Sexual coercion: tactics, implications and outcomes

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remind remind's picture
Sexual coercion: tactics, implications and outcomes

Okay, this is a spin off thread from a discussion snert and I were having in the porn on campus thread, where I indicated that sexual coercion is rape/sexual assault. Will be back to respond to snert.

It's Me D

remind: As a bystander to your discussion with Snert but interested in the topic I'd love a quick summary of the issue? If its not to much trouble Smile

Michelle
It's Me D

Thanks Michelle! So where's the discussion? Seems pretty obvious sexual coercion as described in that link is wrong and akin to rape as remind said. Is the discussion about what qualifies as sexual coercion?

remind remind's picture

You betcha! But one has to have a starting point, so people are on the same page and Michelles linked description is a good start.

Quote:
Sexual coercion means to force someone to have sex by means of manipulation or threat. It often occurs in situations where the coercer has a poor understanding of sexual consent...sexual coercion can also arise when a partner with low self-esteem fears they will lose their boyfriend/girlfriend if they don't "put out". This type of coercion is often perpetrated by ill-informed people who fail to put their partner's needs and well-being on the same level as their own.

Going to come back with definitions of the words used to define it.

martin dufresne

Isn't it a bit of a cop-out to attribute sexual coercion to "poor understanding" or being "ill-informed"? To coerce someone into sex - which I have never had a woman do to me BTW - seems more a question of getting what you want regardess of the other person's disinterest, than one of lack of information or misunderstanding. It seems to me that the writer is making a big effort to avoid seeming confrontational - not the best way to address a confrontational interaction, such as wheedling a woman out of a "pity fuck", as they are called...

It's Me D

Quote:
To coerce someone into sex - which I have never had a woman do to me BTW - seems more a question of getting what you want regardess of the other person's disinterest, than one of lack of information or misunderstanding.

I agree, I don't think its a genuine misunderstanding. I have however been in this position myself, so I hope you didn't mean to imply that women couldn't do this.

remind remind's picture

What do you want it to say martin, that  they are selfish ignorant lack wits?

It's Me D

remind:

Quote:
This type of coercion is often perpetrated by ill-informed people who fail to put their partner's needs and well-being on the same level as their own

You could just strike out the words "ill-informed" from this sentence...

Michelle

Well, I think a lot of people don't understand coercion, and don't understand relationship dynamics that make women feel pressured to consent to sex even when they don't want to.  For instance, I think a lot of women can relate to partners who beg and beg and beg and beg and beg and beg for sex when they don't feel like it, and I think a lot of us can relate to giving in even when we don't want to, in order to get some peace.

Is that the same thing as being physically forced to have sex?  My personal opinion is, no, it's not.  But I believe that it is emotionally abusive, and I also think it's somewhat sexually abusive.  But so many men have no idea that this kind of behaviour - begging for sex, trying to coerce their partners into sex by being angry and sullen if they say no, knowing perfectly well that their partner doesn't want to have sex but doing their best to pressure them into "giving in" - to me, that is sexually abusive.  Is it rape?  I'm not sure - I do think that physically forcing a woman to have sex against her will is more serious than emotionally manipulating her into it. 

But if only more men would see such behaviour, at the very least, as abusive, if not rape or sexual assault.  But from my experience talking to female friends, and my own personal experience in relationships, this kind of behaviour is depressingly common.  As is begging for certain kinds of sex that their partners feel uncomfortable with, and badgering their partner to do it until they finally wear them down and they just do it.  I'll never understand why there are guys who want to do stuff that their partners clearly aren't into - that would totally kill the mood for me and make me feel self-conscious - but there you go.

Why don't women leave guys who pull shit like this?  Good question.  A lot of us eventually do.  But the problem is, because this is not commonly recognized for what it is - abusive behaviour - a lot of women who experience it just figure, well, this is just one of those annoying things that men do, a normal part of the relationship.  And the fact is, it's such common behaviour that many of us resign ourselves to it, because we know chances are good that the next guy we are with will be the same way.

I suppose there are probably cases of women coercing men into sex too, but I don't think it happens anywhere near as much as the other way around.

jas

editing this, as it's not going to help the discussion...

 

It's Me D

Michelle wrote:
I'll never understand why there are guys who want to do stuff that their partners clearly aren't into - that would totally kill the mood for me and make me feel self-conscious - but there you go.

I don't think that one partner wanting to try something the other is uncomfortable with is that hard to understand. Placing that desire for gratification above concern for your partner is what I don't understand. I've had relationships where I might have wanted things a partner wasn't comfortable with, I don't think its a problem if I keep that to myself and don't pressure them; I don't think people should be condemned for desires alone, but for how they act on them, especially if such acts are against their partner's wishes.

