Psychopaths and Sexual Orientation (for GLBT Survivors)

Gingerbread Person

I have co-opted the above graphic in previous posts.  I think it gives a fairly accurate representation of gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, and biological sex.  For some reason, I chafe at the phrase “sexual orientation.”  We can choose to “orient” ourselves north, south, east, or west; we do not choose our sexual orientation — at least not in my view.  We may choose our actions, but we do not choose what is in our hearts — who we love in a romantic sense.  The nature vs nurture debate is older than time itself.  I’ve given up on those kinds of answers.  Even “hard science” is not so hard.  Scientific findings are provisional — until the next best theory is found.  We once thought the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.  So for me, sexual orientation just IS — and it’s not a choice.  One may choose not to act on it, for whatever reason, but one cannot hide from what is in the heart.

Then comes the question:  Do psychopaths have a sexual orientation?  I have thought about this a great deal, and had conversations with various people.  What I have concluded — my thoughts only — is something I feel to be very important for GLBT people who find themselves in romantic relationships with psychopaths, and for GLBT survivors.  I hope you will see why.

I believe that psychopaths may have a rudimentary sexual orientation, a starting point.  But from that starting point, they may veer in any direction with their behavior.  Psychopaths are all about satisfying their own agenda, regardless of how it impacts people around them.  Some will be pedophiles or perpetrators of incest (CHOICES, not “from the heart”).  They are among the worst of the worse, in my book.  Others will stick close to their “staring point” because they’ve honed their skills and it’s comfortable and familiar terrain.  But psychopaths are creatures of opportunity, and so if a new victim pool opens up to them, they will not hesitate to plumb for ripe fruit.  Some “straight” psychopaths are outright homophobes.

If a formerly straight female psychopath suddenly decides she is lesbian, is she really gay?  I don’t think so.

My story is complicated because I lived most of my life as lesbian, but transitioned from female to male in my 40s.  All of my primary relationships were with women.  So before I transitioned, I took on the label “lesbian,” and after I transitioned, I would be considered “straight.”

In general, most lesbians will stay away from straight women because they don’t want to be the “test case” for someone who is “questioning.”  A lot of tender hearts have been broken by “questioning” women who later returned to male partners.

When I met my wife, this was her general persona:

Webcam Shot of Paula

She presented as straight, had had two failed marriages with men, and more liaisons with men than I could count (although I didn’t find out about most of them until much later).  Since I was now legally and socially male, and was always spiritually male (the gender identity portion of the graphic above), I didn’t think I had to worry about being a “test case.”  I was as physically and biologically as male as medical science could make me.  No ovaries, uterus, cervix, female breasts, vagina, or other female equipment.  I’ve never had my DNA tested, but I presume I have the XX chromosomes.  So of course, from the heart, as always, I wanted a female partner, except now I wanted a female partner who understood and perceived me as male — a “straight” woman.

My wife-to-be knew I was transgendered — I told her in an email dated September 11, 2009.  She said she accepted me as the man I was, and I was comforted by that.  (More on this in a future post.)

Just before I’d transitioned, I’d worn my hair shaved.  It was me moving in a male direction.

Terry - 2001-10-17-001

My wife saw all the old photographs of me with the shaved head.  Quite suddenly, my wife, after we were already married, announced to me that she was a lesbian.  Really a bit confounding.  She apparently mistook my shaved head in the old pictures as the correct lesbian “look” and asked me to shave her hair.  Despite being confounded, I was supportive and complied:

2010-12-27 Paula Painting Bedroom - 04

2010-12-25 Paula Christmas - 01

Fast forward to relatively more recent history, and she had moved on to her next victim (even though we are still legally married), and she had taken on a look more typical of lesbian culture:

Paula and Claire

Do I think my wife is a real lesbian?  No, I don’t!  In the first place, her entire life history argues against it.  In the second place, I know what lesbian intimacy is like, and I know how she behaved in the bedroom.  I believe my wife discovered a whole new pool of victims she could exploit, and she learned the first tools from our relationship, our intimacy.  And in the third place, this is how she looks even more recently:

11 Use - Paula Youseff Rebecca Edited

To me, this looks like a straight woman ready to target a more upscale male partner.  If I was a betting person, I’d wager my wife is about to dump her latest victim for a sugar daddy.

None of this is meant to over-generalize about how lesbians “look” or to be offensive to lesbians or women.  Lesbians can and do look any way they please.  And that’s just fine by me because I was one.  There are lipstick lesbians, high femmes, androgynous lesbians, flannel shirt wearing lesbians, butch lesbians, leather dykes, and lesbians who don’t look like lesbians at all — indistinguishable from straight women.

