Home > Professionals > Differences Between Adult Male and Female Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Differences Between Adult Male and Female Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

By Peter Dimock, L.I.C.S.W.

  • Males are sexually abused less often than females.

  • Males are sexually abused more often by other males; however more recent studies indicate increased reporting of abuse by females.

  • Males are more often abused by someone outside the family who is known to them and who is frequently younger than abusers of females (baby-sitters, parental friend, extended relative, etc.).

  • Males are less likely to report the abuse.

  • Males are less likely to identify the abuse as abuse or as harmful to them. Males generally report experiencing the abuse more positively than females especially if perpetrated by a female.

  • A male may question his sexual identity and sexual preference more frequently.

  • Males are more likely to act out the sexual abuse aggressively, and report more frequently than females a desire to hurt others.

  • Males are more likely to view themselves and be viewed by others as responsible for the abuse.

  • Males are less likely to seek assistance for the sexual abuse; however, male sexual abuse victims are more likely than males who have not been abused to have sought psychological help for other problems.

  • Males are more likely than females to have sexual fantasies about children and desires to engage in sexual activities with a child.

  • Males experience more general psychological, physical, and behavioral symptoms than females who tend to be more depressed.

  • Males have been shown in studies be more vulnerable to physiological and psychological dysfunction than females in stressful situations such as family discord, bereavement, divorce, etc. A logical extension of this would support the hypothesis that they may be more effected by sexual abuse than females yet less likely to acknowledge the abuse or seek help.