Dear Miss Dinna —
I have been with my boyfriend for over a year now and he is a very gentle sweet soul.
Recently, however, he has started to become really aggressive in bed, violent even, domineering physically and verbally.
It's been a very radical change — practically overnight — like a complete switch. He's never shown signs of liking violence or sadism and I feel like he's just suddenly decided that it is going to be part of our sex life with out discussing with me first.
To be honest, it's scaring me and I think it's going to break us up. Is there any way to save this relationship?
Dear Intimate Scars,
The quick shift in your boyfriend's behavior with out consulting you, makes his behavior appear impulsive, and possibly even unconscious. These are unfortunately not good signs.
It is quite possible that these acts did not emerge till later in your relationship because he associates these acts with true intimacy .meaning the closer he became to you the more his true self appeared. It would be very different if they were gradual, or if he consciously chose to share with you that these are his sexual preferences and check in to see if you are ok with them or interested in exploring with him. However, the fact that you describe it as a radical change, like a complete overnight switch, leads me to believe that he may have been triggered and is acting out some type of trauma with you. It's even possible that he might be splitting or disassociating - something like blacking out — which puts you in an extremely unsafe position.
Intimate Scars, this is not something to tip toe around. I cannot urge you strongly enough to immediately speak to your partner, very directly, about this. You might be surprised that he may deny or not even remember his behavior. If that is the case, please know that this is a huge red flag — as it could mean that those closest to him could be in great danger of him "blacking out" and becoming very violent outside of the bedroom as well.
Without prior discussion and negotiation between partners, not agreed upon abuse in the bedroom is as bad as at any other time. I know that it is difficult to imagine that someone you feel so close to and so cared for by, could be harboring a very dark side, but it is important that you do not accept any excuses or try to find excuses for him. This situation needs to be handled straight on, with very clear communication of how distressed and upset you feel by these acts. Most importantly, be aware not to spend any more time with him unless you are absolutely certain he will not behave like this again. That means if it turns out that he is unconscious of these acts, that you definitely do not spend alone time with him moving forward.
The sudden and unpredictable nature of his acts lets one know that it could be repeated, which creates for a large risk. Listen closely to your intuition and try not to be blinded by your love for the person you want to believe he is. Seek some help and make sure to take care of yourself first.
Wishing you the best,
Ask Miss Dinna a question — any question— regarding relationships, sex and sexuality by emailing her at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: "Ask Miss Dinna." She may answer your question personally or in a future column (your name will be kept anonymous).
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