Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Mari Ann Graham


Social Work


This research examines how clinicians address sexual intimacy with couples when one partner has experienced sexual trauma (i.e. childhood sexual abuse and/or sexual assault), including the ways clinicians incorporate sexual consent into their work. A qualitative methodology using semi-structured interviews was employed for this study. The findings highlight the relational impact of sexual trauma as well as the need for relational healing and empowerment, not only for the survivor, but also for the partner and the couple. One significant finding suggests the need for some partners of sexual trauma survivors to further examine and address some of their sexual behaviors that may be non-consensual in nature. One potential area for further research has to do with exploring the experiences of same sex, non-binary, and/or queer couples in terms of these same issues. Addressing sexual trauma and intimacy with couples is a complex clinical process, and this study shows that incorporating elements of the sexual consent model may make these discussions more explicit for all involved.

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Social Work Commons