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How did your childhood affect your sexuality?
September 22nd, 2011
07:20 AM ET

How did your childhood affect your sexuality?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

To create and sustain healthy intimate relationships, we often need to go back to the original building blocks of our sexual socialization and see how our patterns of sexual behavior took shape.

We need to look at how we were modeled - or, in other words, what we learned and internalized about sex and relationships throughout our childhood and adolescence, and how those experiences affected the ways we “mate and relate” today. I often ask people to think about the following statements and whether they are true or false:

1. From what I know and remember of my earliest childhood years, physical affection was a regular source of comfort and love. (For example, do you remember your mother or father tucking you in with a kiss at night? Do you have early memories of being picked up and hugged by one or both parents?)

2. My parents had different approaches to providing affection to my siblings and me. (For instance, in many cases, fathers are more comfortable rough-housing with boys than with girls.)

3. Growing up, my parents were always affectionate with each other. (Do you remember your parents hugging or kissing? Did they seem physically comfortable and connected? Or were they cold and distant?)

4. My parents employed physical means of discipline. (Did your parents ever reprimand you with a hand or belt? Was the method routine? Was it specific to only one parent? Was physicality something you associated more with punishment than affection in your childhood?)

5. As I grew older, my parents were less comfortable showing affection. (Were your parents more standoffish as you matured through puberty and adolescence? Were you aware of any differences in how your mother and father physically interacted with you?)

Whether these statements are “true” or “false” for you can offer valuable insight into your current views of sexuality. In her book "Sex Smart," Dr. Aline Zoldbrod examines how childhood shapes one’s adult sexual life, and she divides home environments into the seven following types based on how sexual topics are handled. Can you identify your own childhood environment with any of these broad types?*

1. The ideal environment. In this happy home, sexual curiosity is encouraged, questions about sex are answered with age-appropriate information and privacy and independence are respected and actively cultivated.

2. The predominantly nurturing environment. This environment is similar to the ideal environment, albeit with some glaring gaps. For instance, a parent or sibling suffers from intermittent periods of depression or illness, or a divorce and remarriage cause a break in the seamless functioning of the ideal environment.

3. The evasive environment. In this scenario, parents generally avoid the subject of sex and foster an environment where asking about sexual matters is uncomfortable. This is often consistent with a family where the parents are not openly affectionate with each other, even if they are affectionate to their children.

4. The permissive environment. At the other end of the spectrum is the home where sex is discussed too openly, with parents providing too much information too soon. In such a home, parents generally share intimate information with their children about their own sex lives and actively encourage their children to experiment sexually at too young an age to appreciate the emotional and psychological consequences.

5. The negative environment. In such a home, nonmarital sex is not merely avoided but treated as immoral, providing a fertile nesting ground for homophobia, misogyny and sexual problems in later life, including fear of masturbation, inability to achieve orgasm in women and premature ejaculation in men.

6. The seductive environment. In this scenario, relationships between parents and children or siblings are not overtly sexual, but are tinged with an inappropriate level of sexuality, including the routine discussion of age-inappropriate sexual matters.

7. The overtly sexual environment (or what I would term the abusive environment). This home is characterized by inappropriate sexual contact between a parent and child. Just to be absolutely clear, this inappropriate contact does constitute sexual abuse, even if the child often doesn’t recognize it as such or blocks it out. Whether the abuse happens just once or occurs over an extended period of time or is inflicted by a member of the immediate family or extended family of friends and relatives, growing up in an overtly sexual home can inflict long-term damage that impedes the ability to engage in healthy adult sexual relationships. From fear of intimacy to anger to lack of desire to promiscuity, overcoming the legacy of growing up in an overtly sexual environment requires time, work and professional counseling.

We can’t change where we came from, but we can affect the environment we create for our kids. As the Beatles wrote, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

* Zoldbrod bases her typology on previous work published by Bolton, F., L. Morris, and A. MacEachron. "Males at Risk: The Other Side of Child Sexual Abuse."


soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Larry

    I think my problems stem from liking hot women to only being able to date bolders.

    September 22, 2011 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • 1byrd

      Bolders? Oh! Boulders! And now ya know why........

