I’m a successful middle-aged American man. Very successful. Educated. Fit. Awesome family & now-grown kids. All-American success story.
But I was introduced to sex by a close family member at a very young age. Problem? I enjoyed it. Every. Single. Episode.
It began around age 4 or 5. It was the 1970s. Things were different then. I was introduced, then included in sex with adult women. And men. And other kids. Porn was readily available and I was around people in the porn industry. I eventually was included and performed with adults and other kids. It began a life-long addiction to sex. But I never felt like a victim. Ever.
My problem is I present as an upstanding member of the community, a great husband, father, leader…but I feel guilty for not feeling guilty. I feel guilty for not feeling bad or being angry about being sexualized early. I don’t feel traumatized for my experiences. I genuinely enjoyed them. It felt amazing. And it made me feel good to make others feel so good. I’ve met a few others who were introduced young, as I was. They have the same issues, so I know I’m not alone.
I’ve sought out “survivor” groups, but they are all aimed at people traumatized or emotionally screwed up by their (our) experiences. Angry people. I’m not angry. I enjoyed it. It’s caused other issues, such as non-understanding of people who consider sex to be some life-affirming or life-ruining event. But I really desire to meet others or talk with a professional who understands these experiences were not traumatic or something that ruined my life or made me angry. I literally can’t find anyone willing to just accept that I truly enjoyed sex with adults - and sought it out - without telling me I’m actually angry or I’m repressing some hidden trauma. I’m not. I’d like someone to hear my story and not be shocked and appalled and pity me or condemn the people in my life. I’d like to talk to others with the same experiences who went on to lead a normal life, but look back on those experiences with fondness, or even excitement. It would be great, for once, to not be immediately cast as a victim who needs comfort.
Apologies for the long post. And thanks to Prostasia for this forum.
Obligatory “I’m not a survivor but here’s my take…”
I’m sorry you’ve been made to feel like you’re somehow in the wrong for how you were affected by that experience. A child who is introduced to sex in that manner is at a very high risk of being harmed, and that’s why Prostasia works to prevent situations like that one. When they do happen, however, the best outcome we can hope for is that the child, for some reason or another, isn’t harmed. It sounds like that’s exactly what happened in your case, and that’s a good thing.
As I mentioned, I’m not a survivor (not sure if you identify with that term but I’m using it for simplicity) myself, but I’ve met a lot of people who are through my work with and outside Prostasia. There have been a few who fit the “traumatized child” stereotype, but most don’t. Trying to put people into that box does a disservice to all survivors, since nobody is adequately supported in a community that’s seen as a monolith. Supporting survivors includes listening to survivors who had experiences like yours and not dismissing them as “repressed emotions” or “supporting abuse.”
I shared your post with the one person I’m currently in contact with who I know had a similar experience. I don’t think they have an account here but I’m sure they’ll make one if they want to respond. I hope you find the community provided by this forum more open to setting aside preconceived notions and listening to you.
Adult-child romantic and/or sexual relationships are child sexual abuse, and such interactions justifiably prohibited on the basis that they carry with them the risk of inherent harm, and that the risk of trauma from them is inexorably high, with the severity of said harm and its life-long damage to a person’s psychological well-being and sexual development being well-documented by clinicians and researchers alike.
PROSTASIA AND ITS COMMUNITY DOES NOT CONDONE, ENDORSE, OR ALLOW THE PROMOTION OF THESE ACTIVITIES AND WILL TAKE THE NECESSARY STEPS TO ENSURE THAT THEY AFFIRMATIVELY CEASE
If you were a child and had these experiences, good. Those are your experiences and memories to have, and nobody should be allowed to dictate how you should feel about them.
But to advise, tolerate, or otherwise endorse these types of activities or relationships for others is an egregious and grotesque breach of the most basic ethical standards one could articulate.
You are a minority group of individuals whose cases and their occurrences are in no way, shape, or form representative of the status quo.
