Prevalence and consequences of adult sexual assault of men: Review of empirical findings and state of the literature

zoë D. Peterson, Emily K. Voller, Melissa A Polusny, Maureen M Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Male victims of adult sexual assault (ASA) are understudied as compared with female victims. Further, commonly-held myths about sexual assault suggest that men cannot be victims or that, if men are victims, they are relatively physically and emotionally unharmed by sexual assault. The goal of this paper was to systematically review the empirical literature on ASA among men to evaluate the veracity of these myths. This paper also sought to examine the methodological quality of the body of research in this area, identify limitations and gaps in the current literature, and suggest directions for future research. Eighty-seven relevant studies were identified through a systematic review of the literature. The reported prevalence of men's sexual aggression varied widely depending on the methods used and the population studied; some populations (e.g., veterans, prison inmates, and gay and bisexual men) reported higher rates of ASA than men in the general population. Few studies have systematically examined the consequences of male ASA; however, those that have suggest that ASA can have notable adverse physical and psychological consequences for some men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Adult men
  • Male victimization
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual coercion
  • Sexual victimization


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