wisely he said just be yourself. Ok I can do that but it doesn't really help. He elaborated. Join activities you want to do. I did drop in gay yoga, volleyball, a dance club ( learning line dancing even though I hate country music, salsa - I love Latin music and disco - I hated it the first time around when I was str8 ish but I LOVE it now) .

Don't look for love he said, just be open to it. I had given up on finding anyone when the guy I had been dating broke up with me by text. 6 weeks w/o getting together and I get a dear john text wtf?

So I decided to stop trying so hard. He smiled at meat the gym, when I was getting a drink of water. I remember how my stomach quivered and I just had to meet him. He was riding the elliptical and I took the machine next and just said hello. Introduced myself and asked him about him, and that was it. We had a lot in common and the chemistry just clicked. He invited me over to his place , just for a drink and a chat. He says I kissed him first I honestly can't remember but that was it. We have been together ever since.

The point I am making is just do the things you enjoy, and if you meet someone nice realize you are entitled to let your guard down. My one buddy called me a French bulldog. He said you are a little muscle guy bowl legged and buff so you can be a little intimidating ( not at all how I see myself cuz I feel like jello inside sometimes), but then you turn around and want to be petted, lol. It's true if I could jump in a lap I would. But that's what happened.

I lost the fear of what others thought, you are a nice guy and if others don't want to be friendly, just move on and don't take it personally. Like you I never had any thought of something more, but I have been in a monogamous bromance for nearly a year now. I would have never thought this was possible. Just be open to possibilities and have a positive attitude. Confidence is sexy even if you are faking it til you make it.

Good luck jaybro.

Big hugs

Grant.

Quick notes , a couple of don't's :
- put yourself down, self depracating humor is sexy though
- wear too much cologne
- talk about yourself in a bragging way, be genuinely interested in him
- represent what your not, a guy I dated was not a social smoker he smoked.

Do:
- listen to your gut , there has to be chemistry
- ask for what you want, you have more than paid your dues.
- just have fun

Xo



Edited by 1lifenow (09/17/13 02:29 PM)
_________________________
The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011

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#447586 - 09/18/13 09:56 PM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: 1lifenow]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 224
Loc: Germany
Hey Grant!
BIG HUGS BACK
Thank you so much for your response! You gave such helpful (and certainly insightful!) advice, and I absolutely loved reading your story about how you met your partner! Did you two meet at a gym frequented by many gay/bi men or was it totally by chance?

My T also suggested getting involved with activities- I am always so preoccupied with volunteering, research, and work that I rarely make time for "fun"... although I keep promising myself that I will! There is one guy I really like from the gay rights group I volunteer however he is partnered! (Darnit!) haha But I think you are absolutely right: I can only act as my true self and not expect to find a boyfriend like I am shopping for it. That won't happen. Rather it seems to be about creating the right balance of exposure to gay/bi men, comfortability, and experience with personality types (i.e. sometimes I cannot tell if someone is into me or not). I also sometimes feel reserved about engaging with new people where I am living now since I am largely hoping to move abroad soon- I asked my friend about this and he reiterated that I should not worry and just live for the moment. (That too is something I often forget to do!)

Your do's and don't's will definitely be in the back of my mind next time I go out there! We will see what happens! I said to my therapist last week that I never had the proper gay "training wheels" although now I have an opportunity to build this muscle. It is always great to get support and advice from my fellow gay/bi companions and survivors!!

HUGS laugh
_________________________
H.U.G.S.- Helping Us Grow Spiritually

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#447690 - 09/19/13 08:40 PM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: JayBro]
Cthulhu Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/13/13
Posts: 126
Loc: Cascadia
Your post resonates a lot with me and my current issues. Especially feeling like your so young again in social-sexual situations. I kinda feel like there are two realities superimposed on each other if that makes sense. Like OK this dude is touching my leg, but in my head there is an equally emotionally valid situation where its ten years ago I am twelve and holy fuck crazy

I've had partners, but never a healthy sexual relationship. Either I couldn't be touched or felt obligated to perform and bend to his sexual needs at my own expense(even if he wasn't putting any pressure on me).

I have only ever formed good relationships with straight men. I thought I had a great gay friend but things got weird when I needed support and he wanted to fuck me. Which have bolstered my anxiety around the gay social circles.

I wish I had some advice to offer, but I am lost like you. Same age, in a large city with a huge gay scene, identify with the community yet, very much apart from it.

I wish you luck a and just wanted to post so in case you felt alone with your feelings.
_________________________
"Well, I'll be damned
A calf is easy to brand"
-Cass McCombs, Memory's Stain

my story context

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#447705 - 09/19/13 11:26 PM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: JayBro]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 224
Loc: Germany
Hey votecthulhu!

Thank you so much for your message: it certainly feels good to have another response from someone in a similar situation as me.

Indeed touching and physical relationships can be so triggering and snap us into what I call "automation mode" where you feel like that kid again following what was expected of you to please the other and let go of your own wants and needs.

Here in Toronto there is such a large gay community and I often wonder "what is WRONG with me?! I am missing out!!" and I feel so pressured to be out there more. At other times I feel like the gay community as a whole does not like me or that I am unattractive to gay/bi men. When I do go to the village it is always a big event to me, with hope that I will be approached by respectful, attractive guys, rather than me going at night and out of my comfort zone to meet guys... as what I might do if I was someone without a history of sexual abuse!

