“I want to have sex with my girlfriend but I want to know the cautions and what to do in order to be safe. I’m female.”
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Dr. Justine Shuey as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
Dr. Shuey Says:
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) do not discriminate, so it is important to protect yourself and your partner(s). There are ways to get STIs without ever having sex (through birth, skin-to-skin contact, sharing IV drugs / needles / injection equipment, etc) so it doesn’t matter if your partner is a virgin, or if you are – you always need to protect yourself and your partner(s). STIs can be transmitted sexually in a variety of ways via bodily fluids, which include blood, semen, vaginal secretions, anal secretions, breast milk or even skin-to-skin contact.
Using Latex (or non-latex) dental dams during oral sex prevents the transmission of bodily fluid and some skin-to-skin contact. Some even come in yummy flavors to make oral sex taste sweeter. If you can’t find dental dams you can make them using regular latex/non-latex male condoms or gloves. You can find easy to follow instructions for this online.
If using sex toys, you should know what material the toy is made of, if it can be completely sterilized, and if it is safe for sharing (when cleaned appropriately). You might also consider covering sex toys with condoms to prevent the spread of infections and for easier clean up.
You should also considering using gloves/finger cots for vaginal and anal play. It will make things smoother and will help lubricants last longer.
Individuals with penises can use male condoms during oral, anal or vaginal sex. There are even flavored condoms made specifically for oral sex (which could be cut and used as dental dams).
There are also “Female Condoms” & “FC2” condoms which are insertable condoms and can be used during vaginal sex or used during receptive anal sex by removing the inner ring. These are made of non-latex materials and can also be cut and used as dental dams.
There are a variety of lubricants available: A good water-based lubricant is best, though you can use flavored lubricants externally during oral sex on the outside of condoms/dental dams. Silicone lubricant is another option but be cautious as silicone lubricant will break down silicone sex toys.
Click through to read more about Dr. Shuey and our other Second Opinions panelists!
"How do you deal with loneliness?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I think there are a few kinds of loneliness. There is physical loneliness, where you’re totally fine most of the time but GOOD LORD do you want someone to cuddle. There is the kind of loneliness based on a previous codependency, where doing shit alone just FEELS WEIRD BC NO ONE GETS IT. And then there is I-Don’t-Love-Me-Most-Of-All loneliness.
The last one is the hardest to deal with and, in my opinion, the easiest to slowly fix. When you don’t think you’re the best thing on earth, you have a hard time being with just yourself. I spent a lot of my life like that, I would fill every possible second with a hang out sesh because being around people was the thing that made me feel good. I didn’t feel good when I was alone. WHICH YOU GUYS TURNS OUT means I wasn’t actually feeling good when I was around other people, I was just distracted.
I did a lot of reading. I read a lot of those self-fulfilling books about success and passion and finding what moves you and your inner beauty, etc. I did a lot of walking around by myself and noticing tiny things like flowers and puppies and cool buildings. I did a lot of writing. I have about 20billion half-written essays, short stories, and even the beginning of a young adult novel about the end of the world (NBD). I spent hours getting to know me and why I am awesome. I have so many amazing things to offer the world and I recognize that now, which makes being alone with me a lot more fun and interesting.
It’s a hard process, learning to love yourself. You have to get rid of those moments when you think you’re less than. Stop comparing yourself to others because you will never be someone else. You are you. The greatest most amazing you. The only you. The fucking coolest you. As soon as you figure that out for yourself, all the kinds of loneliness will be a helluva lot more manageable.
She’s right. Not a big surprise, I know, because Dannielle tends to be right a whole bunch, but still. Loneliness is an inside-to-outside feeling. It starts on the inside, and most of us do the only thing we know how: we take the feeling and we say, “If I just had (fill in the blank), then this feeling would go away.”
Now, that doesn’t take away the validity of needing and wanting things like having someone to hold you, or having someone to go grocery shopping with you, or having someone who is there to see that your cat just fell backward off the headboard like a total goon. Those moments of wanting human companionship are real, and true. Many of us want that companionship, and want someone to be there to witness our lives with us.
That said, you have to remind yourself that you have time. You likely have a lot of minutes, a lot of hours, and a lot of years to walk around this planet. You are going to have times where you are with someone you love, and feel lonelier than you ever imagined possible, and other times when you are totally alone and feel full of joy at how non-alone you are. You’ll have times where you have someone beside you and you feel safe. You’ll have times where you are alone, and you feel horribly lonely. None of these experiences negate the possibility of others. Your feelings do not mean that you can’t ever feel another way, and they don’t mean that the only way you will feel differently is to have a specific thing that you imagine will be the “fix.”
Trust in the possibility that life can surprise you.
Trust in the possibility that you may find solace in ways you can’t yet imagine.
