My first cover story as a journalist was on Dra. Margarita Holmes. It was for the Philippine Graphic in 1990. She graciously welcomed me to her home and one of the first things I saw was this huge pile of letters—all different kinds of paper and stationery, varied types of handwriting, addressed to her from all over the Philippines.
Back then, she had a column called Bodymind for The Manila Times and people were writing in asking for all kinds of advice on various aspects of sexuality and relationships. It was really a breakthrough at the time—people had been wanting to have healthy discussions on previously considered taboo subjects and there Margie was, ready to take these topics on armed with her knowledge and training as a clinical psychologist and with her wit and compassion as a human being.
Life, Love, Lust was the first of many books compiling these letters and her responses. The new edition does away with some chapters but adds new ones and some responses now have the backing of new research and feedback from her partner-husband Jeremy Baer (who has co-authored columns and books with her.)
There are letters one is surely to be able to relate to, and there are also letters which reveal the broad spectrum of personal issues affecting people’s lives, like orgasms, masturbation, cheating, pregnancy, quarrels, virginity, promises of love, family dynamics, separations, erections (or the lack thereof) even the Christmas blues come into play. All this and more are in that book
In so many ways, Life, Love, Lust helped open doors and open eyes. I used to think with all the work laid down in the nineties geared at a more equitable relationship between the sexes and giving attention to our reproductive health situation, 2016 would be a new age.
Instead, right now, while we may no longer have the repression by censors or Catolico Cerrados, there are new shadows to deal with.
In the arena of politics and media today, the sexual lives of women who are public figures and journalists become part of the debate, detracting from the actual issue at hand. Today we have to deal with misogyny and the persistence of the double standard.
There is still a need to address issues of sexuality the way Margie does it with her trio of wit, compassion and science—with aim of making every day people with real, every day issues appreciate each other better in world where it seems conflict is encouraged more than understanding.
The 25th anniversary edition of Life, Love, Lust is available in National Bookstore.