Sexual Abuse in Men
The sexual abuse of men or rather men who have been sexually abused as children is much more common than many may think. Data suggests that 1 in 6 men were sexually abused as children. The impact on men of being sexually abused as boys is often overwhelming. Most boys are sexually abused by men which compounds the pain of the abuse. At core sexual abuse is an abuse of power. The net result for a man who was once sexually abused is an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness. The man often grows up feeling as if he is powerless. He generally feels emasculated. This feeling of emasculation is a pervasive feeling that somehow he is defective or inadequate as a man. He embodies the wounded masculinity. Here is the general process men who were once sexually abused experience.
IMPORTANT: Not all men will experience these exact consequences. Every man is different and may experience or relate with one or some of the items below.
- Emasculated – they feel somehow inadequate as a man
- Effeminate – they embody effeminate behaviors simply because they are so ashamed of themselves as men & feel ashamed embodying male roles
- Sexuality Issues – often severe sexual orientation confusion exists, impotence & premature ejaculation & sexually addictive behaviors (including aviodance of sex)
- Isolation & loneliness – being in relationships of any types becomes difficult and almost unbearable
Treatment & Recovery from Sexual Abuse for Men
Working through issues of sexual abuse is a lifelong journey and commitment on the part of the man. It is not a linear process. Generally, men who have been sexually abused as children will seek help once they experienced a level of pain that has become overwhelming. This may look like but not limited to; out of control sexually addictive behaviour, severe or persistent confusion of sexual orientation, inability to perform sexually with an intimate partner, terror of deep relationships with either sex, overwhelming sense of shame around one’s masculinity. Treatment can only begin with the area the man is most willing to work on. The essence of recovery is restoring the man with a more accurate perception of self. The restoration does not take place intellectually. The man must first become aware that he may be operating under false beliefs about himself but next he will have to actively challenge those false beliefs once out in the real world.
Recovery is possible.
I’d recommend reading an article published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress by David Lisak (who he himself was sexually abused and now shares it openly) titled, The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse: Content Analysis of Interview with Male Survivors. Many men who have recently become aware of their past history of sexual abuse will relate to the words in this published article.
Additional Resources for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
- The Men’s Project
- One in Six (Canada)
- 1 in 6 (USA)
- Jim Hopper, PH.D
- The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse: Content Analysis of Interview with Male Survivors, by David Lisak (a personal favorite)
Men Therapy Toronto
Counselling & Therapy Services for Men
“The net result for a man who was once sexually abused is an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness.”