Why Does Sex Hurt? (It’s Not What You Think)

Sexual abuse causes pelvic and sexual pain. Learn how to identify sexual abuse in your marriage and begin healing today.

Most of the women in the BTR community are comfortable talking about their emotional pain. Betrayal hurts.

Sexual and pelvic pain? That’s a different story. It can be awkward and embarrassing to go into detail about such an intimate part of a woman’s private life.

Sexual Coercion and Marital Rape Are Hard to Spot (Even For Doctors)

Many victims of emotional abuse seek a doctor’s help when they begin suffering from pelvic and sexual pain. Is it an infection? Am I sick?

Tragically, when infections have been ruled out, women are often left with no answers and excruciating pain. They may be told that it’s “all in their heads” or that they are just stressed out and need to relax.

Sexual Abuse Causes Sexual Pain

It is a fact that sexual abuses creates sexual pain in victims. When a woman experiences pelvic and sexual pain, she is probably a victim of sexual abuse.

How Can I Identify Sexual Coercion and Sexual Abuse in My Marriage?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does sex physically hurt?
  • Does he tell you that you “owe him” sexual contact because he has spent money on you, is in a relationship with you, did a favor or housework for you, etc.?
  • Does he give you drugs or alcohol before sexual contact?
  • Does he sulk, get violent, get angry, pout, keep you awake, degrade, belittle, or do anything but kindly accept your “no” when you decline sexual contact?
  • Does he continue sexual contact even after you have changed your mind and said no (even if you initially said yes?)
  • Does he threaten or intimidate you into saying yes? (He will hurt you, get angry or violent, or find another woman if you don’t have sexual contact with him).

What is Consent?

Consent is not:

  • A woman saying no repeatedly
  • A woman saying yes out of fear
  • A woman saying yes after intitially saying no
  • A woman saying yes and then changing her mind partially through the sexual experience
  • A woman saying yes for any other reason, but that she wants to because she feels safe, loved, and connected
  • A woman having sexual contact with her partner when he has not disclosed his sexual history and/or currently or in the past has/is having sexual experiences that she is not privy to.

Consent is:

An “enthusiastic yes!” given by a woman who feels safe, loved, and connected; who wants to enjoy sexual contact with her safe partner, knowing that she can withdraw consent at any time and will be respected, loved, and treated with tender affection to the same extent that she would be if there had been continued sexual contact.

Further, there are no secret sexual experiences that her partner has had/is having that he has not disclosed to her in full prior to the sexual contact.

What Can I Do To Find Relief From Pelvic And Sexual Pain?

  • Set and maintain effective boundaries around safe sexual practices: only have sex with someone that you trust and love after he has proven that he is trustworthy over a substantial period of time. This means no abuse, at all. Period.
  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor to get tested for STDs and STIs. Tragically, abusive men often lie or withhold the truth about their sexual history and it is wise to rule out infections as the cause of your pelvic and sexual pain.
  • Gently and Patiently Begin a Healing Regiment: Try Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy, an at-home pelvic wand for releasing painful trigger points, yoga for the pelvic floor, or acupuncture. There are many holistic and helpful treatments available for women suffering from pelvic and sexual pain.
  • For More Immediate Relief: take a bath and mix one cup of baking soda into the warm water; find a comfortable stretch and take deep belly breaths and you stretch; take a nap; change into loose-fitting clothes rather than constricting and tight pants and underwear; get hydrated and make sure that your bladder isn’t completely full or completely empty; if you have been sitting, try standing or walking; place an icepack or heating pad between your legs.
  • Remember that you’re not alone: pelvic and sexual pain can feel very isolating. At BTR, many women find camaraderie in knowing that they are not the only one suffering from this kind of pain. Join the Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group and find support as you begin your journey to healing.

Many women in our community who have experienced pelvic and sexual pain due to sexual coercion and marital rape have also been sexually exploited by their husbands who have uploaded videos and other material to PornHub. Dani Pinter is on the BTR.ORG Podcast – read the full transcript below and listen to the BTR.ORG podcast for more. 

