Sexual self-schemas are cognitive generalizations regarding sexual aspects of the self; they represent a core component of one's sexuality. We contend that individual differences in sexual self-view are an important cognitive diathesis for predicting sexual difficulty or dysfunction. We illustrate the role of sexual self-schemas in sexual behavior and responsiveness in healthy female and male samples. Next, we examine the diathetic properties of sexual self-schemas. Finally, we discuss an empirical test of the proposed diathesis-stress interaction, reviewing the role of women's sexual self-views on sexual morbidity following diagnosis and treatment for gynecologic cancer.