5 types of sexual abuse within a marriage

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2023 | Firm News

Make no mistake: Even though you are married, you are the only person who has the right to control your body. Your spouse does not enjoy unfettered intimacy with you just because you are wed.

Sexual abuse is a deeply harmful form of domestic violence – one that often flies under the radar and doesn’t get recognized as such. A sexually abusive spouse may gaslight their victim into feeling guilty if they “deny” them intimacy whenever (and however) they demand it.

What does sexual abuse in a marriage look like?

Sexual abuse can occur alone in a marriage or in conjunction with other kinds of mistreatment, such as physical and financial abuse. 

Here are some common indicators of an unhealthy and abusive sexual dynamic: 

  1. You agree to sex because you’re afraid of your spouse. If you’re agreeing to intimacy because you’re afraid that your spouse will start hitting the walls or destroying your things in a tantrum, you’re a victim of intimidation. That’s not the same as actually giving your consent for sexual contact.
  2. Your reproductive wishes aren’t respected. If your spouse refuses to use birth control, practice safe sex and demands all of the authority when it comes to reproduction, that’s another form of sexual abuse. 
  3. Your physical boundaries are ignored. Intimacy is supposed to be mutual. If you’re not in the mood for intimacy and you tell your spouse but they keep pushing – either by continuing to make verbal requests or by actual touching – that’s sexual abuse.
  4. Your spouse insults your body and your sexual prowess. Your partner is supposed to lift you up – not tear you down. If your spouse mocks your physical attributes, compares you negatively to other people when it comes to attractiveness and says you’re disappointing in bed, that’s a way of destroying your self-esteem and is abusive.
  5. Your spouse forces you into any kind of sexual activity. This includes things like forcing you to watch pornography, forcing you to engage in sexual acts you don’t want to do or simply forcing you to have sex after you’ve expressed your unwillingness.

Sometimes, no matter how much you want a marriage to work out, it just isn’t possible. When there’s abuse of any kind in a relationship, it destroys all trust and shatters the marital bonds. Legal guidance can make it easier to leave an unhappy marriage behind. 


At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.

Let Me Be Your Brave

Mia Poppe, Esq.

Mia Poppe, Esq.
Managing Partner