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Impact of Rape on Female Sexuality: Review of Selected Literature


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: December 2009 - Volume 52 - Issue 4 - p 702-711
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e3181bf4bfb
Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction

This article reviews the medical and psychologic literature on the impact of rape on female sexuality. Studies documented moderately high rates of genital injuries and moderate rates of sexually transmitted infections postrape and significantly greater difficulties with aspects of reproductive/sexual functioning, including dyspareunia, endometriosis, menstrual irregularities, and chronic pelvic pain for raped compared with nonraped women. Raped women also engaged in significantly more high-risk sexual behaviors. Posttraumatic stress disorder emerged as an important mediator of sexual victimization and sexual health. An integrative model outlining interrelated physical, psychologic, biologic, and behavioral factors postrape was presented to assimilate review findings.

Department of Psychology, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri

Correspondence: Terri L. Weaver, PhD, Department of Psychology, Saint Louis University, 221 North Grand Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63103. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.