SEXUAL EFFECTS INVENTORY
The Source of this is: "The Sexual Healing Journey"
by Wendy Maltz
1. ATTITUDES ABOUT SEX
Sexual abuse generates negative, false attitudes about sex.These become
hidden from your consciousness. You may have difficulty separating abusive
sex from healthy sex. Offenders contaminate victims, imprinting them with
an abusive way of thinking about sex, a sexual abuse mind-set. This mind-set
can affect every aspect of a victim's sexuality: sexual drive, sexual expression,
sex roles, intimate relationships, knowledge of sexual functioning, and sense of
morality. How have you been affected by this sexual abuse mind-set? Put a check
mark in front of each statement you agree with and a question mark (?) in front
of each statement you sometimes or partially agree with.(statements that don't
fit either category should be left blank)
_____ I feel sex is a duty I must perform.
_____ I feel sex is something I do to get something else.
_____ In sex, one person wins and one person loses.
_____ Sex feels dirty to me.
_____ Sex feels bad to me.
_____ Sex feels secretive to me.
_____ I equate sex with sexual abuse.
_____ Sexual energy seems uncontrollable.
_____ Sex is hurtful to me.
_____ I believe sex is something you either give or you get.
_____ I feel sex is power to control another person.
_____ I believe having sex is all that matters.
_____ I think sex benefits men more than women.
_____ I think people have no responsibility to each other during sex.
_____ I think sexual desire makes people act crazy.
_____ I think males have a right to demand sex from women.
_____ Sex means danger to me.
_____ I believe sex is a way to escape painful emotions.
_____ Sex is humiliating to me or others.
_____ I feel sex is addictive.
_____ I feel sex is a game.
_____ I believe sex is a condition for receiving love.
2.A0 SEXUAL SELF-CONCEPT
Sexual abuse, and its consequences, can unconsciously influence how
you feel about yourself and about sex. You may now see yourself as
sexually damaged, suffering a poor sexual self-concept. Or you
may have developed a self-concept that is inflated, where you
believe you're more powerful as a result of sex. Knowing how
you view yourself as a sexual person is fundamental to eventually
making changes in your sexual behavior.Put a check mark in front
of each statement you agree with and aquestion mark (?) in front
of each statement you sometimes or partially agree with.
_____I am an easy sexual target.
_____My sexuality is disgusting.
_____I hate my body.
_____There is something wrong with me sexually.
_____I am confused whether I'm gay or straight.
_____I feel I will lose control if I let myself go sexually.
_____I have no sense of being sexual at all.
_____I feel like a victim in sex.
_____I am sexually inadequate.
_____I don't like certain sexual parts of my body
_____I want sex for all the wrong reasons.
_____I have to stay in control during sex.
_____I don't have a right to deny my body to any partner who wants it.
_____I can be loved only to the extent I can give sexually.
_____I am oversexed.
_____I have no right to control sexual interaction.
_____My primary blue is in sexually serving a partner.
_____If I want sex, I'm as sick as a sexual offender.
_____I blame myself for my pat sexual abuse.
_____I deserve whatever I get sexually.
_____I wish I were the opposite sex.
_____I am inferior to other people because of my sexual past.
_____I am damaged goods.
_____I can easily be sexually dominated.
_____I'd be happiest in a world where sex didn't exist.
_____I couldn't live in a world without sex.
_____I am a sexual performer.
_____There are some things I have done sexually that I can never forgive myself for.
_____I am a sick person sexually.
_____I'm not loveable for who I am, only for what I do sexually.
_____I am a sexual object.
_____I feel bad about my gender. *I do not believe a particular sexual preference
itself is a negative effect of sexual abuse to be overcome. It's the confusion
about sexual preference and orientation that can be troublesome.
3.AUTOMATIC REACTIONS TO TOUCH AND SEX
Sexual abuse can create a conditioned way of reacting to touch and sex. Some
survivors get panicky, avoid sexual possibilities, and want to run the other
way when sexually approached. Others freeze and feel helpless and unable
to protect themselves. Still others get overexcited and may recklessly seek
dangerous sexual encounters. You may experience spontaneous reactions to sex
that cause you to numb sexual feelings, to divorce your mind from what is
happening physically, or to become sexually aroused in inappropriate ways.
Sexual settings and contact can bring back negative feelings associated with
abuse. Flashbacks to sexual abuse may arise and interfere with sexual relating
and satisfaction. Put a check mark in front of each statement you agree with
and a questionmark (?) in front of each statement you sometimes or partially
____I am afraid of sex.
____I have little interest in being sexual.
____I am afraid of some sexual body parts.
____I am preoccupied with sex.
____I withdraw from sexual possibilities.
____I am bothered by sexual thoughts I can't control.
____When I get horny, I feel extremely anxious.
____I feel especially powerful when I'm having sex.
____I get sexually excited at times when I shouldn't be.
____I constantly look for sexual opportunities.
____I believe that when a person touches me, he or she wants to have sex
____I lose all power to protect myself when sexually approached.
____I have unhealthy sexual interests and desires.
____I often have flashbacks to past sexual abuse during sex.
____I get panicky feelings when touched.
____I feel emotionally distant during sex.
____During sex my mind feels separate from my body.
____I feel like I'm another person when I have sex.
____I feel very nervous during sex.
____I experience negative feelings such as fear, anger, shame, guilt,
or nausea with sexual touch.
