Sexolve is equal rights activist Harish Iyer’s Q&A space on FIT.
If you have any problems, doubts or queries regarding sex, sexuality or your relationship, which you can’t seem to deal with, or need some advice, answers or just someone to hear you out – write in to Harish Iyer, and he’ll try and ‘sexolve’ it for you. Drop in a mail to email@example.com
I have something really personal to share with you. My childhood was lost because of sexual abuse. I was sexually abused by a group of my friends in my teenage, and before that when I was just four years of age, I was abused by someone who was 25 then. May be that’s the reason why I am attracted to older men like those of 35 to 50 years of age? I am feeling really embarrassed to tell my family that I have been sexually abused and that I am attracted to men. I should also confess that this was more of an addiction for me. I have stopped all these things. What should I do next?
Thank you for opening up and letting me see your wounds. As a fellow survivor who was raped in his childhood too, I can begin to imagine how challenging these times would be, even if I am not able to completely get into your shoes.
It takes courage to look back at our past for what it was. Because if we do not know where we are coming from, we will find it difficult to decide where we go from there.
I believe there is a constant thought running in your head about the link between your attraction to men and your childhood that was marred by abuse. It is true that our experiences shape the way we think. It is also true that sexual orientation is more innate.
My personal understanding is that one could develop a sexual liking or a sexual behaviour because of an incident that occurred in their lives. However, there would be a time when their innate sexuality would emerge. I have spoken to over 2 lakh adult survivors in my life. I know of many men who were abused by men when they were kids and are heterosexual. I know of an equal number who are homosexual. Which brings me to the perceptive that sexuality, though initially seems like a by-product of sexual abuse, emerges over time independent of the history of sexual abuse.
In our heads we believe that homosexuality is a deviance. It is not. It is a natural orientation. Imagine this, many girls go through child sexual abuse, they are either touched or groped or raped by men. If they are heterosexual, how many of them grow up to think that they would have turned happy lesbians if they didn’t have a history of being sexually abused by a man? We don’t look for reasons for being heterosexual. We only look for causative factors when we are engaging in anything other than heterosexual. We should not.
If you are interested in older men. It is fine.
Let not the world’s idea of “normal” confine your sexual desires. When you love or feel the deep desire to make love, do not cloud it with definitions or reasons. Over time, it shouldn’t matter why you feel the way you feel, as long as you enjoy feeling the way you feel when you feel the way you feel.
Your sexuality is known only by you. I am not saying that you are not straight or not bisexual or that you are bisexual. I am just saying – it is okay to not define it in words, but also it is okay to not revolt against it just because of a past experience of child sexual abuse.
Some men like men, some men like older men, some men like younger men. And some other men like women. There is no right and wrong, correct and incorrect, natural and unnatural here. All of this is natural.
I would also very strongly recommend that you visit a psychologist. Speaking to a therapist who listens to you and helps you in breaking down your life in bits and pieces will help you figure out your life.
Everyone should have a therapist in their lives. Just as we have a doctor for a stomach ache, we need a doctor for our mind and brain. Get yourself a counsellor. If you are in Bombay, please get in touch with Arpan. You will get the details on Arpan.org.in. If you are in any other city, just hit me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you details of an organisation close to your place. I am all ears if you need more speaking to do and need someone to simply listen.
Keep the faith, love.
And keep in touch.
P.S. Sometimes to sort our lives, all it takes is to not be judgemental about our own lives. Hai naah?
(The text and the location has been edited to protect the identity of the people. You can send in your questions to email@example.com)
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals.)