[Two Pronged] Sex advice for best friend

'She wants love but obviously the other guys just want sex,' writes one woman seeking advice

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 had this stage in my teenage life where I would say yes to sex with almost everyone who asked me about it. I was so curious that time because i really wanted to feel the  orgasm everyone was talking about when having sex.

But I changed when I got a boyfriend, because of the way other guys treated me.  The guys are still “hunting” me until now. What they want is sex; they want me to be their sex buddy, and I feel disrespected about that now. Most of all, I’m scared that I might get an STD.

When my best friend found out about it, she was so mad and asked me why am I having sex with a lot of guys.

But now, she’s “liberated” already. I think she’s already had sex with more or less 17 guys. She is having casual sex every now and then. When there’s a guy who likes her and she knows it will lead to sex, she still continues seeing him. I don’t have anything to hate about that, I don’t tell her to stop because I know what she is doing. She’s very independent and has a strong personality, and that is the reason why I am just quiet about what she is doing.

But I’m just worried about her, she wants love but obviously the other guys just want sex. My feeling is that sex is like her foundation for their  relationship with her ex and her other friends. That is why her relationships fail. 

I’m also worried about her because she might get a sexually transmitted disease from what she’s doing. I’ve already told her to be careful because unprotected sex is what she does every time and some of those guys are just acquaintances…She doesn’t know if they carry something or not.

So my question is: Is it right that I’m worried about her love life? Like, my idea that if sex is the foundation of a relationship that relationship won’t be a long term one? Should I speak up to her that she should limit herself? Is my idea of limiting oneself a good idea in finding “the one”? I’m so sorry if this is confusing but there are a lot of things on my mind right now. 

Mary

————– 

Dear Mary, 

Thank you for your message.

You and your friend (let’s call her Jane) seem to be making the same journey but you are at different stages of the cycle. When you became ‘liberated’ she was still conservative and concerned by your behavior. She subsequently became ‘liberated’ herself but by then you had found a boyfriend and settled down. Now you are concerned by her behavior.

Jane has a distinct advantage here because, unlike you at her stage, she has a friend who has actually experienced what she is currently going through. Who better to give her advice therefore? You have not only been there, you also have an insight into what sort of advice Jane is likely to heed (and of course what sort she is likely to discard). Armed with this knowledge, you are ideally placed to be her guide.

But it is important to remember that not everyone is well disposed to those who have sown their wild oats and now espouse a more disciplined lifestyle. Nothing can put people off more quickly sometimes than the firebrand convert. So you have to combine your knowledge of life and your knowledge of Jane when you speak to her. She has to understand that the message you are imparting is what you, her best friend, believe to be the best course of action for her, not for you. 

Guard particularly against any advice that sounds like ‘do as I say, not as I did’, particularly since you came through seemingly unscathed, so she may argue that she will likely do the same. 

But before you speak to her at all about this, you need to ask yourself why you feel so strongly about the matter. It is quite normal to be solicitous but not to the point of zealotry, particularly when you have already enjoyed the fruits yourself which you are apparently so eager to deny a friend. 

After all, every reason you have adduced also applied to you when you were at that same stage in the behavioral cycle – and you ignored them all.

I particularly mention this because you appear a little short of self-analysis at times. For example, you seem keen to ignore the fact that your past is a signpost to others when you complain that guys are still “hunting” you. Even in this digital age of social media etc., not everyone will be aware that “liberal” Mary, who wanted to experience casual sex with abandon, has morphed into “Saint” Mary, faithful to her one and only boyfriend. And of course there will be those who want to see if they can persuade you to morph back again into your old self. 

And as for casual sex preventing Jane from finding “the one”, what evidence do you have for this? Based on what you tell us, it didn’t prevent you so why should it prevent her? Of course I recognize that you and she are different people and therefore can be expected to react differently sometimes. Just make sure that this is one of those times if you hope to convince her. 

So, if you do decide to try to influence Jane, marshal your arguments and be prepared. Persuading someone to give up what she considers (and you yourself considered before her) as the best time of her life is no easy task.

Good luck,

Jeremy

 

Dear Mary:

Thank you for your letter. Jeremy wrote above that: “…you appear a little short of self-analysis at times.”  Aside from this comment, I agree with everything he wrote.

One reason I say this is because of the final paragraph of your letter:  First, because you are willing to admit that all this is “confusing.” This shows that you are also willing to explore whether it is you barking up the wrong tree and, if you will allow me another analogy, that it is you (and not her) who is missing the forest for the trees.  

You confirm this openness and become even more specific by asking if your ideas about love, sex and fidelity are correct.  Again, this speaks of a mind and heart willing to concede, to change, if circumstances warrant it.  Bravo!  This is what being a friend is all about. 

One thing which may get in the way of your openness is your fear about STD. It is not that this is an unrealistic concern, because you and I know that it is, especially in this day and age that there are some STDs that are more difficult to cure than others.

But my feeling is that you asked us the STD question so that I could confirm the above, which is exactly what I have done in the previous paragraph. 

I am glad that Jeremy has answered further that your fears about love, sex and fidelity, while true for you, are not necessarily true for her. Because this is what many people forget: that your experiences are merely anecdotal (and not based on research) and thus not that convincing an argument that someone else should change.  

In fact, it can be rather irritating as in “who do you think you are, you holier-than-thou-former slut?”

But again, the fact that you are not so sure that all your concerns are valid and that telling her it is in case they are is the best approach to take because “she’s very independent and has a strong personality.” 

Bravo for you, Mary, because you want to convey in the best way you can not only your message but also its delivery. 

As the old adage goes, “you can lead a horse to water” but even this is not the approach to take or, I hope, even feel deep down inside. Because this smacks of a one-up (yours) and one-down situation and that is not how friends deal with each other.

In the end, I feel that this is what Jane needs most from you – your friendship – your tissue to wipe away her tears, your arms to embrace her, and your heart to remind her that, after all is said and done, you are merely two women each trying to find your way in this world of love and lust amid many men and great temptation.  

This is not as easy as it sounds, especially if, instead of defeat, Jane comes to you in sheer and utter joy that she’s found  “the one” and needs you to celebrate with a glass of champagne, instead of commiserate with a box of tissues…but then that is grist for another column.

Take care, dearest Mary, and I hope our non-judgmental attitude (well, mine at least –hehe) has helped you see a larger perspective, even if it may be quite different from what you expected or initially hoped for. 

All the very best,

Margie

– Rappler.com

Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email twopronged@rappler.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

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