____I get sexually aroused when I don't want to be.
____I often feel emotionally pained after sex.
____I am very sensitive to certain smells, sights, sounds or sensations
Sexual abuse can shatter our capacity for healthy sex. You may have been
taught abusive patterns of sexual behavior and introduced to unhealthy,
compulsive, abnormal sexual activities. Now as a reaction you may associate
your sexual expression with secrecy and shame. Some survivors may withdraw
from sex, preventing any fresh discovery of healthy sex. Other survivors
may become preoccupied and driven by sex. Sometimes survivors reenact the
abuse in an unconscious attempt to resolve deep-seated emotional conflict
related to the original abuse. These reactions need to be identified so
you can better understand your behavior and eventually work toward healthy
changes. Put a check mark in front of each statement you agree with and
a question mark (?) in front of each statement you sometimes or partially
____I isolate myself from other people socially.
____I am unable to initiate sex.
____I avoid situations that could lead to sex.
____I am unable to say no to sex.
____I feel I have no physical boundaries when it comes to sex.
____I need to be under the influence of alcohol or other dugs to really enjoy
____I spend money to have sex.
____I feel confused about how and when to be sexual.
____I engage in medically risky sexual behavior(using no protection)
____I engage in sex for economic gain.
____I have had more sexual partners than was good for me to have.
____I act out sexually in ways hurtful to others.
____I manipulate others into having sex with me.
____I engage in sadomasochistic sex.
____I have more than one sexual partner at a time.
____I become involved with sexual partners who are primarily involved with
____I use fantasies of sexual abuse to increase sexual arousal.
____I feel addictively drawn to certain sexual behavior.
____I feel compelled to masturbate frequently.
____I engage in secretive sexual activities.
____I engage in sexual behaviors that could harm me.
____I engage in sexual behaviors that could have negative consequences for others.
____I have sex when I really don't want to.
____I am confused as to what is appropriate and inappropriate touch in=dating.
____I often rely on abusive pornography to turn me on.____
I find it hard to say no to unwanted sexual touch.
Sexual abuse influences a survivor's ability to establish and maintain healthy
sexual relationships. Abuse can interfere with our ability to make good choices.
Some survivors may have difficulty selecting partners who are emotionally
supportive. Other survivors may be unable to trust and feel safe with intimate
partners who do care. Survivors may fear intimacy or have a limited capacity
to experience closeness. The sexual difficulties a survivor may have as a
result of abuse often create emotional and sexual problems for the partner.
Knowing where relationship difficulties lie, and how abuse has caused problems,
can help you work with your partner to solve individual concerns and to build
a more intimate relationship together. Put a check mark in front of each
statement you agree with and a questionmark (?) in front of each statement
you sometimes or partially agree with.___I am drawn to partners who demand
sex from me.
___I am afraid of being emotionally vulnerable in relationships.
___I am unable to attract the kind of partner that would be good for me to have.
___I feel obligated to please my partner in sex.
___My intimate relationships always fail.
___I have difficulty being intimate and sexual at the same time.
___I don't trust that a partner could really be faithful to me.
___I hide my real feelings in an intimate relationship.
___A partner would reject me if he or she knew all about my sexual past.
___I experience difficulty initiating sexual contact with a partner.
___My intimate partner is continually unhappy with our sex life.
___Our relationship would end if we stopped having sex.
___I want, but am unable, to remain faithful to one intimate partner.
___My intimate partner reminds me of a sexual offender.
___My intimate partner perceives me as sexually abusive.
___I want to get away from my partner immediately after sex.
___My partner feels sexually rejected by me.
___My partner feels sexually pressured by me.
___I have difficulty communicating my sexual wants and needs.
___I am afraid to be emotionally close with my partner.
6.Sexual Functioning Problems
Sexual abuse can create specific problems with sexual functioning.
Abuse may have taught you unhealthy patterns of responding to sexual
stimulation. Stress and anxiety that originated with abuse may continue
to shadow your sexual activity. Over time these sexual problems interfere
with intimacy and long-term sexual satisfaction. As you identify problem
areas in how you function sexually now, you are also identifying specific
sexual concerns to work on in the healing process. Put a check mark in front
of each statement you agree with and a questionmark (?) in front of each
statement you sometimes or partially agree with.
