If you or someone you care about is living with family violence please call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.
Sexual consent in marriage or a relationship takes on a very grey hue compared to the traditional views of sexual assault. Incredibly, researchers estimate that 10 to 14 percent of married or formerly married women have experienced at least one forced sexual assault in marriage by a husband or ex, according to the National Online Research Center on Violence Against Women.
Walking down the aisle does not give your husband blanket consent to have sex with you at any time. No still means no.
Sexual experiences should be enjoyable for both parties. That’s the whole point, right? (Well with the obvious exception of procreation.) Marriage starts out (usually) because you love each other.
Sexual intimacy takes things to another level. But what happens when one partner isn’t in the mood?
In any long-term relationship, there will be times when one partner wants sex and the other doesn’t. It’s part of the natural rhythm of life. A loving relationship has something called sexual communal strength, which is each person’s motivation to meet their partner’s sexual needs. Sometimes, the person who isn’t in the mood delights in seeing their partner happy by meeting their needs, so they oblige because they too gain pleasure. This is still a mutually beneficial situation.
Unfortunately, sometimes this can turn negative. When coercion is involved or when a person ignores their own needs, we enter the territory of unmitigated communion. Those mutual benefits are missing. As you can imagine, this can lead down a slippery slope of dissatisfaction, resentment, and negativity. (And yes, marital rape.)
Sexual coercion is defined as unwanted sexual activity that happens when you are pressured, tricked, threatened, or forced in a non-physical way.
That means that using guilt, continually asking after being told no, yelling, calling names, and threatening to withhold something else from you if you don’t submit are all acts of non-consensual sex and toe (and often cross) the line of rape. Yes, even in marriage.
Confused by consent? It’s just like a cup of tea. Post continues below…
Sexual assault in marriage: Forced consent via coercion is not consent.
Lack of consent, while you are sleeping or drunk, is not consent either.
Legitimate consent is the presence of an enthusiastic “yes” (verbal or non-verbal) void of manipulation, threats, or head games, not just the absence of a “no”.