- 1 Sexual Abuse
- 1.1 Children are Sexual Too
- 1.2 Society Versus Nature
- 1.3 Physical Sexual Pleasure
- 1.4 Instinctive Response
- 1.5 Physical Pleasure and Emotional Pain
- 1.6 Not Just Sexual
- 1.7 Consent
- 1.8 Trust
- 1.9 Instinct Versus Knowledge
- 1.10 The Confusion Caused by Pleasure
- 1.11 Abuse is not Sex
- 1.12 Examining Abuse
- 1.13 The Sexual Child and Teen
- 1.14 Sexual Interaction Between Adults and Children
- 1.15 The Creation of a Victim
- 1.16 What is Sexually Abusive?
- 1.17 How Many Women have been Sexually Abused?
- 1.18 Incest
- 1.19 The Sexual Dynamics of a Family
- 1.20 Fathers and Daughters
- 1.21 Healing Through Fantasy and Role Playing
This article was written partly in response to May’s account of experiencing sexual pleasure during a sexual assault that occurred when she was seven years of age. It predominately addresses sexual abuse from a “sexual” perspective. Sex should be a positive aspect of our lives since by its nature it is so. As a result, this article may conflict somewhat with social and legal perspectives of sexual abuse. These perspectives often leave out the individual. It is not the intent of this article to support or otherwise condone sexual abuse or inappropriate sex of any kind. These activities are illegal for just and valid reasons.
Children are Sexual Too
This is certainly not the first time I have learned of a girl experiencing sexual pleasure, and in some cases orgasm, during an incidence of rape, sexual abuse, incest, or inappropriate sexual activity.
Despite what we may have been led to believe, the experiences and responses of these girls and young women are “normal.”
As indicated elsewhere on this website, a preadolescent girl’s sexual organs, including her brain, are fully functional at birth; actually before birth.
We are usually told by society that a girl’s sexuality does not present itself until puberty, if she is allowed to be sexual, not only maternal.
Puberty deals more with reproductive maturity than sexual maturity. It may surprise many to know preadolescent girls have a sexual component to their psychological makeup and physical responses.
If anything, preadolescent girls are more “sexual” than adult women as they have not been conditioned by society or learned “appropriate” sexual response.
Unfortunately, this makes them easy targets or victims of sexual predators.
This last statement is not meant to imply every episode of preadolescent or adolescent sex results in a victim.
Some preadolescent and adolescent girls do engage in appropriate and beneficial sexual activities with their peers.
Society Versus Nature
Our society says preadolescent girls are not the least bit sexual; they are strictly a product of their environment. They are born “virginal” in the extreme sense.
A normal and innocent girl is reportedly immune to everything that is sexual in nature. Society says a girl’s sexuality cannot come from within, that it cannot be an innate part of her identity.
Sexuality must be forced upon her because she would not willingly accept it. If a girl is in any way sexual, someone or something must have sexualized her, stolen her “innocence.”
If a girl is aware of her clitoris or anything of a sexual nature, she must have been sexually abused, wore tight clothing, or ate overly stimulating foods.
Something of a physical nature must have acted upon her. Meaning someone must have done her wrong because they exposed her to or did not protect her from these things.
As every woman who discovered masturbation, engaged in sexual exploration with her peers, or secretly watched her parents making love at a young age knows, this is absolutely not true. Our children are very sexual beings.
Physical Sexual Pleasure
If an adult woman would most likely find a certain type of physical stimulation sexually enjoyable, so might a preadolescent or adolescent girl, if the stimulation is appropriate given her level of sexual and physical development.
Chronological age has no bearing on this. We accept that adult women usually enjoy gentle stimulation of their genitals with hands and mouth.
Society does not acknowledge that preadolescent girls are quite capable of enjoying the same forms of stimulation. The nerves that sense sexual stimulation and their pathways to the brain exist at birth, and they are fully functional.
As a result, a young girl can experience sexual pleasure and orgasm. She does not need to know that pleasure is a possible result, or desire it, for it to occur.
It may just happen, because it is supposed to happen, automatically. She has only as much control over her sexual responses as she does her ability to laugh and cry.
It should be noted that preadolescent girls do not have internal reproductive organs, at least not in the adult form we envision.
