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There is no indication that a gay man is more likely to engage in sexually abusive behavior than a straight man and some studies even suggest it is less likely.
But sexual abuse is not a sexual “relationship,” – it’s an assault.
It’s central to masculine gender socialization, and boys pick up on it very early in life.
But in reality, it’s still about a boy who was vulnerable to manipulation.
Examples are found on our website (see Other Guys Like Me), and there are many others out there. They can, however, be manipulated into experiences they do not like, or even understand, at the time.
Many boys and men believe this myth and feel lots of guilt and shame because they got physically aroused during the abuse. They often attempt to maintain secrecy, and to keep the abuse going, by telling the child that his sexual response shows he was a willing participant and complicit in the abuse. (See Guilt and Shame.) There are many situations where a boy, after being gradually manipulated with attention, affection and gifts, feels like he wants such attention and sexual experiences.
What happens to any of us as children does not need to define us as adults or men.
It is important to remember that 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before age 18 (see The 1 in 6 Statistic), and that those boys can grow up to be strong, powerful, courageous and healthy men. Boys are not seeking to be sexually abused or exploited.
Many boys suffer harm because adults who could believe them and help are reluctant, or refuse, to acknowledge what happened and the harm it caused.