Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men:

The Trauma of Sexual Abuse


Dr. Kort has a chapter on male sexual abuse in this book, “Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men: The Trauma of Sexual Abuse” edited by Richard B. Gartner with a chapter titled, “Sexual aftereffects in male survivors of childhood sexual abuse: orientation confusion, compulsions, kinky sexual interests, and dysfunctions.

Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men: The Trauma of Sexual Abuse is an indispensable go-to book for understanding male sexual victimization. It has become increasingly clear since the 1980s that men and boys, like women and girls, are sexually abused and assaulted in alarming numbers. Yet there have been few resources available to victims, their loved ones, or those trying to help them.

Richard B. Gartner was in the vanguard of clinicians treating male sexual victimization and has written extensively about it, initially in professional papers, then in his landmark 1999 book for clinicians Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men, continuing with his 2005 work Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse. He has been a tireless teacher, clinician, and advocate for male victims of sexual abuse in the classroom, the lecture hall, and of course the consulting room as well as in newspaper, television, radio, and online interviews.

Dr. Gartner has gathered together expert colleagues from the trauma, psychoanalytic, medical, and survivor treatment fields. Together, they have created a comprehensive guide to what was once thought to be a rarity but now is clearly an all-too-common occurrence. Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men looks at the realities of male sexual victimization, guiding clinicians and lay people alike to understand the complexities of the devastation it causes in victimized boys and men. It considers topics as diverse as:

• sexual assault in institutions like the military, sports teams, schools, universities, and religious organizations
• sex trafficking of boys and adolescents
• neurobiology and brain chemistry of male survivors of sexual abuse
• gender and sexual dysfunctions and confusions resulting from sexual exploitation and trauma
physicians’ treatment of sexually abused men’s medical problems

• socio-cultural influences on processing and treating men’s and boys’ sexual victimization

Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men is required reading for anyone working with male victims of sexual abuse and assault at any level – psychotherapists, rape counselors, attorneys, journalists, guidance counselors, physicians, clergy, graduate students, and lawmakers – and helpful to lay people interested in this often-unrecognized problem.

Introduction by Richard B. Gartner


CHAPTER 1 Effects of Sexual Abuse and Assault on Boys and Men, Richard B. Gartner

CHAPTER 2 The Bristlecone Project: Portraits of Courage, David Lisak


CHAPTER 3 The Sexually Abused Man’s Relationship with his Physician, Frank Spinelli

CHAPTER 4Building Knowledge for Recovery: Contemporary Research on the Long-term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse on Men, Scott D. Easton

CHAPTER 5 Neurobiology and Trauma: From Basic Science to Clinical Relevance, Grant H. Brenner

CHAPTER 6 Brain Circuits, Brain Apps, Cultural Software and the Inner Worlds of Sexually Abused Males: A New Framework for Understanding, Healing and Happiness, James W. Hopper


CHAPTER 7 Sociocultural Considerations in Psychotherapy with Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse, Ernesto Mujica

CHAPTER 8 Interpersonal and Institutional Dissociation in the Sexual Abuse of Boys, Bill Burmester

CHAPTER 9 When Predatory Priests Become Sexually Abusing “Fathers”, Richard B. Gartner


CHAPTER 10 Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Boys and Adolescent Males, Steven L. Procopio

CHAPTER 11 Beyond the Gay/Straight Binary: Gender and/or Sexually Diverse Male Survivors, Jim Struve, Howard Fradkin, and Lee Beckstead

CHAPTER 12 Sexual Aftereffects in Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: Orientation Confusion, Compulsions, Kinky Sexual Interests, and Dysfunctions, Joe Kort

Dr. Richard B. Gartner is a psychologist and psychoanalyst who specializes in treating men with histories of sexual abuse. A lifelong resident of New York City, he mainly practices in Manhattan and lives in Brooklyn. He is a licensed psychologist in New York State.

