Dating and sexuality after childhood abuse

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, explains the troubles someone who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child may face when dating and how to overcome these challenges
Dating and Sexuality After Childhood Sexual Abuse
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Dating and sexuality after childhood abuse

When a child has been sexually abused, and when they grow up and start dating, some children will actually have some difficulty during that dating time, and others, there may not be any effects, so it's very independent, depending on that particular child. Many times they may seem to actually be totally fine, until they start that dating age, and then all of a sudden they start thinking more about their sexuality and what happened to them, and the bad things they felt, and they may have difficulties sort of having that connection, and that intimate type of relationship with somebody. Other children, though, may have been able to deal with it a little bit better, gone through some therapy and may not have such significant ramifications at the time of dating, but again, it is very variable. It's something that as a parent, I would keep in mind that as your child might start dating that there is this history of what happened in the past, and it maybe an opportunity just to talk to them about dating and how they feel about that, and how that relates to something that may have happened in the past, and what their feelings are, and how they are processing that whole situation.

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, explains the troubles someone who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child may face when dating and how to overcome these challenges


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD

Director of the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Karen Kay Imagawa, MD: Director, Audrey Hepburn CARES Center, Director, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program, Division of General Pediatrics; Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Karen Kay Imagawa, MD, is also the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and is a full-time attending within the Department of Pediatrics, Division of General Pediatrics, at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). She received her medical degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is board certified in General Pediatrics, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, and Child Abuse Pediatrics.  Dr. Imagawa has made significant contributions to program development at CHLA: She is currently the Director of the Joint General Pediatrics – USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program ,expanding the program to its current position with the largest number of board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatricians (7) in a Southern California program, and was integral in establishing the ACGME accredited Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship program at CHLA . Dr. Imagawa is also one of the founders and the Director of the Audrey Hepburn CARES Center at CHLA, a multifaceted interdisciplinary child protection center involving evaluation, treatment, prevention, education and research in the field of child maltreatment.  Dr. Imagawa is a court appointed expert (730 paneled expert in both Criminal and Dependency Court) in the field of child abuse, and was actively involved in the development of the Foster Care Hub at CHLA, one of seven designated Hubs in Los Angeles County that were initially established to provide forensic, medical, and mental health screenings for newly detained children entering the foster care system.  She previously served on the advisory group for The California Medical Training Centers formulating standardized training in child abuse, and collaborated on a task force to develop standards at the state level for mental health care for child victims of trauma. She is a medical consultant for the Inter-agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN – the official county agency which coordinates the development of services for the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect), having participated in various medical task forces establishing protocols and best practice standards for the evaluation and treatment of suspected victims of child abuse, included those with developmental disabilities. Dr. Imagawa’s strength as a clinical educator is also seen in her dedication to education and training. She has been invited to participate in numerous speaking engagements, as well as requests from the media and entertainment industry, involving a variety of topics in the fields of child abuse and/or developmental-behavioral pediatrics. 

More Parenting Videos from Karen Kay Imagawa, MD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter