FKA Twigs Describes Emotional Abuse as 'Sexy' -- & Her Words Can Be Dangerous

FKA Twigs instagram pic

Speaking out about abuse isn't as taboo as it once was. There are more advocates than ever working to end the shame that can sometimes be attached to all forms of abuse -- physical, mental, and emotional. We've heard many courageous celebrities come forward and tell their stories, but none have been quite as shocking as singer FKA Twigs's perspective that emotional abuse can be "sexy." 


And, yes, this is exactly what it sounds like! While discussing her "Papi Pacify" music video with ES magazine, the British musician divulged the meaning of the video and its correlation to her history of emotional abuse in a previous relationship -- a relationship prior to her engagement to Twilight star Robert Pattinson. 

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And when it was suggested that the imagery might be too "brutal," Twigs said the unimaginable:

Violent, or beautiful? It's kind of sexy, like emotional abuse can be tender. That's why it's messed up ... If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, it can be tender, that's why you stay. And you stay because there's a poorly part of your mind that likes it.

She mentions that the video, in which a man shoves fingers down her throat, is symbolic of that time of her life. Of the relationship itself, she told the magazine:

In the relationship I couldn't communicate. The person I was with was stopping me from explaining how I felt. So the physical manifestation is someone putting their hand in your mouth. But there's an element, too, of liking that as well. It's messed up. It's addictive.

Upon reading this, my first reaction was literally a raised eyebrow and an internal scream of what the f*ck, but then I tried to really understand what she was trying to stay -- and perhaps I get it (or at least I hope I do). You see, survivors of emotional abuse may justify the actions of their abusers longer than necessary because they find it so sexy that he's this jealous or that he "cares" so much. 

Survivors often find a way to make it okay for way too long -- even when they know it's not -- and sometimes that justification forces them to accept, even swoon over the way he appears to "love" you. I can't say that's what Twigs or any survivor in that situation feels, but it seems to be a logical conclusion. 

And while I don't think she meant any harm by the statement, I do think her words are playing with fire, as there are masses of women reading her words. Undoubtedly there will be a woman experiencing some type of abuse who may relate to that quote, but there's seemingly not much in Twigs's words that tell women that this feeling doesn't make abuse okay. In fact, you have to wonder what any woman in this situation will take away from Twigs's words (except knowing perhaps that someone else feels this way).

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Her experience is her own, her feelings are her own, and no one can take either away from her. She knows and says that it's "messed up." But I would've felt far more understanding of her words had she not left us with this cliffhanger, had she put them into context and made it a point to remind women that as sexy as she says it seems in the moment, there's absolutely nothing truly sexy or beautiful about being abused (emotionally or physically) by anyone.

Unfortunately, as a public figure she doesn't have the luxury of merely sharing her experience in such a way without its having a dangerous impact on others. So, hopefully, moving forward, she learns from this experience and chooses her words wisely. 

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A photo posted by FKA twigs (@fkatwigs) on

Nonetheless, we hope that FKA Twigs has moved from this traumatic place in her life and continues to be an honest (but cautious) voice for other women.


If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic abuse, you can find help and support at, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or by contacting your local women's shelter (

Images via fkatwigs/Instagram

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