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The commonly held definition of abuse, which we use in all of our trainings, is “a pattern of behavior used by one person to gain and maintain power and control over another.” One thing to note about that definition is that we are talking about a of behavior, in other words, not just one incident.
These behaviors can take on a number of different forms.
An abusive partner might also use sex as a means to judge their partner and assign a value – in other words, criticizing or saying that someone isn’t good enough at sex, OR that sex is the only thing they’re good for.
Because sex can be so loaded with emotional and cultural implications, there are any number of ways that the feelings around it can be uniquely used for power and control.