Skip to main content

Saprea > Blog > All Blogs > Male Sexual Abuse

Share this blog on:

Male Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or faith. Males who have been sexually abused may experience similar feelings and symptoms as other survivors, however because of social stigmas, there are often extra challenges to disclosure and seeking help.

Definition of Male Sexual Abuse:

Because laws vary from one location to another, there’s not a universal definition of male sexual abuse. However, at Saprea we define male sexual abuse as any situation where another person (adult or peer) forces or coerces a male into unwanted sexual activity that may or may not involve touch.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 13 boys in the US experience sexual abuse at some time in their childhood.1 And the American National Center for PTSD states that at least 1 in 10 men in our country will experience sexual assault at some point in their life.2 This means that sexual trauma can occur beyond childhood.

These numbers are worrisome because male victims often underreport being sexually abused and are also significantly less likely to ever disclose. On average, a male survivor will take longer to disclose sexual abuse than a female survivor, if they disclose at all.3


Socialization and attitudes towards trauma have created stigmas and barriers for males to disclose abuse and seek help. Males are socialized not to identify as victims, not ask for help, and suppress emotions. These are seen as feminine practices. Males (consciously or unconsciously) may use shame as a tool to suppress behaviors and feelings associated with femininity. Men are also socialized to believe they always want sex, so when unwanted sexual activity occurs, it can be very confusing to them. There is even an attitude that trauma is “no big deal” as long as they don’t think about it or “let it control” them, they’ll be just fine.

The stigma has gotten so powerful that there is currently a push to replace the term “therapy” with words like consultation, meeting, coaching, or discussion for males just so they are more open to talking about their trauma.

Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

Though everyone is different, there are 3 warning signs of sexual abuse to look for: changes in their behavioral, physical, and/or emotional state.

Isolation, Engaging in risky behavior, Self-Harm, Out of Control Sexual Behaviors, Aggression


Pain in the genital area, Difficulty urinating, Abdominal pain


Shame, Guilt, Powerlessness, Depression

Some of these signs might not be as obvious as others.

Resources for Male Survivors

The healing from sexual abuse section of our website offers healing activities such as paced breathing, other grounding techniques, and self-compassion exercises.

The following websites have resources that are tailored specifically toward male survivors:


1in6 is a nonprofit organization that provides online support groups, trainings, webinars, survivor stories, and resources for male survivors.


MaleSurvivor is a nonprofit organization that provides a directory of therapists who specialize in male sexual trauma, support groups, healing events, and resources for parents and partners of male survivors.


MenHealing is a nonprofit organization that hosts healing retreats, podcasts, survivor stories, and online resources for male survivors.

Survivors and Mates Support Network

Survivors and Mates Support Network is a not-for-profit that provides individual and support counseling, peer support groups, peer support line, workshops, online meetings, and a podcast for male survivors, their families, and supporters.

Living Well

Living Well is an Australian service and resource that provides information, encouragement, and support to men who experienced childhood sexual abuse or adulthood sexual assault.
Crisis Hotline: If you or someone you know is struggling, or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Confidential chat is also available at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Myths and Facts About Male Sexual Abuse

Myth: “It’s not rape if you liked it.”
Fact: Males can experience unwanted or unintentional arousal during a sexual assault. An erection and even ejaculation does not mean the abuse was welcome or enjoyable, as physiological reactions are often automatic responses.
Myth: “It’s okay as long as the male student was attracted to the teacher.”
Fact: Underage students cannot give consent to an adult. Even if a student is of consenting age, the teacher or professor is an authority figure and would be abusing their position of power. Though student-on-student sexual assault is more likely to occur, educator sexual abuse has been a more prominent topic in the media as of late.
Myth: “He’s gay because he was diddled (touched) as a kid.” 
Fact: Sexual abuse does not change nor determine your sexual orientation. About 86% of the time, the perpetrators of male sexual abuse are other males. Contrary to the popular belief that gay men are the perpetrators, the majority of male perpetrators identify as straight.2
Myth: “Males who were sexually abused will go on to become abusers themselves.”
Fact: It is reported that 30% of survivors of child sexual abuse will become perpetrators themselves. However, this risk is significantly reduced if the survivor receives help.
Myth: “A man can’t be raped by a woman.”
Fact: Yes, a man can be raped by a woman. Men can be forced or coerced into sexual activity without consent or against their will. This type of abuse is often underreported.

In conclusion, if you are a male survivor of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, or sexual violence, you are not alone. Seeking help or disclosing abuse DOES NOT make you any “less of a man”. Even if you feel like you weren’t affected that much or at all, it’s okay to take the time to process what happened. You, a male survivor, can work through your traumatic experiences. Healing is possible.

About the Author


Eric Rivas

SEO/Web Analyst
Eric joined Saprea at the end of 2021 as the SEO/Web Analyst. He received a BS in marketing, a Professional Sales Certificate, and an AS in university studies from Utah Valley University, where he is currently enrolled in the MBA program. Before making the jump to the nonprofit sector, he worked in start-up, agency, and corporate marketing positions. In his free time he enjoys traveling with his wife, reading, and volunteering in the community.