Gay and bisexual men are also exposed to significant minority stress, a term used to describe the sociopolitical stressors placed on individuals as a result of their minority status. Sexual orientation disparities start relatively early in development. LGBTQ+ individuals are disproportionately exposed to day-to-day discrimination, peer and parental rejection, unsupportive or hostile work or social environments, and unequal access to opportunities afforded to heterosexuals, including marriage, adoption and employment nondiscrimination.
Chronic expectations of rejection, internalized homophobia, alienation and lack of integration with the community can understandably lead to problems with self-acceptance. As a result, a sexual minority male who has experienced sexual abuse may feel deficient, inferior or impaired. Further, they may view themselves as shameful, undesirable, undeserving, or incapable of forming a loving relationship.
Many sexual minority males who have experienced sexual abuse internalize harmful beliefs that make it harder for them to heal. These myths include the false belief that men cannot be forced to have sex against their will; that men who become sexually aroused or have an erection when assaulted must have wanted or enjoyed it; and that real men should welcome any opportunity to have sex.
These men often bottle up additional detrimental myths, such as men become gay or bisexual because they were sexually abused, and sexual minority men are obsessed with sex, and that they molest children at higher rates than straight men. Sexual minority males who have been abused are not born with these beliefs. They learn them from their families, religion, society and the media. But, the more men hold these beliefs to be true, the harder it is for them to move forward in their psychological recovery.