Ronald came to the Sexology Clinic with his lawyer, James. They were in the process of building up a case for divorce. They wanted me to examine Ronald and write a medical report confirming that he had physical injuries inflicted during intercourse, and that with the progressive violence, the marriage had become a serious danger to his life.
“My wife is a perfect person in all aspects except for one thing — she bites, scratches and of late slaps and boxes me during sex, especially when she is about to get orgasm,” Ronald said.
As a result of the violence, Ronald had been losing his erection midway through sex, but his wife would continue biting, scratching, slapping and boxing him until she got orgasm.
“Normally by the time she is climaxing, I am off literally boxed to a corner of the bed, so scared to do anything,” he regretted.
Ronald, 32, was an engineer working for a private construction company. He was married to Jane, a 32-year-old accountant working for an NGO. The couple had been married for two years and had an 11 month old baby.
“You see, when we got married she never exhibited this strange behaviour in bed,” Ronald explained, “Actually, I remember that she actually never got orgasm then.”
Jane got pregnant a few months after the wedding. She had difficulties in pregnancy and was thus was not so active in bed. She delivered her baby and resumed intimacy two months later. Thereafter, she progressively become violent in bed.
“The more she enjoys sex, the more violent she becomes,” Ronald explained, “I fear that at this rate one day she will strangle me in bed; it is like a demon enters her head and she loses control and becomes a wild animal.”
Ronald had not discussed his worries with Jane. He instead sought the services of a lawyer and they agreed to file for divorce, citing a risk to his life. They were convinced that a medical report from me would help them build a good case.
I requested to be allowed to talk to Jane separately. Ronald grudgingly accepted and the next day Jane was at the clinic. A soft-spoken and rather shy lady when it came to discussing sex. She said she always thought that Ronald enjoyed her sexual acts.
“I must admit that it is those acts of romantic violence that stimulate me to orgasm,” she explained, “I thought Ronald enjoys the ‘romantic’ blows, scratches and bites and that’s why he always calms down and moves to the edge of the bed as I climax.”
I asked the couple to see me together and requested Ronald to leave the lawyer out of the discussions for a moment. Jane was so surprised that Ronald had gone to the extent of hiring a lawyer.
“I wish you had discussed with me before going that far,” she said during our joint meeting, tears rolling down her cheeks.
I examined Ronald and for sure he had fresh wounds from bites and scratches on his back, chest and arms. He also had old scars from similar assaults. I made a diagnosis of a case of BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism and masochism) with a non-consenting husband.
BDSM is a variant of sexuality where there is a dominant partner who gets sexual gratification by causing pain and torturing the submissive partner — the dominated masochist partner. In a typical BDSM relationship, the dominated partner gets sexual pleasure from being punished. In fact, as the pain gets intense, the recipient gets more sexual stimulation and climaxes.
“Really! I find that strange and I am surprised that Jane expected that of me!” Ronald interrupted.
In many BDSM relationships, partners keep switching roles so that sometimes one is dominant and at another time he/she changes to a passive role and enjoys being punished.
Given the nature of this variant of sexuality, consent is paramount. You need to make your partner aware of your sexual fantasy, and they need to agree to it. Do not assume that they are enjoying being punished or causing the aggression.
“I think that is where I went wrong,” Jane said, “I assumed that Ronald was enjoying my romantic acts, I should have discussed with him beforehand.”
In fact, BDSM without consent qualifies for sexual violence. In a court of law it is impossible to prove that one meant well by meting violence to his or her partner.
“I am also sorry for not expressing my concerns to my wife and running to a lawyer,” Ronald quipped, “so how do we move forward from here?”
I put Ronald on treatment for his wounds. I also booked the couple for sex therapy and coaching to understand each other’s sexual differences and find sexual acts that they both enjoyed. At the end of it they agreed to reunite, and found a balance where they both enjoyed their intimate acts.