Prior to puberty, the uterus, cervix, and vagina are basically one single organ that is not in any way intended or able to accommodate penetration of any sort.
This is why penetration is often very painful and damaging to a girl’s body. The damage can be irreversible, resulting in infertility later in life.
Since society has a preoccupation with penetration and so many teenage boys and men do not know how to correctly sexually stimulate adult women, girls and teens are at a high risk of experiencing painful and physically damaging sexual abuse.
Since we incorrectly say preadolescent girls have a vagina, when they actually only have a vulva, we may expose her to an increased possibility of abuse.
Even so, a person should instinctively know an object that is larger than a girl’s forearm should not be inserted into her mouth, vagina, or anus, though this fact does seem to elude some!
How our body functions is often determined more by physiology than psychology, as a necessity of survival.
As a result, we often have limited control, or at least less control than we would like, over our responses and reactions to any given situation.
When under stress or scared we can revert back to an instinctive or a conditioned response. The hormones released by our body greatly influence our thoughts and physical responses in these situations. Our heightened sensory perceptions may make us more aware of physical sensations.
This means not only can a girl’s body respond in a manner she does not expect or understand, so can her mind, resulting in actions and reactions that may seem inappropriate when we look back upon them later on in life. It is important that we do not forget the context under which things took place.
Our survival instinct can force us to adapt and respond in ways that at first appear to be irrational and inappropriate.
This is perhaps truer of a young girl than it is for an adult since she “knows” less and acts more on instinct. Since a young girl must rely on others to fulfill all her physical and emotional needs, her primary needs can cause her to voluntarily submit to repeated episodes of sexual activity.
These sexual activities need not be physically pleasurable for them to indirectly fulfill some emotional need. A girl’s basic need for love and acceptance makes her extremely vulnerable.
The answer to whether a girl acted “appropriately” can be best answered by the fact that she is able to ask the question. If she is able to ask the question, she acted appropriately, she survived.
Physical Pleasure and Emotional Pain
I have read a woman’s account of how as a young girl she looked forward to her father bathing her because he would orally stimulate her vulva afterwards, she found this pleasurable.
At the time she could not understand why he treated her so badly afterwards, perhaps he was unconsciously blaming her for his actions.
She was left wondering what she was doing wrong, blaming herself. As a result, she tried even harder to please her father.
Another woman reported how as a teenager she was emotionally, physically, and sexually abused by her brother, yet she unexpectedly found herself looking forward to having sex with him because this was the only time he was nice to her.
She found herself enjoying her sexual activities with him. While I’m sure she was very confused by her reactions and actions she did not act inappropriately.
Both of these girls experienced emotional and/or physical abuse in accompaniment with the sexual pleasure. The abuse they experienced was multidimensional.
Even if others who were in the above type of situations did not find them to be at times pleasurable, these two women and others like them did not act or respond inappropriately.
How a girl, teen, or women reacts, experiences, and protects themselves during and after these incidents is a very individual thing.
It is not necessarily more beneficial to resist than it is to consent. There is no correct or more appropriate response.
As a result, you cannot say you know how they feel or felt, even if you have experienced the same type of situation. You are certainly not in a position to judge them.
A woman who did experience sexual pleasure or who was complacent may not talk about her experiences for fear of being held at fault.
This is unfortunate, and results in society victimizing her as well as the actual perpetrator.
Not Just Sexual
It seems likely that some form of physical and/or emotional abuse almost always accompanies sexual abuse.
This is because sexual contact between adults and children is considered extremely inappropriate, and hence extremely illegal by society, at least Western society.
We also do not acknowledge childhood sexuality.
Children learn at a young age that sex and their genitals are something to keep hidden and not something they should explore or allow others to explore.
Modesty is learned, not an instinctive trait.
This means that in order for an adult, or older child, to engage in sex, or sexual exploration, with a child they often have to rely on physical or emotional force to secure or maintain the child’s cooperation.
If force is not required to get the child to cooperate, which is sometimes the case, it is often necessary to use threats or actual physical violence to keep the child from talking about what has taken place.
Sometimes, the adult places blame on the child and punishes them for their own actions; this is called projection. As a result, it is very rare for it to be “just sex,” or sexual abuse alone that takes place.
Even if the sex were not abusive in nature, pleasurable, the end result may be that it is abusive and multidimensional.
