[Two Pronged] Doubts about her boyfriend’s sexuality
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr. Baer:
I’d like to know if I am normal because I feel frustrated sometimes with my boyfriend not initiating to do the deed with me. Rather, we only kiss for not more than a second. He’s a Christian and he said that he wants to keep it for our wedding day, but how about my needs? How will I tell him that I need to feel him, assure me that he wants me or what? I’m also afraid that he might be a gay because he doesn't give any hint if he’s turned on by me even I’m in sexy clothes. Oh God, this is a really desperate move for me, to go on and ask an expert.
I hope to hear from you.
You say that your boyfriend is Christian, which I interpret to mean non-Catholic and perhaps evangelical, and has strict views about premarital sex, restricting himself to one-second kisses and no more. This is presumably because he is concerned that he will otherwise lose control but of course this outward display of purity could camouflage a lack of desire for you and/or a lack of desire for women in general.
While purity is undoubtedly a virtue, so is honesty – so a conversation about your concerns, during which he should make his position absolutely clear and confirm to your satisfaction that he desires you physically, is definitely overdue.
Having said that, I get the distinct impression that you do not share many of his views, not only on sexual morality but also other things. So far this has only impacted your (almost non-existent) sex life, from what you have told us, but for your relationship to prosper it would be more than advisable to make sure that there are no other serious obstacles ahead.
Differences of faith and morality do not necessarily mean incompatibility but it is always wise to find out in advance where your partner stands on matters which he and/or you consider important, including but not limited to work, children, education, family, housing etc. A conversation or two with him on these topics, to find out where he stands, would also be advisable.
Finally, if these conversations go well, you will be laying the foundations for an open and honest relationship between the two of you, a solid basis for the future. However, if they don’t go well, either because he won’t participate or because you cannot agree on certain key matters, then you have learnt something valuable and can decide whether you actually want to remain in this relationship.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. Much as I hate to admit it (since there is nothing Mr Baer and I enjoy more than a good, philosophically-based argument), I agree with his analysis and suggestions 100%.
I especially like his “While purity is undoubtedly a virtue, so is honesty — so a conversation about your concerns, during which he should make his position absolutely clear…is definitely overdue. “
Just as important is a conversation with yourself. Try to be clear about what is really upsetting you, or what is upsetting you most as there may be several — and not just one — that keep you from the sort of calmness a good, trusting relationship with your boyfriend AND with yourself usually brings.
A few things you’ve mentioned are:
Your concerns that he may be gay because he doesn’t seem turned on, even if you do your best to be sexually alluring. Sometimes, a heart to heart will make things clearer, unless your boyfriend is just as confused as you. Write to us again please, if you want to know more.
It is also possible that it is not his sexual orientation that really bothers you, but the level of his sexual desire. Or, perhaps, in truth, it’s not his sexual orientation that bothers you but rather if he is asexual,…or not even that, if his sex drive is not as much as yours....because that too can put added pressure on the marriage
Your concerns that, while he is making sure his needs are met — nothing more than kisses so he doesn’t get tempted — your needs are ignored. Among other things, maybe you should look into whether the following factors come into play: Are your needs not being met only because focused solely on himself or could part of it also be because you have not let him know what they are? And are these needs only physical? Or is this relationship not answering your other needs as well and how best to change the situation?
As you can see, dearest Emily, what initially seems a straightforward problem could really have underlying issues that need looking into. Please write us again if you want guidance/help/a little more clarity about what these issues may be about.
All the best,
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.