Dear Thelma: He wears women's underwear

I accidentally came across a very shocking discovery while using a friend's computer. I saw obscene pictures of my male friend in ladies' undergarment. What's worse is that those undergarments he wore, belongs to his younger sister.

I know this particular detail because we both saw those pictures together. I can't share this with anyone else as it will bring embarrassment and shock to the person involved and those related.

I'm indeed very shocked and disgusted after seeing those pictures, and I cannot bear to keep this a secret.

It's very difficult and awkward to talk to my friend. He is a very caring and good-hearted person. Therefore, I can't accept the fact that he would disrespect his sister, and use her clothes for his own satisfaction or desire. His sister has expressed her disgust and frustration to me, and she feels awkward and avoids meeting my eye. Please tell me what I can do to help this situation.


Firstly, the issue of privacy must be raised. While your friend may have permitted you to use his computer, I doubt that he gave you the licence to browse through his file of pictures. Those were personal and confidential.

Having said that, let us move on to the topic at hand. Your shock is understandable. To see someone you know do something you did not expect is shocking. It is out of the ordinary, and beyond what is categorised as normal behaviour. However, the fact is these pictures weren't meant for public consumption. Presumably, it was a very personal and private moment for your friend. It is important to bear that in mind.

Your friend's behaviour is called a fetish. It is when a person derives pleasure from a certain object or situation. There are all kinds of fetishes - shoe fetishes, foot fetishes and clothing fetish, among many others.

Fetishes are not uncommon. However, they are rarely talked about because of the high degree of judgement that people have about it.

Many people assume that fetishes stem from psychological problems. This is actually untrue. Fetishism itself is not a problem. However, it becomes a matter for concern if the fetishism leads to harm to other people, or if the person with the fetish engages in criminal behaviour.

Your friend may have a sexual fetish. Or, he may have just had a curiosity. Whatever the situation, it does not deserve judgement. Calling it obscene and disgusting is unkind. You must remember that everyone is different, and must bear respect for his or her own.

As to his using his sister's underwear, yes, that is uncomfortable for her. But, before judging him, perhaps you and his sister should pause and look at the situation from his point of view.

If you - his friend and sister - find this fetishism disgusting, imagine what others would feel. So, maybe he was unable to get access to women's underwear in any other way. The most accessible was his sisters. Not that this excuses his taking his sister's underwear, though.

The situation probably could be easier to handle if he could confide in someone and maybe gain some help in purchasing suitable underwear of his own that he can use. Also, it would not help the situation at all if you and his sister avoid the issue.

Try talking to him. This talk should not be accusatory or judgemental, though. You want to convey your understanding and concern that using his sister's underwear was inappropriate.

It also does not make sense for his sister to feel awkward around you. You are all adults and an important part of being an adult is confronting and dealing with difficult situations. What is important is that the matter is dealt with in a mature and respectful manner.