Above I used the word “consent.” We often say consent means to “voluntarily” give permission, to do something freely.
A preadolescent or adolescent girl can “consent” to sexual abuse and inappropriate sexual activity. She may willingly engage in sexual activity even knowing it is not appropriate.
It does not need to be pleasurable or enjoyable, it can be terrifying and painful. Looking back, a woman may as a result blame herself in whole or part for what took place. S
ociety’s answer to this dilemma is to simply say she was incapable of giving consent, because she was a child, less than an adult.
I believe some women may have trouble accepting this point of view, because their reasoning as a child is no different from their reasoning as an adult.
They knew right from wrong. It also reflects a condescending attitude towards our children.
This means the above given definition of “consent” does not apply in all cases nor is it always accurate. I think it is more appropriate to say, “To consent means to make a decision as to what would be to our benefit.”
If you consent, you make a decision as to what is best for you, or someone you care for, given the circumstances.
If someone threatened you with physical harm or you were terrified of them you may very well have voluntarily engaged in sexual activities with them.
You did not have to, you could have chosen to resist, and some do, but not all. A decision was made versus doing it truly voluntarily.
You may choose to engage in sexual activities in order to avoid physical or emotional abuse.
A girl or teen may trade sex for money or gifts because there is a benefit to having those gifts and money, or the idea someone would give them to her or allow her to have them.
This definition specifically applies to intangible emotions.
A girl may trade sexual favors for the sense of being loved because she sees a benefit in being loved and accepted.
She may make a conscious or unconscious decision that as long as the perpetrator loves her, she will do whatever it takes to maintain that love.
I do not know if I have made a convincing argument, but I have tried to illustrate that even if a girl voluntarily engages in sexual activity, consents, she is not to blame or at fault.
How a girl or teen experiences and responds to an experience of rape, sexual abuse, incest or inappropriate sex is often determined by the relationship she has with the person carrying out that act.
The more she trusts that person, the more she may allow them to do, and the more open she may be to the physical sensations she experiences, even if she knows the activity is wrong or illegal.
This is because she wants to believe that the person she cares so much for, and whom she wants to like or love her in return, would not harm her.
She does not act inappropriately because the person she trusts should be acting in her best interest, unselfishly.
This is why our legal system has adapted laws to specifically punish those who betray that trust.
Instinct Versus Knowledge
Her level of education and knowledge can influence a girl’s reaction to sexual abuse.
A very young girl may not know it is wrong and may not know it is considered so until she is much older.
Many girls presume all their friends engage in the same activities.
The revelation that what has been occurring is wrong may happen suddenly or slowly over an extended period of time.
This is because an individual girl’s perspective of the abuse may differ from society’s, or she may not want to feel at fault. She may not want to acknowledge that the person she loves so much could do this to her.
A woman should not feel she should have “instinctively known” it was wrong and as a result resisted or prevented what took place.
Since we are supposedly born asexual, some assume we should instinctively know that sex is wrong, but then we are not supposed to be aware of what sex is, so there is a contradiction within this reasoning.
Our desire to please our parents and guardians is a necessity of survival.
A girl that experiences pain while being sexually abused often wonders what she has done wrong and why she is being punished instead of seeing the abuse for what it is.
If she were a good girl, they would not be hurting her. She as a result tries to be a better child, perhaps by being a more complacent sexual partner.
This common response is likely the result of the blind faith we must place in those who raise us to adulthood. If we did not follow blindly, how could we possibly live long enough to reach adulthood?
If we only did what we wanted, how long would we live?
We instinctively interpret something that is enjoyable as a reward for doing something right and anything that is unpleasant as an indication we did something wrong.
That is one of the basic, instinctive, rules we live by.
The Confusion Caused by Pleasure
A girl or teenager who experienced sexual pleasure during an episode of sexual abuse should not, must not, deny these feelings, or blame herself.
She should definitely not blame her body.
Her body did not betray her, nor did her mind. She needs to place full blame on the person who carried out these acts, not her mind and body.
This is true even if she “consented” at the time and looked forward to these activities. If you consented and found it pleasurable it is more than likely you were taken advantage of, exploited, and had your level of sexual development inappropriately accelerated.
You are still “innocent.” Your body does not need or deserve to be punished. Put blame where it is appropriate.
