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Coach-Athlete Sexual Relationships: if no means no does yes mean yes?
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, Department of Sport and Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5575-4737
2013 (English)In: Sport, Education and Society, ISSN 1357-3322, E-ISSN 1470-1243, Vol. 18, no 5, 678-693 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Coach-athlete romantic relationships and consensual sexual relations are commonly accepted among coaches and athletes, although a growing number of sport organisations discourage or prohibit such relationships. In research, coach-athlete sexual relationships are lumped together with sexual abuse, suggested to harm athletes’ well-being, performance, athletic career and team dynamics, and to inherently constitute an abuse of power, trust and ethics. In addition, mistrust of coaches’ motives, related to physical touch and fear of sexual misconduct, has resulted in a growing anxiety among coaches. This paper highlights and critically discusses research conceptualisations, contextual understandings and critical issues surrounding coach-athlete sexual relationships, on which there is no comprehensive research outside the sexual abuse context. Studies of authority-subordinate romantic relationships in other social settings have reported that such relationships facilitate both positive and negative characteristics and outcomes. To prevent and reduce harm and to promote well-being, functionality and safe practice in coach-athlete sexual and non-sexual relationships, I suggest that comprehensive research outside the sexual abuse context is required. In addition to the previous research focus on harmful and abusive relationships, coach-athlete sexual relationships that are experienced as consenting and mutually fulfilling by the involved parties need further examination.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2013. Vol. 18, no 5, 678-693 p.
Keyword [en]
Sexual relationship; Romantic relationship; Sexual abuse; Coach-athlete relationship.
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Research subject
Social Sciences/Humanities
URN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-2693DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2013.777662OAI: diva2:614512
Available from: 2013-04-04 Created: 2013-02-18 Last updated: 2016-06-17Bibliographically approved

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