The Correlation Between Adult Sexual Dysfunction and Trauma from Sexual Abuse

Studies consistently show a link between childhood sexual abuse and sexual dysfunction. Though sexual dysfunction can be a distressing and undesirable condition for survivors of sexual abuse, it can also help the individual deal with their emotions and relationships. A person’s body will often react in this way as a way of trying to protect them from something they perceive as dangerous. Within this article, we will discuss the correlation between adult sexual dysfunction and trauma from sexual abuse.


How Trauma from Sexual Abuse Impacts Sexual Functioning


Trauma from sexual abuse can have significant impacts on sexual functioning. 


According to research, one in four men and more than one in three women have been victims of sexual assault. Individuals who have experienced sexual abuse may develop anxiety or fear around sexual activities, making it difficult to engage in or enjoy sexual experiences. 


This can lead to a range of sexual dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction in men and anorgasmia in women. 


Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection during sexual activity, while anorgasmia is the inability to reach orgasm even with adequate sexual stimulation. 


Women who have experienced sexual abuse may also experience pain during sexual activity, known as dyspareunia


These issues can cause significant distress and affect intimate relationships. This is why it’s important for individuals who have experienced sexual trauma to seek professional support to address these issues.


The trauma of sexual abuse can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and anxiety, which can make it difficult for survivors to connect with their bodies and feel safe and comfortable during sexual activity. 


Furthermore, sexual abuse can damage a person’s sense of trust and intimacy, which are crucial components of a healthy sexual relationship. All of these factors can contribute to sexual dysfunction, making it important for survivors to seek professional help and support to address the impact of their trauma on their sexual health and well-being.


Long-Term Effects of Sexual Abuse


Listed below are several enduring psychological impacts experienced by individuals who have survived sexual abuse.


  • Depression
  • Eating disorders or body issues
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Low Libido 


How Sexual Trauma Therapy Can Benefit You


You can gain many advantages from sexual trauma therapy. This includes:


  • Overcoming trauma. With the help of therapy, you can either treat your PTSD or stop it from developing in the first place. Nearly half of sexual assault victims report having PTSD symptoms.
  • Reclaim your sexual health. Your sexual health and sexual assault can be distinguished with the help of therapy. 
  • Improve your physical health. Many people experience physical health problems, such as intestinal discomfort, discomfort in the pelvis, and extremely strong premenstrual symptoms through sexual trauma. Through therapy, you can enhance your physical health by addressing your trauma.
  • Enhanced control of your behavioural health. Many victims of sexual assault seek solace in substances like alcohol or drugs to dull their pain and anxiety. Therapy can assist you in avoiding the pitfalls and dangers of substance use.
  • Take back your power. Through the right guidance and support, you can reclaim your sexuality and confidence.


Lena Fenton Counselling 


Are you experiencing symptoms of sexual dysfunction? Lena Fenton Counselling offers psychosexual counselling that can guide you and help you solve any of the issues mentioned in this article.

For more information, fill out the form or call us on 07721 633 521.