Sexual and Reproductive Control at a Glance
- Everyone deserves to have control over their own sexual and reproductive health.
- Making anyone do anything that they don’t want to do sexually is sexual control.
- Messing with someone’s birth control is one form of reproductive control.
Unfortunately, not everyone has control in their relationships. If you or someone you know has a partner who tries to be controlling sexually or messes with your birth control, here’s some information that may help you.
What Do I Do if My Partner Pressures Me To Have Sex When I Don’t Want To?
Sexual control is when people pressure or force others to do sexual things that they don’t want to do. Even within relationships, people have the right to decide what they do and do not want to do sexually. Sexual control can happen to anybody: women and men, straight, gay, and transgender — and it’s more common than people think. Here are some examples of sexual control within relationships:
- refusing to wear a condom when a partner wants to use one
- pressuring someone to do sexual things she or he doesn’t want to do
- threatening to end a relationship if a partner doesn’t have sex
- having sex with someone who is too drunk or high to make a decision
- physically making a partner have sex
You Always Have the Right to Say "No"
Unfortunately, many people are in sexually, physically, or emotionally abusive relationships. Nobody deserves to be treated this way.
Here are some resources that may help:
- There are lots of signs of an unhealthy relationship. Find out more about healthy versus unhealthy relationships.
- Leaving an abusive or violent relationship can be dangerous. Making a safety plan can help.
- The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network is an anonymous, online, text, or phone resource that can help.
- Contact your local Planned Parenthood health center to find out more about private forms of birth control, STD testing, and other services.
My Partner Is Trying to Get Me Pregnant and I Don’t Want to Be: What Do I Do?
The stereotype about reproductive control is that women get pregnant on purpose to “keep” or “trap” a man. There is growing research that shows that men manipulate women to have an unwanted pregnancy as a way to control them. Messing with someone’s birth control is never OK. Everyone deserves to decide if and when to become pregnant and to have children.
Some examples of reproductive control include:
- hiding, withholding, or destroying a woman’s birth control pills, patch, or rings
- removing or breaking condoms during sex to promote pregnancy
- threatening a partner who doesn’t want to become pregnant
- forcing a partner to carry a pregnancy to term against her wishes
- forcing a partner to terminate a pregnancy when she does not want to
If any of these situations have happened to you, understand that you deserve better. Here are some resources that may help:
- Some forms of birth control like the IUD, implant, and shot, are easier to have complete control over and keep private from your partner.
- Contact your local Planned Parenthood health center to get birth control, STD testing, and other services.
- Find out more about how to identify healthy versus unhealthy relationships and to get help if you’re in an unhealthy relationship.
Find Dr. Cullins' Answers to Common Sexual Health Questions
Q&A with Dr. Cullins