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Understanding Male Arousal Kelli Palfy

Understanding Male Genital Arousal:  

By Dr. Kelli Palfy. Author of Men Too: Unspoken Truths About Male Sexual Abuse.

As psychologist who researched why boys and men often fail to disclose sexual abuse, I learned that confusion often promotes silence among male victims of sexual abuse. Male victims who feel confusion about their level of participation, about why they never stopped their abuse sooner or why their body responded favorably, often feel betrayed by their own bodies.

Eliciting confusion is part of the process for perpetrators. Since 90% of abuse is perpetrated by someone known the victim, it is not uncommon for victims to have liked their abuser prior to being abused, after-all during the grooming process, their abuser likely treated them VERY well. When their bodies respond favorably to their abuse, they often recall the loving feelings they felt prior to their abuse, and become confused. Understanding how and why males get erections during abuse is important part of a male victims recovery from abuse.

Although I am not a medical doctor, I did a little bit of homework and learned that not all  erections are associated to having loving thoughts and feelings.  Research conducted on patients with spinal cord injuries reveals that the penis, which is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, is capable of producing erections under several different sets of circumstances.  

Here is what I learned:

1st - Males can get an erection under situations of extreme duress.  Men in combat have attained erections when faced with life-threatening situations.

2nd - There 3 types of erections: The 1st psychogeni– are obtained through arousing thoughts and through stimulating any of the 5 senses. (The way most are familiar with.) The 2nd reflexogenic  - are produced solely through stimulating of the nerve endings. (This might explain those “uncomfortable moment’s in the doctor’s office at exam time.)  Erections occur in this way after neurotransmitters send the message to the brain to stop the restriction previously sustained, and quickly send blood which rushes to the area causing the penis to get erect. The 3rd is nocturnal – these occur during REM sleep or (math class).

So if you are a male who was sexually abused and you wonder why your body “betrayed you” know this… your body simply works the way God designed it to work. If your body responded to unwanted touch (or touch that occurred prior to having the capacity to consent) don’t struggle with the misconception that you wanted the abuse. Even if you liked your offender or the prior to the abuse happening, abuse is abuse. Even if being stimulated felt good.  Orgasms are meant to feel good. The truth is every child need (and deserves) love and attention. Love true love doesn’t come at the cost of being abused.

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Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil. 2017 Winter; 23(1): 1–10. doi: 10.1310/sci2301-1

Neural Control and Physiology of Sexual Function: Effect of Spinal Cord Injury

Andrei Krassioukov, MD, PhD, FRCPCcorresponding author1,2,4,5 and  Stacy Elliott, MD1-,3,5




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Do you lie in bed awake for more than 20 minutes begging for sleep to come?

If the answer is yes...get up out of bed and go do something else! Do something fun, but not too emotionally or physically stimulating. Sleep experts tell us that it is better to get out of your bed, than to 'condition' your bed to become a place where you go to fear sleep. Don’t try go back to bed for at least half an hour...This should help you get more sleep in the long run. Having nightmares? I can help....come see me

Are you a man who wonders if you were really a victim?

Check out my blog on understanding grooming techniques and pick up a copy of my book! What begins as abuse remains matter how your body responded.


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