You Need Help: Am I Running Out of Time to Get Gay Kissed?

Q:

I’m turning 29 in a couple of weeks and I feel like time is slipping away too fast.
Like, there are many things I never expected to happen at this point in my life. I never thought I would come out as a biromantic asexual, or non-binary. I certainly never planned to be diagnosed with chronic pain and fatigue — but I did think I would have had my first kiss by now.

I’m a gooey hopeless romantic at heart. I want that sweet intimacy that comes with a romantic relationship. Nearly all of the queer relationships I see depicted are young people. I know I’m not that old but I feel like I’m becoming more invisible to other queers every year. Which is a feat ’cause I rarely get read as queer in the first place.

Tell me it’s not too late?

A:

Friend, it is not too late!

Firstly and most importantly: This timeline we all seem to think we exist on — elementary school, middle school, high school, college, married, nine-to-five, kids, house, grandkids, retirement — is capitalist patriarchal nonsense. It’s designed to keep us locked in a system that burns us out, pushes us down, makes us miserable, and — crucially! — keeps us too occupied and overwhelmed to start asking questions about ourselves, our desires, our companionships, and mostly our relationship to our labor which creates the capital for the billionaires who spend their free time joy-riding in space. I know that sounds extreme and that you only asked about smooching, but it’s vital to understand how these dang systems have brainwashed us and how they contribute to our general sense of panic about time.

Queer people exist outside of patriarchal time. Being queer isn’t the opposite of being straight, right? You’re not flipping the switch to becoming an antonym. When you come out as queer, you’re stepping outside of the whole entire broken, boring system — and when you do that, you don’t exist inside that system’s timeline anymore. Think about all the things being queer allows us to question that cishet people never even think about: Our gender, our relationship to sex, our sexuality, our labels, the dynamics of our romantic relationships and our non-romantic relationships, what we wear, how we cut our hair, what we want our bodies to look like (down to our body hair; the only decision straight people ever make about body hair is whether or not to grow a beard!), our communities, how we make our money, how we spend our money, how we value our time, our politics, and even our faith in humanity and our spirituality.

I can tell you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all those things because you’ve already come out as non-binary and biromantic asexual! Which is amazing! And congratulations for having the courage to do that work and figure that out!

So, friend, how come you’re thriving outside the system in those ways but still believing you exist inside the system’s timeline when it comes to being kissed?

I was in my late 20s before I kissed another girl for the first time. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, somewhere between 27 and 29, but what I do remember is that I felt like some kind of Jane Austen heroine, like, “A woman of seven and twenty can never hope to feel or inspire affection again!” ‘Cause you’re not just thinking about the kiss itself, right? You’re not thinking, “I am too elderly to ever press my lips to another queer person’s lips!” If you’re like me, you’re thinking: How will I even find someone I want to kiss who wants to kiss me back? And when I do, won’t it be embarrassing to say I never kissed a girl? Which of course means I’m lacking so many other experiences too! And even if I do meet someone, they’ve probably kissed about a thousand girls and they don’t want to have to teach anyone anything! And if I don’t kiss a girl, I’m not gonna get a girlfriend, and if I don’t get a girlfriend I’m not gonna get a wife, and probably I am gonna DIE ALONE and be TOSSED OUT TO SEA.

When I was in my mid-20s, I knew one (1) other lesbian, and now I have the greatest queer friends on earth. When I was in my late 20s, I’d never kissed a girl and now I have the most loving and soul-sustaining marriage. When I was 30, I’d never published a single piece of writing and now I am a full-time writer at the most celebrated LGBTQ publication on the internet.

‘Cause queer time is different than straight time! It moves differently, it manifests differently, and it allows for lives and experiences beyond anything straight people could ever dream of.

It’s never too late in queer time.

Yours in eternal flux,

Heather


You can chime in with your advice in the comments and submit your own questions any time.

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1217 articles for us.

29 Comments

  1. This feels like a letter I could’ve written. I’m also 29, chronically ill, and having no luck in the dating department. Between rural living, working frantically to get by, and now the pandemic? It’s a lot. I don’t know if it helps, but I am going through this too, friend.
    We’re gonna be ok. I have to remind myself quite frequently of what Heather said above, that I’m working with a queer experience, and it’s not going to look like everyone around me who is cishet, married, and having babies.
    I don’t have a perfect easy answer, but I’ll be wishing the best for you. (And all the rest of us queers too.)

  2. Absolutely not too late. I had my first kiss at 32 (with a dude), which also seemed incredibly late to me, but in the end, it wasn’t that big a deal. Since then, I figured out I was also biromantic asexual at 34, started dating my current (non-binary) partner at 35, and we’ve been together for two years now (they gave no shits about my general lack of prior experience with dating/kissing/sex).

    • I don’t think that timeline necessarily applies to straight people either. I have a cis hetero man friend who didn’t have his first kiss until his late 20s. Then he kept on meeting another of my friends (who’s a woman) at parties and social gatherings I organised and the two of them took a shine to each other and ten years later they’re still together and planning to get civilly partnered.

      Whoever you are, when you meet someone and click, your dating history (or lack thereof) doesn’t really matter.

