As an addendum to this post on/response to the “how was it experienced”/”should it have happened” distinction, I wanted to share this excerpt from Lundy Bancroft’s book on abuse, from a passage describing the reasons why an abusive man might create positive sexual experiences for his partner in an abusive relationship.
[O]n some level he hopes that his ability to transport you sexually will tie you to him, so that he can have power over you in other, nonsexual ways. And, in some relationships, the abuser’s belief in the power of his sexuality is self-fulfilling: if much of the rest of the time he acts cold or mean, the episodes of lovemaking [sic] can become the only experience you have of loving attention from him, and their addictive pull thus becomes greater. In this way he can draw you into being as dependent on sex as he is, although for a very different reason.
Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?, p.174
It’s not the kind of consideration that often features in ace-based discussions, but as long as we’re going to be raising challenges to mainstream sex-positivity, this seemed relevant.
February 17th, 2015 at 5:12 pm
I’ve been reading this book, slowly but surely, and I’m pretty close to the end now. After seeing the two new comments on your “‘knowing’ no” post, I think one other section of the book that is kind of relevant is the part about the abuser who plays “the victim”, or perhaps IS “a victim” yet is also an abuser. There are a non-insignificant number of abusers out there who may “use” the fact that they are a rape survivor to act like they couldn’t possibly also be a rapist, or that they are a child abuse survivor so they can’t possibly be abusing their new partner & children, etc. They deny accusations of being an abuser by saying “no, you’ve got it all wrong, I’m the abused one, and now you’re abusing me more by saying I’m hurting you”. I recognize so much of my abusive mother in many of the chapters on how abusive people act in Lundy Bancroft’s book, but especially in “the victim”. And I think that may be what’s coming into play in these other people’s accounts of confusing situations with their sexual partners where their partners aren’t doing consent right, and are using their “victim” status as an excuse or as a way to talk over their partner or to ignore their partner’s concerns.