A woman who experienced sexual pleasure during episodes of sexual abuse can have a harder time learning to enjoy consensual sex than a woman who experienced only pain.
If it was painful, it supports the concept that it was bad and wrong. You know consensual sex should be enjoyable and more importantly, “feel different.”
If you are in this situation, once you regain the ability to trust someone and are able to become intimate with him or her, you merely open the door to sexual pleasure, which can certainly be a door to a long, twisting, and up hill road.
Teens and women in this situation still need to learn sex is enjoyable, not painful. It can take time and patience to overcome a conditioned response to sexual contact.
On the other hand, if you grow up believing that normal sexual sensations and feelings are bad and inappropriate, it can be very difficult to learn to enjoy consensual sex as a teen and adult.
Because all those sensations that occur during consensual sex may remind you of what took place in the past you may naturally want to remove yourself from those memories and the current situation.
Consensual sex may not “feel different” from non-consensual sex.
Unless you accept your feelings and responses as normal in BOTH situations, you are less likely to be comfortable with your sexuality and sexual responses.
A woman who experienced an orgasm while being sexually abused must be able to “honestly” say to herself that she enjoyed that orgasm just as much as she does those she experiences during masturbation and partner sex today. An orgasm is never right or wrong it is just an orgasm.
The same applies to sexual pleasure. It can be a challenge for a woman to accept sexual pleasure and orgasm as normal and desirable if she associates it with negative experiences.
Abuse is not Sex
There are many incidents of “sexual abuse” in which no “sexual” component exists to them other than the fact they involved a person’s sexual organs.
These incidents are in actuality cases of emotional and/or physical abuse or terrorism. Today, rape is commonly defined as an act of violence, not as a sexual act.
There is no sexual pleasure involved for either party, even if orgasm takes place. The perpetrator is only interested in controlling or dominating the person they attack.
The victim becomes an object versus a person.
A preadolescent or adolescent girl who wakes up in the middle of the night in her darkened bedroom to the sensations of a person forcing their penis or fingers into her nonexistent vagina is not going to have a sexual experience, she is likely to experience extreme pain and psychological terror.
The same holds true of anal and oral penetration in the same situation.
A girl who is terrified of her father or guardian is likely to be terrified of and by any physical contact with them.
Women who experienced situations like this may not understand how pleasure could even be a factor in “sexual abuse,” and adamantly reject the possibility that this could occur.
For some the abuse may start out as described above but slowly transition over to physically pleasurable experiences, as their mind and body adapts and tries to and eventually does survive.
Physical and psychological abuse can be incorrectly labeled as sexual abuse. Sexual abuse, defined from a sexual perspective, may be very rare. Some may argue that if it is truly “sexual” in nature it cannot be abusive.
Since sexual abuse can be and is often multidimensional, a person who experienced it may want to explore it from different perspectives instead of just from a sexual one.
This may help them to come to terms with what occurred. “Sexual abuse” likely consists of emotional and physical abuse and lastly sexual abuse.
A key point to determine is whether there was actual sexual abuse or only emotional and physical abuse.
A woman may need to break the abuse down to its core elements in order to understand her actions and reactions.
Your relationship with the perpetrator, did you love or fear them, may influence how you reacted to the abuse.
The situations under which the abuse occurred, did you feel safe or vulnerable?
Did you know at the time what was happening was considered wrong and abusive?
Were you physically beaten or punished, were you afraid this might occur?
Was the “sexual” contact appropriate given your level of physical and emotional development?
Abusive relationships are seldom like a simple black and white picture; there are usually many shadows and gray areas.
If you experienced sexual pleasure or orgasm, this should be considered separately from other forms of abuse. They can occur concurrently yet have no bearing on the other.
If you did experience pleasure, remember that your body simply did as it was intended to, and the perpetrator likely stimulated you in an appropriate manner, as contradictory as that sounds.
This does not mean their motive was appropriate.
They may have wanted to turn your body against you, psychologically torment you versus give you simple pleasure.
There is though a chance they wanted you to experience sexual pleasure, not wanting to cause harm; all abusers are not mean, hateful, or monsters.
If you experienced pain then it was likely an incidence of physical or psychological abuse.
