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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Side affects of molestation


 Lynn23 - Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:03 pm

I am concerned about my husband and I can't tell if I am making problems up or if I should have a legitimate concern.
I have always know my husband was a little different than most of my friend's husbands. He isn't the type that is super into sex. We enjoy ourselves, but he wouldn't want to have sex all the time or really pushes for it much. We have been together for 11 years, married for 6. We typically have sex about 3-4 times a month, but recently we have been trying to conceive so it has been much more frequent (every other day approximately).
It's never really been much of a concern of mine, I enjoy being around him and I don't feel I need to have sex that often. But about a year and a half or two years ago he shared with me that he had been molested by his older brother as a child. His brother is about 6 or 7 years older than him. I am not sure how long it happened for, but it was over a several year time span. I have recently started to wonder if that was part of the problem. He shared this with me because when we first started dating I had asked him to stop looking at porn and it was at that time I found out he still was and I was very upset. I have recently begun watching it with him, I have gotten over most of my problems with porn and I know some couples use it for intimacy. It is nice to use every now and again.
I have started to worry about this in part because of how different he is than other husbands I know, and because we have found it so difficult to have sex every other day in order to conceive.
I have not really talked about his molestation much with him, he doesn't really like to talk about it and he has never really told anyone but me. He has a fairly normal relationship with that brother and it doesn't really seem to bother him at all.
Is it possible that I am creating a problem where there really isn't one? I have also wondered should I be concerned about him with children? He is so good with them and I really think he will make a fantastic father, but are people who have been molested more likely to molest others? I feel really guilty for even questioning him, but I have seen stories on the internet and on tv of people who never would have thought their husband was capable of something like that, people think they know people and then find out they really don't.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:34 am

Hello, Lynn23,

First, your usual level of sexual activity of 3 to 4 times per month is within established norms in our society. The difficulty in having sex every other night can be a physical issue, such as testosterone level. With both of these aspects, it is not a problem unless either of you consider it to be a problem. If either partner considers it a problem, then it is a couple's problem, and needs discussion about seeking medical assistance and/or therapy intervention.

I'll give you some statistical information about sexual abuse, as a basis for discussion of this review. 1 in 6 boys is molested below the age of 18, and 30 to 40% of those are abused by family members. There is greater risk of harm if the abuser is a relative, or if the abuse involves penetration or attempted penetration, or if force is used or threatened. Many children don't report abuse, and over 30% never report to anyone. Fabricated reports are only 1 to 4% of all reported cases. People who have been abused are more likely to have physical problems such as headaches, pains or stomach problems. They are more likely to have Major Depression, substance abuse and personality issues. In males who were abused as children, more than 70% seek psychological treatment for issues like substance abuse, suicidal ideation (thoughts), or suicide attempts. Male victims are more likely than females to violently victimize others. That does not mean males WILL violently victimize; the statement reflects a trend and is not a given. 95% of sexual abuse in children is committed by people who meet the criteria for pedophilia. 75% or more of convicted serial rapists report having been sexually abused as children.

The vast majority of people who were molested in childhood do not grow up to be adult offenders, nor do they report childhood sexual abuse. The cycle of violence theory that has been dramatized, while it can occur, has not been supported by current research. According to the Child Molestation Rsearch and Prevention Institute, sexual abusers of children can be identified during their teen years or even earlier. The key is an ongoing sex drive towards children. Treatment is best provided by a sex-specific therapist and includes testing, medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

There are issues to discuss with your husband. Specifically, to identify if the sexual abuse is having any effect on your marital relationship, and to disclose if he is suppressing feelings that could result in Major Depression or any other emotional disorder. I'm very concerned about your husband's brother, and the safety of any children in the family who may be left alone with him. Sexual abuse can be an issue of power over others and/or pedophilia. Either one puts children at risk. Your husband would benefit from psychololgical assistance in determining the best way to handle disclosure to his family and/or confronting his brother to ensure the safety of children in the family. Both of you might benefit from related counseling.

Good luck in dealing with this difficult and serious issue.

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