Adult-child sexual and/or romantic relationships are not something that can be safely or ethically cultivated, given the facts, evidence, and data we’ve seen over the years.
To close off this post, it is worth noting that this is not PR-speak, but rather an assertion of Prostasia’s values as an evidence-based child protection/CSA prevention organization.
It wasn’t directed at you, and I’m sorry. I could have worded it better,
I just didn’t want nefarious actors or pro-contact advocates to step in and try to hijack the narrative.
Please do not take offense to the message.
I’m sorry, but it is a form of abuse, regardless of whether or not you suffered harm or trauma as a result of it, primarily due to the fact that there are cases, like yours, in which trauma does, in fact, develop as a result of said experiences, completely absent of any awareness or imposition of societal guilt.
As well as the fact that cases like yours are the minority, and do not speak for the majority of others.
It’s not a desire to conflate or mis-label certain concepts or experiences, but to simply state a fact.
Cases and stories like yours do deserve to be told and are very interesting.
You DO deserve support, and cases such as yours deserve to be told.
But we cannot allow instances such as yours to be misused to further nefarious or ethically-challenged narratives.
Adult-child sexual/romantic contact, in all forms, is simply a form of abuse, but please do not let my messages make you feel unwelcome.
I have a lot of trust and faith in Elliot, and I would hate to see you feel uncomfortable or distrustful of my, or anyone else’s, intentions by inviting you here to discuss things.
Adult-child sexual/romantic contact is universally recognized as a form of abuse, and I want you to recognize that as well.
Even in cases like yours, where no harm or trauma was incurred by that particular contact, and both parties look back upon the experience with fondness and sentimentality, the reason why this is, is because there’s no guarantee that they can be had without incurring trauma or difficulty in some way, hence why I said what I said about it not being possible to cultivate adult-child sexual relationships like yours.
I’m sure there have been well-meaning attempts by adults and children to engage in these activities, but to no avail.
My goal isn’t to make you change how you feel about it all. You very clearly were not affected the same way.
I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I don’t want you to feel compelled or pressured to change how you feel about your experience, nor do I want you to look at the person you had such experiences with as anything different from how you remember him.
I don’t want you to feel unwelcome in this community, nor do I want you to feel as though anyone is against you.
But I do want to make a convincing argument for why these types of experiences, like the ones you look back upon with fondness, are ultimately best disallowed and prohibited from occurring for others, as these types of experiences cannot be reliably or ethically cultivated, given how high the risk of a negative outcome is and how severe the impact outcome may be, notwithstanding the lack of intent or concern by either party to cause them.
Because ultimately it is for those reasons why they are regarded as a form of abuse.
Speaking personally as a victim of child sex abuse myself, I think your position, though understandable, is not untenable.
Recognizing adult-child sexual/romantic activities as a form of abuse because of the high risk of harm or trauma caused by such actions, even in cases such as yours.
Acknowledging them as such is not a disservice to victims, MAPs, or MAP allies, nor is it an attempt to overlook the nuances each experience inherent in them and demonize them, but rather a logical response to the overwhelming amounts of data that suggests the risk of harm outweighs the slim possibility of any benefit to them, and to hammer the point home that they are not to be attempted and are rightfully prohibited.
I’m not going to comment on or postulate whatever implications this may have for the party involved in your fond experiences, but the assertion that these acts were not acts of abuse comes across as an emotionally-charged offensive rebuttal to any claims or accusations to be made, if not an attempt to reprogram how you feel, or ought to feel, about your experiences.
It is not unreasonable or illogical to maintain these feelings and fondness for these events and memories one may have had in their youth while still recognizing that such acts are abuse, in the sense that it is your right to choose how to feel about them and remain true to that on its own, while still not condoning them and supporting their restriction and prohibition.
It was abusive for the adult to be receptive to your advances, it put you at risk of trauma, and though it’s a good thing that you hadn’t suffered trauma from that, there is no question about the risk involved.
