Advice: Savage Love
Q: This is a touchy and gross subject. I am a 17-year-old girl growing up in an adoptive family in Australia. I was sexually abused by my birth family, and I think it really fucked up my sexuality. The only thing that gets me off is the idea of people absolutely destroying their lives for an orgasm. I started with mild S&M stories and then moved on to grosser stuff like murder (stories and online images), pedo (stories only) and, lately, I’ve been thinking about my (adoptive) parents. It doesn’t have to be a particular category. As long as it’s the most vile thing I can think of, it will get me off. These fantasies alone are scary, but because they are the only things that get me off, I can’t even tell if I’m attracted to boys or girls or none of the above. I don’t expect you to solve this problem, but do you have any ideas for how I could get help with this without messing up my family?
Not Over Painful Experiences
A: Sane people can have extreme and/or violent sexual fantasies, and extreme and/or violent sexual fantasies do not make sane people crazy. (Let’s call them EVSFs for short, shall we?)
But you need to talk to a shrink — not because you’re hopelessly damaged or the only person out there with EVSFs, but because you’re troubled by your fantasies. And that’s understandable. It’s difficult to have EVSFs when your erotic imagination is constantly dragging you to disturbing places. And while most people’s fantasies are relatively fixed, your erotic imagination seems to be on the hunt for new “wrong” thoughts. You need to seize control of your sexuality, and you’ll need help doing that, or your sense of estrangement will only continue to grow.
That said, you could be seeing causation where there is only coincidence. Some people with troubling fantasies or interests have found relief with low-dose antidepressants; some folks with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been helped by novel programs that incorporate MDMA, aka ecstasy, into treatment.
A good therapist may be able to help you reshape your fantasies in the direction of still-intense, less-wrong, not-constantly-escalating stimuli that still gives you the “wrongness” charge you need. And a good sex therapist can help you draw a clear distinction between your adult sexuality and your history of abuse.
Considering the abuse you suffered at the hands of your family of origin, I trust your adoptive parents are aware that you may need professional help and that asking for help is a good sign. At your very first appointment, make sure your sessions are confidential.
Please get help — not because you are kinky, but because you’re struggling with doubt, you’re confused, and you’re rightly worried about the way your erotic imagination keeps upping the “wrongness” ante.
Q: I am gay and I have a brother who’s gay. The problem is, he is very much into humiliation. He exposes himself online and allows his online “masters” to have control over his pictures and videos. I found his pictures recently, and the embarrassment and humiliation were a huge turn-on for him. (In real life, we’ve never shown any interest sexually in each other. But when he asked if I had any naked pictures, I told him I did and sent some to him, and somehow that was a bit of a turn-on, I must admit.) On to the real problem: My brother told me he felt really guilty, cleaned up his hard drive, deleted all his pics and mine and asked me to do the same. But I found evidence that he’s resumed this habit. This has been a pattern for him, he says, and he insists he was somehow damaged in childhood. I told him I see him as my kinky brother and that he might be happier if he could just accept himself.
Bro Of Kinky Bro
A: There are people who manage to turn their lives upside down in pursuit of turn-ons — there are people whose sex lives are complete fucking shitshows — and all they’re into is missionary heterosexual sex with the lights off. Your brother’s problem isn’t his childhood or his kink. His problems are his self-loathing, his attempts to swear off his kink (which leads to binge-and-purge cycles), and the reckless ways he indulges his kink.
Instead of running from his kinks, your brother needs to find safer, saner ways to satisfy his desire. People with humiliation kinks managed to find ways to get off before the Internet, and so can your brother. And you need to establish better boundaries. No more swapping pics with your bro, and no more hunting for evidence of his ill-advised online adventures.
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