John French is Mambaonline’s 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

Dear John

I have been a good friend with a guy for the past 14 years. Now, this year, things have not been going well with our friendship. This is how things got bad: My friend cheated with someone else’s partner and I kept quiet about it. The next thing I know they have moved in together. The guy started to lie, steal and hit my friend and I decided to do something about it. But my friend decided to forgive this jerk. This weekend I told my friend that he keeps asking for advice but he then does the opposite of what I tell him. I gave him an ultimatum to choose because his family rely on me to see that everything is okay with him. He is always making bad decisions and then I have to clean up the mess.

What should I do?


Dear Miserable,

I am not surprised that feel miserable considering the difficult predicament you find yourself in. But perhaps you may be colluding in your own misery as it appears that you have unwittingly taken responsibility for your friend’s welfare. You seem quite possessive over him. What you have done is disempower him from taking responsibility for his own life and personal well- being.

That is not right or fair to your friend or to yourself. Your friend is an adult and he needs to learn to take responsibility for his own welfare, no matter how hard this may be to learn. What you are doing by continually bailing him out is to prevent him from gaining any emotional maturity and personal self-esteem. This could be the worse possible thing for him in the long run. Yes, you are trying to be an excellent friend and your natural urge and impulse is shield your friend from harm. But remember that good friends also need to do what is in the best interests of their friends – even if this means standing back and watching the poor guy bump his head and learn the hard way.

Your friend seems to be very emotionally immature and self-destructive, and only he can make the decision to change his behaviour and personal direction. He will unfortunately repeat these hard life lessons and destructive consequences until he realises what he is doing. Presently he seems unwilling to change, and in fact abuses your friendship by asking advice, ignoring it and then carrying on with his self-destructive behaviour. You are allowing yourself to become a martyr and victim in this relationship, and I believe you need to look at your own issues of control, self-esteem and setting personal boundaries.

It is also not fair for his family to pass the buck over to you, thus burdening you with the responsibility for his well-being. If anything, as family, they should be trying to help him, not you. In the final analysis, both you and your friend have freedom of choice. He needs to decide whether he wants to be self-destructive, and you need to decide if you want to be a martyr and victim and continue to waste your personal energy trying to control and help another human being who appears to not really want or appreciate your help.

Dear John,

I am 26 and in a relationship with a 34 year old man. We have been together for over four years but I have a problem with our sex life: It’s virtually non existent. I have an extremely high sex drive – I think a lot higher than most – and it seems my partner does not have one at all.

I have been the initiator of sex for most of our relationship and have not always been happy with this. I have spoken to my partner about it and let him know that I also need him to initiate sex as well. It’s a form of physical validation. It should be said, that I have put on some weight since meeting him (but am very far from a beached whale), and still have a number of “suitors” who would love to get into my pants – so I can’t be bad at all?

I have asked him about it and his response is that he just does not initiate sex. If I do not initiate it, it does not happen. I usually crumble and initiate it after a two week dry period (I cannot hold out longer). How many times do I need to speak to him about this? He has agreed that his sex drive is nowhere near mine, but surely he wants it at some point?

I am not prepared to live a life of celibacy. I believe it’s natural to want and to have sex. So, why doesn’t he want it with me? I don’t think it’s an excitement thing, we’ve tried all kinds of things in the bedroom (and elsewhere), so I can’t see him being bored. I’m up for most things. It doesn’t seem to faze him at all whether or not we’re “doing it”. As I’ve said, I’ve spoken to him about the issue on so many occasions. I just can’t do it anymore. Something has to change. I don’t want to lose him, but I also won’t be with someone who doesn’t show any sexual interest in me. I call those people friends, not lovers. Please help!


Dear Desperate,

I am sure that there are thousands of guys in long term relationships out there who suffer from similar sexual frustrations as you do. Sexual expression and fulfilment is an important part of any healthy relationship, and at your young age your sexual urges are quite normal and need to be addressed and fulfilled. You are in your sexual peak years, and you need release and fulfilment. At the same time, every man is different in his sexual urges and needs. That is perfectly acceptable too. In a relationship there may be many incompatibilities, and this is where open communication becomes absolutely essential.

In an American survey, in which over 1000 successful long-term relationship couples were interviewed, results showed that the most essential ingredient for a successful relationship is honest and open communication. You and your partner therefore need to find the right time and environment to discuss your sexual incompatibilities in a relaxed non-accusatory way, and hopefully come up with some creative solutions and compromises to this sensitive issue.

I feel that if you do not amicably resolve and settle your sexual differences, it will spill over into other areas in your relationship, and may finally result in causing its total collapse. Pressurising your partner to have sex when it is not high on his agenda will only drive him away and make your intimate space even worse.

I would suggest taking your concerns to couples or intimacy counselling. Here any possible issues that your partner may have when it comes to sex might come to the fore. Ultimately, you must come up with a solution that you both find acceptable and can live with. Look in the gay media or ask around for a gay-friendly couples counsellor who may be able to help.

Hi John,

The reason for my email is that a few years ago I had a really serious accident. I was basically run over by a minibus taxi and being a pedestrian, the damage to my bo

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