Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] I fulfill men’s fetishes, but now I want real, lasting love

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer

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[Two Pronged] I fulfill men’s fetishes, but now I want real, lasting love

Guia Abogado/Rappler

'I sometimes make use of a secret dating app for people who have fetishes and unusual desires — golden rain, sadism, bondage, etc.'

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 three 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:

You are always non-judgmental when answering your letter writers and I hope you won’t stop now.

I am 32 years old, single, with no family left. I sometimes make use of a secret dating app for people who have fetishes and unusual desires — golden rain, sadism, bondage, etc. So far, only the men have the fetishes, and the women have the relationships with these men, or are paid for their services.

Some have even called it prostitution, but I disagree.

I have had three previous boyfriends from this app. All had fetishes that I easily accommodated, and I even got paid for them.

My current boyfriend also has a fetish, but he won’t tell me what it is. He says I can find out when we finally meet. That will be the 8th of March. I am not afraid he might hurt me, or put me in a situation where I cannot refuse him if I find the fetish too much.

I do not want to lose him. Usually, after the man’s fetish has been satisfied, for a week or a month at most, the relationships end, amicably and even profitably.

But I am 32 years old, and do not want to keep on doing this for the rest of my life. Please advise me concerning making this love affair last. Thank you.

Hopeful Girl

Dear Hopeful Girl (HG),

Thank you for your email.

You meet these men via this app and have relationships with them. They all have fetishes which you willingly accommodate, sometimes in exchange for payment, sometimes not. You describe these men as boyfriends, but readily admit that some might characterize this as prostitution, even if you do not.

Since the beginning of time, poorer women have gone out with richer men and had relationships where the man picked up the tab, whether for wining and dining, or clothing, accommodation, credit cards, etc. without being labeled prostitutes. Where the dividing line between girlfriend and prostitute lies is not governed so much by the extent of the man’s munificence but by the nature of the relationship and the expectations of the parties.

The relationships you have described are short-term, generally lasting no more than a month, and basically transactional since they involve the exchange of money for services. Not everyone therefore would agree with you that those involved should be labeled “boyfriends” and “girlfriends” and the relationships “love affairs,” at least in the traditional sense of those words, however comforting these words may be.

Leaving aside the semantics, it is puzzling why you seem to think that this new relationship could develop into anything different, particularly since this man is so reluctant to reveal his fetish. It is akin to visiting your local bakery and expecting to find cosmetics for sale. This website you frequent caters to certain specific needs after all, and long-term relationships leading to marriage are not on offer.

It may be true that love can be found in the most unlikely places (as in the fairytale movie Pretty Woman) but I would suggest that the odds on achieving success in your aim are greater if you look outside the app.

All the best,

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Dear Hopeful Girl (HG):

Thank you very much for your letter. Mr. Baer, thank you so, so much for all there is to say, except what you would have added (perhaps) if you were not conscious of the number of words you had to leave me to add my own.

I suggested that I felt he should maybe change the word prostitutes to prostituted women, to which he quickly added (and I daresay, quite humorously and accurately):

Jeremy: But darling, I have nothing against prostitution, as you very well know.

Moi: That is why it is important to come out and say it.

Jeremy: But I hate the term “prostituted women” 

Moi: Because where does it stop? To pursue this argument ad nauseum, one could talk about “deluded men” or “men also manipulated/victimized by culture, religion, capitalism, etc. to need to call paying for sex bad.” Other transactional arrangements, as long as done with honesty, respect, and kindness, are not necessarily bad.

Jeremy: Yes.  

(This record of our convo is not necessarily that accurate, but it’s my part of the column so I can make it seem that I am brighter. 😊 )

As Mr. Baer mentions, despite its being highly improbable, relationships that start out as transactions can grow into love and evolve into something deeper, longer lasting, and more validating. For such a love to be validating for you and not just to put food on the table, etc., in order to feel truly seen as a person (intimacy) and not just to be appreciated for answering his sexual needs, the love has to be mutual.

Were it to happen, it will take time, dearest HG. Time, patience, and the fact that he will not end things like most other men who use this app do after a month. 

It will also need resilience, especially if he cannot or will not evolve enough to appreciate and cherish all of you (and not just you as a sexual being).

It is important to me that I bring up resilience because this is what matters most. I am writing him, I am writing you. My feeling is that no matter what happens, self-compassion, and not just self-love, is what you need the most. Please write to us again if there is anything else we can do for you.  

My very best wishes,
MG Holmes


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