Saturday, November 3, 2012


Sexual exploitation or abuse is generally defined as the forcing of undesired sexual acts by one person on another. It is a non-consensual, forced physical sexual behavior such as rape or sexual assault. In a marriage, sexual abuse can and often occurs.

Sexual abuse among couples in a marriage also referred to as spousal sexual abuse therefore is a form of domestic violence where physical or sexual abuse is perpetrated by one spouse upon another usually the wife. Frequently, this involves forced sex or spousal rape without her consent.

Spousal sexual abuse is a crime or atrocity that many husbands commit and get away with because marriage immunes them. Further to this, many cultures and laws in many parts of the world seem to recognize the husbands ‘right’ to sexually abuse his wife and this atrocity is regarded as unchallengeable. Usually, many affected wives do not talk, preferring to suffer in silence because they have no choice.

This atrocity occurs where a husband has his way, sexually, without his wife’s consent or obtains her consent under duress and pressure. Consent given under pressure is no consent if it was given against her will.

Her consent could be against her will where she was not inclined to have sex but accepted to as a duty or as a routine to avoid trouble. Traditional beliefs exists which say that women exist to please their husbands sexually whether convenient or not and regardless of whether or not she derives pleasure from it.

This is the scenario that has caused conflict in many homes across the world due to a lack of understanding, impatience and intolerance especially on the part of the husband.
However it is a religious obligation that couples perform their marital duties to each other and sexual intimacy is one of the reasons for marriage.

Nevertheless, a wife should not be abused in the name of performance of marital duties to her husband. Performing one’s marital duties requires mutual consent, willingly and freely given. Further to this, the act should be conducted in a manner that it will be mutually pleasurable.

It is insensitivity on the part of a husband to satisfy his passion at the detriment of his wife, without her freely and willingly given consent. Generally women have a lower sexual drive compared to men. Where a wife has a lower sex drive compared to her husband’s, problems may occur in the marriage if the wife is not able to meet her husband’s sexual needs as much as he may desire.

Also there are other reasons why a wife may not be inclined to participate in sexual intercourse which include:

-    Tiredness or Physical Stress
-    Emotional disorders such as sadness and fear.

When the wife gives excuses to avoid sex, the husband may become resentful and feel rejected. In this situation, rather than react negatively in ways that can strain the relationship and the marriage as many men are wont to do, the husband should respond positively, by trying to find out the cause and show understanding by regulating his desires to achieve sexual harmony with his wife. Adjusting to a partner’s sexual needs is a useful tool to maintain a loving relationship because marriage is a symbiotic relationship.

 Knowing this helps the couples to be able to work out an acceptable plan to fulfill each other’s desire without straining the relationship. Success in marriage calls for understanding. Love in marriage is the ability to accept the imperfections in your spouse accept them and live with them. Love is not self seeking but focuses on the happiness and welfare of the other. Love is more of service, kindness and sacrifice by one partner to the other.

Ayodele Adegbulugbe 
Lagos, Nigeria

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