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Relationship

My wife and I have sex almost every day, but I can’t stop thinking about her mother


Although I have been happily married to my wife for three years, from the beginning I have been sexually attracted to my mother-in-law. She is a fantastic woman in her 50s and looks almost like my wife, but more beautiful. We live in the same area and we see each other two or three times a week. I have sex with my wife almost every day and it is great, but for the past few months, I can’t help but think of my mother-in-law during sex. I feel guilty about it. Please help me.

The forbidden nature of some sexual attractions can create extremely complex feelings. This is especially true when there are familial connections and it is not uncommon for a conscious erotic connection to arise between in-laws. But desiring anyone whom society would consider inappropriate can carry an extra-strong erotic charge, and even lead to blinding obsessions, rash actions, severe consequences and endless remorse. In your case there may be underlying elements – perhaps childhood issues such as maternal longing – that could be playing a role. Your fantasies are your own, though, and this one is harmless enough as long as you are not planning to act it out. You already recognise the futility of such misplaced desire so, simply to avoid guilt, gradually and deliberately steer your head-movies in a different direction.

  • Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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