Q. My friend found her husband aroused in the bath with their daughter. This is something that I believe should just not happen. I was abused as a child and thought I was over all of this. This is bringing out old feelings. I am happily married, with a good sex life. I never told my husband about me being abused and only told my mother at the age of about 25. I never had the relationship with my father to tell him, even though in later years we grew a lot closer. I am not sure as what to tell my friend. I spoke to my husband about this but it is like he has blinkers on saying she must have been wrong, why did she not ask him about this right away ect… My husband is always telling me I am OTT when it comes to my daughter, she is 4 and I have told her to never let anybody touch her on her “private parts”. Am I wrong to not tell my husband about what happened to me? Sometimes I thing it would make him understand why I am so OTT with our daughter but on the other side it is something that I don’t want to tell him. He had a very happy childhood and he knows there were issues in my life but I really don’t want to go into details with him. It was a great help to be able to speak to my mother about being abused and with that I put it to rest in my life. Besides wanting to protect my daughter from this I don’t think it affects my life that much. Well until now, I want to do or say something.

Could it be that a man is aroused without having the intent to do something. I know this sounds really naive. I am trying to be open about this, I tend to be very judgmental and as I did not see this I don’t want to do something that I will regret. What advise can I give my friend? I am now afraid to send my daughter to visit them, which is a pity as the girls are really good friends. Thanks in advance for your reply.

A. It is not normal for an adult male to become aroused by a young child, especially at the sight of his own daughter. Men can have erections without sexual arousal. Many high school aged males will remember having erections in English or math class or at many other non-sexual times. I would strongly advise against letting your child be in his presence unsupervised. He may never harm or touch his child or any other child but to know that he may become aroused in the presence of young children is potentially troubling. However, it may be nothing at all.

You did not mention how your friend came to know that her husband was erect in the bath tub. Did he admit this to her? Did she find him in the bath tub with her and witness his erection? It would be helpful to know how she found out this information. As I mentioned above, he may never inappropriately touch his child and his erection may not be a sign of his arousal to the child but it is potentially a problem.

You said that your husband had told you were OTT. I do not know what this means. I take this expression to mean that he thinks you’re overprotective. You wrote that you told your daughter never to let anyone touch her in her “private parts.” I would not label this as overprotective. It seems perfectly reasonable and appropriate.

As for whether you should you tell your husband about your sexual abuse, only you can decide. As you said, it might help him to understand why you behave a certain way with your daughter. You said that you felt this matter was resolved in your mind but hearing about your friend’s husband brought up old feelings. Perhaps the issue is not resolved. It may be that you’ve psychologically buried it as a way to avoid thinking about it. If you are not certain that you want to tell your husband now perhaps you will in the future. It depends how comfortable you feel about revealing this information to him. Honesty is always encouraged but only you will know when and if you should tell him. Thanks for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Jul 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Father Aroused in Bath with Daughter. Is This Normal?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/07/21/father-aroused-in-bath-with-daughter-is-this-normal/

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