      September 22, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • Carolyn

      Larry, you have a problem with women not because of their size but because you label them.Stop categorizing females as " bolders" (sic) or " hot," and you might just have a chance with one woman who sees the good in you. Also, learn how to spell. Nothing screams " loser" like a poor speller or a man too lazy to spellcheck.

      September 22, 2011 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
    • womenbasherssuck

      Larry,

      When you call a woman by another other name than woman.. all you really deserve is your hand. putz.

      October 5, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      ADULT STEM CELLS CURE'S AIDS / HIV and A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS BUT WHY????? IS AMERICA BEING HELD BACK FROM THE MAJOR LEAP IN MEDICINE DOES AMERICA WANT TOO KILL YOU ??????? OTHER COUNTRIES MAKING MAJOR LEAPS INTO MEDICINE BUT AMERICA IS STILL IN THE STONE AGE WHY????? WHO BENEFITS THE FDA BIG CORPORATIONS .......???

      October 17, 2011 at 23:00 | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      ADULT STEM CELLS CURE'S AIDS / HIV and A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS BUT WHY????? IS AMERICA BEING HELD BACK FROM THE MAJOR LEAP IN MEDICINE DOES AMERICA WANT TOO KILL YOU ??????? OTHER COUNTRIES MAKING MAJOR LEAPS INTO MEDICINE BUT AMERICA IS STILL IN THE STONE AGE WHY????? WHO BENEFITS THE FDA BIG CORPORATIONS .......?

      October 17, 2011 at 23:00 | Report abuse |
  2. Larry

    boulders, tanks, grenades, heffas, skally wags, etc

    September 22, 2011 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dahrann

      Halleluajh! I needed this—you\'re my savior.

      November 19, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • nqypmw

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      November 20, 2011 at 06:00 | Report abuse |
    • cmvfovljdk

      Ls7Eki smjgjclvidjv

      November 22, 2011 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
  3. rj

    what a bunch of crap

    September 22, 2011 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • k

      I don't know why I read this guys stuff...it always is.

      September 26, 2011 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
  4. boohoo

    boohoo

    September 22, 2011 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ruderalis

    I HATE my parents with a passion. Every negative thing stated (except the last one) was my family. I am an extremely bitter and angry person. I can point blame at them, but I am aware of my own actions, and I try to avoid conflicts as much as possible. Most of the day I feel as though there is a permanent black cloud hovering over me. It really sucks.

    September 22, 2011 at 09:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • momofthree

      Whatever happened is in the PAST, but of course it does take time to move beyond it. Make the changes you need for your own life now to create happiness and good health and well being. Otherwise it is like being injured over and over. Turn the page to a new chapter in your life. It is a process for sure. My faith and example of Jesus life made all the difference to move beyond things in my childhood. Best wishes!

      September 22, 2011 at 11:03 | Report abuse |
    • mj

      Stop being a prisoner in your own mind. Move on, and set an example to not be like your parents were. I know its hard to let go if grudges, but showing them that the cycle stops with you, is the ultimate revenge.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • Courtney

      I am sorry for your pain and hope you can heal.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Sounds like you need treatment for depression.

      September 22, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
    • Yeah, just get over it!!! What a Joke!

      You've been treated like crap for 18 or more years, and your just supposed to get over it. I don't think so. My parents were horrible and you just can't get over it quickly. It takes years and therapy and a lot of dealing with really bad memories and it sucks and it hurts so some people have a hard time getting over it! So please no 5 second psychology sessions. It's takes more time than that. @Ruderalis, it is worth the time and trouble to work at it. I'm a really angry person, but a great parent. I work really hard at it, but my kid is not going through what I went through, and unlike my parents, I try to be a good parent.

      September 22, 2011 at 20:37 | Report abuse |
    • chonchito

      If you really look into yourself and find that your creator , God has made you at his own perfection. You would learn to appreciate the greatness in you and how great you are. Take the time to do that.

      September 23, 2011 at 01:18 | Report abuse |
    • PS

      I'm sorry for your pain. I've been in your shoes, long story short I haven't spoken to my birth family in years and it's for the better. Sometimes you have to do the "unconventional" or what others might consider "mean" to eliminate the insanity, drama, toxic influences, etc. from your life.

