Weaponising sex in a relationship can lead to loss of love and intimacy
There are several ways in which sex can be weaponised in a relationship.
Sex can be weaponized between partners with dangerous consequences. Picture iStock
Sex can be a weapon of mass destruction in a relationship. Weaponising sex is about manipulation or use of sexual activity as a means of control, punishment, or power play, rather than as an expression of love, intimacy, or mutual pleasure.
Psychologist and medical practitioner Dr Jonathan Redelinghuys of Medicare24 said there are several ways in which sex can be weaponised or used negatively in a relationship:
- Forcing a partner into sexual activities against their will is one of the most dangerous and toxic elements in a relationship. “Sexual coercion is a grave manipulation. It strips away the foundation of trust and consent that is vital for a healthy sexual relationship,“ said Dr Redelinghuys.
- No sex punishment or denying sex or any kind of intimacy as a tool to punish a partner, or to even control a partner is a form of weaponisation, said Dr Redelinghuys. “This can vary from withholding sex because a partner wronged another or simply to control a situation,” he added.
- Cheating or flirting as a weapon can be extremely damaging to a relationship. “Using infidelity as a tool to gain leverage in a relationship or create jealousy is a harmful tactic. It is not just a breach of trust, but a deliberate act to inflict emotional pain,” said Dr Redelinghuys.
- Sex as a reward can turn a partner into a willing victim of control. This can turn sex into a manipulative or transactional tool and removes all authenticity and integrity, not to mention intimacy, from the act.
- Sexual performance can make or break a partner’s self-confidence. Criticism of someone’s sexual prowess can destroy self-confidence. “Criticism of a partner’s sexual performance to undermine their self-esteem is a form of emotional abuse that can leave long-lasting scars on the individual’s psyche,” said Dr Redelinghuys.
- Spilling secrets or using a partner’s deepest, darkest fantasies against them is beyond cruel, said Dr Redelinghuys. “Threatening to expose a partner as a form of manipulation is really just emotional blackmail,” he said. “It’s a dark path to choose for the perpetrator and it can cause lasting emotional damage in the victim.”
- Pin-up syndrome turns a sexual partner into an object rather than a lover. “Objectifying a partner in a sexual context, treating them as merely a tool for personal gratification, is a dangerous powerplay that impacts the emotional and psychological health of both parties in the relationship. People are not things, sex toys are and should fulfil that role in a relationship,” said Dr Redelinghuys.
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“It is so important to have open and honest communication in any relationship,” said Dr Redelinghuys.
He added that a key ingredient to a happy and healthy sex life is a healthy measure of mutual respect, consent and understanding.
“Weaponising sex or any aspect of intimacy can be extremely damaging.”
He said that should a couple be unable to resolve problems between themselves, therapy is crucial.
“Do not wait for any situation to deteriorate beyond salvage, because either you become caught up in a dark cycle of weaponised sex or the love and intimacy will quickly evaporate to an empty shell of a relationship,” said Dr Redelinghuys.
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