Quarter of women who go to sexual health clinics say partner has taken off or sabotaged a condom, removed their coil or HIDDEN contraceptive pills according to shocking report into ‘reproductive control’
- Blamed on a man’s desire to have children, particularly sons
- Or wanting to ‘maintain a permanent connection with their female partner’
Shocking new research reveals a quarter of women claim they have ‘no control over their sex lives’.
In a study of women attending sexual health clinics, researchers found one in four have been coerced into not using contraception or even into having an abortion.
Some have even had their ‘coils’ violently removed during intercourse, while others had sex not knowing the condom had holes pierced into it.
A desire to have children, particularly sons, along with wanting to ‘maintain a permanent connection with their female partner’ are thought to be to blame.
Shocking research reveals a quarter of women have ‘no control over their sex lives’ (stock)
The research was carried out by scientists from Bournemouth University and led by professor Sam Rowlands, from the faculty of health and social sciences.
They looked at women in heterosexual relationships who attended a sexual and reproductive health service in studies dating from 2010-to-2017.
The authors – writing in the BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health – found one of the most common forms of so-called ‘reproductive control’ is for the man to tell a woman not to use contraception or to refuse to wear a condom himself.
Men may also prevent their partner from accessing a repeat prescription for the pill or other forms of contraception.
Others use emotional blackmail such as ‘you would have my baby if you loved me’, or even threats of violence, forced starvation or rape if the woman refuses to ‘co-operate’.
‘Contraceptive sabotage’ is also common and can include ‘stealthing’ – when a man secretly removes a condom during sex. Other examples include pretending they have had a vasectomy or failure to ‘pull out’ as promised.
Although some women end their relationship if they feel they are being sexually coerced, others ‘conceal their use of contraception’ by turning to the coil, implants or even sterilisation.
But many worry their partner may ‘discover an appointment on a card, in an email or on a smartphone’, the authors wrote.
Some are also too afraid to ask their partner to wear a condom, or to refuse sex, out of the fear he may turn violent.
The authors also found many women have experienced ‘coerced continuation of pregnancy’, where their partner has refused to drive them to an abortion clinic on the day or threatened to start a family with someone else if they have the procedure.
Others claimed to have been attacked or had their drink spiked by their partner in order to induce a miscarriage.
And it is not just a woman’s other half who can be coercive. The authors also found her in-laws can encourage sterilisation if they feel the family is large enough or tell their son to leave her if she is not conceiving fast enough.
Signs a woman may be suffering from sexual coercion include frequent requests for emergency contraception, STI tests or having more than one abortion.
However, in milder cases where violence is not used, a woman may be unaware she is being controlled.
The authors are calling for screening for reproductive control to take place in maternity, sexual and abortion clinics, as well as at GP surgeries.
They add further research is required to determine different types of non-violent coercion and how it can be resisted.