      Those who say to "get over it' or "stop being a prisoner in your own mind" don't get that often a parents' mistreatment (and abuse in general for that matter) can result in severe after-effects. Feeling trapped and "bitter" (which is a term that some seem to plaster on to valid emotions that aren't warm fuzzy feelings and yet still deserve acknowledgement) can end up being more a matter of biochemical damage than choice.

      Talking about it is not being a "crybaby" or living in the past. Would those of you saying such things tell that to someone who's lost a loved one? No, you'd likely say they're grieving and give them the time to work through it. Mourning a murdered childhood is no different and accusing people of being whiners because they open up about it only reflects on your lack of empathy.

      October 2, 2011 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
  6. alimonyjones

    @Ruderalis: I have been where you are and was there for a long time. Trust me please, it does get better and you will move beyond it and enjoy your life.

    September 22, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ruderalis

      All we can do is hope, thank you. :)

      September 22, 2011 at 10:04 | Report abuse |
    • PS

      If this was Facebook, I'd "Like" your comment :-)

      October 2, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  7. avoidantpersonality

    My upbringing was a combination of evasive and negative. Nothing was mentioned - absolutely NOTHING. Everything I learned about s** was from friends or magazine articles. I'm in the same boat with Ruderalis - but I guess this was the way our parents were raised themselves. FWIW, my mother had cancer twice and the word 'cancer' was never mentioned in the house, only 'when I was in the hospital.' Nor was the word 'pregnant' even after she had 4 kids and 4 grandchildren.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MarkinFL

      Wow, I hear about such homes, but can barely imagine they are really like that. Sounds like something from 60 years ago. Good luck with all of that, I mean it.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
    • KC

      Yep. When I was getting married, Mom felt she needed to give me The Talk about (voice drops to a whisper) s*x. "Sure, Mom, what do you need to know?" She was so relieved she didn't have to talk about it that she never asked where I learned it!

      September 22, 2011 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
    • grl

      thats how my house was too. I was never even told what a tampon was. I just read the box and figured it out, about 4 months later my mom asked me if i started because her tampons were allmost gone lol. when i was 20 and told my mom I was pregnant she thought i was never "with" anyone.

      September 27, 2011 at 18:39 | Report abuse |
  8. Lola

    I was raised by strict catholic grandparents and an out of control abusive mother who often dated married men. She would get angrier and more violent if her kids didn't think she was hot and blamed men for being un desirable to them. I healed from the craziness but my desire for true love and healthy s3xualality was never effected by my childhood. Unlike everyone else in my family , loving relationships with others came easy for me and I've always been confidence about s3x. Anyway I've been happily married for a long time and we still have fun together especially between the sheets.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Just wonder why it was different for you than everyone else in the family...

      September 22, 2011 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
    • Lola

      I knew at a young age my family was a mess and I didn't want to be like them. When I was a teen I started to work on myself to make sure I didn't turn out to be like my mother. I learned right vs wrong by doing the opposite of what my mother would do and it worked. All the pain, loneliness and rejection in my childhood made me crave true love from another. The first time I felt loved and accepted was from a boyfriend (not in a s3xual way, a friendship) and I was open to those relationships at that point because i was working on myself. Now my mother and my sister are attractive but they are abusive and controlling to men so they don't stick around. My mother's brother had the same personality and was married 4 or five times. They all tend to blame others and act like victims when things don't work out rather than changing themselves so I think that's why I turned out different.

      September 22, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
  9. HockeyMinny

    As a +50 yr old male, I have tried my best NOT to bring my kids up in an environment (like many did in the 60's and 70's). I'm trying to replace more positive elements like faith in God and love for the old school guilt, shame and alcohol. My kids probably think I'm too strict but I don't recall getting an "Owners manual" when I left the delivery room... just a bible.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dbsm

      Throw away the bible. Get real and personal.

