Assertiveness requires that the individual attempt to ensure her rights in a specific area or to actualize an internalized view of self through inter­action with others. I will therefore posit that the extent to which women assert themselves sexually depends on the extent to which women have an accurate, nondistorted, internalized conception of their own sexuality, which they desire to actualize through interactions with others. If their internalized conception is based on socially derived stereotypes (e. g., asex­ual caretaker or bad girl) then women will not be able to assert an au­thentic sexual self.

Sexual rights for women are largely undefined, making assertion of such rights difficult. No autonomous version of women’s sexuality is cul­turally approved, making the development of an internalized, autonomous view of the sexual self difficult. Sexual assertiveness has been defined as the ability to initiate wanted sexual activities, to refuse unwanted sexual activities, and to protect oneself against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (Morokoff et al., 1997). I would like to examine in detail factors that prevent women from expression of assertiveness in sexual actions and decisions.