On several occasions over the last year I have woken up to find my husband touching me sexually. Please don’t misunderstand and think that he is trying to wake me up. In fact, I have pretended to be asleep and noticed that if I stir or show any signs of waking up he will stop what he is doing.
I have confronted him about this a few times now. I explained to him that its not appropriate, that it makes me feel terrible, and that it changes my dreams. In fact, once I was suddenly raped in my dream my a friend of mine because my body was responding to what my husband was really doing (I’m a pretty heavy sleeper). He keeps promising me it will never happen again. He has used several ‘reasons’ (ie. he thought I was having a sex dream the time that I was raped in my dream) but I don’t really buy that and never have. The last two times I have moved into our guest room for a few nights but eventually I forgive him and stupidly think he will change.
What should I do? Is there a reason that he would be doing this? I feel guilty and ashamed. I could never admit this to family or friends, but yet I know its straining my marriage. Is there a term or something for what he’s doing? I’m so confused and hurt.
You don’t like what your husband is doing, you’ve asked him to stop, he promises he will, and then he goes ahead and does it anyway. Even moving out of the bedroom hasn’t had impact! It doesn’t matter what this is called. What matters is that he is repeatedly betraying your trust for some “thrill” of trying to get away with something. This marriage can’t last on these terms. If the two of you want to try to save it, my best suggestion is that you get yourselves to a marriage counselor and see if you can figure this out. Clearly you’re not getting to a mutually satisfying agreement on your own.
According to Psychology Today’s website, “Intimate partner sexual violence is different from supportively encouraging one’s partner to be more adventurous sexually or playing mutually pleasing sex games. IPSV survivors describe incidents that do not resemble mutually agreed-upon playful sex; they describe nonconsensual acts characterized by fear, dread, and pain.”
“Let’s be clear: Sex without consent is no less wrong or harmful if perpetrated by a victim’s partner or spouse than by someone she does not know. In fact, some researchers have found that IPSV may result in longer-term effects than rape by a stranger (McOrmond-Plummer, Easteal & Levy-Peck, 2017).”
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 2, 2007.
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). My husband molests me while I sleep.. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/06/02/my-husband-molests-me-while-i-sleep/
Last updated: 15 May 2019 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 May 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.