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Sexual Intimacy and Rape in Marriage & Other Close Relationships

by Jane Gilgun

Broken Heart by Dreamstine

Summary Sexual intimacy is one of lifes 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 dont 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 womens obligations, mens 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 Gilguns other articles, books, and childrens 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 lifes most meaningful experiences. Think about your sexual experiences with your partner and then answer the following questions.
Some times true 3 3 3 3

During the time weve been together 1. whenever my partner and I have sex, we both want it. 2. my partner and I have had a loving sexual relationship. 3. Ive enjoyed my sexual relationship with my partner. 4. Sex with my partner builds our mutual trust and love.

Never true 1 1 1 1

Rarely true 2 2 2 2

Often true 4 4 4 4

Always True 5 5 5 5

A Womans Sexual Duties

The following questions guide you to think about your beliefs regarding your availability when your partner wants sex.
I believe 1. It is my duty to have sex with my partner when he wants it. 2. My partner will go elsewhere if I dont have sex with him when he wants it. 3. Having sex with my partner when Im Strongly agree 1 1 Somewhat agree 2 2 Somewhat disagree 3 3 Strongly disagree 4 4 Dont Know 5 5

not really in the mood helps us to stay together as a couple. 4. My partner has the right to hurt my sexual body parts when I do something he doesnt like. 5. When my partner forces me to have sex with him, Ive done something to deserve it.

1 1 1

2 2 2

3 3 3

4 4 4

5 4 5

Beliefs About Womens Sexual Obligations

There are many ideas about womens obligations to be sexually available to their partners. What are your beliefs? The questions below will help you think about them.
Somewhat agree 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Somewhat disagree 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

I believe 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. 2. Rape can happen in intimate partner relationships. 3. Its a womans duty to satisfy her intimate partners sexual needs, whether or not she is in the mood. 4. If a woman does not strongly resist her intimate partners sexual advances, she is probably willing to have sex. 5. A lot of times when a woman says no to her intimate partners, she really means yes. 6. Forcing an intimate partner to have sex is no big thing. 7. A man is justified in raping his intimate partner if he finds out shes been cheating on him. 8. A woman cant really refuse to have sex with a man shes slept with on a regular basis. 9. If a woman lets her intimate partner touch her sexually, she should be willing to go all the way. 10. A woman should forgive and forget if her partner forces sex on her. 11. When the man pays most of the bills, his intimate partner should be available to him whenever he wants sex.. 12. If a woman gets drunk, it is really her own fault if her intimate partner has sex

Strongly agree 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

Strongly disagree 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

Dont Know 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

with her without her consent. 13. Rape of an intimate partner is less serious than rape of a stranger. 14. When a man rapes his intimate partner, she probably did something to deserve it. 15. A woman can prevent her intimate partner from raping her if she really wants to. 16. Rape in intimate relationships doesnt hurt anyone. 17. Sometimes the only way a man can get his intimate partner to agree to sex is to be persistent in seeking it. 18. Women who are forced to have sex with their intimate partners eventually forget about it and go on with their lives.

1 1 1 1 1 1

2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3

4 4 4 4 4 4

5 5 5 5 5 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 1. she wont get sympathy if she tells someone her intimate partner raped her. 2. she wont be believed if she tells someone her intimate partner raped her. 3. she will be blamed if she tells other people her partner raped her. 4. police will be helpful if she reports that her intimate partner raped her. 5. she will get respectful treatment if her accusation of rape by her partner goes to court. Strongly agree 1 1 1 1 1 Somewhat agree 2 2 2 2 2 Somewhat disagree 3 3 3 3 3 Strongly Disagree 4 4 4 4 4 Dont Know 5 5 5 5 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 whove 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 ... 1. to teach me a lesson.. 2. make sure I didnt leave him. 3. because he was angry with me. 4. because I deserved it 5. to make sure I did what I wanted her to do 6. to show me I am his woman 7. to punish me. 8. to make himself feel better 9. he was frustrated and angry at someone or something else. 10. he believed he could. 11. he enjoyed it. 1 12. to get pleasure from forcing her to do something she didnt want to do. 13. he believed he had good reason at the time but regretted it later 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 Strongly agree 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Somewhat agree 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Somewhat disagre e 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Strongly disagre e 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 Dont Know 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 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 answersonly 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. 5

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 6

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 lifes 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 womens obligations and mens entitlements and to promote human dignity and to challenge entitlements to use other people for ones own purposes. Rape is wrong. Those who perpetrate rape are wrong. Rape survivors have done nothing wrong. They deserve care, consideration, and much love. References Gilgun, Jane F. (2011). Lust, agape, affilia, and erotic Love: Meanings in interpersonal relationships. Scribd.com. http://www.scribd.com/doc/49713369/Lust-Agape- Philia-and-Erotic-Love-Meanings-in-Personal-Relationships Barnett, O.W. (2000). Why battered women do not leave. Part 1: External inhibiting factors within society. Trauma, Violence & Abuse. 1,(4), 343-372. Basile, K. C. (1999). Rape by acquiescence: The ways in which women give in to unwanted sex with their husbands. Violence Against Women, 5(9), 1036-1058.

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