Sexual Abuse of Intimate Partners in Homosexual Relationships


Justice and Society Studies



Document Type

Book Chapter


coercive control, domestic terrorism, domestic violence, intimate partner sexual assault, intimate partner violence, intimate terrorism, severe abuse, sexual assault




It is estimated that more than 7 million women in the United States have been sexually assaulted by an intimate partner. Women who have experienced intimate partner sexual assault (IPSA) report physical violence that is twice as severe when compared to women who have not experienced IPSA. There is a strong relationship between severe physical intimate partner violence, IPSA, and intimate terrorism/coercive control, which is explored throughout this chapter. In situations of severe abuse, abusive men may perpetrate IPSA as a mechanism of intimate terrorism/coercive control. Intimate terrorism involves a pattern of abusive tactics employed to control and manipulate the survivor’s actions, relationships, and activities. Coercive control describes a pattern of violence, intimidation, isolation, and control where the main goal is to degrade, isolate, and deprive women of their rights to physical security, dignity, and respect. This chapter presents a conceptual argument situated within the context of coercive control. It explores how the detrimental emotional, physical health, and behavioral consequences of IPSA minimize survivors’ capacity to live full, autonomous lives, and help to perpetuate abusive men’s domination. This chapter also analyzes how diminished help-seeking among IPSA survivors exacerbates coercive control limiting survivors’ ability to keep themselves safe from harm.

Citation/Other Information

Waldner, Lisa K. 2021. “Sexual Abuse of Intimate Partners in Homosexual Relationships.” pp. 383-404 in The Sage Handbook of Domestic Violence edited by Todd K. Shackelford. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.