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Sexual relationships with men

Very little research has examined how boys experience willing sexual activity or relationships with men. Because of mandatory reporting laws, such research cannot be conducted in the U.S. today. However, there do exist some older studies, studies from outside the U.S., and studies conducted after the relationships ended. This research is described in the annotated bibliography on the next page.

Non-clinical and non-criminological studies generally find that children and adolescents who have been involved in sexual activity with adults, generally considered CSA, show a range of reactions and effects ranging from positive to negative. Most researchers find that there is little evidence that such involvement results in a typical pattern of symptoms, or specific types of dissociative disorders.8

There has been a rapid growth in therapies for these youth, but little evidence for their effectiveness.9 Furthermore, when considering whether to place such a youth in therapy, researchers say it is important to remember that CSA is not a disorder to be treated, but rather an event which may or may not have negative effects, and that these effects vary from person to person. Thus, it is these negative effects, if they exist, which should be treated, rather than CSA. Treatment when there are no negative effects can result in iatrogenic harm.10

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8. Beitchman et al., 1992; Constantine, 1981; Fergusson & Mullen, 1999; Ingram, 1981; Kilpatrick, 1987. For more information on the effects on boys of sexual interaction with adults, see the section on this site about effects.

9. Fergusson & Mullen, 1999; Oellerich, 2001*.

10. Oellerich, 2001*; Wolf & Campbell, 1994*.

*Will open an off-site article in a new window.