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How to handle a grown man acting like a sex-obsessed teen?


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Posted (edited)

This might be a strange one, sorry. I need some advice regarding increasingly worrying behavior my friend is showing

Some background: we’re both straight guys in our mid-30s, he’s a few years older than me. We’ve been very close friends during childhood and our teenage years, then drifted apart in our 20s. We’ve been in touch over the years, but really only reconnected in the last 12 months. I’ve been back in the town for over a year due to COVID and remote work.

Here’s the thing, he’s been through some really rough times in the last few years – bad ongoing divorce (his wife’s decision), moved back with his parents, can’t find work due to health problems. Understandably, all of this took its toll. Anybody would be affected by all this, however, there’s an aspect of this I find strange (and potentially worrying).

It’s hard for me to describe the change without getting into specifics, but when it comes to women/sex he basically devolved into some "immature, sex crazed 15-year-old" trope. This type of behavior, cringeworthy enough when teenage boys engage in it, is completely out of place and bizarre when coming from a guy approaching his fortieth birthday. And this goes double for him. Back when we were teens he was always so serious and acted very mature for his age. He was never this “immature, sex crazed 15-year-old,” not even when he actually was fifteen. Like, imagine, when the rest of us were boasting about getting laid or whatever (when we were teens) he would be the one saying it’s disrespectful or inappropriate. He was that kid.

And now he’s the one bragging about getting oral sex, or wondering out loud if a girl he will see later is shaved, or offering to send nudes/films of some random girls he was with. He’s constantly boasting of the number of girls he slept with in the last 12 months, etc. It’s definitely not a good look.

At first I let this stuff slide. I am aware that sounds very cowardly, but he was in such a bad place and went through so much I just thought he’s going through some strange, temporary phase. I didn’t egg him on, but I didn’t think it was a right time for a lecture either.

However, now it has been months and he’s still at it. He's even in a relationship with some girl now, but he still constantly brings up his past “conquests” (like every single time we talk). I’ve changed strategies and try to let it slide much less, sometimes I offer firm advice.

Like in the cases above, I might say: “you bring up this girl every time, way too much, maybe it’s time to move on man, let it go” or “who cares if she’s shaved, why do I need to know anyway,” or “Nah, I’m good, by the way, I wouldn’t send that nude to anyone if I was you, you might even get into serious trouble.”

So far I’ve been avoiding the “it’s not appropriate”/“you’re being sexist”/“this is disgusting” route. I realize that this would be the most direct way, just let him know when he’s acting strange. However, I have a very strong feeling that all that will accomplish is push him away. Seems like this guy already lost touch with nearly everyone (who knows, maybe because of this type of behavior). I’m trying to be there for him, maybe we’re not super close now but we once were like brothers, and it sucks to see him like this. 

I’m also terrified that there is a small chance he will actually sexually assault someone in some way. He seems oblivious to social cues, observing him interact with women in public I can see he often has no clue when they are uninterested or even evasive. It's like he's acting the part of the womanizer but doesn't have the feel for it (because he never was one to begin with).

I don’t know what else to do, I would like to help him get over this, but don’t know how. I think that consistently and firmly calling him out is the logical next step, but I worry that this will just result in us not speaking anymore. And all that will mean is that I can no longer help him, or even be there to offer advice if he tries something really stupid or dangerous.

Edited by thatguypaul
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Can you just say, "Hey, I've noticed a change in you lately. What's going on? You never used to talk this way before." And see where it goes from there? This may not be a one-conversation situation. More like an ongoing dialog.

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49 minutes ago, thatguypaul said:

And now he’s the one bragging about getting oral sex, or wondering out loud if a girl he will see later is shaved, or offering to send nudes/films of some random girls he was with. He’s constantly boasting of the number of girls he slept with in the last 12 months, etc. It’s definitely not a good look.

How I see this, is he's 'venting' in some way.  He's not himself at all anymore, so this is how he is 'acting out'. ( struggling from a failed marriage, etc).

Sadly, he is OVER doing it all. 😕 

I was also thinking.. how often, some act out, like doing things or acting in ways they don't usually due to that  'stage in life' .. (Midlife crisis).. in which case he needs to get a grip... but may not, for a little while yet.

Could be a whole mix of things going on up there.. Let's hope he comes to his senses and smartens up though.

If he's affecting you, makes you uneasy, is maybe best you back away for a while and see IF he stops all of this?

Not sure it'd go over too well, by suggesting he seek some prof help?

