My husband constantly gropes me

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My husband of 4 years is constantly groping me. We have a 10 month old son and he will grope me in front of him, while I’m changing diapers, when I’m sick. It’s all the time. I have told him many times that I don’t like it, that it upsets me. He’ll be good for a day or 2 then it starts over again.

It is also impacting our sex life. When it gropes me it makes me feel icky and not sexual, which means we don’t have sex often, which just makes him grope me more. I’m now to the point that I wear clothes that cover my body, and I won’t change in front of him because I feel like I’m constantly being attacked.

The worst part now is when we are being intimate when he is touching me I feel that same icky feeling and feel like I need to be protecting myself and I don’t want him to touch me.

What should I do?

A: I find myself wondering if your husband has a paraphilia called frotteurism. Frotteurism is when someone gains sexual satisfaction by rubbing up against another person, usually against their wishes. Your husband seems unable to stop himself for long. Sadly, the very thing he wants most – sexual satisfaction – is becoming less and less a part of your lives because of his compulsion.

I suggest you research the topic and then try to find a calm, non-accusing way to talk to him about it. Tell him you understand that it feels good to him but that his behavior is shutting you off. Reassure him (if it’s true) that you still love him and that you want to have an intimate life with him. But you can’t be his sexual partner if you feel you always have to be on guard against unwanted advances. If he does have a paraphilia, it’s not something he can control by willpower alone. Suggest that the two of you could work on it together by going to a couples counselor or he could talk to a therapist who specializes in sexual disorders.

If your husband won’t go to a therapist, please consider going yourself. It sounds to me like you need someone to talk to who would understand your situation and who could help you sort out your options.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jul 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). My husband constantly gropes me. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/07/16/my-husband-constantly-gropes-me/