Virgina Ironside's Dilemmas: I'm obsessed with Asian women

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Dear Virginia,

I'm a reasonably happily married man but my problem is my obsession with Asian women. If I see an even modestly attractive 'oriental' female I go weak at the knees, although it isn't really a sexual thing. Many of my friends find this quite amusing and my wife (herself originally from east Asia) jokingly chides me about it. But I'm worried I may take this further. How can I get this out of my system and move on – or should I simply put it down a as peccadillo and laugh about it as my friends do?

Yours sincerely, John

I'm not sure what you mean when you say you go "weak at the knees, although it isn't really a sexual thing". I find it even less easy to understand in the context of your anxiety that you might "take this further". Take what further? And you also write as if it were possible to put what this obsession or kink is, down as a "peccadillo" to be laughed at. But if you could laugh it off, why write to me about it?

Do you worry that you might get violent? Or that you might start putting your hands down these ladies' shirts? Whatever your problem is, it's something that you should either try to overcome on your own or, if it's unmanageable, seek help for.

I tend to think you should try laughing it off to start with and see if that works. It's amazing, once you come out into the open about some peculiarity, how quickly the impetus, and the anxiety prompted by it, loses its force. If you can laugh at yourself in the free and easy way that your friends do, then whatever it is that you fear will almost certainly dissolve. Laughter can be like biological detergent, capable of digesting the most stubborn emotional stains.

But if you try laughing and it doesn't work, the next step might be simply to try avoidance. Easier said than done, of course, if your wife has masses of Asian friends and you are completely steeped in Asian women, but if it's just a matter of your going all funny when you see one in a bar, then the answer would be simply to keep them out of eyeshot and turn away.

But if you are really worried about what you might do, then perhaps you should think about seeing a counsellor, so you can confide in him or her about what the precise thing it is you are frightened of doing. Again, naming the fear often has the effect of dissipating it. Or can you go back in your childhood and remember some incident when you had an Asian woman in your life – perhaps a nanny when you were small? – which might account for what are clearly very strong feelings, whatever form they may take.

Have you confided in your wife about your anxieties? Again, once your feelings become open, rather than hidden, they may, like vampires, wither in the light of day. Sexual feelings – because I suspect this is what they are, whatever you say in protest – are incredibly irritating when they go against all your normal rational instincts. I think you just have to treat them as if they're not really part of you, but something experienced by some rather dysfunctional pet that you're lumbered with for the rest of your life. As long as you don't let if off the leash, and give it an indulgent and affectionate pat when it starts to bark or miaow, then there's usually nothing to worry about.

Readers say...

Look to your wife

Whatever age we might be, it is always normal to have a fantasy. Mine is Daniel Craig. It does irritate my husband sometimes but the reality is that I married the most handsome, sexy, and considerate man on the planet and I'm sure Daniel would not live up to him. Asian women are very beautiful, petite and often childlike. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with you.

It is a primeval instinct for males to desire younger, more productive females in order that our species continues. Some men are attracted to blondes, as blonde hair is a sign of youth – the older we get, the darker our hair becomes. Women, on the other hand, are often attracted to older men. This is a basic instinct for protection, security, consideration and experience.

The grass often looks greener on the other side and it seems to me that some of the spark has gone out of your marriage. Fall in love again with your Asian wife. She is still the same woman, only older. Make her feel special and not compared to a younger model. Ignite that spark which was once there and I think you will see that she will become more beautiful and rewarding than any other oriental female alternative.

Anita Ashford



Get a grip

It's difficult to know what you mean by "taking this further" but perhaps you should just try to take control of yourself. We all have fantasies of our own, but very few of us act on them, because we are constrained by society's rules. Get a grip!

Name and address supplied


Be honest with yourself

You letter seems full of contradictions – maybe it's time to be really honest with yourself about just what is going on here. You describe an "obsession", which makes you go "weak at the knees", and you're worried about taking it further – which all sounds pretty sexual, despite your protestations to the contrary. Perhaps it's time to just admit you fancy other women?

Ask yourself if this is a sign of deeper problems in your marriage. Try to be honest with yourself about your feelings for other women, and for your wife – and then be honest with her. She may jokingly chide you about it, but your show of interest in other women is unlikely to be making her feel good about herself, and she deserves to know the score.

You say she, and your friends, tease you about this, but it is obviously a bigger problem for you than you feel you can admit to them. Perhaps opening up to them would help diffuse your feelings and encourage them to be a bit more sensitive – they probably don't realise this is something that has actually become a serious issue for you.

Do you even find yourself acting up to your friends when you see Asian women? Is this part of who they think you are, an amusing quirk that's become a defining feature? If so, maybe just stopping making public shows of your "obsession" would help it recede. If you can stop being "John-with-the-thing-about-Asian-women" with your mates, then maybe you can actually stop being so aware of it yourself.


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You need help

It would be a good idea to see a counsellor about your obsession in case it gets out of hand.

Perhaps if you confided in your wife it would take some of the pressure off. Or you could see a Relate counsellor together. This is something you need to deal with before your marriage falls apart.

Name and address supplied

Dear Virginia,

My partner and I have got six-year-old twins, and they have suddenly started up this big thing about wanting us to get married. They keep nagging us about it. Their dad and I have been living together for 10 years now and neither of us feels particularly strongly one way or the other about it, but do you think we should marry because they want it so much? It seems to matter a lot to the children, for some reason.


Yours sincerely, ruby