[Two Pronged] Getting back with a partner despite his disturbing behavior

[Two Pronged] Getting back with a partner despite his disturbing behavior
Tania writes about her partner who gets turned on from stories of her own past trauma

Editor’s note: This article contains information about sexual assault, which may be triggering to some readers.



Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer, 

I’m eternally grateful for the response you gave me on one of your previous columns. I’d like to consult you about my current partner. He seems to take pleasure and gets erections whenever he asks me to narrate my early childhood rape incidences.

Somehow, this turns him on. He didn’t admit it at first.

I stopped talking about it. We split off for more than a month.

Then when we got reunited, he admitted that he feels something is wrong about him because he imagines my encounters when I was young and the way I narrated it, and he finds himself having an erection and masturbating just with the thoughts. Now that we’re back together, he wants me to narrate the details of my rape incidences again.

Could he be a suppressed potential rapist or pedophile?

Please help me so I can also help him.



Dear Tania, 

Thank you for your email.

Fantasy is often a very important part of people’s sexual lives, whether they acknowledge it explicitly or not. Dr Justin Lehmiller of the Kinsey Institute carried out some recent research into fantasies in the US.

He found that the vast majority of both men and women fantasize and that their fantasies fell into 3 broad categories: 1) group sex, particularly threesomes 2) novelty e.g. sex in public places like parks, offices, elevators and 3) power and control e.g. BDSM, simulated rape scenarios, wearing uniforms etc.

Now, there is a huge difference between having fantasies and indulging in them; in fact, it seems only a minority convert thought into action.

It is, perhaps, a mere extension of a rape fantasy to want to hear the stories of real rapes. They are after all not real to your boyfriend but they contain details beyond his own fantasies, which may be very limited, and are consequently sexually arousing for him. However, he seems totally oblivious to the fact that these memories are in all probability far from sexually arousing for you. Indeed, they are probably very painful and the last thing you want to be reminded of while having sex. He is demonstrating a stupendous disregard of your feelings and if this is the way he thinks he is showing you love, he should be incarcerated.

As for you, having got rid of him once because of this highly disturbing behavior, you have taken him back only to be exposed to his bizarre fascination with events in your life which should not form the basis for anyone’s entertainment. At least you now know how to react – kick him out again, but this time for good.

As to whether he is a potential rapist or pedophile, it is impossible to judge on the information available. The vast majority of fantasies are never acted out but at the very least this guy has very unhealthy predilections and should seek help.

All the best,

JAF Baer

Dear Tania,

Thank you very much for your letter. I am pleased that Mr Baer showed the appropriate disgust at your boyfriend’s behavior. He seems unaware or worse, IS aware but doesn’t care, that narrating your previous rape experiences is not arousing to you. You would think that alone would have led him to stop. It would be ok to “pagbigyan” (give someone a chance) and do something you don’t like for something your partner enjoys, but this seems to be asking a bit much: recounting a terrible experience in your life again, and again..… and yet again, simply so he can get an erection and ejaculate.

For many women, the trauma lasts for years and years. But even if it doesn’t, continuously narrating such experiences, for a reason as mababaw (superficial) as for someone else’s sexual pleasure (in your case, your boyfriend’s) makes no sense whatsoever – not if you love yourself even a little bit more than you love your boyfriend. Good mental health requires that you do. Loving yourself, so that you do not agree to situations which may possibly trigger such unpleasant memories, is essential. I have no respect for anyone who derives sexual pleasure to the extent of his repeatedly asking you to narrate such events merely to get his rocks off.   

But this is the only way he gets such explosive erections? Fine. Then off to a sex therapist he goes to explore the reasons and any possible remedy.

Did he ever ask you if this was ok with you? If he didn’t, then he is even more awful than I thought! If he did ask, did you reassure him that it was ok? Because I doubt you could remain in love with a man so callous as to insist on endless narrations of your rape experiences despite your telling him you did NOT want to recount them!    

Quite apart from all that, there is one more thing I’d like you to consider: How you put your own needs last. How you are more concerned about what your partner might need or lack, rather than what you may need or lack by continuing to go out with him.   

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I can’t help feeling you took a lot of risks for this guy, including jeopardizing your mental health simply to turn him on…in a way, it is like what happened when you were raped:  A guy, who had no concern for you, took his sexual pleasure with you. Isn’t that exactly what your bf is doing now?  

Tania love, please re-read your last sentence: “Please help me so I can also help him.” If you can guarantee 100% that he thinks of you as selflessly and lovingly as you do, then wala na akong sasabihin (I will keep quiet, no longer trying to make you see callousness where none exists).  

But until then, please think before you give of yourself (and your heart) to this guy?  

All the best,

MG Holmes

– Rappler.com

Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email twopronged@rappler.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

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