Hey quick little note before we get started: we’re spring cleaning the You Need Help inbox! If you don’t see your question here or in the next installments, it’s because it’s being answered by another person in a stand-alone post or via a Lesbian Sex 101. I’ve answered the questions below with as much care and love as ever, but some of these responses are short and lots of them also need YOU. So! I’ve numbered the questions and divided this into several pages to make it easier for you to help out in the comments. YAY SPRING CLEANING! Whew let’s do this and then grab a beer or some lemonade or something.
Will there be another queer IRL photo gallery? Plz say yes!!
Listen buddy, this is a gross misuse of the YNH form but I’m going to answer you anyway because a) I care for you and b) this is spring cleaning. There will eventually be more Queer IRL galleries! They’ll just sporadic and led by our Straddleverse editor, Vanessa Friedman! I really loved those galleries and I super loved how much y’all love them, so they’re definitely not over for good.
I live with my parents and my mum’s not cool with me being gay. It crops up in an ugly way every so often and bleeds into her other issues with me (of which there are several). She’s also very volatile on and off and while it can be okay for a while, when its bad its really bad. But my parents live in a nice house close to my uni and the beach and if I left I’d have just enough money for a small room somewhere in far away dodgy suburb, and thats once I got on benefits which is a whole other complication involving basically disowning myself. What do I do???
Damn this sounds miserable. You’re the only person who can actually decide which sacrifices are the ones worth making, but your situation is a good illustration of how there are almost always sacrifices to be made, and usually we’re all just making decisions based on which of the sacrifices and miseries will be the easiest to live with. Make one of those lists with the pros and cons of each choice and then make a pan of nachos and get down to the business of making a decision.
My partner just came home with me for the holidays for the third year in a row. It was a mixed bag, but rough. We fought some, had some good conversations, did some fun activities, and had some enjoyable family time. One of the big issues was my sibling. We are all late twenties but she was acting ridiculously immature. It isn’t necessarily new behavior but seemed worse this time. For example, she’ll get stressed out about something minor and yell at everybody and then pout all afternoon — especially if anyone dares to call her on it — things like that. Small things but totally unacceptable, and they add up.
My girlfriend was rightly appalled and also appalled that we all seem to enable it in the sense that we tend to ignore or pacify her instead of demand that she act like a functional human like the rest of us. I’m sympathetic, but it is tough when I only see my family a couple times a year. I feel a bit caught between the best ways I’ve found to deal with my family and making my partner feel welcome in our family/demanding adult behavior from the adults in the family. Part of me feels like you can’t change other people and ignoring bad behavior is the right thing to do. The other part of me feels like it is enabling, and also not as deep or sincere of a relationship as I might have if I acted otherwise— plus ignoring it is not something my partner is comfortable with and she is my family/becoming part of my family too. Any insight?
Your sister acts like an immature asshole when she’s unhappy or stressed out and no amount of “demanding” that she act like an adult will change that. If she cared what anyone in the family thought of her, she wouldn’t act like toddler in front of you. She doesn’t care what y’all think and she probably super doesn’t give a fuck what your girlfriend thinks. When adults act like assholes, all you can do is disengage from them and not let their tantrums change anything.
Your girlfriend can be annoyed by this behavior — I would want to peel my own face off, personally! — but she’s not in a position to demand that the rest of you do anything at all. She can complain about it to you, for sure! And you can listen and even agree and commiserate, but not only is it not her place to tell an entire family how to respond to someone they’ve been dealing with for nearly 30 years, it’s also not something she or you or anyone can actually change anyway. This isn’t about your family not welcoming your partner (unless I’m missing something and your sister was pouting about your girlfriend and no one was standing up for her??), it’s about your partner seeing your family for what it is and hopefully loving you anyway. That’s what we’re all doing here: looking at our person and everyone who comes with them and being like, “yeah, I still love you.”