Dani Pinter is Senior Legal Counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation was founded in 1962, and it is the leading national nonpartisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation, such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking, and the public harms of pornography.

If you are a victim of sexual exploitation and would like to reach a representative from NCOSE, please email public@ncose.com or call (202) 393-7245.

Full Transcript:

Anne:  Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.

For everyone who has given this podcast a five-star rating on Apple podcasts or other podcasting apps, thank you so much. If this podcast has helped you when you rate it, you help other women find it, so your ratings and reviews make a big difference for victims desperately trying to figure out what is happening to them. 

“You Are Home”

Here is a five-star review we received on Apple podcasts: You are home. Anne and the amazing BTR coaches, you are the pioneers in the field of domestic abuse and betrayal trauma. After trying Marriage and Family Counseling, 2 well-known CSATs, 12-step programs, and reading everything I could get my hands on, I was done. I couldn’t feel better. Why? Because I wasn’t the problem. I was being abused. BTR saved my life and my children. This is what you are doing, you are saving lives, thank you. To women considering this podcast. If you feel confused, numb, foggy, isolated, if you are lying to protect your husband or make him sound better than he is to family and friends, you are home. It is heart-wrenching to begin to accept that it’s been abused this whole time, but your BTR coach will stay with you through the whole process as your eyes open and you begin to understand that you were never the problem. You are home my friend. Don’t let anyone tell you that you deserve to feel this isolation and fog and pain. Soon it will all make sense, and you will be able to make boundaries to protect yourself and your kids. You’ll go to bed without that tight feeling around your heart and you’ll wake up excited to be alive, I promise. Thank you BTR for walking with me through this valley. The podcast has been with me through the darkest days. 

Dani Pinter on the BTR Podcast

I have Dani Pinter on today’s episode. She is Senior Legal Counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation was founded in 1962, and it is the leading national nonpartisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation, such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking, and the public harms of pornography. And they have some amazing campaigns and things that you can get involved with to stop pornography and stop the harm of pornography. 

Today we’re going to talk about a New York Times article that revealed that Pornhub profits from Child Sexual Abuse Material. We call the National Center on Sexual Exploitation NCOSE for short. So, NCOSE is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate Pornhub. NCOSE has been supportive of revoking the immunity that digital platforms used to avoid accountability and is urging Congress to pass the EARN IT Act, and they have a blog post about this that we will put in the show notes. We’ll also put it in the article related to this podcast. 

“NCOSE is Calling On The Department of Justice to Investigate Pornhub”

So today, NCOSE is calling on all credit card companies to cease processing payments for Pornhub, and Dani Pinter is the lawyer for one of the survivors mentioned in The Times piece. So, I invited her today to talk specifically about this specific issue, what NCOSE is doing, and what you can do to help. Okay, so to start out, Dani, can you summarize the New York Times story for our audience?

Dani: Sure. So, Nick Kristof, you know, he’s an excellent journalist and reporter, and what he did was really highlight the reality that Pornhub is not just a porn site. It is a platform that hosts real rape videos and real videos of children being sexually exploited and abused. He did this through some examples that he discovered, and also to the stories of some of those survivors.

Anne: So, as the lawyer for one of the survivors in The Time story, what challenges are these survivors facing?

“Even When That Horrific Trauma Ended, It Lived On Into Eternity Because It Was Recorded & Uploaded To Pornhub”

Dani: One of the biggest and most poignant things that one of the survivors had said is that their abuse just never ended because of Pornhub. Each survivor’s story was different, but they face some sort of exploitation, whether that was a violent rape or child sexual abuse, or trafficking, and even when that horrific trauma ended, it lived on into eternity because it was recorded and then uploaded to Pornhub. And for my client, that has meant that these videos and images have spread all over the internet, and she feels completely helpless to get rid of them.

