Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
Some male survivors in Oprah's audience also struggle with sexual confusion. When boys are abused by men, Dr. Fradkin says they may experience sexual pleasure and enjoy the attention, but that doesn't mean these boys are homosexual. "Sexual orientation is determined early on in life, probably by age 4 or 5, and most abuse happens after that," he says. "It's not that the sexual abuse causes sexual orientation. It's that people get confused about it because they don't know what to feel about that connection they felt."
Dr. Fradkin says this confusion can occur when a boy is abused by a woman, as well. "If it's a gay man or a guy who's going to become gay who's abused by a man, then his confusion or his fear is that: 'Oh my gosh, I've been found out. I already know I'm different. They picked me out, and they want me. Now the whole world knows about me,'" Dr. Fradkin says. "If it's a boy who's abused by a woman, and he's going to become heterosexual, then we talked about all the shame that happens—all the inadequacy. All the: 'I didn't control it. I wasn't in charge.' There's horrendous shame about a woman abusing a man."
Dr. Fradkin's words strike a chord with Tyler. "Experiencing everything that you're talking about is really...wow, that's awesome to finally understand it," Tyler says. "Walking through it, trying to figure it out myself in my teens and 20s, trying to figure out, 'What is this?' and realizing that this person gave me something that did not belong to me."