I have just got engaged but am worried about our sex life. When we got together three years ago, my boyfriend sometimes asked me to wear rubber — a skirt or top.
It turned him on and seemed harmless. Now, though, he only wants sex if I’m dressed head to toe in latex.
Indulging his fantasy occasionally is fine, but it’s taking over our relationship.
What should I do?
It is no coincidence that the escalation in your fiancé’s demands coincides with your engagement.
He is pushing you to see how far you will let him go, because he needs you to accept him for what he is.
A full and frank conversation about the extent of his fetish is long overdue; if you feel that it is a dealbreaker, then you need to make that clear to him.
Couple counselling would help you to understand his sexual desires and their implications for your relationship.
However, in terms of your sex life, if your fiancé needs rubber to get aroused, then compromises, such as allowing him to indulge once a week, won’t work.
And if you ask him to suppress his needs entirely, you increase the risk of him satisfying his urges elsewhere.
His “fetish” is as intrinsic to his personality as being straight, or gay.
I use the F-word intentionally, because your boyfriend’s “use of an inanimate object as a stimulus to achieve sexual arousal and satisfaction” conforms pretty accurately to the definition of fetishism as it appears in both the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Whether a common fetish such as rubber merits a listing in a medical textbook as a disorder is debatable.
In the past 10 years or so, rubber, latex and the BDSM “look” (bondage and discipline; sadism and masochism) have been appropriated by the fashion world, and nightclubs have taken rubber fetishes into the mainstream.
Indeed, many rubber fetishists would argue that their interests are nothing more than socially misunderstood idiosyncrasies.
That said, like most human behaviour, fetish lies along a continuum.
At one end are the individuals or couples who occasionally incorporate fetish-wear or kinky behaviours into their sex lives; at the other are the people who are unable to have sex without the act, or object, that arouses them.
As is the case with you, this tends to happen when the fetish starts to dominate the sexual relationship and the unaffected person begins to feel undermined.
They question why they are not enough for their partner — and may start to view him or her as self-indulgent.
After all, they get no pleasure from their partner’s fetish and sex is meant to be mutually rewarding.
Some convince themselves that if their partner loved them enough, they would change. But fetish is not a conscious choice, so don’t kid yourself that this is a passing phase.
Your fiancé’s sexual associations are ingrained and, although the desire to act on them will be stronger at times, they will never completely dissipate.
Fetishes cannot be ignored, nor can they be successfully suppressed, so if you can’t come to terms with his predilections, you should call off the engagement.
With the right mindset, it is perfectly feasible to accommodate a fetish within a marriage, but if you stay with him your life is likely to follow a very different path to the one that you might have anticipated.
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