Feeling Scared During Sex: Findings From a U.S. Probability Sample of Women and Men Ages 14 to 60

J Sex Marital Ther. 2019;45(5):424-439. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2018.1549634. Epub 2019 Apr 4.


Using data from a U.S. probability survey of individuals aged 14 to 60, we aimed (1) to assess the proportion of respondents who ever reported scary sexual situations and (2) to examine descriptions of sexual experiences reported as scary. Data were cross-sectional and collected via the GfK KnowledgePanel®. Scary sexual situations were reported by 23.9% of adult women, 10.3% of adult men, 12.5% of adolescent women, and 3.8% of adolescent men who had ever engaged in oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Themes included sexual assault/rape, incest, being held down, anal sex, choking, threats, multiple people, novelty/learning, among others.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rape / psychology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • United States
  • Young Adult