Barriers for Sexual Assertiveness in Sexual Minority Emerging Adult Women

Nitzan Cohen, Fordham University


Sexual assault has detrimental effects on victims and is disproportionally occurring among sexual minority women, with non-monosexual women and gender diverse people reporting higher rates of victimization compared to both lesbian and heterosexual women. Research provides evidence for the effectiveness of sexual assertiveness on abating risk of sexual assault by familiar assailants, while studies show reduced assertiveness in the LGBTQ+ population. Emotion dysregulation and fear of sexual powerlessness, as well as prior history of victimization were found to be factors that inhibit assertiveness; however, these factors were not studied on sexual minority women. Moreover, while disparities emerge between bisexual women compared to lesbian women, these barriers for sexual assertiveness have not been studied in relation to sexual orientation category (monosexual versus multisexual women). This investigation examined the relationships between fear of sexual powerlessness, emotion dysregulation, history of victimization, sexual orientation category, and sexual assertiveness on a sample of 199 LGBTQ+ women between the ages of 18–26. Results show that multisexual participants reported higher rates of fear of sexual powerlessness, emotion dysregulation, and history of victimization, and lower assertiveness compared to monosexual participants. History of sexual victimization and fear of powerlessness, but not emotion dysregulation and sexual orientation category significantly predicted participants’ sexual assertiveness. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Sexuality|Womens studies|LGBTQ studies

Recommended Citation

Cohen, Nitzan, "Barriers for Sexual Assertiveness in Sexual Minority Emerging Adult Women" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28775179.