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Childhood Sexual Abuse Linked to Sexual Problems in Women

Mar 26, 2018

Childhood Sexual Abuse Linked to Sexual Problems in WomenWomen who have been sexually abused as children develop more sexual problems than their non-abused peers, according to a recent review of medical literature by American scientists.

In an effort to understand more about prevalence of sexual dysfunction in victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), the research team analyzed previous scientific reports on the topic. They published their findings in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews in January.

They defined childhood sexual abuse (CSA) as “unwanted sexual contact between a child and an adult.” Such contact might involve vaginal or anal penetration, forced sexual touching, or oral sex. Contact doesn’t necessarily mean touch, however. Exposure to one’s genitals can be considered abuse, too.

Many women are victims of childhood sexual abuse, they added. In one study of women in 22 countries, 20% of the respondents had experienced it. Other studies of American women estimated that between 17% and 51% of women had CSA histories.

It’s difficult to know how many women with CSA histories have sexual problems. That’s because various studies used different definitions of both CSA and sexual dysfunction. They also involved different groups of women, such as women who were being treated for sexual problems or female college students. They estimated that in general, between 25% and 59% of women with CSA histories have some degree of sexual dysfunction.

The research team explained that issues with desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain are especially troublesome in women with childhood sexual abuse histories.

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