Coercion is Not Consent

My first experience of sexual intercourse was through coercion.

What is Sexual Coercion?

Sexual Coercion is the act of using pressure, alcohol or drugs or force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will. My boyfriend, Mr. Schadenfreude, used guilt, humiliation, and constant begging until I had intercourse with him.

You may be asking why I stayed and the reason was that of effort justification. (I expanded on effort justification in a previous post)I dated Mr. Schadenfreude during a time when I hated myself for breaking up with my college sophomore boyfriend so I could date him. I felt being sexually coerced was karma’s way of hurting my ex.

I Wanted Sex on My Own Terms

I wanted to have that moment on my own terms, but Mr. Schadenfreude whined so much that I did it so he could stop. When I had intercourse, I felt shame for myself and my parents. Shame towards myself because I gave in despite my No’s, and shame from my parents because they wanted me to wait until marriage.

I typed up letters to Mr. Schadenfreude telling him that I didn’t want sex anymore, but he couldn’t be with someone who couldn’t have sex with him. I broke up with him many times and came back because he always told me he changed, which was never the case.

I Thought Sexual Coercion was Rape

For the longest time, I thought that sexual coercion was rape (it was to the point I actually reported my experience to the police) but that’s not the case. Rape is a type of sexual coercion, but not all sexual coercion is rape. It’s difficult to define because it’s subtle and encompasses many behaviors and situations and includes a perceived unwillingness to get involved in sexual acts by the victim. Behaviors of coercion include The act of using pressure to have sex, alcohol or drugs to have sexual contact and using sexual contact such as caressing, petting, kissing to push on intercourse.

Tree’s Experience

Many cases of sexual coercion are often the male pressuring the female, but there are cases of the reverse. My friend, Tree, was pressured to have intercourse with his longtime on/off high school girlfriend, Peta. Peta was a jealous and controlling girlfriend who didn’t allow Tree to hang out with his friends. I don’t know why she didn’t want let him hang out, but I think it’s because Tree would rather hang with them rather than with her.

During one of our many evening AIM instant messaging chats, we had a conversation that was about sex. (surprise, surprise, high schoolers talking about sex) He hesitated when I asked him if he had sex, and when he admitted it, I was shocked. He was someone who I thought would wait until marriage. Then when I asked him why he did it, he said it was because Peta pressured him into it. I asked him if it was good, but he said he felt empty by the experience.

Resenting Myself for Being Sexually Coerced

For a long time I resented myself for being sexually coerced, but through therapy, meditation, and being around supportive people (i.e. my quasi-husband Mr. Squigglekins), I’ve forgiven myself. I’m grateful for the experience because I’ve learned to follow my instincts when I feel uncomfortable and how to communicate my needs.

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