- Remember that the gender of the person who abused the survivor in your life has a great influence on the way it affects your interactions. This is complicated and can't be boiled down simply. For example, if you and your partner are gay and your partner was abused by a man, he may feel great shame or be absolutely unwilling to engage in activities he was forced to do while being abused. Your survivor may have been forced to have orgasms during his abuse or perhaps he knew the way to get the abuse over with was to have an orgasm, so having an orgasm may not be associated at all with pleasure, which obviously can have an impact on your mutual satisfaction. If your partner is heterosexual and his perpetrator was a female, he may feel great humiliation that he was controlled by a woman; he could react with you by always wanting to be in control, or conversely, he may avoid sex or perceive any pressure from you as similar to what the abuser did and may shut down.
- You have the power and the influence to be instrumental in helping a male survivor heal and recover. If you are a survivor as well or an addict or suffer from other emotional or mental health challenges, it's important that you get your needs met too. A survivor generally doesn't like to be smothered and taken care of. He tends to be very proud. You can be much more effective in helping him if you are also getting your needs taken care of.
- Refuse to shame a male survivor for not being "man enough" or "masculine enough" to get the help he needs. He's already suffered enough shame without you adding any more. Recognize and affirm every positive step he takes as another step toward valuing the boy inside of him and the adult man who is in a relationship with you.
In this article, I often refer to your "partner" as a generic term to mean partners, spouses, significant others and family members.
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