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Emotional Abuse and Sexual Intimacy
Emotional Abuse & Sexual Intimacy: What You Need to Know

Victims of emotional abuse and betrayal trauma deserve safety in every aspect of their lives: including sexual intimacy.

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Emotional Abuse and Sexual Intimacy

Emotional abuse victims find few resources available regarding sex with an abusive, unfaithful partner.

Emotional Abusers Weaponize Sex

Sexual intimacy should be mutually wanted, respectful, and safe. Tragically, for abuse victims, sex is none of those things because abusive men use sex as a weapon.

While at times sex may feel intimate and mutual, this is an example of an abuser using sex as a weapon to tether his partner to himself, as a form of control.

Emotional Abusers Feel Entitled to Sex

Abusive men feel entitled to sex and indoctrinate victims to believe they don’t have a right to say no.

Because emotional abusers feel entitled to sex, many use coercive tactics on victims. Covert partner rape is a serious issue and is a cause of chronic pelvic pain, trauma, Rape Trauma Syndrome, anxiety, and depression.

Dangerous Myths About Sex and Emotional Abuse

Therapists, clergy, family and friends may perpetuate harmful myths about sexual dynamics. They may counsel victims to offer the abuser more sex in order to manage the abuser’s harmful behaviors.

These dangerous myths are:

  • If you give him more sex, he will be more content & faithful
  • He needs more sex in order to be stop harming his family
  • If you give him more sex, he will be stop being so controlling
  • You married him, so you owe him sex, even when you don’t feel like it
  • Unless you fight him off, the sex is mutual
  • Married women don’t have a choice
  • Biblically, since you are “one”, he has a right to your body whenever he wants it

Truths About Sexual Abuse in Marriage

Women, and all people, deserve safety in every aspect of life, including sexual intimacy. Here are the truths about sexual intimacy that negate the dangerous myths perpetuated by abusers and their enablers:

  • Sex does not stop an abusive man from being abusive: in fact, he may even further harm you.
  • Similarly, sex does not stop an unfaithful man from being unfaithful: he will continue to cheat on you no matter how often you are having sex with him.
  • Sex does not make a verbal abuser stop yelling, or a physical abuser stop hitting: he will keep doing those things. He may stop for a little while to try to bait you into giving him more sex, but he will resume into his normal pattern of abusiveness after a short time.
  • A controlling abuser will continue being controlling, no matter how often you have sex with him. In fact, he will likely become more controlling.
  • The most common response in a marital rape situation is “freeze”; if you are not fighting your partner when he is having sex with you, know that you are completely normal, and you are not at fault for his choice to sexually assault you.
  • Biblically, legally, and ethically, your body is your own. Men who use the Bible as justification for marital rape are not safe individuals.

BTR.ORG Supports Victims of Emotional & Sexual Abuse

It takes time and emotional energy to accept

You are not alone: courageous women all over the world understand what you are going through. Attend a BTR.ORG Group Session today and find community, validation, and support as you begin your journey to healing.

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