 

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16 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

Can you just say, "Hey, I've noticed a change in you lately. What's going on? You never used to talk this way before." And see where it goes from there? This may not be a one-conversation situation. More like an ongoing dialog.

I think if there's no better way, I will have to go ahead and do exactly that. Although I think this line of questioning will likely lead to me having to spell everything out bit by bit, and him first being defensive then shutting me out.

– "Hey, I've noticed a change in you lately. What's going on? You never used to talk this way before."
– "Talk in what way?"
– (and then I basically have to spell it out; what it is exactly I mean and why is it something concerning enough to bring up)

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4 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

If he's affecting you, makes you uneasy, is maybe best you back away for a while and see IF he stops all of this?

Not sure it'd go over too well, by suggesting he seek some prof help?

 

It can be awkward (and embarrassing in public) to hang out with him. It's far from ideal, but thankfully it's not affecting me on a psychological level. I think most people he knows backed away. It seems he barely has anyone to talk to these days, which is why I'm trying to be there for him. Not trying to be a hero or anything, just doing what I sincerely hope somebody would do for me if the tables were turned.

I brought up therapy (multipe times) and even a sexuologist for his urges (once), but it didn't go anywhere.

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8 minutes ago, thatguypaul said:

I brought up therapy (multipe times) and even a sexuologist for his urges (once), but it didn't go anywhere.

Well, I guess you've done what you can, to make him aware, but he is the only one to act on it.

You've tried.

Is all up to him now, to see what he's doing.

 

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Well, I think you actually have already said that you don't like his behaviour and suggested therapy and so on. I think unfortunately there's not really a lot you can do if your friend actually wants to act this way and he doesn't want to stop. I think you're actually within your right to say to him though: "Please don't talk about all that sex stuff around me". And see how he reacts. I mean, you two are straight guys and you're just friends. It's weird he keeps talking to you about all that sexual stuff. And the fact he suggested to send you nudes or video of a girl he slept with, what??!! First of all, it's extremely disrespectful to the girl and I'm sure is also illegal. Secondly, in my opinion he's just acting plain weird. Why would he want you to see nudes of a girl he slept with? He's acting strange and really inappropriate. So I don't blame you that you feel uncomfortable with it. 

I think unfortunately though if your friend continues to carry on like this, you actually may need to stop hanging out with him. He's probably lost touch with everyone else for a reason.

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In my later years I tend to be more straightforward so I would go the straightforward/no nonsense route. Any good friend deserves that because no one will have the guts to say it to their face. 

Your heart is in the right place but sometimes people have to make their mistakes to understand that something isn't appropriate (ie his behaviour). You're enabling his antics so let him know it's TMI and change the subject abruptly if it's not working for you. If he gets upset or walks away, let him. He has things he has to sort out. The aftermath of separation/divorce is messy and confusing. He's finding his identity and sexuality again. 

The worst thing you can do, imho, is pretend to be a nice friend and then boil over after the fact and be angry at the dude. 

Don't be so worried about driving him away. He is not going to fall to pieces and you are also not responsible for his personal behaviour. Let go of all that. You can be his friend but I think your first loyalty is to yourself if you've had it.

 

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12 hours ago, thatguypaul said:

 moved back with his parents, can’t find work due to health problems.

What kind of health problems? Distance yourself from this. 

He needs a psychiatrist and therapist, not an audience to his lewd and lascivious rants.

Don't get involved. When he goes down, you'll go down with him.

Delete and block him from all your social media and messaging apps. Cut him off completely.

Perhaps he's mentally ill. But there's no reason for you to hang out with him.

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Posted (edited)

I would wonder why you even hang out with this fool.  You did not communicate for many years, I do not understand why you feel you need to be his keeper.  There is a reason that he doesn't have friends, as he sounds like a creep.

It seems like his "health problems" have not had any affect on his social life.   

Edited by Hollyj
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12 hours ago, thatguypaul said:

I brought up therapy (multipe times) and even a sexuologist for his urges (once), but it didn't go anywhere.

You're not helping him. The question is what are you getting out of living vicariously through this?

There's no such thing as a "sexuologist". He needs a psychiatrist/physician.

What if the cops go through his devices one day....and there you are? 

Stay out of it. He has bigger problems if he's almost 40, unemployed and lives with his parents.

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What does it say about you that you would stay friends with someone who you assume might do something with a woman that could cause harm to her? There are plenty of people who used to be my friends in younger years who I wouldn't give the time of day to, now.

