My friend's girlfriend is taking advantage of him. How can I snap him out of it?
by Cait Robinson
Have a question for Miss Information? Email email@example.com.
Dear Miss Information,
I'm in a very happy in a committed relationship with my boyfriend. We had sex for the first time last weekend — it was my first, but not his. Frankly, he is well-endowed, and I'm a petite girl… so it hurt like hell. He's nervous about hurting me like that again. Is there anything I can do to lessen the pain the next time around?
If it's any consolation, you're now part of the "holy God that was terrible — what do people see in this?" club. What you may find more consoling is that membership is usually temporary, because it gets better. You two just need a chance to find your rhythm. And, at the risk of getting Freshman Biology on you, it's worth bearing in mind that the vagina is designed to pass a tiny human through it. (Ew, I know.) No matter how big your boyfriend is, your body can take it.
Okay, pep talk over. First of all, it's likely you were nervous the first time, which causes your muscles to tense. That's compounded by the fact that the body's natural response to pain is "ow omigod make it stop," further contracting muscles. To encourage your own relaxation, make sure penetration doesn't happen until you are ready for it. Work on extended foreplay: tease each other all night while at dinner, make out and slowly undress while at home, fool around until you feel really ready. If you want extra lubrication firepower (potentially more important if you're using condoms), do a couple's excursion to pick out a good lube and keep it nearby.
If you discuss it ahead of time and then give your boyfriend the go-ahead when you're ready, you'll feel more in control. Your asserting your own pleasure should also soothe his nerves. He'll know he's not "doing anything to you" — he's doing it with you. If it hurts too much in the moment, have him slow down or even stop to give you time to adjust. You may need to finish each other off manually or orally, and that's fine! That's no less "sex."
If he's tuned into you, and you into him and your own body, it should get more and more fun. Before you know it, you'll be waving that club goodbye.
Dear Miss Information,
I am a woman. I have realized that I can look at a man and find him attractive, but that's where it stops. I never want to be with a man sexually. I am sexually and physically attracted to women. I think I could be attracted to a genderqueer person. I just want to know what my sexuality is.
— Queer Qurious
Dear Queer Qurious,
I dunno, man. Maybe you're gay. Or you're gay on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Saturday. Or you're only attracted to brunettes who wear blue polos (on Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays.) My point is, pursue anyone you find attractive; the semantics here really don't matter.
I have very little to go on here, but I recommend you get out of your head and start dating around. There isn't some do-or-die moment where you have to slap on a name tag — "Hi! I'm Ellen, and I'm bi-curious!" — and wear it around for the rest of your life. You're allowed to date boys and girls and people in between, and you don't even have to don a rainbow-striped cape. Embracing sexuality as a fluid thing may help you let up some pressure. Focus on meeting people you like and feel sparked by, and the rest will sort itself out. It sounds like a rejected Disney song chorus, but I'm going to say it anyway: don't look to outside sources for labeling, because the answers will come from within you.
Dear Miss Information,
One of my friends is dating a girl a few years his junior. She's still in school, and he is not. Now, that would normally be fine — I wouldn't advise it or do it myself, but it's his life and as long as he's happy, I'm happy. But he isn't entirely happy. He's broke. The reason for this is that he spends way too much money on his girlfriend. He spends hundreds of dollars to bus back home over the weekend to see her (which also hurts his social life in his new city), and he's slept in parks because he couldn't stay with her and wouldn't tell his parents he was coming home. She knew about this, and didn't seem to care. Recently, he paid half of a ticket for her — hundreds of dollars — because he "was in the car when it happened."
I don't live near him anymore, but another one of our friends does, and she's tried talking to him about it. He has moments of clarity when he realizes that this is all completely inappropriate, but most of the time, he just puts up a wall and shuts everyone else out. I want to talk to his brother about it, because I think he can talk some sense into him, but I'm worried it won't be enough. I don't think his girlfriend understands how messed up this relationship is (and I also think he's way more into her than she is — otherwise she wouldn't let him do all these things), and he won't talk to her about it either. My friend and I want to help him, but we really just don't know how. Should we broach the subject and upset him, and maybe hurt our relationship with him, or should we stay out and wait for this to implode?
— I Thought I Left High School
Dear I Thought I Left High School,
Have you ever seen those toddlers on leashes? The fancier leash models strap to the child's back via a harness, and the parents walk the kid around like some sad-sack Pomeranian. Every time I see one of these kids, I am simultaneously amused and depressed. Occasionally I text my mom to thank her for being a functional parent.
You're trying to be a leash-parent for your friend. If this relationship is as bad as you say, it will certainly go down in flames, and he'll walk away with some fiery hatred and potentially a self-recorded heartbreak album. If you try to intervene, he'll just get mad at you ("You don't understand our love! You don't get that my ass in the passenger seat was worth $300 when she ran that red light! Stop attacking me!", etc.) Absolutely do not involve his family members — that will get messier than it needs to.
It sounds like several people have expressed concern. He has the data, and it's now incumbent on him to act on it. So get out of the line of fire, while staying caring and supportive from the sidelines. He'll come to his senses eventually, but the best thing you can do is give him the space to fall, bump, and bruise on his own.