Sexual Intimacy & Rape in Marriage & Other Close Relationships

Sexual Intimacy and Rape in Marriage

& Other Close Relationships

by Jane Gilgun

Summary

 Sexual intimacy is one of life’s greatest experiences. Many people have sexual intimacy, but many others find sex difficult and even humiliating and degrading. When sex is really bad, a question to ask if whether the sex is actually rape. Many women and some men are rape survivors and don’t realize it. This article contains a series of questions meant to guide women and men to think about their sexual experiences and their beliefs regarding women’s obligations, men’s entitlements, and rape. No one deserves degrading sex.  No one has rights to degrade others sexually.

 

About the Author

 

Jane F. Gilgun, Ph.D., LICSW, is a professor and writer. See Professor Gilgun’s other articles, books, and children’s stories on scribd.com, Kindle, and iBooks.  Professor Gilgun has done research on violence for many years. No one deserves to be raped or humiliated in any way.

 


 

Sexual Intimacy and Rape in Marriage

& Other Close Relationships

 

The following sets of questions will help you explore sexual intimacy in your own marriage or other close relationships.  Sexual intimacy is something to cherish and to celebrate.  Rape, on the other hand, is a violation of the most damaging kind. There are many ideas about rape that further damage survivors and protect those who perpetrate rape. The questions below take a stand for sexual intimacy and against sexual violations.  The questions begin with  questions that explore your experiences of sexual intimacy. After that, you can explore your own sexual relationships for respect and for violations of respect, including  your beliefs about rape and whether you have experienced rape.

 

Consensual Sex Scale

Sex that both persons want can be one of life’s most meaningful experiences.  Think about your sexual experiences with your partner and then answer the following questions.

 

During the time we’ve been together…

 

Never

true

 

Rarely

true

Some

times

true

 

Often

true

 

Always

True

 1.   whenever my partner and I have sex, we both want it.

1

2

3

4

5

 2.  my partner and I have had a loving sexual relationship.

1

2

3

4

5

 3.  I‘ve enjoyed my sexual relationship with my partner.

1

2

3

4

5

4. Sex with my partner builds our mutual trust and love.

1

2

3

4

5

 

A Woman’s Sexual Duties

 

The following questions guide you to think about your beliefs regarding your availability when your partner wants sex.

 

I believe…

 

Strongly agree

Some-what agree

Some-

what

disagree

 

Strongly

disagree

 

Don’t

Know

 1.  It is my duty to have sex with my partner when he wants it.

1

2

3

4

5

 2.  My partner will go elsewhere if I don’t have sex with him when he wants it.

1

2

3

4

5

 3.  Having sex with my partner when I’m not really in the mood helps us to stay together as a couple.

1

2

3

4

5

 4.  My partner has the right to hurt my sexual body parts when I do something he doesn’t like.

1

2

3

4

4

 5.  When my partner forces me to have sex with him, I’ve done something to deserve it.

1

2

3

4

5

Beliefs About Women’s Sexual Obligations

 

There are many ideas about women’s obligations to be sexually available to their partners. What are your beliefs?  The questions below will help you think about them.

 

 

I believe…

 

Strongly agree

Some-what agree

Some-

what

disagree

 

Strongly

disagree

 

Don’t

Know

 1.  Once a man has had sex with a woman on a regular basis, he should be able to have sex with her whenever he wants.

1

2

3

4

5

 2.  Rape can happen in intimate partner relationships.

1

2

3

4

5

 3.  It’s a woman’s duty to satisfy her intimate partner’s sexual needs, whether or not she is in the mood.

1

2

3

4

5

 4.  If a woman does not strongly resist her intimate partner’s sexual advances, she is probably willing to have sex.

1

2

3

4

5

 5.  A lot of times when a woman says “no” to her intimate partners, she really means “yes.”

1

2

3

4

5

 6.  Forcing an intimate partner to have sex is no big thing.

1

2

3

4

5

 7.  A man is justified in raping his intimate partner if he finds out she’s been cheating on him.

1

2

3

4

5

 8.  A woman can’t really refuse to have sex with a man she’s slept with on a regular basis.

1

2

3

4

5

 9.  If a woman lets her intimate partner touch her sexually, she should be willing to go all the way.

1

2

3

4

5

10.  A woman should forgive and forget if her partner forces sex on her.

1

2

3

4

5

11.  When the man pays most of the bills, his intimate partner should be available to him whenever he wants sex..

1

2

3

4

5

 12. If a woman gets drunk, it is really her own fault if her intimate partner has sex with her without her consent.

1

2

3

4

5

13.  Rape of an intimate partner is less serious than rape of a stranger.

1

2

3

4

5

14.  When a man rapes his intimate partner, she probably did something to deserve it.

1

2

3

4

5

15.  A woman can prevent her intimate partner from raping her if she really wants to.

1

2

3

4

5

16.  Rape in intimate relationships doesn’t hurt anyone.

1

2

3

4

5

17.  Sometimes the only way a man can get his intimate partner to agree to sex is to be persistent in seeking it.

1

2

3

4

5

18.  Women who are forced to have sex with their intimate partners eventually forget about it and go on with their lives.

1

2

3

4

5

 

Beliefs about Rape Survivors

 

There are many different ideas about women who are rape survivors. The following set of questions guides you to think about your ideas.

 

A woman has reason to believe that …

Strongly agree

Some-what agree

Some-

what

disagree

Strongly

Disagree

Don’t

Know

 1. she won’t get sympathy if she tells someone her intimate partner raped her.

1

2

3

4

5

 2.  she won’t be believed if she tells someone her intimate partner raped her.

1

2

3

4

5

 3. she will be blamed if she tells other people her partner raped her.

1

2

3

4

5

 4.  police will be helpful if she reports that her intimate partner raped her.

1

2

3

4

5

5.  she will get respectful treatment if her accusation of rape by her partner goes to court.

1

2

3

4

5

 

Reporting Rape

Rape in marriage and other intimate relationships is common, but rarely reported. Most women and men, when they are victims, are too ashamed to tell anyone. They believe that being raped means there is something wrong with them. It is time to be clear: the person who is responsible for rape is the person who raped. No one else. No way is anyone else to blame. Being rape means you were in the presence of someone who could rape you and that person did.

The following are questions you can ask yourself if you have ever been raped or think you have been. There are no right or wrong answers, only what you think. 

Why My Partner Raped Me

If someone has raped you, a lot of people have opinions about your rape.  Few people ask persons who’ve been raped why they think your partner raped or sexually assaulted them. The following questions ask you about your own rape. 

At the time my partner sexually assaulted or raped me, his reasons were …

 

Strongly agree

Some-what agree

Some-

what

disagree

 

Strongly

disagree

 

Don’t

Know

 1.  to teach me a lesson..

1

2

3

4

5

 2.  make sure I didn’t leave him.

1

2

3

4

5

 3.  because he was angry with me.

1

2

3

4

5

  4.  because I deserved it

1

2

3

4

5

 5.  to make sure I did what I wanted her to do

1

2

3

4

5

 6.  to show me I am his woman

1

2

3

4

5

 7. to punish me.

1

2

3

4

5

 8.  to make himself feel better

1

2

3

4

5

 9.  he was frustrated and angry at someone or something else.

1

2

3

4

5

10.  he believed he could.

1

2

3

4

5

11. he enjoyed it.

1

2

3

4

5

12.  to get pleasure from forcing her to do something she didn’t want to do.

1

2

3

4

5

13. he believed he had good reason at the time but regretted it later

1

2

3

4

5

□  He had other reasons.  What other reasons? ___________________________

______________________________________________________________

 

 

Beliefs About What to Do About Rape

The questions below ask your opinions about what to do if a man sexually assaults or rapes his partner.  There are no right or wrong answers—only what you think.

 

If a man sexually assaults his intimate partner…

(Check all that apply)

□  Nothing should happen to the man because when a woman has a sexual relationship with a man, she should always be sexually available to him.

□  He has committed criminal sexual conduct

□  He should do all he can to repair the damage he has caused and not do it again.

If this happens, the woman should…

□  forgive and forget

□  get medical help

□  take responsibility for her part in the assault

□  take some of the blame

□  report this as a crime to police

□  seek help from friends and family

□  seek professional help

□  leave him temporarily until he gets help

□  leave him permanently

□  go to counseling with him

□  do all she can to keep her partner with her

□   Something else. What?  ____________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________

The man should…

□  do nothing.  A woman should always be sexually available to her intimate partner

□  never see his partner again

□  disappear

□  tell the woman it was her own fault

□  deny what he did was sexual assault

□  turn himself into the police

□  seek professional help

□  do whatever it takes to make things right with his partner

□  seek help from family and friends

□  take responsibility for what he did

□  be charged with a crime

□  work with a professional to repair damage he has caused

□  go to jail or prison

□   Something else. What?  ____________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________

□  apologize to his partner and anyone else he has harmed

The man should also do whatever it takes to make sure his partner…

□  does not turn him in to the police

□  drops the charges

□  does not tell family and friends

□  does not seek professional help

□  does not harm the family name

□  does not get medical attention

□  does not destroy his reputation

□   Something else. What?  ____________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________

Discussion

Sexual intimacy is one of life’s most wonderful experiences. Far too often, however, sex is degrading and humiliating. Women and men survivors often believe they have done something wrong and are filled with shame.  The ideas that many people have lead them to think of themselves this way.  The sets of questions in this article are meant to raise questions about women’s obligations and men’s entitlements and to promote human dignity and to challenge entitlements to use other people for one’s own purposes. Rape is wrong. Those who perpetrate rape are wrong. Rape survivors have done nothing wrong. They deserve care, consideration, and much love.

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