Not just body, treat your partner as a whole

Last Updated 23 August 2014, 13:24 IST

Are you among those who treat their partners in terms of how they can provide sexual pleasure rather than viewing them as complete human beings with thoughts and feelings?

This behaviour can lead you towards sexual pressure and coercion in life sooner than later.

According to new research, men who frequently objectify their partner's bodies by excessively focusing on their appearance are more likely to feel shame about the shape and size of their partner's body.

This, in turn, is related to increased sexual pressure - the belief that men expect sex and that it is a woman's role to provide sex for her partner - and sexual coercion, both in general and through violence and manipulation, researchers reported.

"More objectification of a female partner's body is related to higher incidents of sexual pressure and coercion," said lead researcher Laura R. Ramsey from department of psychology at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

To understand this, Ramsey and colleague Tiffany Hoy surveyed 119 males and 162 females in relationships.

The findings also supported the idea that women internalise objectification from their partners.
"This internalisation is related to feeling shame about their bodies, a decrease in asserting themselves, and a decrease in expressing what they do and do not want to do sexually," Ramsey explained.

Being more aware of how and when one thinks of their partner as an object, sexually or otherwise, could help relationship partners avoid sexual pressure and coercion and increase communication and respect within their relationship, researchers wrote.

"Acknowledging objectification in their relationships may help women realize when they lack agency and allow them to resist and avoid sexual pressure," the researchers continued.

The onus, however, is on men to reduce objectification and sexual violence, they concluded.
The research was published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, a SAGE journal.

(Published 23 August 2014, 13:24 IST)

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