I will not comment or elude to the character of the person you shared these experiences with, but I’m also not going to accommodate your assertion that such acts, in and of themselves, were not abuse.
Whether or not you view yourself as a ‘victim’ per se is a matter for you and you alone to decide.
But the fact remains that such actions were those of abuse.
It does not and should not affect how you view the interactions or experiences you had, how they mean to you, or how you tell your story.
Expressions of mere platonic affection are not what is at issue here, please do not redirect it towards that. That is not the point I’m trying to make.
I hope you’re aware of how disingenuous you’re being by sensationalizing this claim.
All adult-child sexual or romantic contact is regarded as a form of abuse, and no amount of distaste with that classification is going to change that.
They were, and simply acknowledging that they were is not to overlook the nuances of your experiences or your emotions. It is not a matter of opinion to imply that an adult engaging in sexual or romantic activity with a minor is an act of abuse, it is a logical deduction to the facts.
To regard instances of adult-child sex as not inherently acts of abuse is to invite discourse that is not representative of, nor productive of the status quo.
Your disagreement that they are acts of abuse does not change what they are. How you respond to that assertion is your own game to play.
I believe you @TheMaddestHatter also I’m sorry to hear about some of the abuse you’ve been through. I think maybe what @Chie is trying to say is that the relationship was very risky perhaps according to the stastistics they read and not that they’re this awful terrible person the word abuse/abuser usually implies or that you’re wrong to feel the way you feel from your positive experience maybe? (I don’t know, I don’t want to put words in anyones mouths here though )
Well, it’s that level of risk that justifies the determination. I feel really awful for how they’re responding to these claims, but I’m not going to allow someone to claim that they are something that they’re not, which is non-abusive.
I’m not doubting the veracity of @TheMaddestHatter claims, nor am I trying to upset them. I know plenty of MAPs who agree that all adult-child sex is sexual abuse who have had pleasurable experiences of them growing up. They don’t let that classification govern how they or anyone else is supposed to feel about their experiences, but they do maintian that they should not be attempted or realized.
Because it is a form of abuse… All adult-child sexual conduct is abuse, just because you don’t feel like it was, or object to the prospect of being a victim by these experiences in particular (which contrast with your more severe experiences, to which I CANNOT express how sincere my condolences for you are).
You accept that the risk justifies its prohibition, and that’s fine, but it’s very clear that you’re in clear and apparent objection to the implications the designation may have for yourself or the person you had, hence why I deliberately avoided commenting on that or postulating on. It’s only for the better that he did not contribute to your trauma or abuse, that they did good things for you, nobody is trying to invalidate that, but since you forced me to comment on it, I will state that what he did was irresponsible and abusive, and HOPE with all my being that he did not continue to perpetrate further adult-child contact instances with other children, otherwise he is a walking risk factor.
Adult-child sex being designated as a form of abuse isn’t some attempt to overlook the nuances of more uncommon or complex experiences one may have, it’s grounded by the consensus, the status quo, and the risk-benefit analysis that supports that position. Intent and effect not aligning with that consensus does not affect the veracity of the designation.
I mean personally, I think its entirely possible to be just as against adult-child sexual relationships without using the words abuse or abuser if its triggering for some people who have been in these types of relationships as children maybe.
Hypothetically, but such a need to tiptoe around terminology feels inappropriate, given the grounding rationale behind it. Not regarding it as child sex abuse lends credence to the idea that it would be feasible to cultivate these types of relationships without incurring trauma or harm, and quite simply that is not something the evidence is capable of supporting.
I can only hope that @TheMaddestHatter and others like him/them (apologies for not asking about pronouns) who object to the blanket designation will come to view matters as others, including MAPs and contemporaries.