___I find it difficult to become sexually aroused.
___I have trouble experiencing sexual sensations.
___I do not like to touch my genital area.
___I have difficulty achieving orgasm when I stimulate myself.
___I have difficulty having an orgasm with a partner.
___I lack desire for sex.
___I am hardly ever interested in sex.
___I over control sexual interactions.
___My orgasms seem more related to relieving tension than to feel pleasure.
___My orgasms are not very pleasurable.
___Sex in general is not very pleasurable.
___I am limited in the types of sexual activity I feel comfortable with.
___I do not like touch to my breasts.
___I am unable to be vaginally penetrated.
___I experience pain or discomfort with vaginal penetration.
___I orgasm very fast.Men___I have difficulty getting or maintaining a firm erection.
___I have difficulty ejaculating.
___I ejaculate very fast.What you can learn from the inventory.
Now that you have completed the Sexual Effects Inventory, go back and review your responses.
Remember: There is no grading system, no correct setof answers. Rather you are looking
to identify the effects of abuse on your current sexual self. For many survivors, taking
the inventory leads to self-discovery, self-awareness. It's another step in your journey.
Although your inventory is unique, you may learn from, or feel support from, the following
reactions from other survivors. "I didn't realize how much my sexuality has been affected
"Many survivors feel upset after taking the inventory. You may besurprised and even
distressed at the number of items you have checked. "I have checked nearly half of all
items in each category," a survivor said. You may be shocked that you checked items in
so many different categories. Yet checking items forces survivors to overcome their denial.
Real problems exist. By acknowledging them you can work on them. "Different items are more
important to me than others "The impact of particular sexual effects can vary from person
to person. A repercussion that is merely annoying to one survivor might be extremely upsetting
to another. A lesbian survivor who feels fear when seeing an erect penis may find this
sexual repercussion unimportant. But the same fear might be extremely upsetting to a
heterosexual woman or a gay man. Some items such as, "I engage in sexual behaviors that
could harm me"..signal immediate danger. You will need to give these kinds of statements
a higher priority in your sexual recovery. "I see trends and patterns in my responses
"Many survivors see trends in one or two directions: feeling negative about and withdrawing
from sexual activity, or becoming compulsive and engaging in a lot of sexual activity.
"I can see that I tend to withdraw from sex, even though I crave getting touched"
a survivor remarked. Some survivors notice trends in both directions. "I feel compelled
to masturbate a lot, yet I withdraw from having sex with my partner," another survivor
commented. Many of the items in the inventory overlap. Our attitudes about sex influence
our sexual experiences and behavior, and vice versa. You may notice patterns and links in
the types of items you checked and how they relate to each other. In the following statement
by a woman survivor, I have added words in brackets to indicate the different categories
of sexual effects she reveals. When I reached high school and college I began to experience
intense fear whenever I was asked out (automatic reactions). I was sure I would end up in
a struggle over intercourse, even on the first date. I thought that was all these boys and
men wanted from me (sexual attitudes). I feared the idea of having sex with anyone
(automatic reactions). I thought sex as banal, ridiculous, something for weak-minded folk
(sexual attitudes). I never once went out on a date (sexual behavior). My fear created a
complete lack of interest in sex, dating, and physical contact (relationships, sexual
functioning problems). I became a total bookworm (self concept).Because items relate
to one another, when you do begin to make changes in one aspect of sexual healing, you
will automatically be making improvements in others. "My responses are different than they
would have been in the past "Survivors often comment that they would have marked the
inventory differently had they taken it one, five, ten or twenty years ago. Sexual
repercussions can show up in different ways in different stages of your life. For instance,
many survivors experience a period of high sexual activity in their dating years, then
encounter problems with sexual interest and functioning only after they have become
involved in a committed, long-term relationship. Retaking the inventory at different
times can help you see how sexual repercussions of abusemay have changed over time and
point to areas where you are making progress. A survivor gave an example of age-related
changes: As a child aged ten to fifteen, I engaged in what now would seemlike excessive
masturbation and stimulation of myself with objects. Then, in my teens, I didn't like to
touch myself. Now I prefer to masturbate only when I am feeling good about myself. And
another survivor said, "It's good to see that I've stopped using sex to try and fill an
empty feeling in my heart. "You may want to take the Sexual Effects Inventory again in
the future. It can be a powerful resource to refer to at different times in your
sexual recovery, helping you identify areas for change. The inventory can also give you
a way of evaluating the progress you make in your sexual healing journey. In taking this
inventory you may have gotten your first real awareness of how profoundly the abuse may
have harmed you sexually. If you are feeling upset by what you've learned, remember that
yours is a common reaction and a crucial one. You may need to grieve your losses and to
feel the emotional pain and anger. As we proceed through this book, you will have a chance
to address all the concerns you have checked. You will grow, and your current outrage at
how much you were hurt will help fuel your will to heal.
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