There are many possible reasons you could be asking this question now.
Maybe someone else (girlfriend, partner, or friend) said something like, “What you’re saying makes me wonder if you were sexually abused,” or “You’re acting like someone took advantage of you sexually when you were a child.”
Whatever has raised this question for you, at this moment you’re wondering if childhood or teenage sexual experiences (however you decide to define or label them) are related to problems you’re having now.
On the one hand, you might feel hopeful when asking this question. Hopeful that you’re about to understand why you have some of the problems that have prevented you from achieving your goals and being happy. Hopeful that, if unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood are a cause of your problems, or a particular problem, then you might finally know how to deal with the problem(s) and move on.
On the other hand, it could be scary just to ask the question. You might fear that you’re “opening a pandora’s box,” or that it could do more harm than good to “dig up the past.”
While we can’t know your particular situation right now, we can say this: There are good reasons for both hope and caution.
As we say elsewhere on this site it’s important to pace yourself as you attempt to answer this question – and any other questions you have about the possible effects of childhood sexual experiences, how to deal with them, etc.
You don’t need to figure everything out right away, however much it may feel that way now or in the future.
At the same time, we encourage you not to hold too tightly to any particular answers (or fears) that come to you, whether from reading this site or any other source of information or opinions. Give yourself some time to sort things out, and to look at things from a few perspectives.
This site has many resources for sorting out this question. (Again, no need to get overwhelmed: take some time to explore and reflect.)
For most of you, there will be no easy or immediate answer. Instead, you will find your own unique path to a few answers that make sense and work for you.
Finally, you may find that the most helpful answers come from talking with a professional who’s worked with other men like you, and/or other men who have had similar experiences.
Whatever path you choose, and whatever answers work for you, we wish you well.
This question is related to the following Online Readings topics and subtopics:
- How Unwanted or Abusive Sexual Experiences Can Cause Problems
- Caution: It’s Not All About the Sexual Experiences
- Complexity of Consequences
- Masculinity, Self-Esteem & Identity
- Self-Regulation & Addictions
There is also very helpful information in these sections and pages: