Am i molesting my husband ?

Sam1977

Registrant
Long story which I will try and keep short, I have been with my husband for 10 years in 2016 I had a baby, I had a traumatic birth that coupled with tiredness lack of labido etc meant we only had sex a couple of times a year, in 2020 it came to a head and I agreed to have couple sex therapy, the way they treat this is to start at the beginning just touching not sexual, you start with non sexual parts of the body then move on to those, my husband was uncomfortable with this therapy but I repeatedly asked if he wanted to carry and said we could stop at any time, we did eventually stop before the course ended, it did help me and we ended up having sex more regularly, recently my husband told he felt molested by me in the touching sessions and that I was a pervert for enjoying the 'touching sessions' I was horrified at this as I had constantly asked if he wanted to stop, the other night, I started to kiss and touch him and we had sex, we kissed and cuddled after and he made a joke that we had sex because he'd had his hair cut, he now tells me that he didn't consent to the sex and that I should ask I believe he should verbalise it if he does not want sex, we are a married couple after all am I abusing him, should I seek help? Tia
 

dark empathy

Registrant
Hi Tia and welcome.
Okay, as a survivor of sexual abuse who suffered really major genophobia for nearly 20 years, and only came out of it thanks to my lady, hopefully I can have some thoughts on this.

Firstly, the fact that your on this site asking questions and are concerned about relations with your husband definitely sounds like the right thing to me, since it is possible your husband has indeed suffered abuse in the past, and that both his attitude to sex now, and why things have become so difficult for you is related to that.

The first thing to note, is that for men, physical arousal is relatively easy, but mental arousal can be an entirely separate thing, this is a particular problem for abuse survivors, especially since the cultural assumption is that men always want sex, something abusers use to their advantage. It's a matter of literal bodily betrayal and can be a very difficult thing to get round.

In addition, for me at least, the chief way my genophobia manifested was freezing. Just as happened with my abuse, I'd go utterly and completely numb and divorced from my body, it effectively no longer mattered what my body did or if I was aroused, since my mind was entirely disengaged.

I would also find touch, especially from women I was interested in, extremely triggering, and often interpret none sexual touch as sexual, indeed my lady once noted that when my bare arm brushed hers, I jerked back as though I'd been burned.

Thus, while you assuring your husband that this is a safe space and things will stop when he's ready to say stop is absolutely right, at the same time, it is entirely possible that he was psychologically unable! to say stop.

Indeed, before I met my lady, I'm fairly sure that if a woman had made sexual advances, I probably would have just sat back and let things happen, (I once had a very nasty near miss), which had been my pattern during the abuse.


The good news is this is possible to deal with, but it's not easy, especially if your husband is still in the stage where he doesn't understand himself the fallout from any sexual abuse he experienced in the past.

With my wife, we did start from the position that she knew at least the basics of my abuse and my genophobia, so were able to take things fairly slowly, sleeping together in clos, holding hands, doing intimate physical things with a none sexual component, such as washing each other's hair, she always asked if it was okay to go on doing something, not merely letting me know I could tell her to stop, but actively talking things out before we started as well, indeed since my own sexual abuse was linked very much to pubity and sexual awareness, we even read alex comfort's joy of sex together, both so that we could talk about sex in a none purile, and adult way, and so that I could just get used to some of the things people did during sex.

Lastly, there is the question of the current climate. We unfortunately live in a time where shaming and castigation of men, and the assumption that any man is a sexual abuser has become a worryingly common attitude in some quarters.
One reason for my own genophobia, was that during my own abuse, I wasn't merely told that I wanted it, but that I was actively an abuser, even when I was being physically forced. This meant that I was always absolutely petrified of hurting anyone I felt attracted to, indeed often I felt as if I were edward scissor hands, likely to cut anyone I tried to touch, indeed I believed that all sex was essentially a business of one party getting pleasure at the expense of another.

A lot of the current cultural messages really don't help with this,
what for me killed my genophobia, was the realisation that sex was a two way conversation, while abuse is entirely one way, that I could actually give! my lady a great deal of pleasure, and wasn't in fact likely to hurt her as I believed I was.

if this dynamic hadn't been present, even if my lady had focused her attention purely on me, then yes it probably would! have felt like abuse.

Therapy isn't something my lady and I tried, we generally got over things on our own, however we did have the advantage that I'd already been on this site talking things out for a while, so my first suggestion would be perhaps seeing if your husband has any history he needs to disclose, maybe suggest this website or some of the recommended reading like Mike Loo's victim's no longer.

My more practical suggestion would be simply to let things go at his pace. Indicate that you want to make love, and then ask him verbally what he wants to do, maybe even try something instructional like alex comfort; I really like his distinction of the rolls as "musician and player", rather than "dominant and submissive", and his note on how these roles can flow and change even within the same session.
Cudling leading to sex is quite possible, (it happens with my lady a lot), however for me at least, it took a while to get to that point.