      September 22, 2011 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
  10. avoidantpersonality

    MarkinFL: Thanks for responding. Post-WWII baby boomer here. We were raised by a mother who was not comfortable with affection from anybody. Dad worked nights so we never saw him except at dinner time, then he was gone all evening at work. If we touched Mom she'd say "Don't touch me, you give me cold chills." Just from picking up her vibes I learned she couldn't stand to be in the same room with her children and often threatened to walk out a never come back. She used to beat my sister when she came home from dates, so my sister got married a month out of high school just to get away from home and that marriaged ended in divorce. I moved away from home as soon as I got a job and got my own place. So I never picked up the social custom of dating and I wasn't really interested. In fact somebody asked me out for a date once and I asked 'What for?" Could never get in my head that I was wanted by anybody.

    On the other hand, I think those families with kids that bathe and shower together are absolutely creepy and a lot of people think that kind of thing is OK. It just creeps me out.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Rainey

    In the majority of the cases, it's a fact cold parents produce children who turn out to be non-affectionate mates. May be great in the "early stages" but the distance sets in quickly. Some people just don't know how to really love others....they just go thru the motion..

    September 22, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      I don't know if I would say the majority. It is frustrating to come from that background, really want the affection, and yet be unable to obtain it. I was fine in a long-term relationship, but having the confidence to start new ones is difficult.

      September 22, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • D

      Also, have been on the receiving end of that coldness in a relationship, and it is horrible too. Sometimes it is difficult to know what you have to do exactly to "deserve" the affection. Ridiculous, but there it is.

      September 22, 2011 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
    • Grace

      The past may hurt once,but once we go back to look at it ,it can be part of the good memories of our life.

      September 27, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse |
  12. Jim in DC

    Both of my parent besides being physically abusive to each other and their 3 boys never showed a bit of affection to us. My Dad (Marine) made us at age 7 make a bed where a quarter would bounce. IF it didn't the bed was stripped and we started over. If it took too long we did not get breakfast before school.
    They divorced and my mother raised on her own, never once growing up di I hear my parent say I love you.
    Fast forward.... I left home at 17 and never looked back. I broke all ties from the family for many years. My Dad died and I found out 3 years later. I went to therapy for many years to understand that it was them and not me.
    In January My Partner and I will celebrate 13 years together and not a day goes by without us speaking our love to each other, even when argueing.
    So you can change and do not have to carry the baggage of your parents/upbringing. The first step is learning to love believe in yourself...... after awhile you will find that you can even Love yourself.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Thank you for this. Despite a lot of therapy and work, still struggling.

      September 22, 2011 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
    • Dbsm

      Right on, Jim! My husband, now deceased, determined that he did not want to be the parent his Dad was. And he was not. We have great kids!

      September 22, 2011 at 22:40 | Report abuse |
  13. dx2718

    Plenty of people raised in single-parent homes or by divorced parents, who do not have the opportunity to witness intimacy between their caregivers, grow up to have happy, healthy relationships of their own. Conversely, some children raised in the "ideal environment" still mess up their own personal relationships and end up divorced or worse. Children don't just learn by example; they also learn by experience, and furthermore, each child is endowed with some amount of natural instinct about these things. This is not a scientific study and it's not fair to kids who grow up in alternative-style homes. Kids can turn out healthy in all sorts of different environments; what's important is that their caregivers understand and love them, and cater to their particular needs as individuals.

    September 22, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Talk about missing the point entirely. Can you be a little more PC here?

      September 22, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • D

      If you don't treat the children as lovable, they will think themselves unlovable. That is the point. Any "natural instinct" can be crushed by unloving behavior over a couple of decades.

      September 22, 2011 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
  14. Me

    Are posts getting moderated out of existence due to the obvious 3-letter word that maybe is not allowed to be posted even though it's all over the article??

    September 22, 2011 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Me

    Is G d a bad word here?

    September 22, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Me

    Is s x a bad word here?

    September 22, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Me

    Neither are, so why won't my post go up??

    September 22, 2011 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bambang

      Posted on I'll always reemebmr visiting the John Adams house when I was a young kid, the guide talking about the exquisite hand-laid tile floor and pointing out a single imperfection in the tens of thousands of tile pieces. Why didn't they fix it?! I asked. They laid it that way on purpose, he explained, to symbolize their belief that man cannot be perfect only god is perfect. Quilt square fail? Okay, probably. But you could just look on it as an homage to one of our founding fathers!

