This is from the book...The Sexual Healing Journey...by Wendy Maltz. These
are from the chapter in the book "identifying the sexual impact".
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 roles, intimate relationships, knowledge of sexual
functioning, and sense of morality.
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.
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.
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.
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 finding 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
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.
This is a shortened version of what the book says. I hope this can help
both BS and WS see the impact sexual abuse has on its victims.
It doesn't make the infidelity ok by any means. I just hope this helps you
with "why" the infidelity occurred. I recommend this book to anyone
dealing with these issues.