My lady and I still talk when lovemaking, especially when one of us wants to try something particular, albeit far less than we've used to.

Lastly, the one good thing I can say is that yes, it is! possible to get around this.

Indeed, while I still have a variety of abuse affects to deal with myself, genophobia isn't one of them!

Hope some of this is helpful.

Luke.
 

Silverhand

Registrant
Confusion and frustration both seem reasonable given the background you provided, but it is good that you are here looking for advice ah. I will try to provide some advice and insight, but this is just one person's opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. That said, perhaps I can give a few guidelines from my own (somewhat limited) experience.

1. I would not assume consent based on relationship status, physical arousal, or prior consent to the same activity. As someone has had sex i did not consent to with a girlfriend i had been dating for about a year, had previously had consensual sex with multiple times (at least twice previously that day), and despite physical arousal (although that was also prompted by activity I had said "no" to), I speak from unfortunate experience when I say that none of those are proof of consent in themselves.

2. Explicit consent is the gold standard. If there is any doubt, just ask. At the end of the day, "ruining the mood" a bit to take the time to be sure is going to be much better than the alternative.

3. I must admit, non-abusive, consensual sexual activity has been known to happen outside the exchange of formal exchange of words, between every single act. But this is a grey area and there is some risk to operating within it. Some people have a "freeze" response to unwanted advances, so lack of refusal or resistance is not a good indicator of willingness. Others have involuntary responses, engaging in seemingly active behaviors, even though they do not really want do to them. Communicating with your husband, when he is ready, may help you navigate this area and help interpret these non-verbal cues. But when in doubt, refer to #2. above.

I don't want this to come across as too negative or limiting, but at least until you have had more communication about these issues with your husband, relying on explicit consent maybe the safest course of action.
 

WhiteRose

Registrant
I'm not a survivor, but I feel I have to say something here.

While I understand that survivors may freeze and be unable to say no, at the same time, you are not a mind reader and nor can you be expected to be one. He will never break free of bring a victim until he learns to take responsibility for his own thoughts and actions.

You say above that you agreed to go to couples sex therapy. It's not clear who instigated that, but either way, he showed up to and took part in multiple sessions, presumably without you bundling him into the car against his will. Therapy sessions of any kind are uncomfortable. Nobody enjoys therapy. That's not what it's for. The whole point of therapy is to put you slightly outside of your comfort zone in a safe space so that you can process those feelings.

It sounds to me as though he is being emotionally manipulative. That's likely something he's learned from his abuser, but don't let him turn you into a secondary victim. Blaming you in retrospect for things you did in good faith is emotional manipulation, allowing him to remain a victim while you're (unfairly) cast as the "abuser". You are not responsible for his feelings, he is, so don't let him guilt trip you into feeling like you are.

Oh and no, you're not molesting your husband. Married couples have sex. If you were unaware of his abuse, and he hadn't explained to you his particular circumstances, and providing you didn't force or coerce him in any way, it's reasonable to assume that your husband would want to have sex, especially if he went through with the act apparently willingly.
 

jacats

Registrant
Tbh he sounds like an asshole who needs to get his shit together.
I would hate to be in some touchy therapy with someone, but I wouldn't call my spouse a pervert for liking touching / being touched.
Having issues doesn't excuse being a dick. Sounds like he doesn't want to be physical with you, which is fine for him. Maybe ask if he even actually wants to work towards restarting a physical relationship? If its a no, then you know.
 

Sam1977

Registrant
Thank you everyone for your replies, he is still very upset, he says I am a rapist, I feel I should refer myself to the police but I am worried what will happen to our son, does anyone know what the process is will they take him away?
 
You should not refer yourself to the police as you have done nothing wrong.

On the other hand, he has signaled to you that he no longer wants you as a partner by accusing you falsely of rape. That is a terminal event in a relationship. I don't even know where you would go from there. If I were you I would leave immediately and take the child with you. If he wants to continue a relationship with you, he's got a lot of explaining to do.

Abuse or no abuse, no one should be permitted to falsely accuse their partner of rape and get away with it.
 

WG

Registrant
Calling the police would solve nothing. What are they to do? No crime has been committed. Strangeways posed an interesting idea : remove yourself from the situation for a time. He doesn't have to agree to the separation, since that's what it is, it isn't a divorce. You can obtain a legal separation (it protects both of you financially an legally). If you don't chose to do any of this, then attend counseling on your own. Go alone. Get some professional help with these parts of your life that seem so out of control. Tell him that's what you intend to do. Tell him he is welcome to go with you (he's made his decision here already) or not. If he chooses to not, then you have your answer about that topic. Surround yourself with safe people - other women with whom you can be yourself. Not a huge circle, but two you trust and can confide in from time to time. They aren't your therapist, but people outside the situation who can lend an ear and give you some perspective. I wouldn't have it be anyone related to either of you, they would be biased one way or another.
 