Simply lumping everything together under the label of “sexual abuse” can have a devastating effect on your sexuality later in life.
If it was not sexual, you do not want to incorrectly label it so.
The Sexual Child and Teen
There is a small percentage, the true number is impossible to determine as few would be willing to admit to it publicly fearing being ostracized by society, of women who did willingly engage in sexual activity with inappropriate partners as girls and teens.
Force or intimidation was not used.
These women do not feel victimized and resent anyone implying they are or were, or that they acted inappropriately.
I have seen a couple women admit to or hint at these relationships.
Sometimes they knew these activities were wrong, illegal, and considered inappropriate, but other times they were simply too young to know any different at the time.
Others apparently mutually consented to sex with an inappropriate person, a close relative, during puberty, sometimes continuing this relationship into adulthood.
One woman initiated sexual relations with two of her brothers as a young teen.
A couple women have hinted they had such a relationship with their father, or male guardian.
While socially and legally we define all childhood sexual experiences as detrimental, some individual experiences seem to indicate otherwise.
Sometimes it is the individual who must determine what is appropriate for them, allowing them to change their decision as their perspective changes with time and experience.
Some, if not many or most, girls are very curious about sex and explore their sexual feelings with whoever will permit it.
Based on some women’s accounts of their childhood sexual explorations, you have to wonder if they were not under the influence of a hormone induced sex drive even prior to visible signs of puberty.
They knew it was wrong and that their parents and others would be very upset if they found out, but they still sought out sexual experiences with whoever would allow it.
They were not necessarily always pleasant or enjoyable experiences even though they continued their exploration afterwards.
Many of them may simply have wanted attention, and found acting in a sexual manner got them that desired attention. Some saw a benefit to being sexual.
While I know society says otherwise, these girls are normal too, not promiscuous, sexually precocious, or Lolitas.
I’m not saying all these sexual experiences were appropriate, just that the women look back on them positively.
Sexual Interaction Between Adults and Children
Sex is supposed to be enjoyable, and can be equally enjoyable for girls, teens, and adults alike.
We are very social animals and children crave physical affection, and sometimes even sexual pleasure.
Our children are also very curious and able to enjoy sexual activities with their peers.
They can and do sometimes initiate sexual contact with adults.
They do not necessarily “know” what they are doing or the possible ramifications.
One woman reported how her eight-year-old son was sleeping with her because of a family crisis when he started masturbating by pressing his penis against her body; his actions did not bother her, her own resulting sexual arousal did.
A former coworker reported a similar situation involving her six-year-old daughter. Children may mimic what they have seen adults do, in person and on TV.
They are very curious about everything around them including their parent’s body.
Such activity should not be interpreted to mean the child wants to engage in a sexual relationship, give an adult sexual pleasure, or engage in “adult” forms of sex.
Children are generally very selfish and unless something benefits them are reluctant to do it. Childhood sexuality is normal but not sexual abuse.
Sometimes an adult’s actions can inadvertently or unknowingly sexually stimulate a child and increase or awaken their interest in sex.
Many of the things parents normally do while caring for their child can result in the child experiencing sexual sensations and pleasure.
During breast-feeding it is common for both the mother and child to experience sexual arousal, which is something neither has any control over; nor should they try to.
Ever consider how often we bath, examine, and touch a girl’s vulva when she is wearing diapers?
Parents often joke about their infant son getting an erection when they remove his diaper, ever consider the possibility this occurs to our daughters as well; it does.
How many parents bounce their child on their knee? Ever stood back and looked at how parents hold their young children against their body?
I’m not saying what parents are doing is wrong or inappropriate; only that we have been conditioned by society not to notice.
Since our children are reportedly immune to sex, we are supposed to be able to do anything we want to them without awaking their sexuality.
This conflicts with some of what has been said above, but then society is full of contradictions. Society is protecting us from ourselves, at the expense of our children.
While society denies or ignores it, we all interact on a sexual level with our children, and other people’s children.
The Creation of a Victim
We create perfect victims of our children.
We make it almost impossible for them to experience normal sexual experiences and development, and as a result they do not have the means to protect themselves from abuse.
Our children are much more likely to have a negative sexual experience as a child than they are to have a positive one.
Some claim this is because sex is innately bad, instead of placing the blame where it belongs, with society. Sex is all around us; it is impossible to hide our children from it.