      October 11, 2012 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
  18. maggie

    my childhood was a disater. we couldnt watch rhett kiss scarlet, but had to listen to my father rape my mom everytime he got drunk 3 to4 times a week. we lived in a glass house my father was a piller of the community, but really a monster. yes we had good times but few & far btw. everyone did their best to hurry & get out of the home that left me the baby . mother quit getting beat when he started in on me. he would beat me if one of my sibling did something wrong like divorce to teach me not to. thats as far as I can go now. it gets worse but dont have the heart to share right now.

    September 22, 2011 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bigrick

      Sheesh...sorry Maggie. Kids deserve better than that. Heck, people deserve better than that

      September 22, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
    • Roe

      A little off topic but I just want to say I wish every discussion on here was like this one. It's nice to see people on here sincerely sharing their lives and also offerring support to each other. I'm guessing all the trolls are napping. As I'm reading the posts I see a little bit of myself in each one, especially Maggie's. The difference is my father was as far from a pillar of the community as you can get. Everyone knew he was a drug using wife beating animal. It's nice to know that I'm not alone Maggie and I want you to know your not alone either. It takes a lot out of you to rehash those things and only you know what your emotional limit is. But I can relate to how raw the hurt is, as if it happenned 5 minutes ago. Even though you don't know me I just want you to know my heart is with you because I have lived a life like yours and in spite of all the pain, WE survived.

      September 22, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse |
    • avoidantpersonality

      Maggie: Get help right away. There must be a crisis intervention center or social service organization in your area to help people in your situation with an abusive history. Start with your state department of mental health or church. I work with battered women and rape victims in my County. Many of our victims come from an abusive childhood and go on to relationships with abusive partners. We have to stop the cycle somehow. I know how you feel and why you are where you are now. I live alone, too, and can't imagine how it feels to share space with somebody else. Although my dad was not an abusive drunk, he was just a peripheral figure in our childhood - working all the time - but we loved him very much. It was my mom who was the unapproachable iceberg in the family.

      Again, Maggie - reach out for help.That's the first big step.

      September 22, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse |
  19. maggie

    @ big rick the sad part is I dont know how to love, truly love so I live alone. wait to die, it will end someday!

    September 22, 2011 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Roe

      @maggie I too thought I would live alone and die alone. But I met someone who decided to love me in spite of myself. I didn't know what to do or what to say or even how to behave around a man who didn't beat me or hate me for no reason. Like you my self worth was wrapped up in the abuse I sufferred at the hands of my father. I wasn't able to love because I didn't feel I deserved to be loved myself. Little by little I learned how to smile and that it was OK to laugh and then one day it hit me that I deserved to be happy and yes I was worthy of someones love. I now have a man who is my best friend and love of my life who dosen't want anything but the pleasure of my company and yes 22 years later he still loves me despite the fact that I am a little bruised and broken. Please try to let someone in Maggie, I beg of you. Because I can't stand to see another sister in pain live the life of hopelessness and despair I once lived. You are worth all the good things in life you were robbed of, so please don't give up.

      September 22, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • JJDLS

      I'm right there with you Maggie

      September 22, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Floating in the same boat. I only wish that my decades of therapy, and counseling would have helped me. Still lost even after 28 years of trying to leave the past behind, love others, and myself as well.

      October 13, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse |
  20. JJDLS

    Yep my childhood affected my s*xuality in very negative ways. Cold/distant mother and s*xually abusive father, I left home the day after graduating h.s. and never went back. I tried to run from the pain with drugs and alcohol and was very promiscuous, married and divorced twice. I no longer drink or do drugs and can't even stand to be touched by a man now, I realize I have never loved and I don't know how and this is after many many many years of therapy. I've forgiven my parents and I no longer feel pain or anger towards them, I mostly feel nothing now and at 55 I don't think I'm going to change.

