Q. My girlfriend is scared to have sex, but I think it’s a part of any loving relationship. Any advice?
A. Whether or not to have sex is a personal choice, affected by many factors: values, upbringing, likes/dislikes, whether she’s been wounded sexually in her past, etc. Talking about it, and negotiating and deciding together your common likes and wishes, especially when NOT in the heat of a sexual moment, can really help.
Q. I just found out my roommate is gay – I want to support him, but what if he comes on to me?
A. Gay people may or may not be attracted to straight people; unless you get clear messages that he is, assume he is not. If you need to set that boundary for you to feel better, do so, but let him know that you’re ok with his sexual orientation if you are. Realize that sexualizing gays (making sex be everything important about them) is just another form of homophobia – there is more to them than to whom they are attracted.
Q. My boyfriend lies about his online porn use, and I’ve found a lot of pornography when I stay over at his house. It makes me mad, and when I tell him to give it up, he says he will, but doesn’t. Aren’t I enough to satisfy him?
A. He may be sexually compulsive. Sexual addicts feel tremendous guilt and shame about their out-of-control behavior, and live in constant fear of discovery. Yet addicts will often act out sexually in an attempt to block out the very pain of their addiction. This is part of what drives the addictive cycle. They are addicts because they are out of control and unable to stop their behaviors despite their self-destructive nature and potentially devastating consequences. Counseling and getting support from others similarly afflicted can be helpful.