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My cousin cannot control himself

Dear Dr Nekia,

I'm typing this letter on behalf of my cousin, a 22-year-old bisexual male. I love him to death, he is a great cousin, but he is very sexual. My cousin has confided in me that he has done stuff that I find to be shocking, so he wants your opinion. He LOVES to masturbate; don't get me wrong I do too from time to time, but it's where he does it that's the problem. Some of the places have been on a public bus, at work and other people's houses. He thinks it's cool, and this is where we differ. I love that my cousin is free-spirited and comfortable to be himself, but I believe there's a time and a place for everything. He really values your opinion. Please help. Is it OK any time, any place?


Cousin of Free Willie

Dear Cousin Of Free Willie,

There are several theories regarding public self-gratification. I will omit medical reasons and instead attempt to summarise some of the psychological points of view before I give my own opinion.

Mainstream psychology may view such behaviour as being due to repressed feelings, emotions and memories that may or may not be of a traumatic nature. Constant masturbation is a form of regression where someone goes back to their infant stage of life. From the womb through infancy, young humans seek pleasure and comfort from touching their genitals but, of course, they are not doing so to be perverted or sexual in the sense that we as adults view it.

It may be that there is some hidden denial, control, non-acceptance and guilt surrounding your cousin's sexuality, so he resorts to self-gratification in public. Self-gratification eliminates the guilt and confusion surrounding his sexuality because it turns the desire for male or female internally, to a desire of self. From a transpersonal psychological point of view, the desire to masturbate in seemingly inappropriate places is an indication that the spirit or internal person is not at rest in the human body.

From birth, our spirits are in direct communication with our bodies and our environment around us. Thoughts and feelings are used to communicate our perceptions and experiences in this world, but to do this, our spirit must find its home and feel secure within us. If it does not, several mental disorders, sleep disorders, deviant behaviours and sexual impulses will manifest. Sexual impulses are very common because sexuality is rooted in the core of human survival. In other words, our urges, desires and need for sex are all part of a basic drive the spirit uses when it is seeking to be heard, seen and accepted in the world.

Of course, this is generally hidden from the conscious awareness of the person, who ultimately views it as something that they just like to do. I agree with possibilities of both mainstream and transpersonal psychological theories. I will not say whether his actions are right or wrong, and I will not attempt to diagnose him without having him as a client, but I will say that what stands out is that his behaviour is nonconforming to what our society views as normal and yet he chooses to engage in it.

Societal norms and laws are restrictive in nature and as such require self-restraint regarding personal wants, desires, needs and impulses that we may have. In the eyes of society, one's inability to exercise self-restraint points to a mental disturbance, while one's intentional unwillingness to do so points to a deviant will. I would be more concerned if he wasn't able to restrain his desire for masturbation, but am curious as to why he is unwilling to restrain this desire. In either case, no, it is not OK to masturbate compulsively at any time, nor in any place.

Dear Dr Nekia,

My question is a common one but thought I would gain further perspective in asking. My ex-girlfriend and I started dating this past July and it was just amazing for a few months. We fell in love, but by the time October or November came around, our communication became more of a challenge. I showed signs of trust and jealousy issues, but was making progress in correcting that. She broke it off with me in late November, and neither of us contacted one another until she contacted me around Christmas.

We have hung out several times and hooked up once since then. She was honest and let me know that she's not sure she's ready to be a girlfriend again, and we both have our own lives to keep us busy.

However, each time that we've hung out (out to dinner/her place), it was initiated by me. We'll go a week with no communication and then I, typically, am the one to text and reach out. I want her to do that too so that she at least can show that she is still interested. I still love her and I want to have a good, healthy relationship with her, but she's distant now and seems quite uninterested. Is she stringing me along? Should I open up a dialogue about how I feel? I'm trying to be a strong man about this by eliminating neediness or being a burden, but I suppose I really miss what we had in the beginning and how effortless and amazing it was.


Holding On

Dear Holding On,

One of the most difficult things to do is to see the truth, despite our personal desires for the outcome. This is very common in relationships or those wanting a relationship. We see the signs of what is going on, we experience the experiences, but we allow our emotional desires to interfere and cloud our judgment.

This usually happens when there is opposition between what we want and what we are actually getting. This opposition, coupled with our unwillingness to accept what is really happening, leads us to a place of frustration and questioning.

To clear things up, two things must happen: you must quiet your desire and you must know what you are facing. So, to answer your question, yes, you should initiate a dialogue to find out exactly where she stands. You may not get straightforward answers, but important information is not always verbal, so try to do this in person where you can observe her body language and facial expressions to fill in as many blanks as possible.

You wanting to know is not a weakness. You showing interest, or pursuing the woman that you love is not a weakness. You taking the lead on communication is not a weakness. I wish that men would really understand these things. And, I wish that we all would understand that sometimes we can be so busy trying to protect ourselves by not appearing to be emotionally involved that we end up allowing our fear to show the other person that we do not care.

Our seeming disinterest can actually push away the very one we want to keep close. Actions of love or desire are not reflections of a weak, masculine nature, but are signs of the strength of masculinity because it takes strength and courage to deny the ego in favour of staying true to what the heart wants. She may be distant because she does not want to send you mixed signals or because she wants to prevent herself from getting involved again because she is not ready to re-enter the relationship.

Or, it may be that she missed you and wanted to explore a reconnection, but just not on the deeper level that she feels you are seeking. There are many possible reasons why she does not initiate, but understand that at this point and at the core of it all, if you are the only one initiating contact, you are not on the same page with one another. And, this is OK.

When people aren't on the same page it doesn't mean that love is doomed, it means that communication and re-evaluation needs to take place.

Nevertheless, try not to romanticise so much about the beginning of your relationship. Focus on finding out where you both stand, on understanding what went wrong in the relationship, on learning from the experience, and on finding ways to move forward.

Want relationship advice? E-mail

Holding on: when people are not on the same page it does not mean love is doomed, it means re-evaluation must take place

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Published February 08, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 08, 2017 at 8:13 am)

My cousin cannot control himself

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