MANILA, Philippines - “If you can’t be excited about sex, what else can excite you?,” Margarita Go-Singco Holmes asked.
And so despite the hard rain and wet streets of July 21st, a good crowd gathered in Chef’s Bistro in Quezon City to meet the popular doctor and Jeremy Alan Frank Baer, her husband. He is also her co-author for the books Imported Love and Love Triangles, both published by Anvil.
It was the July edition of OpenBook, the monthly meet-the-author event of the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines (FWGP).
One lady expressed her disappointment and said that she came because she thought it would be “an orgy, not an orgy of ideas.” (We kid you not!)
Nevertheless, the audience seemed to thrill at the casual banter between the couple, the light argument about bathroom habits and monogamy (not necessarily in the same breath), and the quick lessons on love (“Yes, you can call it love,” said Baer) and sex -- and the many orgasmic things in-between.
Some people think that an open relationship is a wonderful thing, that it expands your horizon and all that shiz.
Holmes and Baer both agree, however, that an agreement of this sort is so difficult to continue that even its most stalwart supporters eventually throw in the towel.
The sociologist couple and authors of the book Open Marriage: A New Lifestyle for Couples (M. Evans and Company, Inc., 1972), Nena and George O’Neill, themselves broke up after 10 years. The discussion should end there, right?
But there is something yet to be said about the role of the 3rd party in keeping the home fires burning.
A psychoanalyst had said that one of the ways to keep the excitement alive is to understand that you do not own your partner; that, in fact, there is a high probability that he or she might fall for someone else.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get another sexual partner,” Dr. Holmes insists.
But, yes, everybody seems to agree that eggs taste a lot better with just the right amount of salt.
Formula for a lasting love
Holmes and Baer talked about the Fear Factor Theory. It stems from the idea that love — never mind how strong or blinding — is not enough.
Baer explains that “a man needs to feel that he has more to lose by straying than he does by staying.” If you only love someone truly, madly and deeply, this is not an assurance that you will be faithful.
And more so if the other person is head over heels in love with you, which leaves no room for the fear to settle in.
Love with a healthy dose of fear is clearly the tried and tested recipe.
Holmes urges women on two things: First, never threaten your partners. “After a while, the threats become empty; so save your dignity and your self-respect.”
Second, get your own job. Holmes warns that the “the fear won’t be there if your partner knows that you cannot afford to leave him.”
'Orgasm is just friction'
One of the main differences between men and women lies in the way they respond to another sexually.
Men are visual. “For them, sex is a question of what they can see,” says Baer.
Women, on the other hand, respond based on the relationship. “Women do not get turned on as easily as men,” says Holmes.
“But the sense that turns them on (the most) is touch.”
Not set in stone
Sexual fluidity is a new paradigm that says women fall in love regardless of gender. (Read the book by Lisa M. Diamond, Understanding Women’s Love and Desire, First Harvard University Press.)
While the idea may send shivers down some women’s spines, Holmes could say that — based on her training in sex therapy — sexual orientation, indeed, is not a fixed thing.
Mainly because women fall in love with the person, and not necessarily with his or her gender.
So, how do you know you’re getting serious?
“It is difficult to say,” according to Dr. Holmes, “But there are 3 things: one, the fact that you’re willing to get married and announce your love to the world is a big deal.
Two, you’re willing to be faithful. And three, even if you’re attracted to other people, you remain faithful because you know that it will hurt your partner.”
In fact, one of the ways in which Holmes and Baer knew that their love is strong was that “after two years (of being together), we were still faithful to each other.” - Rappler.com
Ime Morales is a freelance writer, a child advocate and a consultant for UNICEF.