Oral Sexual Abuse of Forced Breastfeeding

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Instructive Cases

Sarah, 42 was referred to me by her family physician for consultation and possible treatment because of persistent, repeated depression that had not responded well to a wide variety of treatment. In addition to the depression that was hounding her, Sarah told me she had marital and sexual problems. She had frequent illnesses, wide mood swings, irritability, difficulty with her children and severe sleep problems. She had been treated by a number of psychiatrists and psychologists and a variety of modalities including most types of anti-depressant medication and a number in inpatient experiences.

Sarah told me her father was a philanderer and her mother a nymphomaniac. The mother particularly enjoyed sharing her sexual experiences and had a wide variety of lovers. Sarah had two children and one abortion. Her mother probably had one or more abortions. Sarah breastfed her children for at least two years but had never really enjoyed the experience. She always read a book lest she became aroused. She had a particularly distressing nightmare in which she found herself vainly struggling to claw white stuff out of her mouth with both her hands. She had been informed by previous therapists that this was indicative of early oral sexual abuse, probably by her father. She had been told this often enough that she believed it, but had no memory of sexual abuse and somehow felt that it didn’t fit.

I said, “I don’t think it was semen, I think it was breast milk.” She was silent, but her eyes widened. Finally she said, “Yes, it all fits.” There was a huge sigh of relief. “This will vastly change my relationship with my father.” It wasn’t hard to picture her mother aggressively breastfeeding her and enjoying the sexual arousal that it stimulated in her.

In the few cases I have seen of authenticated sexual abuse by fathers of infant or small children, the father has been either psychotic or sociopathic. It is surprising that persistent breastfeeding by a mother who is not bonded to her child, is not more frequently considered. The hungry infant may have no other source of nutrient, but objects to the breastfeeding on two accounts, 1. she doesn’t trust a mother who has aborted an earlier infant, 2. she doesn’t like providing sexual stimulation to her mother.