Experiences of sexual coercion in a representative sample of adults: The Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships

Richard O. De Visser, Paul B. Badcock, Chris Rissel, Juliet Richters, Anthony M.A. Smith, Andrew E. Grulich, Judy M. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It is important to have current reliable estimates of the prevalence, correlates and consequences of sexual coercion among a representative sample of Australian adults and to identify changes over time in prevalence and consequences. Methods: Computer-assisted telephone interviews were completed by a representative sample of 20 094 Australian men and women aged 16-69 years. The participation rate among eligible people was 66.2%. Results: Sexual coercion (i.e. being forced or frightened into sexual activity) was reported by 4.2% of men and 22.4% of women. Sexual coercion when aged ≤16 years was reported by 2.0% of men and 11.5% of women. Correlates of sexual coercion were similar for men and women. Those who had been coerced reported greater psychosocial distress, were more likely to smoke, were more anxious about sex and more likely to have acquired a sexually transmissible infection. Few people had talked to others about their experiences of sexual coercion and fewer had talked to a professional. There were no significant differences between the First and Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships in whether men or women had experienced coercion, talked to anyone about this or talked to a counsellor or psychologist. Conclusion: Sexual coercion has detrimental effects on various aspects of people's lives. It usually occurs at the ages at which people become sexually active. There is a need to reduce the incidence of sexual coercion, better identify experiences of sexual coercion, and provide accessible services to minimise the detrimental effects of sexual coercion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-480
Number of pages9
JournalSexual Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Sex
  • Wellbeing


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