She feels faced with them every day because she’s reached out to Pornhub others and asked them to bring these videos down because not only did she not consent to their distribution, she was being trafficked, but she was a minor. So, this is child sex abuse material actively online, on Pornhub, available for free. You can Google search, go on it, reach it in seconds, and Pornhub also allows this for download. So, even though Pornhub has been completely non-responsive to some victims, luckily, they took down videos Nicole asked them to take down, but only for them to resurface again, again, and again.

Is There Justice For Pornhub Victims?

Anne: Because someone downloaded them and then did they re-upload it? 

Dani: Yes, and so Pornhub claims that they use this cutting-edge photo DNA technology so that, you know, banned videos can ever re-enter the site, but Nicole is living proof that that’s just not true. Her videos and images have been re-uploaded time and time again.

Anne: What are potential solutions for helping survivors receive justice when it seems so difficult from what you’ve described?

Dani: Well, there’s a couple and you touched on some of them. The Department of Justice right now has the ability to prosecute Pornhub, I want to talk a little bit about the immunity that internet platforms face, but even with that immunity, they’re not immune from federal criminal law violations. So, if the Department of Justice had the will, they absolutely could investigate and prosecute Pornhub for the mass trafficking and child pornography on their site. So, we want them to do that. Then additionally, for victims, because there’s a very high threshold to be successful in a criminal case, it’s difficult, and there are limited resources. So, at NCOSE we really see the value in bringing civil litigation. That’s where a survivor brings a civil case for monetary damages against a company, and that holds them accountable, it makes them self-police, and it gets some measure of justice and recovery for the victims. Many of these victims are prohibited from doing that because of that federal immunity, which I can expand on if you want.

Anne: Yeah, can you a little bit? 

The Communications Decency Act

Dani: Sure. So, there’s a law called the Communications Decency Act, it was passed about 20 years ago, it was actually an attempt to prevent the spread of obscenity and child pornography on the Internet, but the court struck it down finding it to be unconstitutional and kept only one part of that statute. The part of that statue that it kept was section 230, and that was a good-faith shield protection for platforms. That statute meant to try to limit the spread of some, you know, harmful things on the internet, and if you in good faith do that then you’re immune from civil liability and state criminal liability.

Pornhub Must Be Held Accountable

But when the whole thing was struck down but that, we were left with just this immunity, and it has been interpreted extremely broadly because this was at the very beginning of the internet, and the courts expressed that they wanted to allow the Internet to flourish and not be prohibitive. So, what that plays out to in reality is, internet platforms have essentially blanket immunity. That’s why they’ve grown so large, but that’s also why they’re almost accountable for nothing on their site. Specifically, what it says is that websites or web platforms are not responsible for third-party content on their site. So Pornhub is completely dependent, its entire business model is dependent around this immunity, if not structured because of this immunity.

So, what Pornhub does is allow anyone to upload any video. All you need is an email address. You can be a child, we’ve had countless cases of minors uploading videos of themselves on Pornhub, and they say that’s third-party content, we are not responsible for that. And so that’s where CDA 230 immunity is having a lot of problems, not just with Pornhub, but also on some of our mainstream social media sites where there may be trafficking or abuse material, and the sites just not motivated to self-police because they know they could never be held accountable.

Trauma Mama Husband Drama

Anne: I am going to take a break here for just a second to talk about my book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama. You can find it on our books page btr.org/books. That Books page also has a curated list of all of the books that we recommend. My book, Trauma Mama Husband Drama, is a picture book for adults. So, it is the easiest way for you to explain what’s going on to someone who might not understand it, it’s also just a good reference for yourself because it shows what’s happening with very telling and emotional illustrations, as well as infographics at the back. When you go to our Books page and click on any of those books, it just takes you directly to Amazon and you can throw those books in your cart. After you have purchased the book, please remember to circle back around to Amazon and write a verified purchase review, along with a five-star rating. That helps isolated women find us, it bumps Trauma Mama Husband Drama up in the Amazon algorithm, and even if women don’t purchase the book, it helps them find this podcast, which is free to everyone.  

And now back to our conversation.

