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#369039 - 08/29/11 01:45 AM fetish derived from abuse (possible triggers?)
lovehim202 Offline

Registered: 08/28/11
Posts: 16
I haven’t been on male survivor for quite some time, but I received a lot help from people on this discussion board a couple of years ago when I was faced with meeting my husband’s perpetrator.
My issue now concerns our sex life. In perhaps the past year a ‘fetish’ of his has emerged. I don’t want to go into detail, but simply put it’s not physically healthy for either of us to engage in that sort of behaviour. And importantly, it’s an act that I know his perp use to inflict on him.

We’ve talked about it. We’ve had a number of what I would consider beneficial discussions, where I’ve told him that I’m unsure of what to do – I don’t want to outright stop something that makes him aroused, and which he seems to enjoy. At the same time I’ve told him that I don’t want to participate in that sort of behaviour for health reasons – both physical and psychological. I’ve told him I don’t want to reinforce the false lessons about himself his perp inadvertently taught him. I don’t want to reinforce those feelings of worthlessness and insignificance.

My husband seemed to completely understand, saying he mainly just likes the thoughts of this fetish, not the actual act. So we agreed that we’d just talk about it during sex. But after a few months boundaries would be crossed and I’d end up re-telling him my worries and concerns. This has become a bit of a cycle for the past year, and now I’m getting a bit distressed with what to do and what to think about it.

So there’s a couple of key issues which have me worried/wondering:
- We were together for years before this fetish emerged. I can’t help but notice that it emerged around a similar time that his perp came back into his life (he’d previously been out of his life for about 6 years). I honestly believe that on a number of levels he’s truly forgiven his perp (something I very much admire in my husband, as I know I wouldn’t have the ability to). At the time he didn’t seem distressed by his perp’s return - But I’m worried that the close proximity of his perp is again having adverse effects on him.

- I also wonder whether this fetish is more a form of ‘re-enactment’, that it might be my husband putting himself back into a similar situation he was in as a child, but in order to now have control, and participant in these acts on his own terms, being able to (subconsciously) say ‘this is my choice’. I’m certainly not academically qualified to counsel my husband, and I worry that my own interpretation of his newfound fetish might be inaccurate, and anything I say about it could be more detrimental to him.

What I basically would like advice on is:
- Do you think I should outright refuse to anyway partake in this fantasy/fetish of his from his point forward? (I worry that if I do he might just seek that gratification from other sources).
- Do you think my interpretation of his fetish being ‘re-enactments’ could be possibly accurate, and should I tell him my thoughts?
- Does anyone have any ideas on how I could better approach the issue?

Thanks for reading

#369040 - 08/29/11 02:14 AM Re: fetish derived from abuse (possible triggers?) [Re: lovehim202]
Disappointed Offline

Registered: 08/11/09
Posts: 542
Loc: U.S.A.
Hi LH202,

Welcome to MaleSurvivor. I hope you find the support you need here, as does your husband.

I've been here for a couple of years, trying to learn about a man that basically uses me to satisfy his fetish. Contrary to what I believed, he never told his first 3 wives about his most serious abuse.

He and I play his game (his terminology, not mine)on a fairly regular basis. VERY often, he claims that time will be the last. Yet a couple of weeks later, he is back to play. Sometimes it takes him 3 weeks, or 4 weeks to come back. But in almost 3 years, he always has. I believe you to be correct: if you don't do it for him, he will find it elsewhere. This man currently has a girlfriend, has for about a year or so. Yet he still contacts me. We don't meet in person. We email, text, or talk on the phone.

I've spoken to a number of men with fetishes due to childhood abuse, and obviously, the ones I have spoken to, haven't quit. How many quit their fetishes, I have no idea.

I don't consider him trying to take control at all. It's become clear to me in his case, the very intense feelings give him a "rush." He loves the rush. Also, he is VERY conflicted about it, that what he likes isn't socially acceptable, and it would embarass him and shame him to end for anyone to know. I've encouraged him to tell his girlfriend, and his best friend. The girlfriend found our emails and contacted me, and then he claims he told his best friend. I sure hope so.

Also, in my friend's case, he has an alter personality, with very different interests in life than his main personality. His alter is very sweet.

He's a successful man, with a full life. We should all be so fortunate. I should also say, he's been seeing a therapist for years. I can see his progress, but he still likes what he likes. He has no illusions that the abuse was his fault.

I do wonder in your husband's case about the criminal coming back into his life. I have no experience with the sudden interest in a fetish.