I am in my late 20s and in a relationship with the love of my life, we have been together 3 years and have been living together 1 year. Marriage is definitely on the cards at some point and we are both very happy with our situation except for one thing. I’m out to everyone EXCEPT my family. I’m not quite sure how I got to 29 without telling my family but I have. We live in a different city to my parents and I see them perhaps once a month or so, I visit them and they rarely visit my city, so I know that this has given me an excuse not to tell them. My partner hates that I am not out to them and so do I but I just can’t get the words out. I’ve never been able to find the right moment and I just don’t know how.
Lately my partner has been putting me under increasing pressure to tell them, to the point that its making me feel seriously uncomfortable and even more reluctant to do so. I was outed to friends by an extremely regrettable gf when I was 18 and every time my partner mentions me telling my parents I have the same horrible feelings I had the first time it happened. I have tried talking to my partner about how this is making me feel, but she is impatient and thinks I am just stalling. Being outed the first time was a seriously traumatic experience for me and I am only just now realising that it’s had a lasting impact on me that I need to address. How can I get rid of these feelings and just bite the bullet and tell them? Do I just invite them to lunch with “my friend”? Do I be a coward and do it via text? I’m playing all the options over in my head constantly and each one makes me feel sick to my stomach. I have to do this soon. I am more than aware that this is making my partner unhappy, I feel so selfish that I am treating her like this.
I am also aware that my parent would have to be pretty oblivious not to have guessed since their 29 year old has been “single” forever and never brought anyone home…PLEASE HELP ME COME OUT TO MY PARENTS!!
COME OUT TO YOUR PARENTS!!
We usually tell you to come out in your own time and never let someone pressure you into coming out, and I still believe in that for people whose wellbeing and security rely on being in the closet. It doesn’t sound like those factors apply to you. I’m truly sorry that your first experience with coming out to people was so traumatic, but part of dealing with trauma is being able to recognize that while another event might bring up the same feelings as the first event, it is in fact not the same event. This time is different and this partner is different and the whole situation is different. You’re even in charge of how it’s done now! If you’re going to marry this woman, you’ll need to throw your parents a cursory “I’m gay, btw.” Their reaction won’t change anything — you’ll still be with your person, you’ll still be you and have your job and your favorite pants and plans next weekend — they’ll just know more about who you are.
Doing it via text isn’t cowardly, by the way. There are plenty of things I’d rather text to someone than say to their face, and since texting is an option, let it be your option.
Dear style goddesses, please help. I have very very long straight almost to my waist hair. I love it but it doesn’t read as gay. I really don’t want short hair or a more andro look — I want long femme hair but I want it to look gay. Helllllp!
Ok here’s what I think! I think when you have long hair and you want to ping, you sometimes have to gay up the other parts of your look. What does that mean, gaying up your look? I don’t know because I don’t know what you look like, and I think gaying shit up isn’t always universal. But listen, when you see someone with an extremely gay haircut (whatever you consider that to be) and the rest of their look reads straight, don’t you find it nearly impossible to believe they’re straight, because hello their hair is so gay?? Maybe if you can’t find a haircut that you really want, you can focus on gaying the living daylights out of one or more other things about your look. This is just me thinking out loud!
Readers: tell this person how to cut her hair!!
I recently (3 months) started seeing someone. She’s really fantastic, and we usually spend time together doing outdoorsy stuff in athletic attire. I like so many things about her, but she doesn’t dress well in non-athletic attire at all, which is very unattractive to me (think the type of shirt that your mom put you in for the 6th grade Christmas concert). I feel incredibly shallow for even thinking this, but is there anything I can say to her without hurting her feelings?
There probably isn’t a way to say something without hurting her feelings. You might have to do the thing straight women do to their boyfriends, which is to just start buying her the clothes you want her to wear and never give up and deny it if she calls you out. Or, if she ever asks for your input on an outfit, GIVE IT. Give it gently but like, give it. Three months is pretty damn early in a relationship though, so it’s probably best to either break up with her or else accept the fact that she dresses a certain way and that it has nothing to do with you because she’s her own person.
Recently my sexual desires have increased (getting my mental health together after struggling for years has helped), but I find myself uncomfortable with the new sexual side of my attraction towards women. Before I always found myself primarily attracted to non-sexualized things (intellect, hair, way women gesture as they talk, etc.) but now I’m noticing bodies in a way I had never done before in relation to women in real life.
This feels wrong and I cannot tell if it is internalized homophobia that is making me feel like expressions of my sexuality are predatory or if I am being a good feminist by not “objectifying women.” I immediately avert my gaze if I feel eyes lingering on a woman (even if my attraction is returned). Can you help explain why I felt comfortable with my attraction towards women when it was primarily non-sexual?
Sexual desire is a wily thing that usually has to compete with societal pressures and the shame we’ve been taught since birth. It sounds like you’re dealing with internalized homophobia. Having sexual feelings about certain body parts isn’t objectifying. Unless you’re looking at women as things devoid of emotions or needs and that only exists so you can motorboat their boobs, you’re not objectifying them. Have you read our roundtable on internalized homophobia? You’re definitely not alone (hello hi right there with you) and it does take work to unlearn all the things we were taught about how we should feel when we look at or even think about women and their bodies.
Sooo I am madly in love with this incredible woman, and we have been dating for almost a year now (!!). We took things pretty slow because even though we’re both about to graduate from college, this is the first serious relationship either of us has had with a woman (or anyone, for that matter). Anyways, we had sex for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was great and scary and vulnerable and wonderful and so many things. However, I was not as …into giving oral as I thought I would be. It was a bit weird and overwhelming and I’m sure it was just because it was a new thing, but of course I panicked that I wasn’t “good” at being a gay lady, or worse, not even gay at all. BUT I know that I love my girlfriend (and find her very attractive), so that panic has (luckily) subsided. Any tips on improving/not being intimidated by oral sex?
We’re working on a 101 that will hopefully answer this question (and many others)! But let me just shout from this very cramped desk in the suburbs just southeast of Phoenix, Arizona: YOU ARE STILL SUPER GAY.
I’m 24 and never had sex. How do I get out of my head long enough to stop being scared that any girl I like will reject me or want someone more experienced? I’m generally quite confident but here I have none at all.
Hi I’m going to share something with you which is that I, a 37 year old who has had sex for what like 22 years or something, STILL occasionally get in my head before / during / after the sex. It’s a skill, getting out of your head. It’s an honest to goodness skill. Even if you’d had sex with 300 different people, you’d still be having sex with the next person for the first time, which would involve a lot of trying things out and communicating about what worked or didn’t, and learning new things! If the person is worth liking and they like you back and things are COOL and FUN, your virginity shouldn’t be an issue. Every new person is a wild experiment and it’s weird and fun and nobody knows how it’s gonna go but you have to get OUT out out of your head head head. YOU’RE DOING GREAT.
Long story, so here we go: I’m two months from graduating from uni, and have got really close to one of my teachers (she’s 4 years older and is a grad teacher, but isn’t involved in any of my exams/assessment for context) who, lord knows, has helped me so much with coming out this past year. She has a long term girlfriend, and they’re in a kinda open relationship (only threesomes) – basically, we kissed the other night (after a night out), but she can’t tell her girlfriend until after I graduate. I really really like her – I’m trying so fucking hard not to because I really don’t want to put her in an awkward position (job and relationship-wise), and I just don’t know what to do! Her and her gf have been like big gay sisters to me – and she (teacher) has made it super clear that I’m more than welcome for a threesome (which I wouldn’t say no to)…. Please help before I make terrible life decisions!
It’s weird that she did something with you that she knew she wouldn’t be able to tell her girlfriend about. That’s got kind of a cheatery vibe, right? Anyway feels like a small red flag that I’d be remiss not to mention! And to answer what I think is your question, I truly believe that you can keep almost anything tamped down for two months. Just keep it tamped the fuck down, ok? Just chill out BE COOL. Cool it. If you’re invited to a threesome after graduation, great, neat, sounds good I guess. If not, also fine. We are chill as fuck over here. Everything is cool. We’re not getting anyone fired or putting ourselves in a position to be blamed for a breakup or a fight or whatever. We’re just over here, finishing up uni, thinking about how we can be better versions of ourselves, better citizens of the universe if you will, making sure we’ve got our shit together before graduation etc.