I have been spending a lot of time lately in the gym and I am trying to build up a very muscular physique... partially because I feel it will help with my "attractiveness" issue (or at least confidence around it), but also because I have a silly idea that I want my psyhchological recovery to also be reflected physically. I want my mental and emotional strength to be matched by my physical strength.

I think the biggest thing is to learn self-discipline and control to do the things which are unnatural to our damaged psyches. That is, finding respectful and communicative relationships and sexual experiences, acting with confidence and without these emotional scars, finding the time to recover and set personal goals. Break out of that shell. In university I needed to discipline myself to stay indoors and study when I knew heaps of people and had countless friends: now in Toronto I need to discipline myself to go out there and be social when I do not know anyone and can hide away inside. Just like I am self-disciplined to create patterns of working out, I am learning to create new patterns in how I interact with other gay/bi men in social-sexual environments.

I wish you the best of luck! It means the world for me when my peers post back to me!!

Nick
_________________________
H.U.G.S.- Helping Us Grow Spiritually

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#447958 - 09/23/13 03:12 AM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: JayBro]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 588
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
It takes time. What helps me is finding ways to be playfully and safely in my body around other men. For me that is contact improv dance, aikido training, going to safe sane & consensual kinky events and playing (no full on sex but simply play with surrender, trust and ropes!), playing in gay sports leagues.... etc.

A quote from my friend "when the flower blooms the bees come uninvited". For me it has been & is a climb where I keep working on my self esteem, loving myself, and doing good things for me, as well as reaching out to others in fun, safe activities that the little boy in me enjoys and the man that I am loves too!

Good luck to you! We all deserve to recover fully and I believe it's possible!

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#448041 - 09/23/13 10:32 PM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: JayBro]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 224
Loc: Germany
Hey risingagain! Thank you so much for your response!

I think that that is definitely good advice to keep in mind. I think for me "dating and putting myself out there" means going to gay bars and meeting guys from sites like manhunt or grindr (although the online option is harder to realise). I have not had much experience with overly-sexualised environments yet... one of my friends was encouraging me to go to a bathhouse last year, but I really did not feel comfortable with the idea. This year I participated in Pride Toronto: I felt safe and comfortable, but at the same time, no one ever made a move on me and I was not really noticed.

I am most in tuned with my body not in sexual actions, but in physical activity like working out, doing for a hike, canoeing, bike riding etc.

Like you said, it takes time. Baby steps. I am beginning to look for dates and to look for opportunities to go alone to bars. Perhaps I have not reached my "sexual-peak", or desirability to others yet, so-to-speak.

Or is it all in my head? Do people actually give off certain vibes?

N
_________________________
H.U.G.S.- Helping Us Grow Spiritually

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#448352 - 09/26/13 08:59 PM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: JayBro]
risingagain Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/10
Posts: 588
Loc: Vancouver, BC, Canada
JayBro,

I definitely believe that we give off vibes. We're all intertwined in a web of energy. It sounds cheesy, but all modern arts, sciences, and spirituality point to the same truth.

Sounds like you are looking for good places to connect with other like minded guys. I think it's good to find your boundaries. As we get stronger, we can be safe in a wider range of environments... before I used to get very triggered and shut down in sexualized gay spaces. Now I have been practicing my no and yes and standing in my power centers so it's possible for me to be more graceful and open while still having strong boundaries if some unwanted touch or energy comes my way.

Baby steps yes!

Today I'm having a really hard day. I skipped Aikido class. Lots of deep pain coming up from my relationship with my sister and witnessing her abuse and being blamed... I am cooking soup stock... it's a slow bubble, just like my life sometimes!

smile

Bless U
Mark



Edited by risingagain (09/26/13 08:59 PM)

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#454976 - 11/25/13 12:03 AM Re: Dating and Putting Myself Out There [Re: JayBro]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 224
Loc: Germany
Hey Mark,

yes I understand what you are saying and those baby sets are definitely goals which I am clearly imagining. I think it will be attainable too. Sometimes when I am in gay spaces or thinking about them or even being exposed to gay media, I feel a deep drop in my chest and a feeling of sadness, like there is a big barrier preventing me from enjoying myself and being a respected, loved, and worthy sexual-spiritual being. I cannot initially understand the barrier, but with my therapist and with malesurvivor and my support group, it is clear what is causing this barrier and what it is constructed of. Likewise, the key to its destruction is patience and practice. It won't come out all of a sudden and I am still young, only 22, with years ahead of me to explore my place in the "fun" gay spaces- other than in queer theory academia or volunteering. I want to feel like I can fully enjoy myself, feel confident in my body, and feel like I can attract a man who I am equally attracted to... maybe even a boyfriend?

These are goals I have, which along with my career and educational goals, are accomplishments in life I am aiming for.

I am so glad to have my therapist who is a wonderful older gay role model as well as the kind words and storytelling from other gay CSA survivors like you, Mark. It means absolutely so much to me.

I hope the rest of your day was better and that you have been experiencing more positive than negative days ever since!!

HUGS HUGS AND HUGS

Nick
_________________________
H.U.G.S.- Helping Us Grow Spiritually

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