But there is a pattern to be seen here…  I am writing about this because I passionately care about the GLBT community.  My prior posts have included a short synopsis of lesbian history and a post that described the tragedy of what happened to Brandon Teena.  GLBT people have made huge, huge gains, but we (and especially those of us who are transgendered) are still one of the last minorities to secure full and equal rights.

As such, we are particularly vulnerable because we have the same hopes and dreams of every other ordinary human.  Love, a life partner, a family…  We are fertile ground for psychopaths who decide to exploit our vulnerabilities.  I know my own story, and I know quite a few GLBT survivors, and it makes my heart weep.  Some may exist, but I have yet to find any GLBT blog authors who openly write about their experiences with a psychopath, the particular tactics used by psychopaths in targeting a vulnerable GLBT person, and resources for healing.

Remember that when a psychopath targets a victim, s/he adopts a custom-fitted mask for YOU.  Part of that mask may be parading as gay or lesbian, when in fact, you are a victim of opportunity.  It’s the worse insult imaginable to the GLBT community as a whole.

If you are gay or lesbian or transgendered, and you find yourself in a psychopathic relationship (or suspect that you might be), know that you are not alone.  Be safe, and take care of yourself.

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Dog Dharma is written by a human who loves dogs and who believes dogs have attained enlightenment. The human behind Dog Dharma came from humble origins, has faced many trials, enjoyed many adventures, and taken a path less traveled. He claims no special privilege or expertise, and remains humble. Dog Dharma‘s author has learned a few things along the way, and has much yet to learn. He has been told by many people that he has a talent for writing, and aspires to write a book, but is a little too lazy and disorganized, so his blog will suffice for now. He opens a window into his life in the hope that some of his words may be of comfort, some may be a beacon or warning, and perhaps he will connect with like-minded souls. Everything shared comes from a place of openness and honesty, but with no claim that he possesses the Truth. People and places mentioned should be taken as pseudonyms. In many cases, details may be an amalgamation of actual events disguised to protect the “innocent.” Nothing written is to be taken as actual fact, but as the author of Dharma Dog‘s limited understanding. From the mouths of the Beatles: In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
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5 Responses to Psychopaths and Sexual Orientation (for GLBT Survivors)

  1. Great post. I wonder: how do you account for bisexuals in your understanding of sexual orientation? Do you label your wife a psychopath because of her fluid sexuality, or is it her other behaviors ( like cheating) that lead you to think this?

    I’m not meaning to challenge you, by the way. You know your wife. I’m just interested in your thoughts.


  2. DogDharma says:

    Hi NFTBF, I probably should have included a paragraph or two about bisexuality as it relates to the topic. I guess I was trying to distill my post to emphasize how psychopaths can “switch” their baseline sexual orientation for the sole purpose of exploiting a new target population.

    Bisexuality adds another layer of complexity to the topic. If you accept the understanding of the Gingerbread Person graphic, then depending upon definition, a lot of people might be considered bisexual. There are a lot of people who are toward the gay end of the spectrum who have had straight experiences, and a lot of straight people who have had gay experiences. If they are toward the ends of the spectrum, they probably self-identify as gay or straight, despite those experiences. The people who, “from the heart,” fall toward the middle of the spectrum are ‘true’ bisexuals. I, personally, don’t think of this as having “fluid” sexual orientation. Being bisexual is just as stable in normal people as being gay or being straight. If a truly bisexual woman was in a relationship with a man, I don’t think she’d say, “Today I’m straight.” And if a bisexual woman was in a relationship with woman, I don’t think she’d say, “Today I’m a lesbian.” She’d say, “I’m a bisexual woman who happens to be in a relationship with a woman (or man).”

    Labels are tricky, and I hope to do a post on that exact topic. I would not describe my wife as having fluid sexual orientation. I would describe her, in my opinion, as a woman who was basically straight who decided to parody being lesbian for the sole purpose of getting a new target. If she’d set her sights on someone who strongly self-identified as bisexual, she’d have parodied that as well in presenting her mask. She’d have said, “Look, I’m bisexual just like you.” People who self-identify as the T part of the acronym often get short shrift in the “gay” community, as do people who self-identify as the B part of the acronym. Volumes could probably be written on that topic alone. A lot of “old school” gay people might argue that B doesn’t belong in the acronym because B people in straight relationships get “heterosexual privilege.” Being bisexual comes with its own unique struggles under the GLBT umbrella.

