What is Sexual Gaslighting

Before I explain what sexual gaslighting is, I first will explain what gaslighting means.

Gaslighting is a form of brainwashing, but it is also different from brainwashing.

Brainwashing usually is done overtly to have someone’s idea’s and even political preferences changed. For instance: American people captured by russians who then brainwashed these Americans to convert them into good communists. There was nothing hidden about it.

But Gaslighting is a secret form of manipulating someone in a way with the intent do make the target doubt their own sanity, by denying the targets experiences, observations, thoughts, emotions, for secret and hidden goals and motives of the gaslighter. The entire targets reality is rejected by the gaslighter. When the gaslighting campaign is successful the gaslightee has adopted the idea that he/she is insane. The gaslightee then no longer believes his/her own intelligence, and senses and emotions. He/she then thinks: there must be something terribly wrong with me and he/she starts to believe that he/she is psychotic.

Gaslighting is an insidious and highly destructive practice that usually only is committed by pathological narcissists. Actually in my opinion it is one of the diagnostic symptoms that defines a pathological narcissist. and/or antisocial personality disorder.


Gaslighting is a term that’s derived from the movie “Gaslight” in which a woman is gaslight by her husband for secret reasons. If you want to see an example of gaslighting this is a good one.

If you want to know more about Gaslighting, I suggest you watch a video from Ross Rosenberg. He’s an expert on narcissistic abuse and how to overcome it. He has made a detailed explanation of gaslighting. Here’s the link:

Different Forms of Gaslighting

There are different forms of gaslighting. Ross Rosenberg actually speaks about mental gaslighting. I want to speak about Sexual gaslighting.

Sexual Gaslighting

Sexual gaslighting is a similar practice as mental gaslighting, but it does not so much adress the mental health or sanity of the target, but it seeks to destroy the sexuality of the target. And especially when this happens with a child, this is extremely traumatizing. And with sexual gaslighting the sexuality is attacked structurally way before the gaslighted child’s own sexuality comes to maturation.

Here is my definition: Sexual gaslighting is a form of manipulation designed by the narcissistic abuser to set the victim/target up against his/her own sexuality and needs and desires, to have the victim/target fear and reject his/her own sexuality, for hidden goals and purposes of the narcissistic abuser.

When someone has been sexually gaslight, then they have been mentally gaslight as well.

Consequences of Sexual Gaslighting for the Victims

Possible consequences of sexual gaslighting can have very destructive consequences, especially if it is done with children. Not only do they develop fear for sexuality, and feelings of shame and maybe guilt, but they might even resist sex education at school. And growing up without effective sex education has a whole range of sexual problems in itself. In addition psychosomatic sexual complaints may develop like vaginismus, painful sex, premature ejaculation and erection disorders, all without medical cause. Love relationships may have difficulties as an effect as well. And though psychosomatic sexual complaints often may be overcome with short term therapy, when gaslighting and sexual gaslighting is causing and maintaining the sexual complaints, usually a lot more therapy is needed before the sexual complaints are resolved.

Gaslighting is an abusive practice used by pathological narcissists to install mental disorders, and sexual gaslighting is used to install psychosexual complaints in their victims. Therefore both gaslighting and sexual gaslighting are extreme forms of emotional abuse.

Both people and upgrowing children (starting adolescence) need to be informed about these abusive practices, to help them be prepared to protect themselves in case it happens to them.

I plan to make more video’s about the different forms of sexual gaslighting and to give examples. If you want to know more about sexual gaslighting subscribe to my youtube channel: Freyajoy Tinbergen.

FreyaJoy Tinbergen MSc
psychologist-sexologist Amsterdam

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