I hope your husband heals,


#369051 - 08/29/11 05:35 AM Re: fetish derived from abuse (possible triggers?) [Re: lovehim202]
whome Offline

Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 1743
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Wow Lovehim22

Shows us that things never stop coming back to haunt.
I think that yes, the reemergence of the perp in his life, has triggered him (Why he allowed the perp back I don't understand) but he is there and you must deal with it.
The Fantasy thing was probably triggered by the perp yes, but now the H is starting to obsess on the behavior, I feel that he is starting to act out, and that although he says he has forgiven this man, there are still a lot of issues around the abuse that have not been dealt with.
It is probably time to sit him down and have one of those open discussions about the return of the perp and the emergence of this behavior?
You need to explain that you are not comfortable with it and that it is hurting you.
Another point is that you should never allow something that would hurt you.
It might be time for the H to go back and see his therapist to resolve the issues around this behavior.

I wish you well

Matrix Men South Africa
Survivors Supporting Each other
Matrix Men Blog

#369116 - 08/30/11 02:23 PM Re: fetish derived from abuse (possible triggers?) [Re: whome]
SamV Offline

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5972
Loc: Sunnny, South East USA
Welcome Lovehim22,

The suggestions in the above posts are beneficial for this situation and very well thought out. Seeing and appreciating progress is paramount to a survivor's recovery as is confronting the survivor as to how you feel about his attempt to reenact abuse controls on you.

Fetish, in this case, is a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.

That your husband has become invested in a fetish that is a known part of his abuse, and is, as you say, "not physically healthy for either of us to engage in", seems to me that he is no longer "present" in his sexual life, and that he has become overwhelmed with a trigger he was controlled with during the abuse. It is important for the survivor to talk out the abuse control completely, to reason on it's control over him, and work to separate the feelings from the thoughts concerning the control fetish. Once the feelings are removed, the control will have less motivation to continue, and the survivor will be ready to mature, to self validate growth away from the control, and into a healthy sexual life, and appropriate boundaries. He needs therapy specific to this abuse recovery issue, and he needs an environment that disallows abuse reenactments.

HE is very much caught up in a cycle of self harm. His desire to repeat an act that was criminally perpetrated against him, and that he wishes to perform the act on another can be a destabilizing time for him. Especially is this the case when the supporter states very clearly that she does not wish to participate. He WILL rationalize abuse triggers and reenactment, he will deny they are toxic or controlling. You cannot rely on his interpretation, as he is emotionally out of control over this part of his personality, even if he is a stable man in other areas of his life.

There are four parties in every survivor's life, the perpetrator, the "therapist", the supporter, and the survivor. Please, Lovehim22, understand your role as the supporter. You are not the therapist, you are not the perp, and your are not the survivor. You are the supporter, and as a solid beam of iron supports the foundation of a building, so too, you cannot waiver in your support of his, and this is important.., in his recovery. Your's is to support healthy maturing away from the abuse in it's every aspect. Listen, encourage, laugh, enjoy and be rigid in your determination not to allow any part of the abuse into your home, your life. Should he attempt this, please do your best to remain determined that you both are free of this harm.

You need support as well, Lovehim22, what you are doing here is in posting is cathartic, well done. Continue to pursue this support, local groups, therapy and posting here in MS, these will keep you strong and accompanied. The supporter's role is a difficult one, Lovehim22, I admire your courage and commitment. Be adamant in your boundaries, be determined to no longer connect with his abuse on a level of gratification, but support his desire to relate and recover through therapy, encourage recovery.

Let us know how you are progressing,

MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

#369343 - 09/03/11 05:17 PM Re: fetish derived from abuse (possible triggers?) [Re: SamV]
lovehim202 Offline

Registered: 08/28/11
Posts: 16
Thank you all very much for taking the time to respond. And thank you for your sound advice - It's taken me a while to reply because at first I got quite emotional after initally reading your responses (mainly due to gratitude.) But I've since spent the week reading and re-reading them, taking down some key points that I'd like to convey to my husband.

Thank you all once again, It's so reassuring having this site to go to. I'll be sure to post any progress on the issue.

#369358 - 09/03/11 08:37 PM Re: fetish derived from abuse (possible triggers?) [Re: lovehim202]
brother2none Offline

Registered: 01/30/09
Posts: 269
Loc: Undisclosed
I think you are right on target that he is engaging in the fetish as a way to control the outcome in a way that rewrites the old abuse. I felt that for myself. As twisted as it seems.

#369399 - 09/04/11 10:54 AM Re: fetish derived from abuse (possible triggers?) [Re: brother2none]
lovehim202 Offline

Registered: 08/28/11
Posts: 16
I don't think that is twisted at all, brother2none.
I can't even begin to comprehend what survivors have to endure. But I would imagine that the body and the mind would have to develop various coping mechanisms in order to deal with the trauma that has been experienced.
But thank you very much for responding to my post.
I hope you are healing well.


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