    September 22, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. maggie

    i ve been to nany therpist, but dont get much out of it the pain always returns. i too been married twice divorced twice, have 3 sons that ,i see mayb every 6mo if im lucky. they are great young men. but the lack of love is very noticeable. i love them w/all my heart but u cant get them to believe it. i dont want to die alone i want someone to hold me & love me everynight but that will never happen. the personality defects are to great. im not worthy of this kind of happiness. i dont know how to live or love & im 50 to old to figuare it out. just once in my life id love to know what its like to be loved, not used or abused just loved

    September 22, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Me

    Maggie, you deserve that and more, everyone does, you are a precious child of God. Have you tried to know Jesus? He healed me and made me know I'm worthy of that love too. Now I almost don't remember a life without self worth and self love. Do try to open your heart to Him! We are all broken but in Him we are fixed! He loves you, and once you know that, you will find love as you are infinitely worthy of it.

    September 22, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Mr. Tilly

    Wow! Reading these stories makes me a little sad. While I had far less than an ideal upbringing (my mother was a drug addict, we were impoverished, and I've seen more than my share of domestic violence), I matured into a happy, stable man. I suppose I'm lucky that all of those things didn't ruin my ability to form intimate relationships. In fact, despite the problems, I think when it came to s3xuality and s3x my family was progressive and healthy. However, I think true, open, honest and accurate information was a necessity since after my mother turned her life around she and my grandmother began caring for my uncle who died from AIDS in the early 90s. I have my issues, but I couldn't imagine being in my 50s and not knowing what it is like to have someone care for you in an intimate, romantic way. I feel that's a greater injustice than anything I ever endured, and I endured a lot! My sympathies go out to you. P.S. These filters are ridiculous; it's like trying to talk about mathematics without being able to use the words numbers, integer, or math...

    September 22, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. maggie

    I want thank each & everyone for the kind words, i know its hard for you to understand someone in my postion when i cant even understand it. Im trying to find myself at 50 but its useless too much time has lasped. I do the best i can try to be the best person i know how to be but like i said i dont know how to live or love. i just survive & i just thats the best that can be expected... But once just once id like to know what it means to be loved!!! Good night my friends!

    September 22, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • San

      At 50 the only thing stopping you from finding love is you. You're still reeling from the hurt you experienced as a child. This is understandable. Especially since you hinted that it was much worse than what you posted. What you need to realize is that the people who hurt you then cannot hurt you anymore.

      50 is not too late to find what you are looking for. I know you've seen many therapists, but you may want to look into another. Maybe someone who specializes in the field you need the most help with. There are therapists who deal solely with relationships and s3x.

      Since you want to find love, try starting small. Cultivate some meaningful friendships. Who knows, within those friendships, you may find the one who will love you.

      Do not wait to die. Don't give the people who've hurt you(living, or dead) the satisfaction that they ruined an innocent and beautiful life.

      Do your sons know what happened? If you haven't discussed it with them, you may want to. That way they can at least have an understanding of why you've behaved the way you have. And that though you may not be able to show it, you love them dearly.

      *HUG* I wish you the best. Please try to heal.

      September 23, 2011 at 00:23 | Report abuse |
  25. 12mchen

    So basically, all practicing Catholics were raised in a 'negative' environment according to this article........

    September 22, 2011 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dbsm

      Depends on what you mean by practicing Catholic. In my experience that can mean a VAST array of practices.

      September 22, 2011 at 22:52 | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Yeah. Pretty biased article, if you ask me.

      September 26, 2011 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • PS

      What Dbsm said. I'm a practicing Catholic but have made sure my kids know about the birds and the bees, how to speak out if someone's mistreating them, they see accountability in our home through examples, not just words. Frankly I've seen households of every culture and belief system be repressive, abusive, etc., including non-religious ones. Abuse is pretty equal opportunity.

      October 2, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Yes, noticed that too. That pretty much discredited the entire article. So unless you promote promiscuity, then you are raising children in a "negative" environment??

      October 10, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
  26. CatCat

    My parents were open with information but hated each other so I never saw any affection AT ALL. I grew up to be rather prudish, I think as a result.

    September 22, 2011 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. 12mchen

    I read some of the comments on here it is really sad to hear such things. There are terrible things that do go on behind close doors. My childhood was also very negative, but I have learned to move past that. It's for your own sake that you focus on the future. It's the only way to live.

