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Male Sexual Assault

men and sex

Not many people talk about male rape and sexual assault. However, I discovered that outside of child abuse and the prison population, the gay community deals with that a lot. I would imagine that men, like women who are sexually victimized, wonder whether what happened was rape and whether they were to blame.

Rape and sexual assault can happen to anyone, including men, regardless of their race, class, age, size, appearance, or sexual orientation.

"I picked up this guy at a bar and took him home with me. He made me have a kind of sex that I didn't want. I was too scared to fight back or refuse. Is that sexual assault?"

Yes. Rape and sexual assault include any unwanted sexual acts. Even if you agree to have sex with someone, you have the right to say "no" at any time, and to say "no" to any sex acts. Rapists sometimes use threats or weapons to force a person to cooperate. It is important to remember that cooperation does not mean consent. Sometimes cooperating with a rapist is necessary to survive the situation. If you are sexually assaulted or raped, it is never your fault - you are not responsible for the actions of others.

What are rape and sexual assault?

A sexual assault is any time either a stranger, or someone you know, touches any parts of your body in a sexual way, directly or through clothing, when you do not want it. Sexual assault includes situations when you cannot say no because you are drunk, high, unconscious, or have a disability.

Rape is any kind of sexual assault that involves the forced penetration of the anus or mouth, by a penis or other object.

Rape and sexual assault are not sex, they are violent crimes. Rape and sexual assault, like any other forms of violence, are used to exert power and control over another person.


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Can men be sexually assaulted or raped by other men?

Yes. Rape and sexual assault can happen to anyone, including men. Thousands of men are sexually assaulted and raped every year, and it has nothing to do with their race, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, size, appearance, or strength. A man can be sexually assaulted by a stranger, a family member, or someone he knows and trusts. Experts estimate that 1 in 6 men are sexually assaulted during their lifetime. Even though male sexual assault remains vastly underreported, the united States Department of Justice documents more than 13,000 cases of male rape every year.

"I was walking down the street late one night and three guys jumped me and dragged me into an alley. They called me a "faggot" and a "bitch", threatened to beat me up, and forced me to give them all blow jobs. It this what I get for being gay?"

No. What you experienced was a sexual assault, a crime of violence, not sex. Attackers frequently use verbal harassment and name-calling during a sexual assault. Sexual assault has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the attacker or the survivor. While rapists can be bisexual or gay, most of the men who rape and sexually assault other men are heterosexual. Sometimes heterosexual men use rape and sexual assault to target, humiliate, and hurt other men for being gay. A sexual assault does not make you gay, bisexual, or heterosexual.

What are typical reactions during or after a rape or sexual assault?

Sexual assault or rape is almost always a traumatic experience. Sometimes a man who is sexually assaulted or raped has an involuntary or forced erection or ejaculation. Also, muscles in the anus often relax when a man is raped. This does not mean that the survivor wanted to be raped or sexually assaulted. Involuntary erections and ejaculations are normal reactions to trauma.

Although, everyone reacts differently to surviving such an assault, there are some common symptoms and reactions.

Common Physical Symptoms:

  • tears in the lining of the rectum
  • swelling and abrasion of the anus
  • anal warts or lesions
  • stiff or sore limbs
  • loss of memory and/or concentration
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • stomachaches
  • and headaches

Sometimes a survivor can contract a sexually transmitted disease during the assault, but not have symptoms until months later.

Common Psychological Reactions:

  • denial
  • shame
  • humiliation
  • feeling of loss of control
  • fear
  • mood swings
  • flashbacks to the attack
  • depression
  • loss of self-respect
  • anger
  • anxiety
  • guilt
  • retaliation fantasies
  • nervous or compulsive habits
  • change in sexual activity
  • suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • withdrawal from relationships or support networks.

"My boyfriend and I were having lots of problems. He was going out a lot and having sex and not using a condom. One night he got angry, hit me, stormed out of the house, and came back hours later, stinking drunk. He forced me into bed, fucked me, and refused to wear a condom. I was always careful about having safe sex, now I'm afraid of getting HIV."

Many people are concerned about HIV infection after surviving a sexual assault, and it is important to know the facts. Any contact between your bodily fluids (including blood and semen) and the bodily fluids of an HIV-positive person puts you at risk of contracting HIV. However, repeated contact with HIV is usually necessary for infection.

What should I do if I am raped or sexually assaulted?

Get medical attention as soon as possible.

Go to the nearest hospital emergency room that has a rape crisis program. Although you may feel embarrassed about your injuries, it is important to receive medical assistance. Hospital staff frequently see such injuries to the penis, anus and other body parts, not all caused by rape or sexual assault.


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Even if you do not seem to be injured, it is important to get medical attention. Sometimes injuries that seem minor at first can get worse. Also you may have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease, which may take weeks or months to appear, but may be easily treated with an early diagnosis.

If you are living with HIV/AIDS, especially if you are symptomatic, medical attention is particularly important. Exposure to another persons bodily fluids can further compromise your immune system, or trigger an opportunistic infection.

Going to the hospital can be frightening, especially after surviving a traumatic experience. Ask a friend to go with you, or call the Anti-Violence Project.

Consider talking to a sexual assault/rape crisis counselor.

Counseling is an important way to regain a sense of control over your life after surviving a rape or sexual assault. Counseling can help you cope with both the physical and emotional reactions to the sexual assault and any previous sexual assaults, as well as provide you with the information about hospital and criminal justice system procedures. A counselor can provide you with information and support necessary to help you decide whether or not you want to tell friends and family members about the assault, or report the assault to the police.

Consider reporting to the police and/or pursuing a criminal case.

Sexual assault is a serious crime. As a sexual assault survivor, you have the right to report the crime to the police. If you think you can identify the perpetrator, you have the right to look at mug shots and ride in a patrol car to look for the perpetrator.

Because police are not always sensitive to male sexual assault survivors, it is important to have a friend or advocate accompany you to the precinct to report the crime.

If you are concerned about HIV infection, it is important to talk to a counselor about the possibility of exposure and the need for testing.

next: The Basics of Sex Therapy Homepage

APA Reference
Writer, H. (2008, December 11). Male Sexual Assault, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/sex/psychology-of-sex/male-sexual-assault

Last Updated: August 20, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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