Approximately two-thirds of rape victims know their attacker. Rapists are often serial criminals. A sexual assault happens every 100 seconds.
Statistics on rape crimes are available everywhere but there’s nothing on rape’s opposite: Sexual denial. It’s prevalent and quietly damaging lives in their millions.
You’re thinking: Blogging about sexual denial? What? That’s a bit of a hard-sell isn’t it? How far do you think you’ll go with that?
Yes, on the surface it’s a bit of a giggle. Deeper down it gets very serious. Ask anyone who lives inside a sexless marriage and cries themselves to sleep at night and you won’t see smiles. The steely edge of reality strikes hard when it comes to long term sexual denial. And there’s nothing that anyone can do about it. It’s not a crime to deny. What do you do next? Who do you turn to? As silly as all this sounds, sexual denial is real and very painful. It’s humiliating, demoralizing, hurtful and potentially very dangerous. It contains all the emotional elements associated with any rape crime, it’s just we don’t talk about it like that or have it taken seriously when we try to engage the topic in conversation.
Vetoing sex is a basic human right, right? There’s no crime in saying no.
Is that the end of the discussion then?
In a monogamous relationship it certainly is. The f*ck stops there. That’s the rule of the monogamy game. If you are a true believer of it then you are also a supporter of sexual monopoly – a game that relies on just one person to dispense the right type and amount of physical intimacy at the right moment. If they choose not to do that then that’s their right to do so. You’re expected to support that right and live with the choice not to engage in coitus.
Rape is many things but mostly it’s about manipulation and power. Sexual denial is many things but mostly it’s about manipulation and power. At least rape leaves evidence. At least rape is serious business and treated as such.
I suspect that sexual denial happens far more frequently than rape. Rape and denial are most likely linked. But if the words running around in your head right now are something like: I wouldn’t stay in such a relationship or if you don’t like it, get out or it’s your own fault for letting it happen then remind yourself that they are the kinds of words victims of rape hear. Blaming the victim for this crime isn’t at all helpful.
Some say communication is the key. Sure, that sounds logical, but remember: Rapists don’t need communication with their victim to know that they rape. A victim shouldn’t need to explain their pain to their attacker to know that what was done to them hurts. Rape hurts. Denial hurts. Communicating your needs to your partner may help… or not. Nevertheless, there are signs of denial’s pain and it comes long before a word of it is mentioned. Let’s face it, abusers will abuse and ignorance is an excuse that goes only so far.
But let’s be fair for the sake of being so. Let’s say word has been given about the pain denial is causing and plenty has been said. What then? Is it three strikes and you’re out? In theory it’s a good play. It’s logical.
But that’s not how it happens. Women stay in abusive relationships all the time. They go back time and time again and take a beating from their spouse or partner knowing that what’s happening to them is wrong. They know it’s domestic violence but they go back to it anyway. People stay in sexless relationships for similar reasons and go through the same thought processes. They think that things will get better, believing that peppering the relationship with more love will add the right amount of spice to encourage change. And then change doesn’t happen. Another day passes and the sufferer goes back with the pepper-shaker and shakes it until it empties. Change doesn’t happen again but a trip to the supermarket for more pepper does. What else can you do if you love and respect that person? What if you sealed your love with a vow at an altar? Is your Word and Faith strong enough to engage every part of your spirit, mind and body in a lifelong commitment of enduring pain? For Better or Worse has a lot to answer for.
There are several legitimate reasons why loving, monogamous couples don’t have sex.
- Religious belief (Celibacy).
- Personal choice (Abstinence).
- Exhaustion or tiredness.
- Pain during intercourse.
- Health issues.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Distance or no time together.
- Fall out of love.
As you can see, escaping the bedroom isn’t too hard to do. There’s a tonne of go-to alibis for a sexual denier.
Abstinence and celibacy are usually the shortest lived of all excuses. At some point these barriers must fall when certain criteria have been met. Exhaustion is a far more flexible excuse, setting up serial offenders for life. Legitimate health issues can block the path. Illegitimate ones can do the same. Distance and clever scheduling puts all paths out of reach. Children is the trumping card. They can be used in any way to inhibit the act of sex. Who can argue with putting the needs of children ahead of sex?
A clever intimacy Nazi use some or all of these excuses. The best of them will programme a complete life to make it look like they’re totally innocent of all charges. The best of the best will present a perfect facade for anyone who intends to examine the inner-workings of their relationship and they’ll always come out on top.
It leaves us two hideaway escapes for sexual deniers: Falling out of love and asexuality.
Unfortunately, running out of sex follows falling out of love. The sex drops away and excuses cover the truth. Avoiding the truth is harder than avoiding sex. Some just don’t want to discuss The End.
Asexuality: This is an odd one. It isn’t usually used as an excuse because it requires the guilty one to confess to lying. Someone fronted up to a relationship believing sex wasn’t entirely necessary. It’s not a crime to be asexual but it should be made a crime to drag another into a life-long relationship of forced celibacy.
Love does make us do and say strange things, we know that. This has us make mistakes… but how long can they stay mistakes if the lines of communication are wide open and the cries of help are loud and frequent?
If it’s like rape, the answer should be: Never. They should never be mistakes. It’s never a mistake to deny sex. It’s a purposeful act. You have to ask yourself, what does the relationship provide such an abuser? What are they getting out it?
You’ve been reading the writes of Mr Mitchell Felding, a character in my novel SEETHINGS . Hi, I’m Michael Forman and to understand Mitchell’s skewed viewpoint you have to go back to the beginning. He’s stuck in a 14 year long sexless relationship and trying to find reason within an unexplainable situation. As you can imagine, it’s been a brain-bending life sleeping beside wife Sam each night. She wants a child. She’s been telling all her friends. She just doesn’t engage in sex.
In the meantime something strange is happening in a storm drenched city. The Kurdaitcha Man has had everyone on-edge. They wonder who his next victim will be…
“Mike’s writing has you in the room from the outset. You are meeting characters left right and centre and then bang –‘it’ is here. He takes you on a vengeful, aggressive journey…” -Michael M Roleystone