Sexuality of Victims

As children, child sexual abuse victims often develop patterns of acting out sexually. This acting out can be solitary behavior or sexual behaviors in the presence of others or in public. These occasions can cause adult embarrasment, bringing punitive consequences to the child. Sometimes child victims recreate abuse experiences with other children in a way in which they are no longer powerless, using force or threats. Often children engage in sex play that is inappropriate for the age. These behaviors should be red flags to adult caregivers.  

As adolescents, sexual abuse victims tend to engage in sexual activity with peers and adults at an earlier age, to have more partners, and to be unable to maintain personal safety. Victims have higher rates of being raped, of being involved in the sex industry, including prostitution, running away, teenage pregnancy, and getting sexually transmitted diseases. Some may perpetrate sexual abuse on younger victims. Child sexual abuse changes beliefs and values regarding sexuality and will affect adolescent and adult sexual behaviors.

As adults, sexual abuse victims have increased levels of:
  • Sexual dysfunction such as pain during intercourse (females) or impotence (males)
  • Problems with sexual arousal and inabiliity to achieve orgasm
  • Increased number of sexual partners
  • Reduced or nonexistent desire for sexual intimacy
  • Compulsive sexual behavior
  • Engaging in unsafe sexual behavior
  • Increased levels of sexually transmitted disease
  • Participation in sex industry
  • Focused attention on sex; sexualizing objects, situations, and persons
  • Sexual addiction, including compulsive masturbation, multiple partners, and addiction to pornography
  • Homosexuality and bisexuality 
  • Confusion about sexual identity
  • Paraphilias and pedophilia (sexual fetishes and preference of children for sex partner)
  • Aggressive sexual behavior - Rape and sexual abuse



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