If you want to protect your children from sexual abuse, provide them with a positive sexual education. Do not try to hide them from sex that is what makes them perfect victims.
If you want your child to know right from wrong, then teach them. If you do not want them to be harmed by sex, do not make them hide their sexuality in a closet. Ignorance is not bliss, it is victimizing.
What is Sexually Abusive?
What constitutes sexual abuse is dependent on a number of factors: the individual, their gender, their family, their community, the society in which they live, their religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, and the different levels of government.
American society and government as a whole basically says anything of a sexual nature that involves a child is abusive in some way and is as a result illegal.
The other factors in a person’s life may not agree. Often it is the context under which things occur versus the actual act that makes them abusive.
If you are accustomed to being nude in the presence of your parents and others you may not feel abused if they walk into the bathroom while you bathe, but you may feel it is inappropriate for them to stare at your genitals.
If you are comfortable being nude, you may think nothing of your parents taking a photograph of you playing outside when you just happen to be nude, but the American legal system now says that is abusive, which may not agree with the popular consensus.
In European societies it appears to be socially acceptable for parents and children to talk openly about sex and their own sexuality, something that shocks many Americans.
Many religions view sex as undesirable in any form, accepting and acknowledging only reproduction.
Apparently, but no longer openly talked about, many cultures have accepted the practice of caressing an infant’s or young child’s genitals when you wanted them to go to sleep or wanted to comfort them.
Other societies consider childhood masturbation and sexual exploration normal and desirable and are concerned when it does not occur.
In American society there appears to be communities in which incest is accepted, but never openly talked about or admitted too.
One woman mentioned father-daughter incest was common in her American community even though she did not experience this personally; she felt most of it was consensual based on her conversation with those who did.
Sometimes this is socialized abuse and not positive sexual development for the individual.
While we often try doing so, it is hard to judge what “always” constitutes sexual abuse.
An individual can get caught in the middle as a result.
How Many Women have been Sexually Abused?
How common is sexual abuse? Some have calculated that up to sixty percent of women have been sexually abused at some point in their life.
This would mean the majority of women, six out of every ten, have experienced some form of sexual abuse.
Is the number really that high?
I would adventure to say no.
I believe people who see any form of childhood sexual experience as abnormal inflate these numbers. They are counting normal behavior as well as abnormal.
They are also using mathematical models to extrapolate numbers that falsely support their claims. Since the actual or real numbers do not support their views, they force them to.
They claim women are unable or unwilling to admit to sexual abuse, so they speak for them. I see a problem with this concept, it does not allow women to think and speak for themselves.
Some claim sexologists intentionally underestimate the incidence of sexual abuse and are actually advocates of pedophilia, simply because we see all forms of consensual sexual activity as good and normal.
A conflict in perspectives results in large differences in opinions. Again resulting in women being in the middle.
Having said this, there is no doubt that physical, psychological, and sexual abuse is common, far to common. I do not believe there are any accurate numbers that can be used to state just how common it is.
This is because any number only applies to a small group of people, ignoring all the factors listed above that determine what exactly constitutes sexual abuse.
Incidents of sexual abuse are higher in some segments of society than others, simply because peoples’ views of what is appropriate and inappropriate varies significantly.
Still, we often try to apply a single set of rules to everyone, as is the case of laws.
This may in itself account for some of the under reporting of childhood sexual experiences and abuse.
It may also result in normal sexual behavior being labeled as abnormal.
If a woman does not feel she was sexually abused, she will not claim to be, even if others feel she was.
That does not make her wrong or in denial.
We have to be careful not to create victims out of people who do not want to be, or ignore those who are.
The incest taboo is reported to be the only taboo adopted by the majority of cultures around the world. It is considered the only “universal taboo.”
In reality, that taboo usually concerns incestuous marriages, reproduction, and not sexual contact.
This is because several generations of incestuous reproduction results in a greater incidence of genetic birth defects.
Socially supported or tolerated incestuous reproduction is bad for a society so they do not permit it.
Despite our fears, the child born of father-daughter or brother-sister incest will more than likely be perfectly normal if it occurs very rarely within that family’s genetic history.
The only universal concept that applies to incest is that it is universally prevalent. We have just been conditioned not to notice and are as a result not aware of it.
The natural aversion we reportedly have to incest is the result of social conditioning not instinct.
The proof of this is the number of siblings who engage in sexual activities as young children and teenagers. I certainly remember seeing many siblings engaging in sexual activities together.
I know, we did not engage in penile-vaginal penetration so it really was not sex, wrong.
Yes, it was definitely sex.
We have just chosen not to see it that way so we do not appear to have broken the great taboo, to subject ourselves to society’s wrath.
We all want to appear normal.
I’m not faulting the individual, but denial does not change reality.
The social ideal is that a man can find all women sexually desirable except his mother, sisters, and daughters, and a woman can find all men desirable except her father, brothers, and sons.
Is this realistic?
If you do not know someone is a member of your immediate family, will you automatically find them sexually undesirable? I would tend to believe not.
I’m guessing there have been many incidents throughout history where close blood relatives engaged in a sexual relationship not knowing who their partner really was.
The large number of incest and sexual abuse cases handled by our legal system would also support the idea that family members may find each other sexually desirable.
Another situation where reality does not conform to society’s expectations.
The Sexual Dynamics of a Family
If you put two people together, there will be a sexual dynamic to their relationship, regardless of gender and age.
The dynamic for young children is they are mutually curious about everything, including things of a sexual nature. Add puberty into the equation and mutual sex drives can cause one to sidestep society’s mores.
Can you really expect two people experiencing a strong sex drive, who spend a lot of time with each other, not to occasionally act instinctively versus rationally to their biological urges, not to mention intense curiosity?
As a result, incest between brothers and sisters, sisters, and fathers and daughters is probably much more common than we would like to acknowledge.
The number of women who have experienced sexual contact with an immediate family member is likely higher than the reported five percent (brothers 4%, sisters 0.7%, and fathers 0.5%) because as adults we often do not look back at what we did as sexual, as dictated and desired by society.
Socially we do not acknowledge and as a result ignore the sexual dynamics that occur within a family.
Society says children are asexual, a mother is maternal, and a father while sexual, is not so within the context of the family.
A father does not have “sex” with his wife, the mother of his children, or any family member. We ignore the sexual dynamics between daughters and fathers, and brothers and sisters.
There is also a sexual dynamic between a girl and her female family members.
Ignoring these dynamics does not mean they go away or do not exist, if anything, it may cause them to manifest themselves in undesirable ways, perhaps in the form of abuse, not necessarily sexual abuse.
Fathers and Daughters
If a father is a “perfect father” during a girl’s childhood, who is the one person she will more than likely be sexually attracted to when her sex drive starts to develop during puberty?
Who is the one person that likely fulfills all her physical and emotional needs? Is there likely to be any other male she knows and trusts more?
Based on her perspective, who would be the ideal father of her own children?
Many may claim these are some pretty inappropriate and false statements to make, but then why do women often go out and marry mirror images of their father?
Basically because their father met all their needs but one, their sexual need. As a result, they go out in search of a sexual father.
A controversial concept perhaps?
The “father figure” does not have to be the biological father, it can be a stepfather, a male guardian, or an older brother.
Most of us have witnessed some very close physical relationships between fathers and daughters.
The behavior we consider cute in a girl is seductive in a woman.
A young girl often learns if she acts “cute,” her father will do as she wishes. As a result we often say, “She has her father wrapped around her little finger.”
We only hint at the sexual dynamics in this type of relationship.
When puberty roles around and breasts start to develop and new and unfamiliar sensations start to occur, a girl may explore her new emotions and physical sensations with her father or father figure, who may or may not be a willing or knowing participant.
These new qualities may also drive a father and daughter apart since they cannot acknowledge, or act upon these feelings.
Many fathers are no longer able to ignore their daughter’s sexuality when her breasts develop as she is now a woman, sexual, not a girl, asexual and distances himself from her.
The girl herself may be understandably uncomfortable with her new feelings in this regard or her father’s new interest in her.
The sexual tension may become so intense neither can stand to be around the other, or it is expressed in the form of other emotions like anger and jealousy.
These sexual dynamics may also occur between brothers and sisters.
The family sexual dynamics for a lesbian may be even harder for her to understand and rationalize, since they do not fall into the male-female sexual paradigm.