You don't enjoy his company. If he doesn't have any other friends, that's on him if he falls apart if he loses the only one he's got. Do you have a rescuing mentality with women as well?

You gave your advice, which he rejected. He's not going to improve. Just as you should have deal breakers in mind when dating, this should also be the case for friendships. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

There's no such thing as a "sexuologist". He needs a psychiatrist/physician.

Okay, my bad, I guess this would be a too literal translation into English. What I mean is a "therapist or psychiatrist specializing in sexual disorders."

As for all the people ready to throw this poor dude under the bus: maybe catch some perspective? You don't know him at all. I made it clear he wasn't like this before. He was the opposite of this. He was responsible, put together, if anything too serious. He had a family of his own, a stable job, a normal life. It's only in the last couple of years he lost his s**t, and part of that is due to serious medical problems.

Yeah, I can ghost him like everybody else. Is that what we should all do whenever somebody loses their way?

It may be one of us someday. You never know. I sincerely hope my family or friends don't act like you bunch if/when I need them.

Yes, If he's not willing to listen or change at all, I will have no choice but to back away eventually. But I'm not ready to give up on him just yet.

1 hour ago, Andrina said:

Do you have a rescuing mentality with women as well?

Get help.

Edited by thatguypaul
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Well, yes.

"the World Association for Sexology has a working definition of sexology as a generic term encompassing the study of all aspects of sex and sexuality.

Broadly speaking, sexual health is one of the specialties involved in sexology, and a sexual health physician is typically a person with a recognised medical qualification who is usually working either in the field of sexually transmitted infections, sexual medicine, sex therapy, sex counselling, sex education, or sexological research. "

From The British Medical Journal.

16 hours ago, thatguypaul said:

I don’t know what else to do, I would like to help him get over this, but don’t know how.

I feel OP that the best you can do is,as a friend, is point him in the direction of seeking professional help. 

 

16 hours ago, thatguypaul said:

Seems like this guy already lost touch with nearly everyone (who knows, maybe because of this type of behavior).

Only a professional can delve into this stuff with him. And in his case the saying "under stress we meet ourselves" could have some meaning.

 

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2 hours ago, thatguypaul said:

 I mean is a "therapist or psychiatrist specializing in sexual disorders."

 he lost his s**t, and part of that is due to serious medical problems.

If he's not willing to listen or change at all, I will have no choice but to back away eventually.

If he wanted to change, he would speak to his physician.

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Posted (edited)

Some people have to hit rock bottom to change.  For me it was drinking excessively when my ex-wife left.  Sex? Heck, I could barely leave my house I was so depressed, much less chase women.  His rock bottom may be catching a disease like Herpes. 

I wonder how many years you've known him.  I have friends I've known for many years so I know they would never sexually assault a woman because I know their character.  Could just be a midlife crisis.  Every man goes through that in different ways.  

Distance yourself, but don't block him or totally cut him off if he is a really good friend.  If he's one of those friends you don't care much about, fine.  It just depends how close you are, in my opinion.  I wouldn't let a really good friend self destruct if I could help it, but sometimes we can't help, hence distancing yourself.

Edited by Atlguy
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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, thatguypaul said:

Okay, my bad, I guess this would be a too literal translation into English. What I mean is a "therapist or psychiatrist specializing in sexual disorders."

As for all the people ready to throw this poor dude under the bus: maybe catch some perspective? You don't know him at all. I made it clear he wasn't like this before. He was the opposite of this. He was responsible, put together, if anything too serious. He had a family of his own, a stable job, a normal life. It's only in the last couple of years he lost his s**t, and part of that is due to serious medical problems.

Yeah, I can ghost him like everybody else. Is that what we should all do whenever somebody loses their way?

It may be one of us someday. You never know. I sincerely hope my family or friends don't act like you bunch if/when I need them.

Yes, If he's not willing to listen or change at all, I will have no choice but to back away eventually. But I'm not ready to give up on him just yet.

Get help.

But, this is who he is now.  That should be enough.  People change.  You spoke to him, he does not want to change.  

Fine.  You have no reason to complain if you choose to continue to hang around with this jerk.  

Edited by Hollyj
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On 5/24/2021 at 12:27 AM, thatguypaul said:

Okay, my bad, I guess this would be a too literal translation into English. What I mean is a "therapist or psychiatrist specializing in sexual disorders."

