How Does Coercive Differ From Non-Coercive Sex?

5 min read

Sexual coercion is when an individual threatens, tricks, pressures, or manipulates someone into having sex. This is a sexual assault because even if someone accepts, they are not doing it out of their free will. 

People that experience sexual coercion might feel they do not have an option but to have sex. The culprit may use threats of negative consequences to attain what they want. Alternatively, they might promise rewards that might or might not be real. 

Sexual coercion is likely to happen in current relationships, but anybody can behave this way, mainly because there is no balance of power. Even though it does not involve physical force, it still damages.

What is sexual coercion?

Sexual coercion happens when an individual pressures another one in a non-physical way to have sex with them. It occurs in all kinds of relationships, which applies to all types of sex. You can consider sex coercive even when someone says yes. In coercion, individuals have sex when they feel they must or should rather than when they want to. 

The nature of sexual coercion varies significantly from persistently asking for it until someone succumbs to your threats of revenge or violence. Some coercion types are not deliberate intimidation, so some people might not realize if they are engaging or experiencing it. 

Non-coercive sex has affirmative consent. It means that all partners enthusiastically and explicitly consent to sexual activities minus the influence of external pressure. They agree that people can withdraw their consent for any other reason without negative consequences. Hallmarks of consensual sex include; 

  • Emotional and physical safety
  • No sense of entitlement, meaning partners are not expecting sex from partners
  • Autonomy means all partners can freely make their decisions
  • Equal dynamics of power
  • mutual respect

Involuntary physical responses, like vaginal lubrication and erection, are not equivalent to consent. Implied consent is impossible if the individual feels intimidated or pressured into accepting or does not say no. Having sexual contact in such situations can be sexual assault.

Read Also: The Influential Female Lawyers

Examples of sexual coercion

An individual may try to coerce someone sexually through;

  • Harassment

Asking someone for sex repeatedly when they do not have an interest is coercive, especially if they intend to wear someone down until they accept. 

  • Guilt

Someone may try to make another feel guilty for not accepting sex. For instance, they can emphasize how long they have taken since they last had sex, saying that that individual owes them sex or that it is their duty as their partner. 

  • Lies

Someone may use misinformation to coerce someone else to coax another to have sex with them. They might use the myths about consent to persuade someone they do not have a right to refuse, tell them their demands, make false promises, or coercive behavior is expected. 

  • Threats to the relationship

An individual may threaten to leave the relationship if another party does not consent to sex. Conversely, they may use the insecurities of their partners to play with them, like suggesting they are dull, unattractive, or they will become unfaithful. 

  • Blackmail

This happens when someone weaponizes personal info about someone else to force them into sex. For instance, the criminal may threaten to release nudes online if someone does not consent. 

  • Fear and intimidation

Someone might behave in an intimidating or scary manner when they are not getting their way, pressuring someone into sex. 

  • Power imbalance

Someone may use their power at work, wealth, or status to coerce someone. If they deny it, they might threaten the other party with a tarnished reputation, lower grades, job loss, or adverse consequences. 

  • Using substances

A person might encourage another to use alcohol or drugs to make them compliant, making it easy to coerce into sex. If an individual has sex with someone while unconscious or inebriated, it is known as rape. 

Who is most at risk of sexual coercion?

Less research has been conducted on sexual coercion as compared to non-consensual types of sex. However, according to existing info, it is more likely to affect some people, and others are unaffected. 

For instance, studies show that although females and males reported as being coercion victims, males were the most common gender to engage in the behavior. The research found that particular attitudes correlate with high risks of the behavior, including; 

  • The desire for control and power
  • The belief that coercive sexual behaviors are normal
  • Hostile sexism that promotes the idea that men should dominate women

Another study states a link between sexism and sexual coercion, particularly in heterosexual relations, where traditional gender roles influence power dynamics. 

Is sexual coercion abuse? 

Yes. Sexual coercion is abuse if it is a pattern. According to domestic violence support organizations, in the context of relations, abuse describes any behavior pattern that an individual uses to gain power and control over someone else. At times, coercive sex happens once. It can result from someone believing in myths or misunderstanding what is expected in sexual relations. Nevertheless, if an individual does not care that his behavior is harmful or continues to do it, it signals an abusive relationship. 

A person might use coercion with other types of abuse, like coercive control. It involves demanding control over various aspects of the life of their partners like; 

  • Whom they socialize with
  • Where do they go?
  • What do they wear?

Insulting or demeaning comments, gaslighting, and humiliation may wear down a person’s self-esteem. 

Is sexual coercion illegal?

Which of the following is an example of sexual coercion quiz let? Even though coercive sex is an abuse, its legal status varies. In the US, coercive sex might be an assault if the perpetrator; 

  • Knows the person is not aware the sex is taking place
  • Is in authority and has sex with a person in custody, like a hospital or prison
  • Has impaired the person’s judgment by intoxicating them 
  • Knows the person knows the victim has health issues that mean they cannot give informed consent
  • Initiates sex for degrading, humiliating, harassing, or abusing the person
  • Knows the victim finds it offensive

The age of the individuals involved is a crucial factor. Illegal sexual contact involves; 

  • Anybody is below 10
  • Anyone below 16 and a person that is four or more years older than them
  • Anybody below 21 and their guardian

Final Thoughts

Every state may add other circumstances in which coercive sex will be illegal. Institutions like schools and workplaces may classify the act as sexual harassment and not coercive sex and have rules for managing it. Recovering from sexual coercion begins with realizing that previous experiences were not healthy or that the current relationship has elements of coercion.

Read Also: Domestic Partnership Vs Marriage

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *