A: You raise a couple good questions here and I hope that I can put your mind at ease. First of all, some sexual exploration with same aged peers in childhood is considered to be normal activity. What is not normal includes a large age discrepancy, the activity is not mutually agreeable or if physical force or emotional coercion is used. These issues were not present in what you described.
Second, you may have read that hurting or torturing animals as a child is a very serious concern, and it is if it is done on purpose and on a regular basis. Again, that doesn’t sound like what you described happened between you and your hamster. Maybe you sat on the hamster by accident and you are second guessing yourself as an adult, or maybe you did hurt your hamster because you were feeling very powerless about your family situation and it gave you a momentary sense of power. I would be more concerned if you related that you enjoyed the activity and went on to harm other animals. It is clear that you are upset by what happened and have not continued that pattern of behavior. Forgive yourself, offer up a prayer of gratitude to the hamster and the lesson, and let it go.
Finally, from what you have said here, I would not link your current sexual fears to either of these behaviors, if anything, it might be more likely linked to the parental conflict that you saw regularly growing up. You may have developed trust issues and fears of intimacy. Of all the things you mention, I would encourage you to explore these latter ones with a therapist. You deserve to be happy and to have a healthy relationship, which includes a safe and fulfilling sex life.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts