[Two Pronged] Figuring out my sexuality

Margarita Holmes

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[Two Pronged] Figuring out my sexuality
Is there such thing as too much masturbation?

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 & Mr. Baer,

Hi. I’m Andres. I’m 27 years old. I don’t know if I’m gay or bisexual. 

I like boys a lot, but sometimes I have also an attraction to women, especially if I’m thinking of my future. 

I think I’m a sex addict. Last year before the pandemic happened, I had so many sexcapades every midnight. When I turn on my app (Grndr), I can immediately get someone with whom I can have fun (fuck and suck). And sometimes, when I feel unsatisfied, I watch porn when I get home, do another set of masturbation.

After all those things, I’ll cry because I realize that I am abusing my physical body so much. But when lust comes to my nerves again, I’ll still do the same thing again. 

Is it normal? Or do I have a psychological or mental problem?

Thank you very much in advance,


Dear Andres,

Thank you for your email.

Your first issue is you don’t know whether you are gay or bisexual. In an ideal world, one would suggest that you should just allow yourself time for the truth of the situation to emerge. However you make a specific link between bisexuality and your future, presumably an allusion to having a traditional wife and family, which hints at a wish to emphasize your bisexuality over your homosexuality. 

If the reality is indeed that you are predominantly bisexual, that is all well and good. If, however, it is merely a mantle that you adopt to achieve a traditional family, you may find that denying your true nature means storing up a whole heap of problems in the future, not only for yourself but for your wife and children.

As for your sexcapades, your description of your adventures does not suggest excess. They might be surprising if you were 77 but you are only 27 and at the height of your physical sexual powers. Your worries about abusing your body are unfounded if your sexcapades are limited to those you describe, always presuming you practice safe sex at all times. 

If, however, you are indulging in other activities that you haven’t revealed in your email, then perhaps you might write again so that we can consider them.

Finally, are you normal or do you have a psychological or mental problem?

Based on what you have told us, you are normal. Of course, normal is a movable feast. For example, there are societies where virginity until marriage is virtually mandatory and the penalties for transgression can be harsh. There are others where premarital sex is prevalent and has become essentially the norm. Frequency of sexual activities also varies widely and averages can be misleading. 

The old joke – a nymphomaniac is anyone having more sex than you – still has some validity, and not just for the highly sexed.

In summary, normality rules. Do not try to categorize yourself prematurely; just allow yourself to develop naturally. If you have any other issues, please write again.

All the best,

JAF Baer

Dear Andres,

Thank you very much for your letter.  In my opinion, Mr. Baer has responded to your confusion regarding your sexual orientation (are you gay or bisexual?) more than adequately so I will focus on your worries about your behavior and your possible sexual addiction.

Many professionals in mental health and sexuality would say beyond doubt that, judging from your sexual behavior, you are normal (statistically speaking many men your age who use Grindr behave as you do or might like to if they could). The same goes with your masturbating sometimes once, twice or even 3 or 4 times a night after you come back from  your sexcapades.

However, all we are talking about is your behavior and have not yet explored your feelings about what you are doing.

A question often asked by students and young adults like yourself is “Is it possible to masturbate too much?” 

This is usually my answer:  If you mean physically, then generally, one can NOT masturbate too much. Masturbation can almost be described as a self regulating mechanism and frankly, I have yet to meet a person who didn’t want to masturbate but forced himself to do so anyway. 

That is because, with masturbation, the only person you need to please is yourself; there is no one else to make feel better or mollify.

However, if you mean psychologically, then, indubitably the answer is yes. Here we are speaking not about an objective number (frequency) but the psychological meaning of the act to you. I once had a client in the US who masturbated an average of 7-9 times a night. However, after being reassured that his behavior had no physical consequences, he had no problem with it – he was still able to, in Freud’s words, “love and work.”

It is possible to masturbate once a month (or year!) and psychologically that may be too much because of the psychological meaning the act has for you – guilt, transference, disgust, fear, etc. 

The same goes for your behavior when out dating.

Objectively and if you are careful of any biophysical consequences, most professionals would say, “go for it.” Admittedly, I am unsure whether I would say the same thing. 

“Nothing splinters the soul as sex with an unknown body.” I read this somewhere and just don’t remember who to attribute it to, but I find I am thinking more along the same lines.

However, it is you we are talking about, and it seems you feel the same way as I do. If that is, indeed the case, then take heart. Uncontrolled, almost compulsive sexual behavior (a description often used for sexual addiction) can be treated, especially when when you become aware of the underlying factors that are maintaining your sex addiction, and are able to cope with your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a healthy way.

The best thing about it is, you do NOT need to go to a sex addiction expert. Many can help you with this problem as long as they are well versed in impulse behavior, personality disorders, and/or 12 step programs and CBT (especially dialectical cognitive behavioral therapy). 

Good luck, my dearest Andres, whether you choose to go to therapy (which I am still unsure you need) or not.

MG Holmes


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

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