  3. This was a really sweet answer. I’m 28 and have a lot of similarities. I definitely feel the Jane Austen heroine thing haha. I’ve heard the 30s are so much better but I feel SO OLD right now. I’ve calculated I have nearly 40 years of working remaining, and presumably about 2 years of having any shot at a social life, and I’ve definitely been passing up on that opportunity. Which… okay this doesn’t make a ton of sense. But yeah I’m still scared af. I hope turning 30 is really the magic fix people say it is!

    • I don’t want to over promise but my 30s were better than my 20s, and my 40s were better than my 30s.

      It’s not like I didn’t have fun in my 20s, because I did. But I started to feel more comfortable in myself and in my body and in my choices in my 30s.

      I wouldn’t call it a magic fix. I found actually turning 30 kind of a let down. I was hoping for instant respect and people still looked at me and thought I was some kid. But gradually I grew into myself and claimed the respect I was hoping for.

    • Also don’t want to over promise but my 30s have been so much better – social life including, don’t sell yourself short there! – and my friends in their 40s say their 40s are better than their 30s. I (and they) have found that you just get so much more comfortable with who you are and genuinely learn to stop caring about what other people think about who you are. And learn to stop wasting time on people who do care, or who tear you down. And you start having friendships that change with age and life stages instead of just ending. But really, you have way more than two years of a social life yet. I have no words of comfort on the working front. We’re stuck in capitalism and even 30 isn’t a magic fix for that

  4. I don’t want to over promise but my 30s were better than my 20s, and my 40s were better than my 30s.

    It’s not like I didn’t have fun in my 20s, because I did. But I started to feel more comfortable in myself and in my body and in my choices in my 30s.

    I wouldn’t call it a magic fix. I found actually turning 30 kind of a let down. I was hoping for instant respect and people still looked at me and thought I was some kid. But gradually I grew into myself and claimed the respect I was hoping for.

  5. First kiss and first queer kiss at 27. Had sex on the fourth date. Now engaged four years later. I felt a lot of shame and awkward leading up to it, to the point that I didn’t even tell people, including the person I ended up kissing/marrying, until after we had sex, but it turned out really not to matter almost at all. Turns out screening dates for someone I felt that safe with about something I was feeling not great about was actually a fantastic litmus test.

    Best advice I got going into starting dating late was to set up some low stakes, low expectations, just for fun “practice dates” through online dating to get into the swing of dating. My fiance was my 2nd one of those, 3rd date ever. Full disclosure, both me and the person who gave me that advice are ending up marrying our “practice dates” so…I think attitude matters? Worry and pressure are bad, but so is non engagement/avoidance of the whole thing because it’s easier to just focus on other things.

  6. Heather you have no idea how much I needed to hear this. I turn 30 next month and feel like I’m never going to find someone. All I see are couples everywhere and it’s gets so lonely. This gave me hope. Thank you 💖

  7. Wow. Feeling it might be too late at 29. I’m 40, and I’ve never even been close to the idea of a first kiss. If it isn’t too late for me, this questioner has definitely got time. These kinds of things seem to crop up when people are on the 9’s in adulthood. Something about the turnover from an x9 age to an x0.

  8. Yeah, I loved this. I think everyone needs a little reminder that life itself is non-binary. Loved what you said about breaking milestone=age thinking. Much needed here, too. Life is very quiet for me right now, and it’s so hard to believe I was farting rainbows ten years ago.

  9. Thank you so much for this. The last few lines actually made me tear up. I’m not a late bloomer myself, but I really relate to being scared I will never find someone. I’m only in my mid 20s but most of my friends are straight and in serious relationships and it’s hard not to compare myself to that (it’s hard enough to even meet another queer woman, let alone someone I want a serious relationship with). So it really meant a lot to read this

  10. At 36 I can relate to most of this, I do not have a chronic illness but I suffer from extreme mental issues. I am not a biromantic asexual or non-binary yet I haven’t experienced anything I feel most queer people have. I often feel that I’m the oldest virgin on earth and that no one would ever be in a relationship yet alone kiss someone like me. I know it’s not true yet it still hurts when women ‘pass’ on me when they find that out. I will say that I think a lot of us, I’m included, watch queer media and as far as we have come in the entertainment world with inclusive shows, there is still a sense with these shows that lgbtq+ people coming out as teens or early 20s and getting into a relationship or at least having everything figured out when they are 25 and their lives are perfect and I have to admit it sucks seeing that, especially as someone who is closeted and I don’t know when or if I’ll come out and I have an incredibly homophobic family and 0 friends. I know I have to believe one day things will be better, I guess I just have to get over this hurdle.

    That being said I wish the person who asked this the best of luck to you and I hope your 30s are a wonderful 10 years for you.

    By the way I’m sorry if this post was intruding or rude, I didn’t mean to blabber on and make this about me. I do apologize if it came off that way.

  11. Seriously! It’s NEVER too late. I was 35 when I came out as lesbian and had my first gay kiss a few months after. And I was her first gay kiss…she was 43. It’s the most incredible thing no matter your age. You’ll get there.

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