My husband’s latex addiction is killing our marriage

My husband’s latex addiction is killing our marriage

I’ve been with my military husband nearly 8 years, married nearly 6. In the beginning things were great. But about a year after we started dating he returned home for a visit and while using his phone to take some pix of myself I spotted some images on there of Catwoman in shiny leather (and other similar pictures). His explanation was that he liked the leather look and the tightness of it.

I’ve tried to surprise him over the years with tight fitting lingerie (he was disappointed) and latex outfits (again, disappointed). We got married, had a child and things have gone up and down. I’ve found more evidence of fetish sites and we’ve fought over his porn use because our sex life was suffering. At one point we were living in a different state and I flew home with our daughter because his anger was out of control. I came back and found he had cheated on me. He’s tried committing suicide too.

We’ve gone to counselling, but he was upset and felt the entire process was completely focused on him. We’re now back in a downward spiral; I’m due with our second baby, my self-esteem is at an all-time low and I’ve told him once the baby is born I’m going to find a job and leave. It’s not what I want but I can’t take this anymore. He freaked out. He wants his addiction gone because he doesn’t want to lose us, but he also fights against that because he’s been into it since he was a kid and doesn’t want to live without it. I also worry if we separate that his fetish will take over his life and I’m afraid even if he tries to hide it our daughters will be exposed to it and I’m not okay with that. Any advice is appreciated. I have nobody to talk to or get advice from. Taylor

How awful to have to make these decisions about your future at a time when you should, by rights, be excited about the birth of your second baby, sorting out the nursery and putting your feet up. But you’re married to a troubled guy who’s in the grip of something he can’t control. From what I’ve read about fetishes, I know for some people the excitement and arousal is in the illicit nature of it. So that could explain why, when you’ve tried to meet him halfway and share his fantasy or ‘sexual script’, it fell flat. 

I interviewed sex therapist Margaret Redelman recently and she mentioned that men get attached to their sexual scripts more than women do. You can actually change your sexual script, but it’s hard, takes time and you have to be motivated to do it (maybe by the threat of losing something you love). This is the sad bit: for while he doesn’t want to lose you and the kids, he also doesn’t want to give up his fantasy life and that actually may have a stronger pull for him, especially if he can’t stop lying to you and has cheated on you at least once that you know about. More concerning to me is that he’s already exposed you to anger issues so bad you actually got on a plane with your kid to get away from him. I don’t know where you go from here, but sticking around while your husband spirals into an addiction he refuses to get help for is, I think, the wrong choice for you and your kids.

My advice? It’s time for tough love, Taylor. You’ve tried to manage this. You’ve tried to help him. He’s done diddly squat, resisted attempts at counselling, and continues to indulge his addiction even after knowing he’s almost certain to lose you. But that’s the nature of addiction, and if someone’s not willing to help themselves, you can’t give up your life for them. Your responsibility and your focus now has to be on you, and on building a safe and happy future for yourself and your kids. I wish you all the best doing that.

Love, reality chick


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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).

1 Comment

  1. LatexLover 2 years ago

    I really hope this isn’t too late.

    Reality Chick, I’m sorry but this is terrible advice. Taylor, stop treating the fetish like its a thing that can just be dropped. This man’s entire sexual life has revolved around this fetish and its as much a part of him as the order in which he washes himself in the shower. He’s been in a relationship with his fetish for way longer than he’s known you and he can’t just throw it away.

    The right thing to do is to speak to him with an open mind and understand what it is about the fetish that makes him enjoy it so much. Why does he like it? How did it start? What does he like about it? Try to see it from his point of view, because he’s spent so much time thinking about it and obsessing over it that his relationship with it is probably so much deeper than just a superficial “thing”.

    He was probably disappointed in your efforts to meet him halfway because you were just “going through the motions”. A fetish is not as simple as just putting on a type of clothing and strutting about. It’s an alternative train of thought between an object and sexual excitement, and you have to understand it to embody it.

    As an example, for myself, I have a huge tight-suit/latex fetish, but I can look at countless fetish images and not feel a thing. For me its the allure of being sealed in an airtight layer of clothing that doesn’t “sit” on your body. It’s made of rubber and that’s what it does. It rubs against you sensually, and the tightness means that no matter how you move your body it’s always rubbing you. It’s not about how it looks, its about how it feels, or at least, how it looks like it feels.

    If you look online its easy to find images and videos of people dressing in rubber and prancing about, but its always clear to me who understands the love of the material and who doesn’t. The former is rare, and the latter is just annoying.

    Maybe if you can understand why he likes it you’ll find that you enjoy it too. If you can’t, at least you can both work out ways for him to exercise his fetish on his own. Don’t try to repress it, work on it – TOGETHER. That’s what it means to be in a relationship.

    From what you’ve said it sounds like he thinks this is a problem and he wants to do something about it. It feels like its something he doesn’t fully understand. You threatening to leave is just punishing him for something that he feels he was born with.

    Because you’re so focused on treating this fetish as a problem to be fixed, he feels that the counseling has been focused on him. You need to meet him halfway, and that takes work, but if you can both figure out what weird and hidden things make either of you tick I can assure you that you will both come out the other side closer and as better people.

    TL;DR: You can’t repress this – you have to find an outlet and you have to find it together. Be honest with each other and be open-minded. Talk.

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