The vast sexual exploitation of Black queer women is under addressed by therapeutic and family counseling experts alike. Scholarship on the subject shows that a history of sexual trauma can have direct negative implications on women’s sexuality and ability to access sexual pleasure. However, therapeutic and family counseling interventions lack an intersectional analysis that directly address the unique experiences of Black women – and even further, Black queer women, who are survivors. In this research study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with Black queer, lesbian, bisexual and same-gender-loving survivors of sexual assault to assess how they located agency, empowerment, and pleasure within sexual relationships with women. Researchers indicate that survivors of sexual trauma are likely to experiences a negative impact to their sexual arousalbility. I hypothesized that Black queer survivors’ would have unique abilities to achieve sexual pleasure within their sexual relationships as a result of queer identity politics and sex-positive models of resistance. This study found that although survivors did experience symptoms typical for survivors of sexual violence, they also reported implications that were unique to their queer identities. Additionally, their ability to access pleasure and desire in their sexual relationships was intimately tied to their ability to embrace their queer identity within their intimate relationships, and exist as their full and authentic selves.


Shannon Miller

Committee Member

Laura Harrison

Committee Member

Eric Sprankle

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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