Sexual coercion is a form of emotional manipulation used to pressure you into engaging in a sexual act. Perpetrators use a variety of tactics to convince you that the agreement to engage in the sexual activity is consensual. Consent given as a result of coercion is NOT consent. Consent should always be freely given without the presence of pressure or manipulation. Unfortunately, sexual coercion is an incredible prevalent issue in society. For example, Psychology Today estimates that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual coercion. Therefore, it is important to educate yourself and others on the subject of coercion.
Sexual coercion can be committed by anyone. This includes but is not limited to; bosses, teachers, police, family members, strangers, significant others, and more. Remember, just because you’re in a relationship does not mean you owe your partner(s) any sexual favors.
It’s not rare to come across a penis-owner who will say something like “you gave me blue balls” as a way to make you feel like you’re now responsible for ‘curing’ their blue balls with a sexual act, as if it is your fault for arousing them and now your duty to relieve them. This is never okay and is a form of sexual coercion. Don’t let someone try to make you feel like you owe them something by claiming that it’s a “boy thing” that you “wouldn’t understand,” instead, if someone ever tries to coerce you or anyone with this tactic, be confident in your response with this information:
Unfortunately a common form of coercion centers around the use of protection during sexual activities. Someone may try convincing you to engage in sexual contact without a condom, assuming it is fine because you already consented to the secual act itself. This is coercion and you should absolutely never be pressured by someone into not using protection when you are uncomfortable. This is not the same as stealthing, which is when the condom is removed during sex without you knowing. If you ever find yourself speechless in this situation, we’ve created some premade responses for your use.
Sexual coercion can fall under different categories for different instances and in different states. It may be legally considered sexual harrassment, sexual assault, or even rape depending on where you live and what occured. If you feel comfortable doing so, reach out to a friend or trusted adult to tell them what happened and work through next steps. You can also do the following:
Sources: Womens Health, Psychology Today