    I don’t think of my wife (in my opinion) as being a psychopath BECAUSE of her fluid sexuality whatsoever. As I said, I don’t think of her sexuality as fluid at all. I think of her as an opportunist who decided to feign being lesbian when she suddenly recognized she had a whole new pool of vulnerable victims, and she chose one in particular to target. It was a perfect set-up for her, as the woman she targeted had been married with children, and like so many lesbians of my generation, had lived the straight life. I don’t know the woman personally, but my assumption is that her victim was one who probably did her best to live the straight life out of social pressure, and came out as lesbian later in life. Made it very easy for my wife to, most likely, say something like, “Look, I’m just like you. I lived the straight life, but I’m a lesbian, too. We’re the same, we’re soul mates. We were meant to be together.”

    I can’t speak from experience about the process of coming out as bisexual, as I’ve always been, “from the heart,” someone who was always mostly drawn to women. But I’d imagine the process of coming out as bisexual to be challenging, because most people think of sexual orientation as binary — either you are gay or you are straight. It’s not binary; it’s a continuum, and a person has to figure out for themselves where they fit on the spectrum.

    I classify my wife, in my opinion, as a psychopath because of how she treats people, her choices, her behavior — lying, deception, physical abuse, emotional manipulation, lack of conscience, mistreatment of animals, triangulation, smear campaigns, etc, etc. In my observation and my opinion, she does it not only to romantic partners and spouses, but to everyone in her sphere — family, friends, children, acquaintances. Her masquerading as a lesbian is just one example of the extents she will go to, to manipulate people to get what she wants.

    I hope this makes a little bit of sense. 🙂 Being GLBT is a big enough topic to wade into, without the added twist of psychopathy. I just wanted to emphasize that some psychopaths can and will seek out vulnerable GLBT people and use that vulnerability like a chess piece to manipulate and love-bomb them. It’s not being fluid, it’s lacking scruples.

    When I lived as a lesbian, I cared deeply about the women I had relationships with, and would have married them if I’d had that option — but in those days, marriage was not an option. Having a family was a long-held dream of mine. After I transitioned, I had the possibility of making that dream a reality. My wife offered herself up as a straight woman who knew I was transgendered, and fully accepted me as a man. She preyed on my dream, coaxing her children to call me “daddy.” She used my dream against me, and then for the discard, she “decided” she was a lesbian. My suspicion — when her current victim gets the discard, my wife will announce, “I wasn’t a lesbian after all. Ha ha!”


  3. DogDharma says:

    Yes, that’s it exactly, NFTBF. They are incapable of genuine attachments to others. Their only attachment is to themselves. They do a good job of MIMICKING attachment, but it is all a facade.

    Just prior to the love-bombing phase, they will size up a potential victim. If the victim seems like someone from whom they can get what they want, be it money or whatever, they will study the victim to find out the victim’s deepest hopes and dreams, and also their weak points and their sorrows. To the victim, this will feel wonderful, because s/he will mistake the intense attention as coming from someone who is truly interested in her / him. Unfortunately, it’s just the predator staking the prey.

    Once the psychopath has sized up the victim, the love-bombing begins. See my post “I’m the Narcissist” (

    Many experts and survivors will make distinctions between narcissists and psychopaths and sociopaths. There may be subtle differences, but I don’t bother with that. If you’re a survivor of one of these types, the damage is pretty much the same.

    From the my post I reference, “You don’t know this but I am studying you intensely. I plan on personality mirroring you so that I can be your perfect mate. You wanna go sky diving?? Me too! You volunteered in Tanzania? I am a travel buff and I live for volunteer work! Do I like volunteering? NO.”

    For my wife’s current victim, I’m sure it went something like this, “Oh, you felt pressured by family, church, friends to be straight and you got married and had kids, but you are a lesbian. At long last you’re free to be who you are. Wow!! Me, too!!! We’re soul mates! We were meant to be together, and I will give you the love you always wanted.” But my wife is NOT a lesbian, any more that the narcissist in the piece I blogged was a volunteer in Tanzania. They mimic us and what we need, and they love-bomb us to high heaven, and then their “fun” begins.

    GLBT people are particularly vulnerable, which is why I wanted to write a post of warning.


  4. Onetha-soutaicho says:

    Reblogged this on The journey towards Home and commented:
    This is a good way to explain the complexities of identity and a good graphic to show that gender, sex, and sexual orientation are in no way in correlation with another.


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