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Non-Consensual Emotional Intercourse

As a survivor of sexual abuse and a mom of two daughters in the #metoo era, I am excessively aware of the importance of educating young girls (and boys) about body boundaries- What is and is not appropriate touch and what to do if (God forbid) someone does touch you inappropriately.

I have engrained in my daughters that no one has the right to violate your body. No one gets to touch you without permission. You are not obligated to give anyone permission to touch you. Should someone touch (or attempt to touch) you inappropriately (which means in a way that your aren't comfortable), tell them to stop, then leave, and let me know ASAP. This is not just for kids - this is for all ages.

I’m pretty sure you’re all in agreement and giving “obviously yes” head nods.


We set boundaries for our physical bodies, but what about our spiritual and emotional selves? Emotional boundaries seem a lot harder to set and WAY harder to enforce. But, why?

On a recent call with a coaching client, we were talking about boundary setting- something many of us struggle with. The struggle is between the desire for approval (AKA love) and connection (AKA relationship) and the longing and need for healthy emotional boundaries.

Emotional boundaries are necessary and important, but we often make excuses and allow unhealthy relationships to stick around a lot longer than they should. Without boundaries, emotional misuse, mistreatment, and abuse can run rampant while the victim quietly dies inside.

Emotional Intercourse

We have a visceral reaction to the word "rape" in its commonly used context regarding forced sexual intercourse. It's vile, wrong, and inexcusable. What if I said that any exchange of emotional energy is a sacred type of intercourse?

In every relationship, there is an exchange of energy – some people leave you feeling energized while others drain the entire life out of you. You can probably rattle off the names of people in your life that fit into each category.

When it comes to energy, we allow emotional violations to go much farther past the "icky" point than we would ever allow physical interaction. In the absence of emotional boundaries, what starts as (emotional) assault can quickly escalate to emotional rape. Now how do you feel? Got kind of heavy, right? Consider this:

Emotional intercourse should be as consensual as sexual intercourse.

Somewhere along the line we became more concerned with “not hurting their feelings” than protecting our mental health from the emotional rapist. Fear of rejection is a big driver in perpetuating mental health crimes so let me be really clear:

  • NO ONE has the right to violate your mental or emotional self.

  • Treat your emotional energy as seriously as you would your physical body.

Arm Yourself With Emotional Awareness

You immediately know when someone gives you a creepy handshake, a creepy hug, any kind of creepy touch – alarms start going off in every cell of your body and you instinctively create physical space between you and the "creepy toucher." By the same token, establishing healthy emotional boundaries requires being so in tune with your emotional well-being that you immediately recognize non-consensual emotional intercourse (i.e. manipulation, guilt, blame, accusations, criticism) and are able to remove yourself from further emotional harm.

Staying all the way out of emotionally damaging relationships is the best protection; but, if you find yourself already in the relationship, you have 200% permission (and an obligation to yourself) to put boundaries in place. See what happens. If your boundaries are met with anything other than respect, you may need to “get the heck out of dodge” as they say. If you struggle with boundaries, this will be easier said than done; but, all the more necessary.

At the end of the day, no one can take your power without your approval. You are in charge of you!!

If you want help with setting and sticking to boundaries, I'd love to help. You can email me to request a 30-minute discovery call to determine what coaching package is right for you.

#encouragement #empowerment #mentalhealth


©2020 by Kristin Benton.

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