Dr. Gartner is a Training and Supervising Analyst and is on the teaching faculty of the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Institute in New York City. Founding Director of the White Institute’s Sexual Abuse Program, for six years he was Director of its Center for the Study of Psychological Trauma. The White Institute honored Dr. Gartner with its 2004 Director’s Award for his contributions to the psychoanalytic understanding of trauma.

A consultant and supervisor at the Trauma Treatment Center of the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis, Dr. Gartner also taught and supervised in the clinical psychology program at Columbia University for twenty years. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and received a B.A. in psychology from Haverford and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia. He is licensed as a psychologist in New York State.

Dr. Gartner was a co-founder of MaleSurvivor: the National Organization against Male Sexual Victimization, served on its Board of Directors of for seven years, and served as its President from 2002 to 2004. He has served as Program Chair of MaleSurvivor’s international conference.

Men’s lives are complicated, despite stereotypes to the contrary. Recognizing and making sense of the challenges faced by male survivors of sexual abuse requires even more complex thinking. We’re very fortunate that Richard Gartner and a who’s who of experts have shared their insights – and the voices of many men they’ve worked with – in order to help professionals better understand and serve these men. This book is a must-read for therapists, lawyers, clergy, and anyone who spends time with male survivors.

Andrew P. Smiler, Ph.D., National Organization against Male Sexual Victimization

Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men: The Trauma of Sexual Abuse is a chorus of voices, coming from a range of perspectives, on the oft-misunderstood topic of men who have been sexually abused. Covering neurobiological, medical, psychological, empirical, diversity and first person perspectives, it offers practical and evidence-based information that will be a lifesaver for men who have survived abuse. This book is a “must read” for every therapist working with such men.

Ronald F. Levant, Ed.D., M.B.A., A.B.P.P., University of Akron

Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men is a treasure trove of illuminating essays on the devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse on boys, and on the men they become. Approximately one in six men in our culture have been sexually abused as children. Authors from a variety of fields of expertise describe the effects of childhood sexual abuse on brain chemistry and structure, interpersonal distrust, distorted and fearful feelings about the body, issues of gender and sexual identity confusion on boys, and more. All of this is in the context of straitjacketing stereotypes that instruct men not to be vulnerable. Also exposed is the surrounding dark side our culture that has implicitly allowed abuse of boys, whether in the church, in sports, or as aspects of high-ranking privileged men’s customs. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the lives of men.

The editor, Richard Gartner, PhD, was the first major mental health expert to document, and describe in detail, the high prevalence of sexual abuse of boys and its effects on them. His specialized treatment approaches are described in earlier books: Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Men Abused as Boys and Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse.

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D.

Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men: The Trauma of Sexual Abuse is an essential and incisive compendium. Integrating multiple perspectives, this book addresses the full implications of male sexual abuse: its emotional, physiological, and legal aftermath. The contributing authors achieve this with depth, wisdom, and compassion. We must thank Gartner for continuing to awaken us to this trauma, and for releasing these men from the shadows.

Sue Grand, Ph.D.

Public and professional recognition of male sexual abuse did not come into view until the 1980s. Dr. Gartner changed that and continues to do so. He has written a number of books on male sexual abuse and now, by means of this book and its cohort volume (Healing Sexually Betrayed Men and Boys: Treatment for Sexual abuse, Assault, and Trauma), we have a much better understanding of male sexual victimization.

Gartner does a masterful job of gathering mental health professionals of various backgrounds, plus academics, survivors, attorneys, and a physician to contribute to this edited book. The chapters provide clinical examples and personal vignettes. Together, these give a wide-ranging picture of male sexual victimization. A broad range of topics is considered: historical, biological, medical, institutional and cultural effects and issues related to exploitation and sexuality (including trafficking in adolescent boys), sexual interests and compulsions, and sexual dysfunctions.

Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men will impact how male sexual victimization is socially and personally understood and clinically and legally addressed. This book is a compulsory read for all those who want to understand the sexual victimization of boys and men.

Judith L. Alpert, Ph.D., New York University