Michelle wrote:
I suppose there are probably cases of women coercing men into sex too, but I don't think it happens anywhere near as much as the other way around.

I'm sure its less common. I do think sexual coercion by women is alot more common than physical abuse by women though.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

IMD, to me this thread is a trap.  Wink

remind remind's picture

Manipulate- to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage... to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose

rape -  to seize and take away by force b: despoil

force- violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing

compulsion-  an act of compelling : the state of being compelled b: a force that compels

compel - to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure

** all definitions taken from Merriam Webster on line

 

Consent that is forced, is not consent.

remind remind's picture

Well, Itsmed, I believe, and have found to be true,  that when some men are informed that their passive aggressive behavior to force consent is actually rape, they reassess their actions and indeed stop. I think ill-informed can be used, but I am not going to sideline this discussion with a meta debate about it.

Passive aggressive behaviour to force consent comes in many forms, pouting, grumpy, aloof, with holding of non-sexual affection, threats to go elsewhere, violent actions like slamming doors, yelling about something else entirely etc...when all of which are designed to force compliance sexually.

 

Michelle

Well, the thing is, I think women aren't "forced" to have sex when we are being begged for sex.  Blackmail and threats are different, of course - in that case, yes, we are being forced to choose between having sex or having the person do something bad to us.

But begging for sex, pleading for it, being sullen if she says no - that's not "forcing" her, that's emotional pressuring.  Which is still abusive and still bad, but I wouldn't say that if we give in to such tactics that we're being "forced".  As full human beings with our own decision-making capabilities, we can still choose not to consent.  We can choose to say, okay, he's angry and it's not my problem.

Now, is this easy?  No.  Is such behaviour emotionally abusive?  Absolutely.  But I think it's important for women to recognize where we do have agency, and this is one of those times.  If more of us thought to ourselves, "His unhappiness is HIS problem, not mine, and no, I actually DON'T have to give in and have sex just because he's being a big whiny fucking baby," then not only might we find ourselves not staring at the ceiling and thinking of England while asswipe is getting his rocks off, but we might also start to see this kind of behaviour for what it is - disgusting, degrading, manipulative, abusive.  And we might just say to ourselves, "Why am I with someone who acts like this?  Isn't being alone better than being with someone like this?"

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Most of the times I've had sex, it was me being coerced or better said manipulated.

It's Me D

RP: Thats quite a sad statement Frown It also seems to imply that one party is generally coerced... which I hope isn't the norm for most people!

 

Also, if this is a trap, can I call you Admiral Ackbar?

 

ETA: Thinking of England Michelle?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I read the definition and edited my statement but by all means I stand by my statement that women use far more tactics than I do personally.  I guess I'm missing what remind is trying to get it.

 

I have no idea who Ackbar is but have at it.

remind remind's picture

RevolutionPlease wrote:
Most of the times I've had sex, it was me being coerced or better said manipulated.
And how did you feel about that?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Thinking of England is why I wait for them to engage.  Wink

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I didn't think about it much remind until I saw this discussion.  Doesn't really bother me, I'm the one with privilege, sorry about that.  I'll think a bit more.

Maysie Maysie's picture

I believe It's Me D is referring to the classic Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back line in which Admiral Ackbar, a fishy-looking fellow with a big spacesuit bubble thing on his head (am I remembering this correctly?) realizes that the Death Star is fully functional, or some such evil Empiric tomfoolery. His line is "It's a trap!".

And RP, I'm sad too, after reading what you shared. You deserve better.

It's Me D

Good internet sub-culture (or just plain old sci-fi nerd) knowledge Maysie Wink I sent RP a pic of Ackbar by PM so as not to derail the thread.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Sorry my friends, that's not entirely the way I meant to put it.  I just felt compelled to speak up that I find it very common for women to also use sex as a tactic.  I was ignoring the elephant in the room of how ignorant I may be to how other men behave.

martin dufresne

Michelle, I'm standing up and APPLAUDING your post #16. It's certainly a very thin line between being emotionally abused, as you clearly describe it, and being forced or coerced. So why not define such very real abuse as the problem rather than quibble about "coercion"? I am hopeful when I read remind saying that men can be challenged about it and made to understand we must stop - even if it is by throwing us out. I learned that way back in my first relationship. But I think the problem is that many, many men would rather abuse then play fair if it gets us "nookie".

