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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Dangerous S&M

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My husband has been engaging in increasingly dangerous S&M sex recently with a mistress (choking until unconscious / holding head under water / hand over mouth/nose) and told me he had some thoughts in the night a while back about how to kill me (he says this was a long time ago and was only a kind of technical thought rather than a plan! ). I am involved in a lot of areas of his life as I run the house and I work for/with him as well so I am wondering if these are issues with control? I should point out that the affair is very out of character!


Wondering if he needs professional help? He says his taste for this has only developed in last couple of years. I think he is in midlife crisis.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

While it is ok for couples to engage in sadomasochism (it is thought that up to one in ten couples use S&M as part of their sex lives), it sounds like your husband is going beyond the sexual side and into talking about homicide. And that is where the problem lies.

S&M is often linked to expressing the need to control and to dominate others. It can be a way to release pent up emotions that are suppressed. Many people who were unable to express their feelings as children or who experienced shame associated with feelings, especially sexuality, enjoy S&M as a way to let those feelings out while gaining "control" over a partner in a safe and agreed upon way. In other words, it is something both people find enjoyable and it does not go beyond an agreed upon point.

But your husband is increasing in his need for more excitement and his desires are not for more S&M but for someone dying in the situation. That indicates homicidal ideation. And he is not just expressing this desire but finding someone who will participate in his desires. Then to express to you that he wants to kill you is dangerous.

Your husband does need to talk to a therapist. However, you may want to contact your local ER just to talk to them about what you are hearing. Anytime someone expresses a desire to hurt someone or kill someone, connected to sex or not, should be taken very seriously especially if they have taken steps to express these desires. And you need someone to look at your husband for you, talk to him and see how far these desires go. Just as you would with someone who is suicidal, someone who is homicidal needs help. This is not going to get better without some type of intervention.

You may also want to consider your own safety as well. Even if he is telling you that his thoughts were technical rather than a plan, he has thought through how he would hurt you and that says there is more to it than he is letting on. Your safety is important.

I hope this has helped you,

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Kate - sorry but yes I would like to ask you some more please. I am interested in the motivation behind the affair and what you think as an expert.


It is out of character for him to behave this way, we have been together almost 22 years and anyone that knows us would tell you he is just not someone you would suspect of this kind of thing.


The other woman is (on the surface) quite similar to me, strong personality, tall, similar body type, and i wondered if it is possible he picked her as a 'substitute' for me that he could 'punish'? He has told me it was not an emotional choice and he only developed feelings for her after a few months.


When I first knew about the type of sex they were engaging in I asked him when he had started craving it and why he had not spoken to me and he said he didn't want to do those things to me, that our sex was more loving.



He could have picked her as a substitute for you, but without knowing him or talking to him face to face, it is very hard to tell why he would do what he has done. A lot of it depends on his background and history with this type of behavior.

In general however, what it obvious is that he has crossed a line with his behavior. It is one thing to engage in s&m but it is quite another to express homicidal ideation and take on a mistress in order to play out your fantasies. That says that he could take that one more step and actually hurt someone seriously or even kill them.


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