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Heart To Heart

Monday, June 12, 2017

Effective Assertiveness is the Key
My best friend and I have known each other for over 10 years. We have good time with each other and share an excellent rapport. However, she is a little dominating and always wants me to follow her everywhere. I don’t really mind that. But, lately I have noticed that she’s been stealing money from my purse. I have tried to confront her (indirectly), but she always has some excuse and I have to let go. This has been bothering me a lot. I am afraid to ask her about this directly, and I don’t want to lose her as a friend. Is there some other way to tackle this situation? Please suggest.

Effective assertiveness is the key. You have said that you have ‘not minded’ her dominating attitude, and that you have ‘let go’ of the issue when she made excuses, and are ‘afraid’ of direct communication. By your unassertive/submissive attitude and behavior, you have in fact, given her the message for 10 years that she can get away with anything with you, and therefore, she has never felt the need to turn within and reflect on her own disrespectful conduct towards you in this relationship. Therefore, in a way you have allowed the problem to grow to this magnitude. We teach people how to treat us; and you have, through your own passivity, taught her to ill-treat you. A ‘true friendship’ is one where one has the courage to honestly and directly mirror the other’s wrongs and the one receiving the mirroring, receives it humbly and non-defensively, knowing and trusting that it is in the spirit of friendship. If you say there is a risk of ‘losing’ her as a ‘friend’, and if she does break off the ‘friendship’ with you, you would have actually lost nothing, as she would have proved that she is not a ‘friend’, does not consider you as a ‘friend’, and that there was no true ‘friendship’ to begin with, but just an illusion of one, which has now broken. However, it is better for the illusion to break so that you can be liberated from it and move on to building more healthier and true friendships, which are mutually respectful. Therefore, with this thought that you stand to lose nothing, but only stand to gain and reclaim your own space for respect, go ahead and directly tell her that her conduct is unacceptable to you.

Unprotected Sex
I am on oral contraceptive pills. My fiancé tells me that he doesn’t need to use a condom during intercourse because he was tested for HIV and other STDs and doesn't have any. What is your opinion?

Testing is good, however there are STDs such as genital Herpes, Human Papilloma Virus infection, Chlamydia and even Gonorrhoea that can remain dormant and unmanifested in many individuals, but may cause suffering in others if transmitted through sex. There are STDs for which there are no tests available such as Human Papilloma Virus infection that causes warts on genitals or in the mouth. These warts increase the possibility of developing cervical cancer in women.
As far as HIV/AIDS in concern, the test for HIV antibodies comes negative even in infected people during the first 13 weeks of the Window period. It may also be difficult for you to know whether your fiancé has abstained from any sexual relationships with anyone for 13 weeks? That is the period of abstinence required for an accurate HIV antibodies test.

‘Look Through’ him
A few months ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of almost a year. It was very painful for me, but I am much better now. The problem is that we both stay in the same locality, and I see him almost every day. And, when we cross paths, he is very rude to me and unfriendly. So much that he makes an obvious effort to embarrass me around others. How can I handle running into him when he is so rude? It would be so much better if he was at least civil.

Your discomfort around him could be giving him some pleasure and he is feeding on it. Go up to him when there is no one else around him, and assertively tell him that if he cannot be civil with you and take the break-up maturely and healthily, then he should refrain from any communication with you, whether alone or when there are others. Also stay away from groups that he tends to be with for a while, and ‘look through’ him if he does not change his ways. If you maintain a dignified silence and are comfortable within yourself, and if people notice him resorting to immature rudeness in spite of your dignified approach, over a period of time, he will come across as a crude person to all. In the mean time, also mingle with new people, get into activities you enjoy, and make new acquaintances, so that you find joy. As you get more busy finding joy in other things, you will find it easier to ignore your ex’s immature behavior.

I often see a white cheesy substance collected between the outer lips (labia majora) and inner lips (labia minora) of my vagina. I do not have any STD. It looks and smells foul. I fear it may come in the way of our sexual pleasure if my partner notices it. Is there any way to prevent getting this white substance?

Normally the vagina secretes a clear or whitish fluid to cleanse itself and maintain a healthy environment in that area. Any changes in normal vaginal secretions (color, smell, consistency etc.) indicate the presence of an infection for which you might have to visit your doctor. What you have described in your question sounds similar to the cheesy substance noticed by men under the foreskin (smegma) of uncircumcised penises. Smegma is a natural lubricating residue made up of dead skin cells, skin oil secretions (sebum), and moisture, including sweat. Its appearance can vary in color from off-white to a darker shade, depending on an individual's skin color. Smegma gets collected in the nooks and crevices of the body's skin folds, including between the labia majora and minora and around the clitoral hood. Smegma is known for is its distinctive odor. If the build up of smegma is troublesome, it can be washed away easily with plain or warm water. As the mucosal skin of the vulva is sensitive, it is best to avoid applying soap while cleaning it.

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Dr. Rajan B. Bhonsle, M.D. (Bom)
Consulting Sex Therapist & Counsellor
Dr. (Mrs.) Minnu R. Bhonsle, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychotherapist & Counsellor
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Aries (Mar 21 - Apr 20)You may get all nostalgic and wistful today, predicts Ganesha. You will go out of your way to improve your relationships. To you, your commitment is an investment for the future. The result is loving life-long bonds. Just remember that your ability to make things work and do your best make you the prime candidate for organising and conducting urgent meetings.
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