I Had Sex Before The Age of Consent… How Do I Reconcile Shame?

by Reid on December 27, 2020

I Had Sex Before The Age of Consent… How Do I Reconcile Shame?

 

 

 

 

 

Find out more with Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com.

 

Cathy: Someone wrote in and said, “Hey Reid, I’ve been following you for several months now and I think your outlook on sex is amazing. You’re one of the most sensitive, aware powerful men I have the pleasure of learning from. Anyway, on to my question, I was 19 years old when I had a sexual encounter with someone who was 15 at the time about 8 years ago. I’m fully aware that this was below the age of…of legal consent. I wasn’t…”

Reid: Depending on where they live.

Cathy: Right. Well, apparently where they were…. “But it wasn’t a forced interaction if you understand I’m meaning. I was emotionally immature; I had no clue of potential ramifications or even the implications of what I was doing. It wasn’t something I felt good about over the years but with all the celebrity revelations I’m sure you’re fully aware of I have a few concerns, the biggest is how to reconcile the shame I’m feeling knowing that what I did wa­s not okay but at the same time making my peace with it so to speak? I’m becoming more active in LGBT and Kink scenes and one of the fears I have is pot this possibly coming out and ruining a potential lot of good I could be doing from the emotional immaturity of my past and also should I reach out to this girl and see if I can help resolve anything for her? Help or endeavor to do so?”

Reid: mm-hmm

Cathy: So, I really appreciate this person writing in. It’s a delicate subject. I am here with Reid Mihalko from http://reidaboutsex.com/

Reid: And I’m with Cathy Vartuli here from http://theintimacydojo.com/. I’m…I’m just gonna cut to the quick, I’m not gonna answer this question because I haven’t done enough research yet on what advice actually to give this person because this falls under legalities and for me to sit here and tell you what I think which might put you in some sort of legal jeopardy. I’ve already started asking around and I’m having conversations with people about this so at some point I will answer this question and I am I’m so flattered that somebody reached out to me about this and I also don’t want to give somebody advice that puts the burden on other people because the challenges right now that maybe this person doesn’t want to hear from you and so you reaching out to them can…could actually not be the best advice.

Cathy: Right

Reid: And this is tricky for me because I’m the like “Say what you’re not saying” person. One thing I can tell you to do is go talk to a therapist like go talk to a professional listener who you know will keep things confidential. I don’t think again I have to check out the the legal…I don’t think this is a mandatory reporting situation for a therapist or something like that.

Cathy: You can check in your state but generally if it’s not ongoing, it’s…

Reid: Yeah and I’m also not trying to skirt the question by declaring this is you know legally stuff and I need to put this person’s concerns and welfare over the person who was 15 at the time so I’m sure that this video will get me all kinds of comments but I want to make sure that I’ve done my due diligence and I’m giving the best advice I can and so I’m in the midst of research and reflection right now. What about you?

Cathy: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I think that finding a good therapist to work through this may be someone that isn’t closely aligned with a community you’re in just to give yourself a little distance might be helpful and to work through the shame and and the guilt. I was abused as a child, I have no wish for people to be suffering personally I don’t like I don’t think people feeling deep shame makes it any better for what I went through.

Reid: Well if…if you had somebody who came out of the woodwork from your past to check in and talk about stuff

Cathy: I think it would depend partly on where I was because I’ve done a lot of healing, I might be fine with it but someone who’s still in trauma or trying to deny it or put it away that might be really traumatic

Reid: Yeah

Cathy: it might retraumatize

Reid: and…and it might be that this person is not traumatized

Cathy: It might’ve been fine not an issue for that person.

Reid: Yeah, yeah. There’s an article about a woman who slept with David Bowie when she was underage and for her, she’s fine with it.

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: And that is an interesting you know thing to look at from different sides and I forget how old she was she might have been 17 or 16 or something like that and Bowie was I think in his 20’s?

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: But again interesting stuff and you know how again for this situation how would you know where somebody is in their journey?

Cathy: Yeah, so if you’re working with a trained therapist, someone who has experience in this area working through your own working through some of your issues first might even if you decide that it’s the right thing to reach out to this person with a therapist’s help, approaching someone from a point of of shame and just you know like feeling a lot of intensity you may not be able to hold space for the other person or hear them as well. So at the very least you want to work through as much as you can for both your own sake and if you decide that it’s the right thing to talk to this person, at some point you’ll have more capacity to be there for them and…and hear what they’re saying.

Reid: There’s also you might want to look in in the direction of 12-step programs not for this case in particular but the fourth step is….I think it’s…the fourth step is around making amends and there are some interesting ideas around what that means just because you’re going through a process of healing for yourself and taking responsibility. Making amends doesn’t….doesn’t necessarily mean going and finding everybody in your life and then basically demanding that they have a conversation for you to feel complete.

Cathy: Yeah, it’s supposed to be in the service of the other person whoever you might have wronged.

Reid: So again this is tricky stuff and it’s deep stuff and I super appreciate the question and I wish I had more to actually say about it.

Cathy: Thanks very much for writing in.

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