Being forced, pressured, bullied, manipulated, tricked or scared takes away our freedom and ability to choose in many situations. For example, if someone is in an abusive relationship, they might say ‘yes’ to something out of fear for their own wellbeing or the wellbeing of other people – which is a long way away from saying ‘yes’ because they really wanted to. The fear took away their freedom and capacity to make a real choice.
Most of us would recognise that, if someone stands behind you at a cash machine and asks for your PIN number while holding a knife to your back and you give it to them, you aren’t consenting to being robbed.
Well, it’s similar with sex. Although, in this case, the ‘knife’ could be something entirely different – such as the threat of someone sharing a sexually explicit photo of another person. Or spreading lies about them. Or making them feel worthless.