Sexual Functioning and Satisfaction Among College Survivors of Sexual Violence: Examining PTSD Symptoms and Sexual Schemas


Decreased sexual functioning is prevalent among female survivors of sexual violence yet psychological factors that contribute to sexual impairments in this population are understudied. To extend research in this area, the current study examined two psychological factors as they relate to sexual functioning concerns among 148 female survivors of sexual violence: severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSSs) and sexual self-schemas. Four domains of sexual functioning were examined: sexual desire, sexual arousal, sexual satisfaction, and orgasm functioning. It was predicted that PTSSs would be associated with a more negative sexual schema, which in turn, would be associated with decreased sexual functioning across the four domains. Using path analysis, PTSSs were found to be indirectly associated with decreased sexual satisfaction (b = −.08, SE b =.04, p =.035), sexual arousal (b = −.01, SE b =.001, p =.02), and reduced orgasm functioning (b = −.01, SE b =.001, p =.002). Results also supported significant direct paths from PTSS to all sexual functioning variables. These results support that negative sexual self-schemas may be relevant to the co-association of PTSSs and reductions in sexual functioning and satisfaction.

Publication Title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence