Sexual activity is supposed to be enjoyable for both people involved, and never one-sided.
A person should never be put in a situation where they feel obligated to perform certain “sexual favors” when they don’t feel comfortable about it.
Sexual coercion is very serious and is flirting on the borderline with rape.
Some will argue that coercion cannot happen within a marriage, and that simply is not true.
Here’s more on what sexual coercion is, with several examples of it, and when that line has been crossed.
What is Sexual Coercion?
While sexual coercion may not be considered to be rape because the other partner did consent to it, it’s still considered to be a form of abuse.
That’s because it usually takes place without any physical force, but the constant asking or threats may cause you to feel forced into the situation.
Sexual coercion happens to both women and men, of all different ages and all different types of relationships. It’s very common among pre-teens and teenagers today.
It can even happen in marriage as well when one spouse pressures and manipulates the other spouse until they reluctantly give in. Afterward, they may feel violated and do not feel good about it afterwards.
In legal situations, it may not be considered to be a sexual assault scenario, but it’s one that no one should have to put up with.
Examples of Sexual Coercion
It may be difficult for certain individuals to know for sure that sexual coercion is taking place in their relationship.
That’s because there isn’t the physical abuse, the blatant yelling and name-calling that would make it more obvious.
Take a look at a few examples of sexual coercion.
- When the other partner is constantly asking for sex
- Saying things like, “I thought you love me…won’t you help me finish”
- When a partner tells you that it’s your responsibility to have sex with them
- If they tell you that they will leave or break up with you if you don’t have sex with them
- Saying that they will go looking for sex elsewhere if you don’t consent
- They give you drugs or alcohol to lower your guard down
- Keeping money or other needs from you for not having sex
- When they tell you that it’s a favor that you owe them
- They might try and keep you from using protection or birth control
There might be a chance that none of these are things that you have experienced from your partner, but you’re still left feeling violated, confused, guilty or dirty.
The best thing that you can do is to go with your gut feeling.
Ways to Avoid or Resolve Coercion
Coercion is a conflict that shouldn’t have to escalate down the road. In a lot of these situations, it can be resolved or avoided by proper communication. It’s okay to tell the other person that you aren’t up to having sex if you are not comfortable with it.
But there are times when the other person simply does not get a hint. People that don’t respect other people’s boundaries and privacy will only press these same issues even further.
In more serious situations, coercion can be the antecedent that leads up to a sexual assault. Now is the time to do something about it before it’s too late. Now is the time to show that person the door.
When It’s No Longer Coercion
We’ve already mentioned that there is a fine line between sexual coercion and physical assault (rape).
It’s a crime if your partner, or spouse, crosses that line. Here are a number of incidents that you should be aware of.
- Even though you’ve said no, they don’t stop
- If they threaten you with physical abuse in order to get you to have sex
- When they resort to physical force to get you to submit sexually to them
- If they threaten you with turning you in to the authorities for illegal activity
- Force you into having sex by threatening to expose your immigration status
- They cause you to take drugs or alcohol unknowingly and then have sex with you
If you’re ever put in one of these situations, you need to leave and get help when it’s safe to do so. You need to call 911 and have a report taken.
Unfortunately, rape can even take place within a marriage when the other person is forced to have sex with the other spouse. Marital rape is very real, and should not be taken lightly.
Just because sexual coercion isn’t considered to be sexual assault, doesn’t mean that you have to put up with it. If your partner’s or spouse’s words are threatening, manipulative, or abusive in nature, you don’t need to sit around and do nothing about it.
You deserve to have your boundaries respected, even when it’s a husband or wife.