As for whether men or women do it more, doesn't the always present threat of physical force make it non-symetrical? The fact that if push comes to shove, men can rape much more easily than women, while women can only wheedle. AND there's the privilege as RP points out.

remind remind's picture

Well michelle , it is a fine line, and to me indistinguishable,  between  emotional blackmail/abuse and forced consent/rape.

Moroever, it is more fully compounded, when you have kids, or company,  etc. as then everyone is affected by the sulleness and pouting, so compliance occurs in order to stop everyone from being affected, and basically that is forced compliance, as the person doing it knows full well what the outcome will be.

remind remind's picture

martin dufresne wrote:
doesn't the always present threat of physical force make it non-symetrical? The fact that if push comes to shove, men can rape much more easily than women, while women can only wheedle. AND there's the privilege as RP points out.
Well there is the impled violence factor too, of throwing keys around, yelling at the kids, slamming doors,  turning the music up full volume, walking out and coming back hours later even if there is an activity planned for the family and friends. All of which I have seen happen at assorted friend's houses.

Then of course trhere is the verbal violence expressed by name calling, derision, put downs etc.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

Well, the thing is, I think women aren't "forced" to have sex when we are being begged for sex.  Blackmail and threats are different, of course - in that case, yes, we are being forced to choose between having sex or having the person do something bad to us.

But begging for sex, pleading for it, being sullen if she says no - that's not "forcing" her, that's emotional pressuring.  Which is still abusive and still bad, but I wouldn't say that if we give in to such tactics that we're being "forced".  As full human beings with our own decision-making capabilities, we can still choose not to consent.  We can choose to say, okay, he's angry and it's not my problem.

That's in strong alignment with my thoughts on this.

 I also think that we tend to regard coercion not solely (or even mainly) in terms of what is being coerced, or in terms of who is coercing but rather in terms of the method itself. As an example:

- if a man holds a knife to a woman's throat for money, that's unacceptable

- if a woman holds a knife to a man's throat for money, that's unacceptable

- if I hold a knife to someone's throat for sex, that's unacceptable

- if anyone holds a knife to my throat for sex, that's unacceptable

- if someone holds a knife to someone's throat and demands that they hum the theme from Walker, Texas Ranger, that's unacceptable

 I don't think I trivialized rape or armed robbery with that last one. I'm making the point that it really doesn't matter what someone is coercing when they hold a knife to another person's throat, and it doesn't matter if they're male, female, priveleged or not priveleged, old or young... holding a knife to someone's throat is just wrong.

 Similarly, if pouting, "wheedling" or holding one's breath until one turns blue is an odious and disgusting emotional manipulation when it's a man, hoping for sex, then I'm having trouble seeing how it's anything less if it's carried out by a woman, or if it's carried out for something even more trivial (or, to be accurate, anything to which the "pouter" has no right of expectation).

 As I asked in the previous thread, if pouting for sex is rape, doesn't it follow that pouting for some material thing is theft? And more generally, isn't it the pouting itself that's wrong?

to add:

Quote:
doesn't the always present threat of physical force make it non-symetrical?

 

I think you said it yourself: it's always present. So how does sitting on the couch and making a sulky face make it any more present?

Really, once you add the threat of violence to something a man does, you're talking about violence. Yelling or not yelling, talking or being silent, pacing or sitting still, staring off into space or making intense eye contact, fuming or smiling... you can't really meaningfully discuss anything at that point except the violence. If we assume that a man's next step will be physical coercion then anything he does or doesn't do the moment before can get lumped in with the impending sexual assault.

 

 

 

martin dufresne

Sophistry. We do not "assume that his next step will be physical coercion." That's why he pouts. Then talks loudly, Then slams doors, etc. (thanks remind for that vivid M.O.) They are all warning signals and they generally work, so he doesn't have to physically assault her... to physically "get" her.

We can and should discuss these tactics as abuse in themselves. Otherwise, your argument is that of the cop who says that as long as he doesn't try to kill you, well he can't do anything about the detailed threat he laid on you. That's B-S.

remind remind's picture

Moreover, martin,  once the woman knows what to expect if compliance is not given, she just gives it up to cut the bs out. And to me that is still forced compliance.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Otherwise, your argument is that of the cop who says that as long as he doesn't try to kill you, well he can't do anything about the detailed threat he laid on you. That's B-S.

I don't agree that sulking is a "detailed threat", speaking of B-S.

Pouting is something people do.  Kids don't have good skills for dealing with not getting something they want, so they tend to do it a lot, and in turn, we tend to associate pouting with juvenile behaviour.  But adults do it too, male or female, and for all kinds of things they want.