Partners of Porn Users Are Victims of Abuse

Anne: So, our listeners are all victims of betrayal. Wives of porn users who are abuse victims, their abuse victims because of sexual coercion. They’ve been sexually coerced into relationships with a man who says hey, I totally abide by your sexual boundaries, I don’t look at porn, I don’t visit prostitutes, but they actually do. So, they’re sexually causing their wives. Emotional and psychological abuse because they’re lying, they’re gaslighting, all kinds of things to hide their porn use. So, one of the things we talk about a Betrayal Trauma Recovery is that a woman in a relationship with a man who’s actively using pornography and hiding it and using gaslighting and manipulation, she’s in an abusive relationship. So, I’m always talking about how porn is an abuse issue, it’s always going to be an abuse issue, that is the issue at hand. Is it addictive? Sure. But we really need to look at it from an abuse issue to treat it as seriously as it is. So, talking about that, what are the solutions that would help solve the explosion of child sexual abuse and other illegal and harmful content on Pornhub to try and stop this abusive industry?

Dani: Well, there are some bare minimum things that we’d like to see, which would be you know, age and consent verification, because many women, I’m sure some of your listeners have experienced surreptitiously being recorded or being recorded at the time but not agreeing to its subsequent dissemination, which is a huge problem. You know, a lot of people understand children, they are willing and motivated to protect children, but it’s even more difficult to get the political will behind shutting down this type of image-based sexual abuse where women were being exploited without their consent, adults. 

While Pornography is Protected By The First Amendment, Obscenity Is Not

There’s also the fact that obscenity law is a valid federal law on the books right now, and what most people don’t understand is, although technically pornography is protected by the First Amendment, that’s just because what is pornography, right? It could be anything from Playboy magazine to art to what we see on Pornhub. So technically, the term pornography is protected by the First Amendment, but obscenity is not. In fact, it’s not even protected in the least. The court says obscenity is not speech, it has no protection, and it is a crime to disseminate obscenity, and what obscenity is has a long legal definition. But essentially, the courts have given guidelines and said that you know, explicit hardcore sex acts without any literary, political, scientific value are obscenity. Well, that’s all of the content of Pornhub, and the Department of Justice has the ability to prosecute that right now. And the truth is when they were actively prosecuting this, which it has been several presidents ago when they were prosecuting this though, what you see is the content itself becomes milder and milder and milder. So, the pornographer is actually self-police, because they know that they could actually be prosecuted. So, what you get is significantly less exploitive material, and significantly fewer people being exploited. And even though this hasn’t been a priority of the US federal government for a long time, there were still holdover cases, that as recently as I think it was 2012, the federal government got a prosecution in California, against a pornographer for obscenity. And so that shows that like, it’s still possible, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be doing that.

Anne: Absolutely. It’s the only way. Well, maybe there are several other ways, and I’d like to ask you about that, to hold them accountable legally, but clearly, legally they need more accountability. We need to hold them accountable. Can you talk about why they need more accountability?

“It’s Because Exploitation Is Profitable”

Dani: Yes, it’s because exploitation is profitable. I think many people don’t realize how exploited these sites are and how many people are exploited on even our mainstream social media sites. And the reality is, it is in the company’s financial interest to have the most content possible, to have the most users possible, to have the most economic transactions occurring possible, even if that means Child Sexual Abuse Material. And we have been, personally the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, shining a light on these issues for a long time. So, these platforms know what’s going on, and Pornhub certainly knows what’s going on, and they’ve proven they won’t do the right thing on their own. They will not, they won’t even protect kids, they’re certainly not going to spend money to protect kids, and they won’t even lose profits to protect kids. So, unfortunately, the sad reality is when exploitation is profitable, you can’t leave it up to the corporations.

Anne: I could not agree more. So, on that note, how can our audience get involved with helping to stop this?