From what I can tell he did not actually tell you he was molested in the past say as a child. If that's true we really don't know what is going on with him. Granted we are all looking at this with zero context and any real knowledge of your relationship so its hard to really say anything. Everyone is different but this sounds odd and as others said very manipulative. I would not jump the gun by assuming you are to blame and also that he was molested. Unless he tells you that he was then its guess work on your part. If you have access to a relationship therapist you could discuss this with that person (without your husband being present) and get their view point.
 

Silverhand

Registrant
I applaud anyone one whose first instinct on suspecting that they did something wrong is to turn themselves in to the authorities.

But there really does not sound like there is sufficient reason for you to do so.

With respect to the therapy issue, it seems like you both agreed to go, and there is always a risk of discomfort in therapy. there is no reason to feel bad that you enjoyed the therapy while he did not.

With respect to the sexual encounter, there isn't sufficient evidence here to conclude one way or the other, based on the very limited info in these posts. In theory, it is possible that his concerns are genuine. It is also possible that his accusations are manipulative as some other respondents have suggested. Details of the encounter and context from your prior history as a couple are important. But while we only have the details from a few posts to go one and the insights from our own prior experiences, you have the context of being together with your husband for ten years. At the end of the day, you will likely be a much better judge of which possibility is more probable.

At best, it sounds like you have some very difficult conversations ahead of you. But if all you are getting is blanket accusations, it sounds like your husband is not currently interested in having them, so these conversations may not be in the near future (or might not come at all). As has been noted above, it might be a good idea to discuss this with a professional familiar with these issues.

Sorry if my first response came across overly harsh. My focus there was on how to proceed until you have the discussion necessary to sort any issues out, not on judging the past.
 

WhiteRose

Registrant
You should not refer yourself to the police as you have done nothing wrong.

On the other hand, he has signaled to you that he no longer wants you as a partner by accusing you falsely of rape. That is a terminal event in a relationship. I don't even know where you would go from there. If I were you I would leave immediately and take the child with you. If he wants to continue a relationship with you, he's got a lot of explaining to do.

Abuse or no abuse, no one should be permitted to falsely accuse their partner of rape and get away with it.
I 100% agree with this. From what you've said here he sounds incredibly emotionally manipulative, which is a form of abuse in itself. You are the victim here, not him.

I would take your son and leave him immediately. If he wants the relationship to continue he's going to have to prove his commitment.
 

Sam1977

Registrant
My husband does not want me to refer myself to the police, he wants me to come up with a plan to try and help him and win back his trust any ideas please?
 

AlexBoyd

Registrant
My husband does not want me to refer myself to the police, he wants me to come up with a plan to try and help him and win back his trust any ideas please?
Refer him to a psychiatrist who can help work on his trust issues.
 

WG

Registrant
HE wants YOU to come up with a plan? I would call Blame Shifting here........AlexBoyd said it right. HE needs to see a mental health professional. A number of items don't add up. The specialist can help to sort this all out, however he needs to be willing to go in the first place. in the mean time, make a plan to go somewhere with your son. Somewhere he cannot find you. Don't respond to texts nor should you answer your phone.
 

mmfan

Registrant
So you didn't do anything wrong but neither did he. I take issue with people calling him a jerk and an asshole or manipulative which is harsh. I'm willing to bet he is simply triggered. He might have thought he wanted it and then changed his mind as it was happening, as the trauma resurfaced. Sometimes survivors cannot verbalize the horror happening in their head. It is highly likely that his feelings of violation are absolutely sincere and probably horrific.

To blame you in retrospect for his feelings of violation isn't fair - but triggers aren't fair. Welcome to the club. You're going to receive the brunt of them because physical intimacy is a powerful trigger.
The feelings he's having about touching being "perverted" are triggers from his past and someone who touched him against his will and got off on it.... I'd bet my house on that. He will project them onto you because sex reminds him of those acts and sometimes triggers are just that powerful that one can't separate past from present.

I went through something similar where i felt very confused and ambivalent about sex and wasnt able to say "no" in the moment, due to fear and confusion, and came away from the encounter feeling horribly violated. The lessons I learned from that included: 1) Avoid sex entirely until I was able to verbalize and communicate more like an adult, which took years. 2) No one will respect my boundaries if I don't respect (and communicate) them myself. 3) My partner was pretty clueless about helping me heal. If they had made an effort to understand, like you are doing by coming here - it would have made a difference.

Mindful, slow touching as prescribed by that sex therapist, can be a horrendous trigger for survivors. I'm guessing that's what triggered him. My survivor "powers through" sex as quickly as possible without much emotional connection because it means he doesn't have to stop and experience the horrible feelings thst come up for him. If he were made to slow down and "savor" every moment, it would become impossible. Unfortunately I am the opposite and need that slow and mindful touch to feel safe. His robotic style of sex can be very triggering for me and even make me feel objectified. So we have major mismatch of triggers in some ways.
 
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