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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,
I am reaching out to you with a deeply personal inquiry regarding my sexual behavior. I am interested in your professional insights.
To provide some context, I identify as bisexual, and I have been grappling with an ongoing attraction to group sexual encounters and orgies. This predilection has persisted over time, and I wonder whether it could be indicative of a psychological disorder or if there might be underlying factors contributing to this pattern.
I have been consistently drawn to group sexual experiences and orgies, to the extent that I find myself organizing them at least a couple of times a week. While I prioritize safe sex practices and am mindful of the importance of sexual health, this intense attraction to group encounters has left me contemplating its deeper significance.
I recognize that individual sexual preferences can be highly diverse, and I respect that people have a wide range of desires and fantasies. However, the frequency and intensity of my engagement in group activities have raised concerns for me. I am beginning to wonder if there may be underlying psychological factors driving this behavior.
My goal is not to pathologize or judge my own sexuality but to gain a better understanding of the reasons behind my compulsions.
Thank you for your email.
Orgies have been around at least since Ancient Egyptian days. Apart from simple revelry, they were associated inter alia with harvests, celebrations of life, and fertility. In addition to any religious significance, they also allowed people to escape briefly from their usual hierarchies of man/woman, rich/poor, etc. Despite all efforts to suppress them, fertility orgies persisted over the centuries and the Catholic Church, never one to shrink from syncretism, integrated them into its calendar as Carnival, a festival that has continued until now, albeit usually in a pallid reflection of its former glory. These days the Church officially frowns upon orgies per se, though, human nature being what it is, even the Vatican has hosted at least one.
Current social mores in most countries no longer countenance public displays of group sexual activities so orgies have generally become semi-private or private affairs between consenting adults. In most cases, any religious or fertility associations have been discarded in favor of seeking personal sexual liberation. However, in keeping with our times, liberation is relative and websites abound with instructions about consent, boundaries, safe sex, etc.
In your case, Matt, you wish to get a clearer understanding of the reasons behind your compulsion. These can include a desire for sex without commitment, a desire to experience different sorts of sex free of the usual social constraints, a desire to indulge in voyeurism. However, it is not possible to know anything specifically about your situation when the only information available is what you reveal in your message above. It will instead require therapy and you should consult a mental health professional to assist you.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. As Mr. Baer says in his last paragraph, possible but definitely not exhaustive reasons for your predilection for orgies could include: a desire to experience different sorts of sex free of the usual social constraints, a desire to indulge in voyeurism, and a desire for sex without commitment.
Any and/or all, and/or none of these the above reasons may be pertinent to you. However, as Mr. Baer also says: “(Your letter’s request involves a) situation when the only information available is what you reveal in your message above. It will instead require therapy” and any person who suggests he can do what you asked based on your letter alone would be a charlatan.
I, however, would like to posit another view, NOT centered on your original question which invites a narrow focus on one aspect of your sexuality, but rather on an exploration of your personality as a whole, part of which makes it reasonable to suggest you would ask such a question of us.
This exploration will not necessarily be pretty, but then again, it will also not be ugly – because this description is what human beings are – neither all good or bad.
The personality that comes across in your above letter is fairly positive, but not entirely. Definitely, you want to know why this predilection has persisted. It is not an addiction, merely a predilection, and it has not taken over your life, merely persisted. Clearly, you have more than a good command of the English language, able to provide nuanced specifications of what you want.
You identify yourself as bisexual, prioritize safe sex practices and health, respecting that people have a wide range of desires. The impression given is that you are knowledgeable, sophisticated, totally accepting of others…and you may be. But why the need to let us know that (and your other good qualities)?
You want our insights on your being consistently drawn to group sex. You want to know if it is “indicative of a psychological disorder or if there might be underlying factors contributing to this pattern;” and yet, “(you do not want) to pathologize or judge my own sexuality.” However, by referring to them as compulsions, it’s clear you think there might be some pathology (or, put in layman’s terms, something “not quite right” which might be helpful if you understood it more deeply.
Don’t you think you have tied our hands behind our backs?
I might be completely wrong because we don’t have much to work on, but a hypothesis I would definitely explore is not your sexuality per se, but how your personality may be affecting your relationships with others and thus, possible, partly explain the multi-causal reasons for your predilection.
Please write us again, with more information, perhaps, even more sharing more of your feelings, so that we may make the first attempt at getting to the true heart (mind, and even loins) of the matter.
All the best,
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