    September 22, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Natoya

    Did she have a point in there somewhere????????????/

    September 22, 2011 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. maggie

    @ Mr Tilly Ive taken some time to think over your comment, & yes Im doing alot of soul searching in the good book like I said trying to find my purpose & love.. but praying GOD will send me a good man to hold me at night one I can cook for him enjoy his company. Its late in life & fear its to late. I have my dogs to love but its not the same as having someone to make love to to be united as one .If God willing Ill get this man before I die but if not I will survive.

    September 23, 2011 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. San

    My parents separated when I was eight. Dad left for another state. A few years later the divorce was finalized. I don't blame my mom for doing this. My father was a negative emotional and financial influence. Shortly after the divorce, he died. My mom never dated after him.

    I didn't hook up with my first, and only boyfriend until I was 25. Granted 25 is young, but it kind of feels awkward when your friends are in relationships. It's a bit hard to relate if they come to you for advice because you haven't experienced what they're going through.

    September 23, 2011 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. maggie

    this will problibly be a mistake I can be found on facebook Margaret Mangum my pic is a ice angel. i found that others here that might care. will delete all trolls but happy to share with other kind souls

    September 23, 2011 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Christianna

    I had a real good child-hood. My father was a Christian soldier who was willing to sa-cri-fice himself for God, for his family and for the nation's well-ness, as a real man should. My mother con-si-s-tently taught us kids on the Catholic saints who have over-come all kinds of sorrows, sufferings and tem-pta-tions. The TV cartoons I watched po-rtra-yed gallant men who would protect the Planet Earth and the beautiful, graceful women who were cherished by those honorable men( the women wisely a-i-d-ed the men and were also nicely cou-ra-ge-ous). All of them stayed v-i-r-g-i-n until marriage. I did not allow myself ob-se-ss-ed with s-e-x since from early I learned the ideal that true love bet-ween a faithful man and woman is much more valuable and mysterious and at-tra-ctive. It later helped me to live with sanity under any ci-r-cu-m-stan-ces. Life has con-stant battles but God always gives us the strength we need, in Jesus.

    September 23, 2011 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Christianna

    Nothing is better in this world than faithful young v-i-r-g-i-n man and v-i-r-g-i-n woman get married happily after all kinds of trials but stayed loyal to each other. Setting one's heart to settle nothing less than that is utmost important and it must be taught to children everywhere for all time.

    September 23, 2011 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Christianna

      Without the above ideal, any love or marriage sounds only like a joke or a game or something to be replaced or trashed. True love followed by marriage between one v-i-r-g-i-n man and one v-i-r-g-i-n woman alone is worth of life. Some exceptions apply to the pure victims of crimes or tragedies.

      September 23, 2011 at 01:15 | Report abuse |
  34. WV Mom

    @Lola,

    I too was in a similar situation and I like you, did the exact opposite of what my mother did. I am happily married and have 3 children. My sister on the other hand, is very much like my mother and has difficulty in relationships. My mother is now on hubby #5 and is still miserable...

    September 23, 2011 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. c

    I have to admit that my parents were not what I would consider affectionate at all, but they were also respectful (in general) and never abusive. Now that I, at 25, am in a serious relationship I do think it has affected me some. He said I love you first and it took me a while to get to the point that I could. PDA makes my skin crawl, and I don't even like holding his hand in public. I do it because he does like it, and after 6 months it is getting easier for me. That is how I know that I love him, because I am willing to take something that is really hard for me and work on it to make him happy. All this being said, my parents are still together and still happy, just not affectionate.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. mydoghatesyou

    My childhood was terrible too. My father beat me and my mother silently watched. He was also a pervert. I went to theraphy when I had two little girls. I wish I has went sooner. It's not about forgiving your parents. It's about forgiving yourself because of self hate that comes from abuse.

    September 24, 2011 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Jolt

    This article sucks

    September 26, 2011 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Sandra

    There are two problems with Kerner's test; 1. It is not applicable to single-parent situations or children growing up in foster care (or if the child has no siblings), 2. it totally neglects interaction with teachers, schoolmates, peers, etc. Children spend little time with parents these days, and most do not have parents (single-parent or foster care).

