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Should my girlfriend and I bare-back it with close friends?
By Dan Savage
I’m a college freshman. I thought that college would be the place to come out, but the sad fact is that college hasn’t changed anything. I’m still unable to admit my sexuality to my friends, teammates, classmates, and hallmates. I have thought about joining the LGBT organizations, but those guys are too “out” for me — not that there’s any problem with that. I just don’t think that being gay is anyone else’s business unless I want them to know. The hardest part is seeing other freshmen go out to parties, hook up, and date when I don’t have the opportunity to do so. I’ve resorted to going on Craigslist, but my encounters have been weird. What should I do?
— Closeted Undergrad
You’re not required to disclose who you’re going out with, CU, or the gender of the folks you would like to go out with. But keeping your sexual orientation a secret indefinitely — not your sexual interests (which you can keep to yourself), but your sexual orientation — will ultimately warp your psyche and your life.
Think about it from the other side: What would the straight guys on your team have to do in order to hide their straightness from you? They could never mention their girlfriends, go out on dates, or hook up with someone they met at a party. They would have to hide their porn and be careful not to check out girls in public. They could never get engaged, get married, or have kids. They might be able to have furtive, secretive, and shame-driven sexual encounters with other closeted heterosexuals they met online or in places where closeted straight people gathered to have anonymous sex, but finding love — true and lasting love — would be extremely difficult.
It wouldn’t be impossible — some gay people managed to find lasting love back in the bad old days — but it would be difficult. And the sneaking around and hiding and lying would ultimately warp their psyches and their lives.
If you don’t want to get warped, CU, you’re going to have to come out. And once you’re out, you don’t have to hang out with gay people with whom you don’t click, and you don’t have to be gay the way, say, the LGBT groupers on your campus are gay. Remember: Gay men who are out at your age (eighteen?) tend to be a bit gayer than the average gay dude. They’re out in part because they can’t be in. And God bless ’em and more power to ’em and the gay rights/liberation movement would never have gotten off the groundwithout ’em. But you can pass, CU, since you’ve had the option of waiting.
You have, of course, the option of never coming out. But as you’re discovering, CU, it’s hard to date in the closet, and DL-enabling sites like CL and Grindr aren’t going to deliver the kind of connections you want. So long as you’re limited to quickly arranged hookups with guys you don’t know, can’t risk getting to know, and can’t be seen with in public, all of your encounters are going to be weird. Not because all the guys on CL or Grindr are weird — there are good guys on both sites — but because you’re trying to have a life and keep it secret, and that tends to attract weirdos without lives.
Look, CU, you’re only eighteen. You’ve got time. But what you’re going to realize, in not too much more time, is that dating and finding love — or even just sex — inside the closet is nearly impossible. You can remain in the closet and keep your business secret, but you won’t have much of a life in there. And when you realize that, CU, you’ll come out. At first, it’ll be to a friend or two, then to your family, then to everyone. And once you’re all the way out, you’ll find that the guys you’ve been focusing on — the “too out” guys — aren’t the only gay guys out there (Though they are some of the best).
I know it’s hard. But you can do it. All it takes is opening your mouth and saying the words.
Last night, I was blowing a male friend. When I glanced up from “my work,” I saw that he was texting someone. I didn’t say anything and finished the job, but I was offended. Another friend says I should’ve mentioned it because he might have been taking a picture. At the very least, what he did was rude. Any insight from you?
—When Blowing Blows
He was taking pictures or making a video and may have been e-mailing pics/vids to his buddies in real time — don’t be an idiot, WBB — and you should’ve snatched that camera from his hand and stuffed it so far up his ass you could’ve sent yourself a picture of the roof of his mouth. Please cut this out and tape it to the mirror in your bathroom: Any girl who’s uninhibited enough to blow a “friend” has to be uninhibited enough to blow up at that friend if she spots him taking sex pictures without her consent.
I’m a straight male, age twenty-six. I’ve been with my girlfriend for seven years. We’re lucky in that we have a group of friends who are into having sex with us. My question is, what is the proper etiquette for condom use between my girlfriend and me when others are present? We don’t use condoms when we’re alone, so we haven’t been using condoms when we’re in front of others. They are using them, and I use them if I have intercourse with another girl, so the risk for the two of us intuitively seems minimal. Is there anything we should be concerned about? —Group-Sex Rookie
If you and your girlfriend have been tested and you’re “fluid bonded” (ugh! That term!) and you’re not having sex in front of strangers at, say, a swingers club or party where someone might misinterpret your condom-free sex as a license to initiate condom-free sex with randoms to whom they are not fluid bonded — preventing these worst-case/biggest-idiot scenarios is why many organized swingers clubs require condoms-for-all during group/public parties — then I don’t see why you and your girlfriend should have to use condoms with each other. So long as you’re careful about always putting on a condom when you need one, you’re both willing to assume the higher risks of acquiring one of the STIs that can be passed through skin-to-skin contact, and seeing you two go condom-free doesn’t make your friends so insanely jealous that they can’t get it up/on in your presence, then knock yourselves out.
This is in response to Messed-Up Junk. His junk sounds just like my junk! But my junk isn’t messed up. I’m a transman — so a two-inch “micropenis” actually sounds pretty damn good! Anyway, I wanted to say this to MUJ: Don’t let your junk stop you from hopping in bed with whomever you damn well please. I know lots of guys with junk like yours who get plenty of action from lots of fine ladies — and gents. As long as your junk gives you sexual pleasure and you are willing to pleasure your partner, there is much fun to be had. Yes, having a body that’s different can be terrifying. Be honest and up-front, but don’t let your head and your fear get in the way of hot sex. —Pumped-Up Junk
Thanks for sharing, PUJ. Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.