Are Childhood Sexual Abuse and Intimate Safety in Adult Intimate Relationships Correlated?

Drago Jerebic, Sara Jerebic

Abstract


Individuals who have experienced childhood sexual abuse report numerous problems in intimate relationships, including their physical and sexual experience. Satisfying sexuality arises from intimate safety, the prerequisite for which is mutual trust, which, however, can be impaired due to betrayal in individuals who were traumatized by sexual abuse in their childhood. In a study with 168 participants, we were interested in differences in intimate safety within intimate relationships (measured by the ISQ – Intimate Safety Questionnaire subscale which refers to sexual safety). Differences were studied within two groups of couples – those who had experienced childhood sexual abuse and those who had never experienced the sexual abuse in childhood. We found that among the participating couples, in 42 (50%) couples at least one of the partners experienced at least one type of sexual abuse. One or more types of sexual abuse in childhood were experienced by 12 (14%) men and 39 (46.4%) women. We also found that in couples who had experienced sexual abuse in childhood and couples who had not, there is a difference in intimate safety in their sexual life. The couples who had not experienced sexual abuse in childhood reported statistically significantly higher sexual safety in their intimate relationships. We can conclude that childhood sexual abuse trauma is expressed in sexual intimacy with mistrust, which through the decreased feeling of safety inhibits individuals’ vulnerability and reduces the opportunity to create intimacy. The survey was limited by a biased sample.


Keywords


Trauma; childhood sexual abuse; intimate relationship; intimate safety

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