    September 26, 2011 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. dp

    @Jolt, yeah the article sucks because it is asking you to look at your childhood and identify painful events. Realizing how these events contribute to the person you are today is even more painful. If you do this you will be putting a light on something dark that is holding you back, but amazingly you begin to take its power away. then you confide in someone you trust taking the shame and guilt from this event(s), you will never be free of the past but you will be able to heal from it. This is not a 5 minute process, this can take weeks, months, or years to recall and sort thru repressed memories and then find the courage to talk about them. Having done this myself a huge weight has been lifted and I've become a much happier person. I wish everyone success in dealing with their past.

    September 26, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. grl

    I grew up in a home where I was waiting for my parents to divorce since i was a young kid, My mom was and still is an alcholic that would not work and would spend my fathers money faster than he could make it. I have no childhood memories of playing with my mom. she just wanted to party. when i was a teenager she would yell at me for going to bed on a school night and not being cool. she would try to keep my dad awake all night. he left for work between 4am and 6am every morning until 5pm. my mom was unfaithfull and cheated on my dad with his friends. now that im 24 he finally left her when she moved in with her boyfriend.

    Now I'm married with three children. and I vowed to myself to never drink around them. and I only drink one or two beers a year with a babysitter. But my relationship with my husband is far from best with verbal abuse and controlling issues, anger on his end. and myself I bottle things in and say "I'm fine" too much. I dont know if that is conected

    September 27, 2011 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. jzaks

    Wow, this turned into a forum for crybabies.

    October 2, 2011 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. sk4kids

    Wow, #5 is way off.

    October 7, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dan

      Yeah, apparently for this guy having moral standards is a 'negative.' I mean, the gall of it...to ACTUALLY expect people to treat marriage vows like they mean something!!!! What next? Expect kids not to steal or murder?

      October 17, 2011 at 06:42 | Report abuse |
  43. Jim in Colorado

    I really do enjoy reading these articles as well as the subsequent comments. It's a shame that so many people are suffering from so many dysfunctional intimacy problems. I too have my own problems with love and intimacy. My Dad was a piano salesman by day as well as a fine pianist/musician/composer/arranger/conductor by night! He was hardly ever home. My Mom was the disciplinarian in the family....and she was and still is the sargeant of the house. Both my sister and I were born with physical problems. She had severe kidney infections and problems resulting from those infections, and I was born with a cleft lip and palate. I know this was really devistating to my Mom....and I think her disappointment at having sick children was evident to us at an early age. She could be a real tyrant/monster....and my sister and I hated her for that. My sister moreso than me! She left the house after graduation and married at 19 and moved to the west coast. I stayed and moved out a couple of times but always found myself having to move back due to financial issues. My Dad died when I was 24, and I moved back home after having lived in an apartment for a couple of years. I moved out again in the early 90s, but moved back in order to save up enough money to buy a home. Unfortunately....the high interest rates of the 90s and early 2000s made it impossible to buy a place. And the inflated home prices of these days still make it impossible for a modest wage earner like myself to buy a place. Anyway....that has nothing to do with this article. What I wanted to say here is that I have been terminally single my entire life. I have been intimate on a few occasions, but never had a girlfriend for more than a couple of days and have never been married nor do I have children. This is the most painful part of my life, and I have hated life because of it for all of my nearly 53 years. I can't really believe that there are other people who are close to as lonely and desire companionship as much as I do! Not an hour goes by that I don't wish that things were different in my life. I cannot understand why I have so much difficulties in communicating with members of the opposite gender! And I cannot understand why members of the opposite gender have never given me the time of day in my entire life. It is very painful not to have someone to spend time with, to hold hands with, to give and get a hug at the very least. Lack of physical interaction is truly a painful thing to cope with. I have read most of the comments to this article, and although I find it difficult to read and process some of the replies, it is at least somewhat nice to know that there are other people who crave companionship and human interaction just as much as I do! I hope for those of you who are wanting to find someone....that somewhere and somehow this comes true for you....as much as I do for myself! Good luck to all you lonely hearts! And to Maggie....I am going to see if I can find your FB page. Maybe we can share stories?

    February 2, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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