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Overcoming Challenges of Intimacy: Male Child Sexual Abuse Survivors’ Experiences of Achieving Healthy Romantic Relationships in Sweden
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA). Malmö University, Centre for Sexology and Sexuality Studies (CSS). Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), People, Places and Prevention.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2233-9297
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA). Malmö University, Centre for Sexology and Sexuality Studies (CSS). Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), People, Places and Prevention.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4663-4004
2023 (English)In: Journal of family Violence, ISSN 0885-7482, E-ISSN 1573-2851Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Studies on sexual health following male child sexual abuse (CSA) have identified the negative effects of such experienceson body functioning, but little is known about male CSA survivors’ ability to create emotional and physical closenessin romantic relationships. The purpose of this article is to explore how male CSA survivors perceive, experience and developintimacy in romantic relationships, including both the challenges they face and the positive changes that enable them to growand achieve healthy relationships.

Method: The study has employed a qualitative research approach and is based on in-depth interviews conducted among adultmale CSA survivors residing in Sweden. Participants were recruited through civil society organizations and an ad in a dailynewspaper. Using reflexive thematic analysis, the results are presented in relation to two themes: (a) challenges of intimacy;and (b) building trust and close relationships.

Results: The results show that participants desired couple relationships that included both sexual and emotional intimacy.The challenges of intimacy were related to compromised sexual identity, sexual dysfunctions and compulsions, emotionaldysregulation, and body shame. Efforts to achieve intimacy were facilitated by disclosing abuse experiences, developingemotional bonds or awareness, embracing sensitivity, and having an empathetic and supportive partner.

Conclusions: Reconstructions of abuse histories were both challenged and facilitated by the accessibility of various and shiftingideas about masculinities that co-exist in Sweden, which were important sources for meaning making and assisted themen in developing positive valuations of themselves as men.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2023.
Keywords [en]
Child sexual abuse, Intimacy, Masculinity, Sexual health, Romantic relationships
National Category
Gender Studies Social Work
Research subject
Health and society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-59657DOI: 10.1007/s10896-023-00576-wISI: 000993876700001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85160267658OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-59657DiVA, id: diva2:1758834
Part of project
Men’s experiences of sexual violence, The Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority
Funder
The Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority, 2371Malmö UniversityAvailable from: 2023-05-24 Created: 2023-05-24 Last updated: 2023-06-13Bibliographically approved

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Petersson, Charlotte C.Plantin, Lars

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