Support the EARN IT Act

Dani: So, please support the EARN IT Act. As you mentioned, we would like to see the CDA 230 immunity go away altogether, but at the very least EARN IT is a step in the right direction. So, the EARN IT Act would hold all platforms responsible for the very narrow issue of child sexual abuse material. So, if you have child pornography on your site, you’re going to be accountable for that. We need this urgently because it is an absolute epidemic. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children gets 1 million reports of child pornography a month. It is beyond the capacity for law enforcement to even investigate every case, so we need these sites to do it themselves. And the only way that’s going to happen is with legislation like EARN IT, which is extremely fair and balanced, despite the fact that the tech companies are spending millions to convince you otherwise. So please go to our website, there are action items there of how you can support that bill. We are coming to a close of session now, but we made so much headway, and we got through the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously, we have a house sponsor now. We’re hoping it’s one of the first bills that gets passed the next session, so please support that. I think it’s one of the most urgent things we could do in the near future.

Help for Victims of Sexual Exploitation

Dani: One of the things I would like to say, especially to your pool of listeners is one, I am so sorry that you’ve experienced what you have at the hands of pornography and pornography users. And if you’ve experienced anything like what we’ve discussed today, if you’ve been exploited online, please reach out to us because we very much want to represent survivors like you, and we want to use your experience for the good and hold these corporations accountable. So, I would encourage you to reach out to me, and if you could please put my contact info in here. So, we have a website for more information on potential positive action, potential lawsuits you may have. It is called sexualexploitationlawsuits.com. So, if you check it out, there’s a lot of information on internet platforms and how they’re exploited, and a questionnaire that you can fill out about your experience, and we’ll follow up with you. We’d love to help you if we can.

Has Your Husband Filmed You & Uploaded The Video To Pornhub?

Anne: That’s awesome. So yeah, go there to fill that out if you have a story to tell, if your husband has filmed you without your knowledge and posted it online, and you’re aware of it. We do have a lot of women that have had that experience, where their husband has filmed them having sex or other compromising positions without their knowledge. They were filmed, and then he uploaded that to the internet. So many women have had experiences like this here, so please reach out to them. Would you say that website one more time?

Dani: Yes, it’s sexualexploitationlawsuits.com

Anne: Okay. Dani, thank you so much for taking the time to come on today’s episode.

Dani: Thank you so much. It was wonderful to speak to your audience. I appreciate you.

Anne: If this podcast is helpful to you, please support it. Go to our website, scroll down to the bottom, and click on support the podcast; and until next week, stay safe out there.


  1. Mary Gibson

    The public health crisis is that women are taught from birth that if a man doesn’t “LOVE” them, they are NOTHING. Men do not love women. Men love sex and power and money and praise, etc. They do not seem to even have a concept of love. Once that is a given then women can protect themselves. My “pet pig” says that “the secret to happiness is low expectations.” For once, he’s telling the truth.

    Makes me think that arranged marriages (like corporate mergers) may not be such a bad idea. Just write a good contract and then hold thier lying, stinking, slimy feet to the fire.

    Yes, I hate men. I have NO reason to feel otherwise.

  2. Nicole Haun

    I feel like “Connie” and I shared a life. Our stories are practically identical, including me reaching out to his people after for help and ME becoming the “crazy one”. Yet, when I first met him they loved me and were so grateful that he finally had a God fearing woman in his life. The fact that he abused me, walked out on me, and had a secret girlfriend (and daughter for 18 years) somehow made me the bad guy.

  3. Cee Cee

    Thanks for exposing this insidious behavior!! I can relate to much of what is described and I’m sickened that I didn’t know I was being abused either. We were together for nearly 30 years before he ran away with 2 of 3 teens. I’m really worried for my two kids that he’s alienated from me and that yet another generation of perpetrators and or victims will now be unleashed into the world. I have only seen my kids once in three years! My daughter has no idea that she’s been the victim of covert incest, by becoming her father’s surrogate spouse. He love bombs them with $$, new cars, trips, out of state university, new expensive house, etc. They have no clue what the truth is. He’s smeared me throughout the family and beyond. Sometimes it feels like he’s trying to drive me to suicide to literally erase me for good. Lucky for me our youngest teen caught on and chose to stay with me instead of going along with the colluding runaway gang.



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