Hello,

This right here "but his words, i was marked. everytime i heard a gay comment i would see if it was about me. i felt that everybody knew." was exactly how I felt for the longest time. When I was in fourth grade, I was talking with a friend on the bus, and he called somebody gay. I said "so what does that mean?" and he said "it's when men have sex and stuff with other men and do things with them that most other men would do with women". At that moment, everything that had been happening between me and my cousin clicked and I basically began to panic and thought "that's it, I'll never be able to have a girlfriend or get married or anything because this must mean I'm gay now". You'd be amazed at how long that stuck with me, even though I could never get into acting out with other guys or felt like I wanted relationships with them beyond a normal friendship.

To make matters even more terrifying, that same day we had a health class about HIV and AIDS where they mentioned that gay men were at a high risk of contracting the disease through unprotected sex, which again, as of that morning, I had figured out that I had tried with my cousin (who was my abuser) about a month ago. Didn't matter that I was too young to get an erection and couldn't penetrate him, or that he didn't penetrate me after I asked him to stop trying (though he did try), I was convinced that somehow I had contracted AIDS and was going to die.

I told my parents everything when I got home that night, and that was that, nobody spoke of it ever again. Without that though, who knows what could have happened or where it could have gone.

I didn't initially go to therapy to deal with abuse. I went because it was driving me crazy trying to figure out if I was straight or gay, and why it was that I was turned on by women, but fixated on penises; enjoyed lesbian, straight, AND gay porn; why I could masturbate over girls I found attractive but would also fantasize about my cousin masturbating in front of me or performing oral on me; etc. etc. etc. I had an inkling that a lot of this was linked to my abuse though.

Therapy helped out so much in learning about the WHY of things. I did EMDR for two years which focuses on how memories make you feel, emotions you have tied to those memories, physical feelings, etc. and helps you to re-process them in to things that are more benign or that you can understand and try to make peace with.

I do still have the occasional flashbacks to being abused when I masturbate, but now I know why and it doesn't bother me like it used to, not to mention it almost never happens. I stopped caring for gay porn because I realize now it was something I was using to try and imagine myself taking control of my abuse, when in actuality it was what Ken Singer refers to as "trauma through orgasm". I was using it to try and control and re-imagine my abuse, but the fact that I was watching it and forcing myself to orgasm to it only made matters more confusing. I don't fixate on other peoples penises either, and although I will still always try to compare and measure up to other men in a "I wish I could be as athletic/not bald/well endowed as that guy" I realize now that that isn't the same thing as sexual attraction.

At any rate, welcome. This can be a difficult and confusing process, and it's important to remember that progress you make will not always be linear. It's more like being on a roller coaster. This board gave me a lot of needed help and support when I felt my worst, and I hope it helps you as well.