I don’t think it has to as you already said there is a lot of evidence that there is risk and potential harm to these types of actions but I don’t want this to lead to another disagreement so I’l just leave it there
Hi @Angel . I’m responding to you on behalf of @TheMaddestHatter . They said there’s a post limit so they’re unable to make another message/post to you here.
Anyway, they want to tell you about the Mastodon instances freak.university and nnia.space . They have an account on freak.university under the same username as here (TheMaddestHatter). I have an account on nnia.space under the username mxpdfphile, from which I follow them.
I haven’t been around in a while. Dipping my toe in the water.
I think this disagreement comes down simply to what we take different words to mean. It’s probably the rule more than the exception that words have different meanings.
TheMaddestHatter has in mind a definition of “abuse” which requires some sort of negative aspects observable recently. Suppose we watch a sexual interaction, but the shadows are such that it is hard to get a good look at the female involved. Everything seems as sweet and consensual as possible. Is it abuse, or is it not? That depends on what we see when we turn the lights up. Is it a petite 20-year-old, or an early-developing 12-year-old? In this old-style definition of “abuse”, it’s weird to say what you just saw was abusive when you find out the person’s age.
I believe the definition Chie and others are using is connected to an immovable pole in the ground – all adult-child sexual interaction is abusive, regardless of who started it. The adult’s responsibility is to exit the situation if a minor initiates. They want there to be no wiggle room of saying that some cases were not abusive. Call this meaning “abusive2”, so the other gets tagged “abusive1”. “All adult-child sexual activity is abusive2” is a key tenet of CSA survivor community (and perhaps beyond). It sounds like TMH doesn’t disagree with the substance, just the wording. They cannot accept that meaning abusive2. In their minds, abusive1 is dear to their heart, and feel their partner was not abusive1. So the disagreement might be reduced to TMH saying “I refuse to accept that ‘abuse’ has the meaning abusive2”, and Chie is saying, “I refuse to accept that ‘abuse’ has the meaning abusive1”.
Given where you are posting, TMH, best to understand that they speak a dialect of English here where “abusive” means “abusive2”. On the other hand, you seem to feel that you are unwelcome and unheard if your heartfelt “my partner was not abusive” is sternly rejected. Perhaps better to pick your battles and replace that “abusive” you are used to with some other phrase that would be acceptable to all. You’re in Rome, and the Romans insist that “abusive” means “abusive2”.
I didn’t read through everything in full, so apologies if I’m repeating something that’s already been said. Also, I’m not authorized to speak on behalf of Prostasia, so the wording below is my best guess, not an official statement.
Prostasia’s official policies are based on the legal definition of abuse, and they work to prevent interactions that fall under that definition. They’re also survivor-led and have made a point of letting survivors speak without restriction, as can be seen in our Survivor Expressions project. While acknowledging that the situations described in this thread would legally be considered abuse and reflected inappropriate (or at best misguided) behavior from the adults involved (since they were placing a child at a high risk of being harmed), we should also let survivors decide how they view and discuss their own experiences.
Allowing a survivor to explain that the impacts of their experience were atypical isn’t going to change the laws surrounding child sexual abuse or the science and statistics behind those laws. Nor will it change the type of content allowed on this forum or Prostasia’s mission of preventing situations that fall under those laws which, in the majority of cases, cause harm. Yes, the situations described here are included in that definition, but when talking to a survivor who finds the label of abuse to be upsetting, forcing it on them is unproductive.
The goal in this conversation should be supporting a survivor, not debating what does or does not constitute abuse. That’s why I added the message encouraging people to reply in DMs if they were worried about their replies being misinterpreted. It is important to acknowledge what is included in the abuse that Prostasia is trying to prevent, but that’s a discussion for threads about that topic, not the replies of a person asking for support. Prostasia’s anti-contact policies stand, but so does the importance of allowing survivors to define their experiences.
I’m not trying to call anyone out here, so apologies if it seems that way. Just wanted to lay out my opinion on what Prostasia would say based on their past projects and current policies.