Sexual attitudes are formed very early on in childhood. Abuse has almost definitely affected the way you feel about sex, which in turn determines your sexual behaviour. There is a high correlation between abuse as a child, especially sexual abuse, and adult sexual violence and dysfunction. Therefore it is critical that this issue be explored during your healing journey. Even on the smaller scale, any type of abuse can lead to problems in the bedroom department.

Your attitudes and feelings about sex are formed by subtle and overt messages you received by your family. If your parents banned any talk of sex in your household then you may develop an aversion to sex. If sex was used to control a member of your family you may develop the same tendencies. If you were sexually abused as a child you may consider sex with minors as acceptable. Some adults use sex with minors as a form of control and dominance – it is not necessarily a sexual impulse.

Men in particular transmit their feelings through sexual intimacy, women prefer to talk and spend time with a loved one. This difference is probably the reason why most offenders are men. This doesn’t mean women don’t abuse, the number of cases are just fewer. The abuse, whether committed by a man or a woman, causes exactly the same about of mental damage to a young child. It is much harder for a man to admit to abuse that has been perpetrated by a woman. How many times have you read about a female teacher having sex with a young boy in her class? What is your initial reaction? I would be prepared to bet most of the males reading this would think the boy was actually quite lucky!! This is obviously very wrong, if you reverse the situation, i.e., a male teacher had sex with a young girl in his class, hopefully you can see the home truth.


Many abused children grow up to hold deep scars about their sexual lives. In particular they may feel angry, frightened, or confused during sex. There are a whole range of symptoms that can stem from a heighten sexual awareness during a person’s early years. The bottom line, get help. If you feel you have a sexual dysfunction or a sexual – desire problem then reach out for help. These problems rarely disappear on their own. We have a section on choosing a therapist which might be helpful or you can look at our links page for more advice.

More commonly, abused children find it hard to form lasting, loving and intimate relationships as they mature into adult life this section helps you explore ways in which you can explore your sexual issues. In particular the Sexual Events Inventory will guide you through these issues with a simple questionnaire. There are no right or wrong answers and no embarrassing evaluations, you simply tick the answers that apply to you and use the explanations to guide you through the process. Other sections help you deal with further relationship problems, the Support a Survivor Section is for loved ones of survivors and then there is a general Relationship Section for both elements of the team!

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