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. Margie and Mr Baer,
I am Z. And I am gay.
I am 26 years old now. As far as I can remember, I have always been homosexual. When I was a kid, I preferred to draw girl’s dresses, dance to sex bomb’s choreo, sing Regine’s songs, and other things that “normal” boys wouldn’t do.
During high school, it began my blossoming feelings towards boys. I watched gay porn, searched for nude guys, and read gay sex stories. And I have always imagined myself having sex with guys. In college, I started using dating apps. I always prefer boys or bisexuals in all the choices I can have. I talked to some of them, but I never had the guts to meet them, even if a lot of them asked to go out with me.
Just to note, I am still a virgin until recently.
In my 26 years, it’s my first time to try visiting a massage spa. It feels good when someone is touching me. And the urge of unleashing my hidden desire was so high.
A male therapist asked me if I want to accept extra service, which I agreed. He removed all his clothes and started giving me pleasure. I gave him head but after 10 seconds I stopped. I didn’t feel like doing it. It felt disgusting. So I just asked him to give me a hand job.
Days after, I thought about it. And I couldn’t think of any reason why I didn’t like it. I thought that if I tried, I could give my all. So once more, I tried it with a different therapist. Same result. I couldn’t do it.
Another therapist told me, he wanted to penetrate me down there. And I agreed. He tried to insert it, but I asked him to stop because I didn’t like the feeling.
Just recently, I tried to explore with a female therapist. I asked her if we can do something exciting for money. She performed and I performed something that nobody who knows me well will think I can do. I did for four (4) times already. And I felt more satisfaction than with boys.
I would like to understand if I am really gay? Or I am in another spectrum? Or is it just a phase?
Love, Love, Love!
It seems that despite the differences you felt growing up, which convinced you that you were gay, now that you are an adult you realize that you actually have no interest in anything physical with men but instead your sexual desire is in fact directed towards the opposite sex.
Humans are complex creatures and our understanding of them is still evolving. We now recognize the difference between sex and gender, the possibility of fluidity of gender, the possibility that the object of an individual’s sexual desire can change over time.
From your account, it would appear that you are not exclusively gay. Time will tell if this is just a phase but in the meantime you can live life to its fullest and explore this whole new world that you previously thought was off-bounds to you.
Please write again and tell us how you are getting on.
All the best,
Thank you for your letter. In trying to answer this in the best way possible, I did as much research as I could, and asked two notable psychologists, Professor Jay Yacat of UP Diliman and Dr Brenda Alegre of the University of Hong Kong to share insights with me that I may have missed. And boyoboyoboy, did they ever!!
However, with your permission, I will share the bulk of what I learned in another column, perhaps in Clinical Notes, an occasional column where I expand on issues raised here with a much wider perspective and on a much deeper level.
For now, what I want to focus on is answering you on a personal, more “clinical” level as I think, I hope, that is the major reason you wrote us. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself that, even on paper (as opposed to several sessions of therapy), I think, I hope, that like a heat-seeking missile, I can capture what is most important in your letter.
To me, (and please tell me if I am wrong) what really bothers you is — 1) Why do I enjoy sex more with female (massage parlor) therapists than I do with male therapists and what does that make me? 2) Is this just a phase? 3) Who am I?
As you can see your questions are those any thinking and feeling person would like answers to. Because you have just started to act on your sexual longings/desires for the first time (rather than merely fantasizing or trying things out on a verbal level) and also because you are open to trying out many sexual experiences, of course you are confused, probably scared – possibly even angry – and yet, in awe of all the amazing, delicious feelings (both emotionally and physically) you are now experiencing.
And bully for you.
But first, allow me to be Mama Bear for a moment. Please please take care of yourself. Practice safe (or what some call safer) sex. Practice it not just for yourself, but for other people you may encounter on the way. Practice it physically – as in not getting anyone pregnant and preventing yourself and anyone else you encounter from any illness. And this is not limited to STDs either. Practice safe/safer and kinder, more gentle (metaphorically and not just literally – you may, for example, discover your delight in BDSM) sex. Kinder to yourself, and to others, withholding judgment and blame of yourself and of others.
In other words, protect both yourself and others from emotional pain too. We can certainly deal with emotional trauma more should you want to.
From Mama Bear, let me get on to being a clinical psychologist/advice columnist/information giver and try to answer the 3 questions above:
An astute observation from Professor Yacat: Is it possible that it is the act of penetrating (rather than being penetrated by) the other that he finds most satisfying? At the moment, you have only explored this option with a woman. Might you find it equally sexually gratifying to assume the “top” position when having sex with another man?
In other words, one’s enjoyment of sex need not focus on who (or what gender, orientation, etc) the other person is, but the physical sensations one feels or feel more comfortable with at the moment; I honestly don’t know if this is just a phase, Z.
Whether it is or not, I hope you continue to explore, what you like and don’t like, what you crave for and what you feel meh about, what is comfortable and what is not. As you try more things, you will discover if this, indeed, is “just a phase” or not. In my opinion actually, “just a phase” minimizes your feelings right here and right now. You may enjoy X now, Y later, move back and forth, and then, wonder of wonders, joy of joys, you discover Z!! Are these all merely phases or what human beings are: Not limited to one sexual identity, sexual orientation, sexual identity?
You are, and still will be, Z no matter what your sexual orientation and gender identity is. There is so more to you than who you decide you want to have sex with and make love to. Here is so much more to you than what turns you on now, and indeed, what turns you on later.
Being brave enough to experiment is, well, incredibly brave. Indeed, life is more difficult when you give yourself a chance to explore/experiment about all you can be, and your experiences will not always be terrific.
But that is the price one pays for curiosity satisfied, knowledge earned, and attempts to know yourself better. That is why many people are stuck in the mud, like the flightless (but beautiful in it’s own way) kiwi, and can only look at those who soar like eagles in envy (occasionally disguised as disgust).
Please send any comments, questions, or requests for advice to firstname.lastname@example.org.