As for all the people ready to throw this poor dude under the bus: maybe catch some perspective? You don't know him at all. I made it clear he wasn't like this before. He was the opposite of this. He was responsible, put together, if anything too serious. He had a family of his own, a stable job, a normal life. It's only in the last couple of years he lost his s**t, and part of that is due to serious medical problems.

Yeah, I can ghost him like everybody else. Is that what we should all do whenever somebody loses their way?

It may be one of us someday. You never know. I sincerely hope my family or friends don't act like you bunch if/when I need them.

Yes, If he's not willing to listen or change at all, I will have no choice but to back away eventually. But I'm not ready to give up on him just yet.

Get help.

Sure, you don't have to abandon him if you don't want to, but your hands are basically tied here. You really can't control other people's behaviours. You can only control your own. You can say to him that you don't like the way he's behaving. Which you have already done. He hasn't actually stopped after you told him. Which kind of points to the fact that he doesn't actually want to stop.

Also there are levels of hitting rock bottom or acting out. It may be somewhat common for people to sleep around a bit when they're going through a traumatic break up. But to actually constantly go on about how many people he's sleeping with is very over the top. And saying he'll show you nudes and videos of women he slept with is so wrong on so many levels. Firstly it's horrible to the women. Secondly, you are just a platonic friend, why do you need to see this? It's not like you're dating or sleeping together. With sex it's important to have boundaries and also have people's consent. He doesn't have these women's consent to show their nude photos and he doesn't have your consent to act like this around you.

You can continue to be friends but essentially I don't think you can actually do anything about it. If you want to continue the friendship then you need to accept him as he is right now.

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If you truly want to help him, then stop enabling him and speak up bluntly and directly. Man to man. Up to him whether he hears you or gets angry and walks away.

It seems you are very afraid of him walking away, but why? Is it about him or more about you being afraid to lose a friend and therefore walking on eggshells to preserve this friendship at all costs?

You keep pointing out to how he was when you were kids. Thing is that kids grow up and change....a lot. Does it ever occur to you that this behavior is the reason for the ugly divorce rather than the effect of the divorce? The thing is that who he was as a child is not an indication of who he is as an adult. What you are seeing today is who he actually is today and this has always been in him. He is being himself. It's just hard for you to accept that because he is so different from who you thought you knew years ago. 

If you truly want to help him, then speak up and set him straight and let the chips fall where they may. If he gets mad, let him. If he decides to cool off and talk to you again, so be it. Leave that door open. Whatever you do, don't keep enabling him. 

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Okay, thanks for the input everyone. I'm leaning towards just spelling it out for him, and seeing where it gets us. Maybe it's the kind of a wakeup call he needs. And if it doesn't work, well then not much more I can do. Still a damn shame.

I'm also wondering if he didn't get sucked into some pickup artist, men's rights type of toxic, online community.

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6 minutes ago, thatguypaul said:

Okay, thanks for the input everyone. I'm leaning towards just spelling it out for him, and seeing where it gets us. Maybe it's the kind of a wakeup call he needs. And if it doesn't work, well then not much more I can do. Still a damn shame.

I'm also wondering if he didn't get sucked into some pickup artist, men's rights type of toxic, online community.

It's possible, but keep in mind that when people get sucked into those things, it's because the message appeals to them deep down.

So be the voice of reason and sanity and hope that it will sink in. Maybe not immediately, but some day he might come around and thank you for it. Even if not, at least you tried your best to set him straight.

At the end of the day, he is an adult making his own choices and there is nothing you can do about that. Can't force him into therapy if he doesn't want to go or can't make him act right if he doesn't want to.

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38 minutes ago, thatguypaul said:

I'm also wondering if he didn't get sucked into some pickup artist, men's rights type of toxic, online community.

Sounds like it. Leave him alone. He has neuropsychiatric disorders and needs doctors not someone to entertain his lewdness.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/22/2021 at 7:29 PM, thatguypaul said:

I think if there's no better way, I will have to go ahead and do exactly that. Although I think this line of questioning will likely lead to me having to spell everything out bit by bit, and him first being defensive then shutting me out.

– "Hey, I've noticed a change in you lately. What's going on? You never used to talk this way before."
– "Talk in what way?"
– (and then I basically have to spell it out; what it is exactly I mean and why is it something concerning enough to bring up)

Well yeah. I mean, you can't talk about the issue without mentioning the issue. But it doesn't have to be an in-your-face confrontation, like, "You're doing this, and here is why you are wrong." It can be, "Why are you talking like this so much lately?" And then listening.

Edited by Jibralta
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