In discussing this, in this and the previous thread, I had assumed that that's what we were talking about.  If we're really talking about violence now then I expect a short, one-sided discussion:  YES, we all agree that violent coercion is wrong.  So what's left to discuss?  Other than the fact that now a lot of sulky, mopey guys who have absolutely no intention of physically harming their partner have been defined as rapists.  But better an innocent man be caught than a guilty man get away.  That's how that saying goes, right?

remind remind's picture

No pouting is not something "people" do, it is something immature people/adults do. It is a passive aggressive action geared towards gaining compliance. The persons undertaking it, either  do not have personal the capacity to get for themselves what they want, and so want to force others to give it to them, or they merely want out of a sense of privilege.

Pout- 1 a: to show displeasure by thrusting out the lips or wearing a sullen expression b: sulk

Sulk - to be moodily silent

remind remind's picture

No man, nor woman, has the right to show displeasure if their partner does not want to have sex, end of story.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

So why frame all this poutiness stuff around it.  I get your point but you seem to be going out of your way for no reason.  Women are poutier than men, there, I said it.  :ducks:

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

And that's just from the day to day drama I get.  Maybe not enough male friends. 

martin dufresne

Maybe this is because women are held at the point of "poutiness" when they are displeased with anything, not politically entitled to ratchet up the pressure the way we guyz are...

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Agreed martin but I don't find many males pouty, but I abhor rapists and perhaps the distiction needs to be made among other descriptors used.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Fack, I know I'm wrong, again, sorry, feel like this is an attack on males and I'm failing to get it but then see reason why it's important.

martin dufresne

Are you saying all males are rapists? You say you abhor them, so that can't be it. Do you feel that all males pout and whine and wheedle to get sex? I don't (although I have done worse).

Also - maybe the reason you don't find males pouty is that you aren't on the receiving end when they want sex? It's sometimes a hell of a place to be in but women have a privileged vantage point that we need to learn from if we really want to understand men.

G'night (under the covers with my cat! I never say no to her...)

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I'm just confused martin, and asking questions.  I've been getting a lot of the points through posting.  You know I acknowledged that earlier.  Thanks for helping me learn.

martin dufresne

And I'm sorry if you felt I was browbeating you by answering your points.

remind remind's picture

RevolutionPlease wrote:
So why frame all this poutiness stuff around it.  I get your point but you seem to be going out of your way for no reason.  Women are poutier than men, there, I said it.  :ducks:
  Because it real, and it is passive aggressive coercion. aka forcing, aka rape.

That has not been my observations in life regarding women being poutier than men and would say if you find women are pouty around you, why not examine why it is they feel that they have no personal autonomy, to achieve/get whatever it is they want/need, and thus feel the need to revert to childlike behaviours to get it.

martin dufresne

It seems to me that "pouting" happens when there is a communication breakdown. The mouth is closed because words have not managed to convince (etymology: "vanquish") the other, so one makes a face to express displeasure and maintain pressure. I find that, among themselves, women manage to maintain communication, be it with others (gossip), at times of disagreement, while in their interactions with men, communication shuts down for lack of a common language (other than sex FWIW). Hence, occasionally, pouting, and, from men, body language such as door slamming and ultimately violence, which gives them an edge, hence a non-symetrcal situation that benefits men. Women may pout at men, but they cannot take the confrontation much further. Men can and do, and it becomes rape and/or battery.

The unexamined issue is "Why is sex so important to people that they are ready to put so much pressure for "it" on unwilling parties?" (I am making an effort to voice this gender-neutrally, but I think it is a male issue.)

remind remind's picture

Well,  there are different dimensions to this absolutely. A woman in town here is thinking about leaving her husband as he withholds sex from her.  He enters into foreplay, and then does not follow through and just jerks off on her and then goes to sleep.  They have not had full out sex for over a year and they have only been married for 3.

Now what does this mean in patriarchial power plays in the area of sexual exploitation? As she is definitely taking it personally and it is eroding her sense of self worth.

It's Me D

remind: Are you saying that the husband in this example is obligated to fullfil his marital duties?

remind remind's picture

Nope.

Snert Snert's picture

But if the woman threatens to leave, to have her needs met elsewhere, that's rape, yes?  So I guess she's in a bit of a sticky wicket.

It's Me D

(post removed by poster; I just wanted clarification, but I'd rather you address Snert's comment instead)

martin dufresne

Bait on your right, bait on your right... swim on, woman!

It's Me D

Yes martin, all discussion is bait. How dare I ask remind what she meant in her post! The nerve, wanting to learn from the thread instead of just ignoring it.

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