Advice

Miss Information

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Have a question? Email erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.

   
Dear Miss Information,
    How do you know if you’re gay? I’ve had sex with women and even been in love with a few, but lately I’m bored. I’ve gotten head from several men, and I often flirt with guys, but I can’t imagine assuming the identity of a gay man and telling my family and friends. — Can’t Pick a Team



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Dear Can’t Pick a Team,
    Who says you have to play for the San Francisco Gays or the Cincinnati Straights? Is there some sort of sexuality draft I haven’t heard about? There’s no need to declare a team.
    Let me tell you about my cousin “Tim.” When we were little, Tim was kissing neighborhood girls behind the roller rink when he wasn’t offering to paint my nails. He eventually grew up to be straight. Then gay. Then bisexual. Now, whenever anybody asks him about his sexual orientation, he just shrugs. But Tim’s happy, and you can be too. Just relax and stop over-analyzing yourself.
    Maybe you’re worried you’ll be stereotyped if you publicly identify as gay. It’s a valid concern. But being gay is whatever you want it to be. There’s no officially prescribed code of behavior (why else would a mostly-straight girl like me like boxing, Hello Kitty and lesbian porn?) I see no reason not to try your hand — or other more interesting parts — at gay sex. But do it as part of an ongoing exploration of your sexuality, not an all-or-nothing test.



Dear Miss Information,
    I’ve slept with quite a few men. I’m seeing an awesome guy who has long-term potential. The problem is, he’s slept with way fewer people than I have. I’m afraid it’s going to come up. What should I say? — Lady Jay


Dear Lady Jay,
    Past sexual experiences are a big part of who we are, there’s no denying that. But the problem with quantifying them is that they do a really assy job of defining the person we are today.
    Popular belief says that the fewer people you’ve slept with, the better a person you are. But what about a woman who’s slept with two people: one of them her husband, the other a man with whom she cheated with throughout the course of her marriage? Or what about a chick who’s slept with fifty men, but was loving, honest and loyal with all of them? When it comes to ethics, the line is blurry at best.
    That said, be truthful with your partner, but vague. He has a right to know about any sexual health issues that may affect the relationship, or any negative past experiences that could affect your sex life down the road. Otherwise, mum’s the word — refrain from nostalgic references to your wild past, and brief your pals so he’s not subjected to any “That time with those firemen in Cancun” stories that are best left untold.

Dear Miss Information,
    Have you ever met someone you clicked with online, but once you met in person found you weren’t physically attracted to them? Does just wanting a hot guy make me shallow? — Pretty Girl for a Pretty Guy

Dear Pretty Girl,
    Does wanting a guy who can read make me a book snob? Does wanting a guy without multiple felonies make me a law-and-order Republican? Absolutely not.
    Every dater has a unique idea of Mr. or Ms. Right. It would serve us all well to pay a little more attention to the finer details. Too often, we try to talk ourselves into someone we don’t want, only to messily backtrack later.
    Sure, some of us have unreasonable requirements. My friend who only dates bearded men over six-foot-four is one example, and while there’s nothing wrong with her Brawny-paper-towel-man fetish, holding out for overly specific parameters like these is a good way to stay single.
    But it sounds like what you’re looking for is much more basic — someone who makes your panties go boom. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, but it can be elusive. If you’re not doing so already, try scaling back on your pre-date communication. Lengthy emails and phone calls, while romantic, build up false expectations. There’s no substitute for meeting in person, so chat long enough to make sure they’re not a psychopath (or a Republican) and then go out and meet them, my pretty girl friend.  


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©2006 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com