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COLUMN

Savage Love

I'm a 17-year-old girl and, in most aspects, I'm confident with myself, my identity and my body

I'm a 16-year-old bisexual guy. I havebeen in a long-distance relationship since September. My girlfriend – let's call her “Selena” – and I have a good relationship, but, both of us being bisexual, we have discussed the possibility of having relationships with same-gender partners on the side. I recently attended my city's LGBTQ prom. There, I met a 17-year-old guy who I found somewhat attractive. I gave him my number and he has been texting me often, which makes me feel both uncomfortable and enthralled.

Some of the texts that “Dave” has sent me were sexual in nature. He lives very close to where I do. I am a virgin – both genders considered – and the idea of sex right now makes me uneasy. But I am interested. Still, sex scares me at this point, and I don't think I'm ready. As such, this afternoon, I told Dave that I felt we were moving too fast. He agreed.

I suppose I have two questions:

1. I am worried about the outcome should I tell Selena about my “crush.” I feel inhibited. How do I bring it up?

2. How can I have a good relationship with Dave in a nonsexual way? I like him a lot, but is friendship too much to ask since he is sexually active and I am not?

Not Agreeable Intervals

P.S. My apologies if this problem is a bit juvenile.

1. Openly, honestly, directly and without hesitation.

It might help if you remind yourself – again and again – that while the stakes may feel high right now, they're actually quite low. It sounds like your relationship with Selena has allowed you to explore the emotional and social aspects of dating without any sexual pressures or expectations. And that's been good for you, NAI, and you'll be bummed when your relationship with Selena ends. But you shouldn't be too bummed: There just aren't a lot of adults out there who are still dating – or who are married to – the folks they were dating in high school. (There are some, of course, just as there are some 90-year-old pack-a-day smokers.) So your relationship with Selena is most likely destined to end at some point. And if a conversation about Dave prompts Selena to end things, well, your relationship with Selena was destined to end at some point, right?

Tell her this: “I met this boy, and he's been texting me. I don't want to date him – I'm only somewhat attracted to him – but I'm enjoying the attention. But we should talk about that same-gender-partners-on-the-side arrangement. Not because I'm going to jump into bed with this guy. I'm not ready for sex. But we should talk about this stuff before I meet a boy I do want to have sex with.”

If Selena flips and dumps you, then she wasn't open to you exploring your same-sex attractions. Which means your relationship with her wasn't just destined to end, NAI, it needed to end.

2. Don't assume that Dave couldn't possibly be interested in a friendship because he's sexually active. Lots of sexually active people have friends, and most of us are capable of forming new friendships. If a friendship is “too much to ask” of Dave – if he's only interested in your dick – he'll let you know by disappearing on you or by accepting your friendship under false pretenses. If he disappears on you, well, he wasn't a very nice guy and you didn't lose much. If he accepts your friendship only so he can continue pressuring you for sex, well, then he's not a very nice guy and you won't lose much when you disappear on him.

But he might be up for a friendship. Lots of sexually active people are. So ask.

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