Even in the absence of physical sex, there can be an incestuous relationship.
Mutually Beneficial Incest?
The question becomes whether there is such a thing as consensual and mutually beneficial incest. I am led to believe the answer is yes.
I do not know how often this occurs, but it does occur. It may happen very rarely.
I would guess brother-sister incest is more likely to be of this nature, as they are usually closer in age and are involved in the same social group.
Their level of sexual development is often about the same.
They both may have less control over their newly developed emotions and impulses and act impulsively.
They are also more likely to naturally develop sexual relationships with others at some point, as is desirable and beneficial.
Father-daughter incest is likely to be less consensual and beneficial because of the differences in authority, ages, and social groups.
The father often tries to control his daughter in these situations, wanting her solely for himself, when she really needs to go in search of other sexual partners at some point.
A girl may assume the role of her mother and become her father’s wife, this is not a beneficial dynamic to enter into as she needs to develop an identity of her own.
While father-daughter incest may start out consensual, it often does not end up that way.
Certainly sister-sister and mother-daughter incest occurs as well, but since there is no penile penetration involved, it often is not defined as sex or sexual.
Mutually consensual and beneficial incest appears to be one of those things society refuses to acknowledge, and as a result cannot exist even though it does.
Incest is not a form of sexual abuse, even though that is how we commonly and legally define it.
Which is not to say an incestuous relationship cannot be abusive.
In my Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary incest is defined as “sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry legally.”
There is no mention of abuse, or that it is wrong, though we might assume so if it is illegal for them to marry.
Of course, this definition also says that if it is not penile-vaginal intercourse it is not incest.
This definition does imply mutual consent, which is why it does not constitute sexual abuse.
Does Society Victimize?
There is what may best be described as a lot of “extremely negative energy” directed at the subject of sexual abuse in American society.
When someone mentions sexual abuse we automatically have a mental image of what it is and what has occurred to the victim.
We “know” how she must feel and how “damaged” she must be. We force everything to meet our definition versus seeing the dynamics of each case individually.
Our reactions to sexual abuse can punish both the perpetrator and the victim, since we expect them both to meet a particular paradigm.
We direct so much negative energy at the subject, that often it is the victim, if they define themselves as such and some do not like this label at all, that gets punished in addition to the perpetrator.
As a result, a girl or woman may be reluctant or outright fearful of acknowledging sexual abuse.
A girl will likely learn at a young age the results of reporting sexual abuse, and despite our best intentions, decide it best not to.
She may want the sexual abuse to end, but does not want to place her life in further turmoil or sever her relationship with the perpetrator in the process.
Remember, she may love and hate them at the same time. Her expectations may not meet society’s.
The American media and as a result the public tries and convicts a perpetrator immediately, without regard for the victim.
We say we are acting in her best interest, believing she is incapable of knowing what is best for her.
Are we acting in her best interest or ours?
Are we perhaps trying to renounce our own true feelings?
Why such mass hostility?
We have to be careful not to project our own views of what is appropriate retribution onto the victim.
As a society, we failed to identify and acknowledge sexual abuse in the past and as a result did not protect our children.
Perhaps out of guilt we may often times overreact, or react in an inappropriate manner today. Our own emotions come before the victims’.
For these reasons there are children and adult women who do not want to wear the title of “victim” or even “survivor,” because they desperately want to be “normal.”
They do not want to be the focus of so much negative energy.
They do not want society to tell them how to act and feel. Society even forces girls and women who willingly consented to sexual activities with an inappropriate partner, and in some cases an appropriate partner, to be a victim.
We say she is, so she feels she should act the role, to be normal, by society’s definition.
Society can victimize a person far more severely than can an individual, because while we can usually isolate ourselves from an individual, we cannot escape society.
Healing Through Fantasy and Role Playing
Author Pat Califia explores the multidimensionality of sexual abuse and recovery in her erotic stories.
While her stories are fictional and have a lesbian S&M theme, they address the multitude of feelings a woman may experience during and after these experiences.
Through role-playing her characters are able to explore and acknowledge their feelings then and now.
Role-playing the girl in charge or seeking and obtaining sexual pleasure may be healing for some.
She explores the sexual dynamics of families as well. T
hese stories may not be for everyone, but may help some, even those who do not engage in S&M and those with male partners.