Childhood abuse is linked to many maladaptive outcomes in adulthood, but its effects on adult sexuality are rarely explored. The goal of this study was to explore adult correlates of childhood abuse, related to both sexual fantasies and behavior, as well as mental health. Moreover, the relationship of these outcomes and gender was explored.
Surveys exploring sexual activity and fantasies, and psychopathological symptoms were conducted online on two groups of adults – those not abused in childhood, and those abused during their pre-teen age by close family members (sample of 349 participants).
Atypical sexual fantasies were more common in the abused than in the non-abused males, while the same relationship was not observed in the females. Similar tendencies, albeit not as strong, were seen in the case of sexual behaviors. On the other hand, both man and abused women were more prone to developing psychological symptoms, in comparison to non-abused group. However, this relationship was more pronounced in the females. Moreover, high tendency for borderline personality disorder was registered in both, abused males and females, but tendency for posttraumatic stress disorder was only increased in the females.
Findings supported the hypothesis that gender moderates the outcomes of childhood abuse, with the abused males experiencing more disturbances in the sexuality domain, and the females experiencing more psychological symptoms. This is in accordance with findings claiming that male sexuality is more likely to be influenced by developmental events, while the females tend to experience more psychological symptoms in the face of childhood abuse.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Childhood abuse, Gender differences, Atypical sexuality, Psychopathology, BPD, PTSD
|☆|| La version en français de cet article, publiée dans l’édition imprimée de la revue, est également disponible en ligne : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sexol.2019.07.001.