“Get your hands out of your pants!” is one of the first things I remember hearing my mother say to me as a child. What she didn’t know is that I had seen my father masturbating in the bathtub and that I had discovered my own genitals. I wouldn’t understand for decades how this experience would shape my own sexuality and become the root of sexual addiction, pain, and dysfunction in my life.
Although allowing me to see him may have been an innocent mistake on my father’s part, it was but a precursor to a decade of sexual abuse that I would experience from other trusted relatives.
As a child, I coped with those repeated traumas by participating in the abuse, looking for value and self-esteem by being important to someone else in inappropriate ways.
As an adult, this coping mechanism no longer works and leaves me empty, frustrated, and alone.
Part of my recovery work is through finding healthy ways to cope with my anxiety and the residual pain of childhood sexual abuse. The lust I feel for men is really just a cry from my soul to feel okay about myself and to connect with someone on a deeper level. That hopeless feeling deep down inside is the longing to have what I didn’t have as a child—a safe and healthy family.