I could have written that myself. Like you I'm also single and 25 (a story in and of itself), and I'm increasingly aware that I simply cannot handle even the idea of casual sex (I think it comes down to that I consider it using people even when it's not, and obviously that sets off some triggers); even thinking about it sends me into avoidance mode, so obviously the bar scene is right out---probably a good thing IMO.

I just have to get this off my chest after a triggering episode last night, but one of the things that has me worried about my value and prospects (as if I needed any more than the nagging doubts within myself) is that I don't dance, at least not without dissociating myself. I love music and I do play instruments, and while I love to dance to feel the joy within me, it's simply too much for me, probably part of my whole touch / getting close to people I don't really know well thing, combined with the way that bastard manipulated and groomed me when I was a kid.

And I've heard from multiple women (and some men) our age that "women know when you can't dance, it's a real turn off / real men dance, it's so sexy / wallflowers are creepy / etc." And even though it's not, it just feels like a direct attack on me and my worth as a person. It makes me so angry to hear that, I want to shout at the top of my lungs that I'm a goddamn man whether or not I dance or not! Dancing doesn't determine my value as a person or a mate! I'm a really terrific man, I really am, and I can be just as loving and sexy and caring as someone who can dance! You think I want to feel the way I do when I dance? I wish could just express the joy within my heart through dancing but now it's just too painful for me, at least for the time being.

And to hear people talk that somehow what's happened to us and our coping strategies that allowed us to survive somehow make us not only less attractive, but somehow lesser men and lesser people altogether and totally unsuitable for dating or anything, well, that's intolerably cruel.

Because we know that our trauma does not define as or our value as people, whether others understand that or not.