John French is Mambaonline’s new resident “fairy guidebrother”. John is a life and stress counsellor and has earned a reputation as one of South Africa’s leading communications specialists for over a decade. During that time, he has counselled a vast range of people, ranging from premiers to prostitutes…
John is here to address all those lifestyle questions and issues that have been wearing you down. So why not write your own “dear John” letter, and let him offer you some genuine heart-to-heart advice. You can mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a porn collection that would rival most perverts. Some really hardcore stuff. I am only 23. Is there something wrong with me?
Isn’t it interesting how often the words “porn” and “pervert” appear in the same sentence – it is an association and connotation that has been around as long as the printing press! Yes, porn can be used for potentially negative and destructive ends, but it can also be used by normal men and women who do not have partners, or whose partners are far away, to attain sexual pleasure in a safe and private way. Masturbating to porn is the safest sex you can have, and at least you get to choose who you want to enjoy your fantasy with!
Being 23 means that you are well into your adult years, and you are now in your sexual prime where sexual activity is a perfectly normal and necessary part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. You are an independent and powerful adult who is capable of making choices based on your unique set of values. Start thinking for yourself and start to trust your own judgement – the judgement that is based on what you believe to be right and wrong.
It worries me that you call yourself “sicko”. This is a really negative label, and you are being very hard on yourself. This usually indicates a low self esteem that may need to be addressed to ensure that you become confident enough to lead a productive and fulfilling life.
My only note of caution is to consider whether your porn collection has become an obsession which stops you from going out into the real world and meeting people, or perhaps causes you to lie, cheat or steal to acquire more porn. If so, I would suggest you get help from a therapist. Porn is a tool: it should never be something that controls you or your life or destroys relationships with others.
I am 21 year old and I have had my heart broken so many times. By the time you read this I will probably be sitting in front of the TV and crying from a broken heart again! How pathetic! Don’t get me wrong – don’t think I’m a nun: I enjoy a good old fashioned shag if not more than the next guy! But my problem is that I give too much when I’m in a relationship and I believe that scares them off… I don’t know! Oh, and one more thing; how in sweet Mary and Joseph’s name do I get over my first love, because I can’t seem to do it? Maybe because he left me for a woman?
Sad and Broken
Dear Sad and Broken
You are at the stage of your life where you are experiencing the highs of human emotions without having the wisdom of age and experience to deal with these issues and feelings. The pain can seem so vast and insurmountable at times. You are now learning about the vast power of the human condition and all its grand emotions. It was Nietzsche who said: “What does not kill us, makes us stronger…”
Yes, this can be incredibly scary, as you have no previous experience to guide and comfort you. But this stage of your life can also be incredibly exciting because you are living life to the very full.
You say that you tend to give too much in your relationships. Could this be because you don’t trust that what you have to give as a person is sufficient? Often, when our self-esteem is low, we over-compensate by trying to give too much – and this can come across as desperate. No man has ever found a desperate partner attractive. Learn to trust yourself and that you are enough of a gift to sustain and nourish your relationship. Give whatever comes naturally and expect the same in return. That will equate to a balanced and equal relationship where each party shares responsibility and nourishment.
Many people say that our first love is always our deepest and is the one we shall never forget. And of course it is; the first time we experience anything new, we react the most strongly to this new stimulant…
The truth is that all our relationships essentially mirror the relationship we have with ourselves and help us to learn about our own life lessons and issues. Take ownership of your life and issues and become the person you want to be with.
It does sometimes help to hear the truth from someone objective. Although I love my wife, it has pained me to realise that I have not always taken her feelings into consideration. I do not believe in being bi-sexual. It is a label I carry out of choice. I know in my heart that I would rather be with a man, and although I married a very dear friend, I have grown to accept and love her as my life partner. We share almost everything in life and after six years of marriage (and 14 years of being together) I can honestly say that I do not want that to change.
So the ultimate choice is… do I throw this loving relationship to the wind and follow lust? I think not. Truthfully, the task feels daunting. And I fear there might be several lapses of judgement in the coming months, but open communication with my wife should help both of us bid my lusts a farewell.
It is encouraging that you realise the challenges of the situation you find yourself in. It is indeed a complex one as there is so much history and companionship between the two of you. I am sure you both do not want to lose this special relationship.
I feel that it is this powerful link and bond between you that may be the ultimate solution. In a relationship of this depth and duration, the parties should ideally be in a place where they can accept each other for who and what they really are. You are 100% correct in saying that open communication should help. Respect for one another and your mutual emotional needs should be paramount in how you approach the situation.
If you can, in all certainty, lead a totally straight life, and not act on your homosexual needs, then you may be able to carry on as usual. But if you start living out your homosexual fantasies, and your need to be with a man begins to affect your behaviour and the relationship, I feel that it is only fair to your wife to discuss and be open about your sexuality.
Who knows? Your wife may be far more understanding and accommodating than you could have wished for: she may even have some sense of your situation already. Sure this is a gamble, but you need to decide what is right for both of you and your relationship and future happiness. Remember that you are individuals, before you are a couple.
And consider this: It may be naÃ¯ve to believe that your gay feelings are mere “lustings”. Being gay is not just a sexual experience – it is both a physical AND emotional attrac