What percent of human sex is forced and involuntary

I read a cracked article once mentioning how about 1/3+ of all duck sex is forced and involuntary. I know sexual abuse happens in the world, but I would assume the amount is far smaller than 1/3 of sex acts.

Some sexual abuse victims are victimized once, some are victimized hundreds of times over the years. But a person may have sex over a thousand times in their life.

I’m not asking what % of people have been sexually abused, I think that is about 25%. I’m asking what % of sex acts that occur (in a given year or whatever timeline) are involuntary.

I’d wager less than 2%, possibly much less at least in the west. Of course this probably varies wildly by culture. Cultures where misogyny, spousal rape and even stranger rape are not taken seriously are going to be higher.

I cannot imagine how a factual number could possibly be determined.

It has to be a very tiny percentage based on the number of acts. Few people endure multiple rapes while vast numbers of people engage in voluntary sex thousands of times in their lives.

Since this figure is going to involve a large degree of guesswork, especially on a global scale, let’s move it over to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Depends on what you mean by “involuntary”. I would guess that in many places, many women have sex with their husband when they’d rather not, but probably don’t perceive it as “forced” but do it because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

Including this, I would guess much more than 2%. Marital sex is probably the most widespread form of sex worldwide, places where wives are expected to have sex with their husband if he wants to are probably the wide majority, and a non-neglectible %age of them probably would rather not, at least at times. So, my wild ass guess would be at least 20% and possibly much more.

If human males evolved penises twice their body length that could also be used as lassos then the answers would be different

Here’s a link to the Cracked article.

It’s one of my favorite articles ever and I always jump at any excuse to post it.

Isn’t this something like asking what percent of food is eaten by people who eat what is in front of them, whether they like it or not? Or what percent of showers are taken by people who don’t really want to, but feel a social need to. Or what percent of TV viewing is by people who don’t really want to watch that show. Sex is a normal and natural thing among emotionally healthy adult human beings, is usually done jointly by two parties acting together, and it is (unsurprisingly) sometimes done by parties that don’t have equal enthusiasm for the enterprise.

How do you statistically quantify something like that? More importantly, why are so many people so much more fascinated by other people having sex, than by their eating, showering or TV watching behavior?

Are we counting handshakes here?

Then someone needs to send Sudhir Venkatesh into the rural parts of Afghanistan with a multiple choice quiz.


Sample and extrapolate, with appropriate acceptance of the margin of error that can introduce.

Do you really have to ask?

Only with the gloves off.

An sociology academic who did field work by approaching, and with their approval, observing various NYC gangland activities from the inside. See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/nyregion/sudhir-venkatesh-columbias-gang-scholar-lives-on-the-edge.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudhir_Venkatesh

Yes but before that he went to the worst ghetto in Chicago with a multiple choice quiz asking residents ‘how does it feel to be black and poor?’ He narrowly avoided being assaulted but he was technically kidnapped for doing that.

Couldn’t she just say, like, “no”?

Or are >20% of these women afraid of abusive repercussions if they refuse?

Also, you don’t seem to be counting husbands who sometimes feel obligated.

Not to mention that “rather not” is hardly the same as “involuntary and forced”. If we’re going down that road we may as well count “I’d rather be having sex with someone else”.

We could get a reasonable estimate by randomly polling 1,000 people and asking them “The last time you had sex, was your participation forced and involuntary?” and see what percentage said yes. The results would be more honest if you could make the answers anonymous, perhaps by asking them to write the answer on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. Put 1,000 people into a room, make sure you have a wide range of ages, proportional representation of genders, ethnic groups, and economic status. Hand out 1,000 envelopes and collect them in a box at the door when everyone leaves.

And remember that if you observe a sexual encounter and then afterwards you ask both parties if it was forced or not, at least one of them will always say No. Otherwise, the sex act wouldn’t have happened at all. So if one of them says Yes and one says No, then that’s a Yes. Hence, if you get 43 Yes votes out of 1,000 people, that means the actual rate is 8.6%.

Maybe we could even make it multiple choice. The last time you had sex, was your participation…
[a] entirely voluntary and enthusiastic
** voluntary but without enthusiasm
[c] somewhat voluntary without objection
[d] involuntary, against my objections
[e] forced and completely involuntary

I suspect that the most common answer would be ** and less than 10% would choose [d] or [e].

According to the Delphi principle, we don’t even need to ask people about their own sexual experiences. Just describe the experiment and ask 1,000 people to predict the outcome of the experiment and their answers will be very close to the actual result. This works with elections. Instead of asking people how they intend to vote, ask them who they think is going to win. The results of the “who is going to win” poll usually track extremely closely to the actual outcome on election day.

I was talking about the world at large. And I think that, in many cultures, saying “no” isn’t an option. I don’t think it’s even a matter of repercussions (even though I think there could easily be repercussions), I think it’s just something a wife doesn’t do. Not an accepted behaviour.

And I don’t think that in those same cultures, husbands often feel obligated.
“Feeling obligated” in a culture where “no” is a perfectly valid option doesn’t bother me the slighest bit either way. You can also feel obligated to visit the in-laws that you can’t stand, for instance. “Feeling obligated” to have sex certainly beats that as chores go.

Does it count when your wife, who is trying to get pregnant, calls you up to come home from work because her temperature just went up?

Again, in an environment where “no” is clearly an option, “rather not” wouldn’t count.

But in the kind of environment I was thinking about, it’s “rather not” because there is really no choice, and it’s internalized this way. IOW, situations where it would in fact be “absolutely not” if these women really thought they were entirely free of their choices.

I even mentioned it depended on what you mean by “involuntary”. I don’t think these women feel they’re raped, I think they feel thay have to, and it’s the way things are, period. But I think they would say “no” if suddenly they felt totally free to do so.

Yes, I believe there’s a large part of the world where a husband has sex when he wants to, and I’m pretty certain that there’s at least 1/4 of women there at any moment who don’t care about having sex with this husband. And neither have the option to refuse if it’s a temporary lack of interest nor the option to divorce if it’s a permanent one.