No child is morally culpable for having been sexually violated.
Tragically, child abuse can have a significant impact on sexual identity (the gender with which victims identify), sexual orientation (the gender to which victims are attracted), and sexuality (victims’ capacity for sexual feelings).
Unfortunately, whether out of modesty or embarrassment, Christians may find it difficult to discuss sex. This difficulty is compounded for abuse victims.
Sexual Identity/Sexual Orientation
That the trauma of child molestation can impact sexual identity and sexual orientation makes intuitive sense.
As children, we can do little to vent the confusion, fear, shame, and rage abuse causes us. At a deep level, we either adopt the manner and attitudes of our abuser or reject them. The decision is not an intellectual one. It is a matter of survival .
This is not to suggest that all victims of childhood sexual abuse are impacted sexually. Nor is it to suggest that child molestation is the only factor impacting sex and sexuality.
Sexual Addiction (Pornography)
The victims of childhood sexual abuse tend to take one of two paths: sexual addiction or sexual aversion. Again, this is a generalization only. Each individual is unique.
An interest in sex is, by itself, normal and healthy. Sexual addiction is, by contrast, a compulsion to engage in sex.
In the context of abuse, sexual addiction is a desperate search for love and value, often confused with lax morals. It is the futile attempt to fill a gaping emptiness inside with substitutes for intimacy.
However – and this is important – sexual addiction can, also, result from bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or borderline personality disorder.
There is a distinction between sexual addiction and pornography addiction . Sex addicts crave partners; pornography addicts can satisfy their urges without a partner (for example, by using an x-rated video). Sex addicts are more likely to be social; pornography addicts, more likely to be reclusive.
Pornography addicts may prefer the glossy perfection of an unresponsive image to the reality of a responsive partner. Live partners require time and attention. Centerfolds do not. Live partners are flawed, and likely to discover the flaws in the addict. With a video or magazine, the pornography addict is not confronted by his/her own shortcomings.
Sexual aversion is the persistent avoidance of sexual contact with a partner . This is accompanied by fear, revulsion, and/or a lack of desire. Aversion to the act of intercourse may or may not include aversion to kissing, hugging, and necking/petting.
Sexual aversion (once pejoratively termed “fridigity”) can effect men, as well as women. It should be distinguished from the temporary loss of desire which may occur following the birth of a child, during menopause, or from stress and fatigue.
Sexual aversion does not imply an abuse victim is incapable of feeling love. Unrequited love – with all the pain and frustrated longing it entails – is, in some ways, “ideal” for those suffering from sexual aversion. Providing the illusion of a relationship, unrequited love allows for intense emotion and desire, without requiring physical expression.
God’s Love and Intimacy
Where does God come into all this? Or does He? Are sex and sexuality simply gritty aspects of being human in a flawed world?
As our Creator, God knows us at a profound level – a level beyond even the sexual. When we take our pain and heartache to Him, God is able to respond as no human being can. He is capable of filling our emptiness, and healing our wounds.
God may involve others, in this process. Though His role is paramount, there are countless physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors trained to deal with abuse. Friends and loved ones can, also, play a vital part.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (John 4: 7).
 Trauma bonding is discussed at: Psychopathy Awareness, “When You Love Your Abuser: Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonds”, https://psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/when-you-love-your-abuser-stockholm-syndrome-and-trauma-bonds/.
 Addiction Hope, “What Are the Differences Between Sex Addiction and Pornography Addiction?”, 6/1/16, https://www.addictionhope.com/blog/differences-sex-addiction-porn-addiction/.
 Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, “Sexual aversion disorder”, http://www.minddisorders.com/Py-Z/Sexual-aversion-disorder.html.
Abuse and relationships were discussed last week in Lovelorn, Part 1
FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com
11 responses to “Lovelorn, Part 2”
Thank you for posting this.
It is a topic about which there is alot of confusion. ❤
So much Truth in your Message Anna and yes I know the need to substitute for real Love and the shame it brings but Jesus rescued me and His Love has filled the emptiness and has taken away the shame.
I will leave a link for you Anna to save detail here in case you would like to read how a little lost girl found Joy.
Christian Love Always – Anne.
Thank you, Anne. I was deeply moved by your post of 5/7/12 and the loneliness you described. There is so much loneliness in this broken world of ours. I pray that victims all come to know the love of God, as you and I have. May He bless you.
This really helps better understand the difference between the two — sex addict/pornography addict. My heart’s broken. Recently my local news reported a young six year old was raped on a school bus by a 12 year old. The bus driver reported, but the district did not report incident right away. My children do not attend this district, but it seems like actions are always centered upon the benefit of the administration versus the students. It’s really hard to digest what and how that happened. So sad for the boy and family.
What a tragedy. Sexual abuse of children by children is definitely not “normal” and not a developmental phase. I cannot help but wonder whether the 12 y.o. was not, himself, raped at some point.
Yes I’ve wondered the same, much of the community has and something is not right with that.
Excellent post. I especially love the inclusion of God and faith as being a source of hope in the middle of the mess.
Thank you so much! I wish I had easy answers to offer. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any.
No easy answers but surely love (and good writing!) can be at least part of the solution. I feel hopeful and empowered when good information gets shared in safe ways like this.
Thank you. You are very kind. ❤