Terrified

Friday, January 28, 2011

Question

I feel pretty sick at heart about my sexual fantasies. I am really worried that I am going to turn out to be a dangerous person. I am afraid that if I try to get help from a therapist, they will turn me in, and I will have to go to jail. I would rather die than be in prison. I don't know where to go to get help so that I don't become a serial killer. Violence makes me physically ill. I have never been in a fight. If somebody wants to pick on me, I let them win because I would rather get pushed around than hurt somebody else.

I don't see how you could find me just from an e-mail that was forwarded. If I don't talk about this with somebody, I don't know if I can go on living. I have never touched another person sexually. I abstain from sex because I don't know what will happen if I let myself act out my fantasies.

This is what I want. I want a beautiful woman to pretend that she is unconscious or asleep. I want her to be very still and 100% passive. I want to bathe her, fix her hair and do her makeup, and dress her up, then arrange her on my bed and lay down close to her. Sometimes I imagine I have found a girl who committed suicide in a bathtub, and I am cleaning her up and bandaging her wrists. Then while she is unconscious from blood loss, while I am waiting for the ambulance, I can embrace her and maybe persuade her to go on living. But she doesn't remember me after they take her to the hospital so she never knows we were close. Sometimes I imagine that I work in a hospital where I take care of female patients for surgery, or I imagine that I am in a nursing home for people in a coma.

In some of my fantasies, the girl has sleeping sickness. She wakes up long enough for me to feed her or take her for a walk. Maybe I get to put her in a wheelchair and push her along the street, so we can enjoy the sunshine together. But she doesn't speak to anyone but me, and she always wants to return to our room, so she can pass out on my bed again. Her beautiful, mysterious eyes tell me that she loves all of the attention that I am able to give her, that she knows she is my treasure. That I adore her.

I wish I could find a girl like this. I would buy her the most beautiful lingerie. She would never have to lift a finger, I would do everything for her. Maybe I could find someone who was an invalid who needed care. I don't know.

This is so confusing. In real life I am a shy person who has never been on a date. But whenever I see somebody like me in a crime show, they are horrible predatory criminals who are stalking women as if they were animals. If that is what I am, please be honest with me, because people like that do not deserve to live.

Answer

You've picked an appropriate name for yourself. Rather than seeing you as a potentially violent person, I see you as someone who feels a great deal of anxiety about sex. If you haven't done anything violent, you can't be sent to jail for the simple reason that fantasies are not crimes. You would need to tell me about antisocial acts before I would fear that you were a dangerous person. Being a sexual predator is founded on a lack of empathy with the pain and suffering of others. Classically, that first emerges in torturing and killing animals. Then there is a progression to assaulting and even killing vulnerable human beings. Some violent sex offenders were abused as children, and have records of becoming abusive toward children themselves. But many people who were sexually abused do not grow up to be criminals. Instead, they grow up having more compassion toward others and a desire to help make the world a safer, more healing place.

Did anything happen to make you feel afraid of women or sexuality? This would be an interesting and important question to examine with a therapist. However, I think you would need someone who was experienced with sexual variations. I also recommend that you do not work with a female therapist. The opportunity to bond with another male could be quite important for improving your day-to-day emotional health. So if you do decide to seek counseling, look very carefully. You might tell them that you have very little or no sexual experience and would like to develop a more positive attitude toward women and increase your confidence and your social skills. These things would definitely help you to feel better about yourself and perhaps increase your chances of someday having a satisfying sexual experience or relationship.

You have developed an unusual sexual fantasy that has become the only focus of your erotic energy. The central theme is that you are able to be with a woman who is helpless, yet she adores you. It's true that in some of your fantasies, the woman is unconscious, so she cannot give consent or have independent feelings toward you. This is what will disturb others the most about your desire. But I notice that even in those fantasies, you are behaving quite tenderly toward her. She is a beautiful victim, you have found her and you will do your best to provide protection and devotion. In at least some of your stories, she reciprocates your feelings, and this gives me hope that you could eventually tolerate being with a woman who cared about you. Right now, dealing with her feelings is too overwhelming for you. You can only stand one side of the equation. But if this is due to anxiety or a more intense state of fear, there are therapeutic techniques and medications that can reduce these panicky feelings to a more manageable level.

A lot of men fantasize about rescuing a beautiful woman, who then expresses her gratitude by falling in love with or desiring him. Being a hero may be the central erotic theme for men. I can see overtones of that in the fantasies you've shared with me. They resemble the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. The core fear for most men is to be ridiculed instead of greeted as a rescuer and a protector. This fear is so strong that early experiences with being humiliated or mistreated by girls or women can damage a man's sexual self-confidence. It can take a lot of focused help to regain that confidence. Unfortunately, some women have a hateful or abusive attitude toward men, or they may simply behave as if nothing they do could hurt us. That isn't true, of course; we have physical and emotional vulnerability. We are human beings, after all. And as little boys, we are very vulnerable to female perpetrators. Incest and other forms of sexual abuse are inflicted by both men and women, unfortunately.

I am wondering if a very powerful woman in your life did something to hurt you. Perhaps you want a weak, unresisting woman in your fantasies because you need a sanctuary from an evil or destructive female figure. But this is only a guess, and perhaps it is not a good idea for me to speculate about your personal history based on only one letter. Ongoing conversation with someone you can trust would be a lot more helpful than I can be here. I can only make some very broad guesses about your situation. If anything I have said here is wrong, please don't feel judged or hopeless. A professional with more information can do a better job of helping you to figure out what your life history means and what your choices are for the future.

Luckily, sexuality is a flexible thing. While many of us have one core fantasy that is very strong, an archetype that provides most of our erotic gratification, we can also develop other fantasies that give us pleasure. Having more choices might be good for you because you would not feel so out of control. Fantasies that include pleasure for both partners usually lead to better lovemaking experiences than fantasies that are one-sided. The truth is that you would probably find it hard to get a female partner to enact your fantasy because when women are aroused, they want to do many of the same things that men do—reach out to kiss, caress, and embrace their lover, touch and stimulate his body, speak to him about what the two of them are doing and how they feel, etc. That doesn't mean it's impossible, just difficult. But you may be able to develop other forms of sexuality that are also exciting. If not, you can keep this fantasy for the pleasure it brings you during masturbation. Some men choose to pay sex workers to act out their most cherished images. And I have certainly heard sex workers describe other men who have desire similar to your own, to care for the body of a woman who is helpless because she is unconscious.

Nobody is condemned to do terrible things. Everybody has a choice about how they treat their fellow creatures. There's no guarantee that any of us will find love or be able to fulfill our fantasies. Even so, we can find something that gives our lives meaning, and one way to do that is to work every day to make the world a safer, kinder place. I'm a person with a weird set of sexual preferences who has chosen to also be a decent human being, so I know it can be done. No matter how other people stereotype or judge your sexuality, that's true. Weird people are often the ones who do the most to care for others. As outsiders, we understand what it is like to be misunderstood or cast aside.

Please write to me again if you feel the need. I will make the time to correspond with you.

 

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