Trust in the possibility of finding what you are after, and trust that this world often gives us things in an order we didn’t anticipate.
It’s okay to feel lonely. Just don’t give up hope, and don’t focus on only one “solution” to your problem. This is a very, very big world. Take risks, surprise yourself, have patience, and remember that loneliness takes many forms and is never permanent. Hell, none of this is.
“why do people think being gay is a sin? I don’t understand that at all, yeah, God made Adam and Eve, but he also made us for a reason, isn’t that right?”
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Becky Garrison as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
A few Christians may rant and rail aka the God Hates Fags crew about “homos” going to h-e-double toothpicks. However, most God fearing folks just smile with that hair that praises Jesus look and go on in true Paula Dean fashion how they “love the sinner but not the sin.” Often these bible believers sport bumper stickers on their cars that say “Jesus said it. I believe it. That settles it.” They point to few select verses in the Bible that condemn “homosexuality” and conclude that “homosexual sex” is a sin. In other words, you can be gay as long as you remain celibate. (Somehow lesbianism never enters the conversation. Draw your own conclusions what this omission means regarding women’s sexuality and the church).
This literal approach fails to interpret these verses within their correct socio-political context. For example, take the bit in Leviticus that forbids men to have sex with each other. Well this same section also tells men not to have sex with the family goat, sheep or other beasts of burden. Sounds to me like a scenario where they’re more concerned about the need to expand the tribe by producing more babies than prohibiting bonds between those of the same gender. Just ask those who use Leviticus to demonize LGBT folks if they eat shrimp, wear two types of fabric and a host of other no-nos that are also found in Leviticus. Quickly you’ll discover that fundamentalists don’t follow every Biblical law word-for-word.
In this video, performance artist Peterson Toscano demonstrates how to see these ancient texts with new eyes. His interpretation of the destruction of Sodom illustrates how the issue at that brought down Sodom was the host’s failure to provide hospitality not “homosexual” acts.
Along those lines, the video of Brian Murphy, co-founder of the Queer Theology website retelling the Genesis story can be played whenever someone spouts off that “God created Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve” nonsense.
Moving on to the New Testament, we do see prohibitions against men having sex with men. Upon closer analysis, we note that in these passages, the Apostle Paul is advising specific Hellenistic communities to avoid Roman rituals that included performing sexual acts. In other words, if one wants to be a Christian, then one needs to follow the teachings of Christ. No more playing with the Roman gods. Stop. Now.
Finally let’s look at what Jesus of Nazareth has to say about LGBT people. In all his rants against a host of ills, he doesn’t utter a single word about “homosexuality.” None. Total silence. So when confronted with anti-gay bigotry, why not turn the aforementioned bumper sticker slogan a bit on its head by chanting back, “Jesus didn’t say it. I believe it. That should settle it.”
If you want to continue the conversation, head over to Believe Out Loud. Here you will find Christians leaders and other voices who fully embrace LGBT people and communities that grant civil rights and liturgical rites to all.
Click through to read more about Becky and our other Second Opinions panelists!
"Lesbian or hipster…HOW DO YOU KNOW?!?!"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Ugh. Why don’t we have a secret handshake yet?! AMIRIGHT!?
I feel like this whole ‘hipster’ movement is v unfair because how is anyone supposed to know anything? I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR AMBER’S GAY SUBPLOT FOR YEARS #PARENTHOOD but she like really loves that army boy and just so happens to dress like the hippest lesbian in the land, uuughghhghghgggh.
Also remember how I just said hipster movement?
I think they way you know is by flirting with them and if they’re biting their lip and looking at their feet and slowly giggling they prolly want it!
If they are laughing really loudly and saying “omg we are basically bff” and mentioning their boyfriend or their giant crush on Channing Tatum, they prolly don’t want it!
… I just realized the second one describes me perfectly.
ugh. Fuck if i know
This is neither here nor there but I somehow got 13 mosquito bites on my leg yesterday and so I don’t care about hipsters or lesbians I just care about JESUS CHRIST THEY ITCH SO BAD SOMEONE DO SOMETHING.
However, since I don’t think I can take a sick day for mosquito bites, let me solve your problem. I will also solve it without saying “they prolly want it,” bc GROSS, Dannielle.
Step One: Spot target hipster / lesbian
Step Two: Spit your gum at the hipster
Step Three: When she’s like WTF, say, “OH MY GOD I AM SO SORRY I JUST FELT LIKE I WAS OVER TAKEN BY THE SPIRIT OF JENNY SCHECTER, THIS IS SO EMBARRASSING.”
Step Four: If she knows that you are referencing the episode where Jenny spit her gum in Shane’s face, you have affirmation. If she knows what you are referencing and is still really mad at you, you still have affirmation. If she looks confused, say, “Sorry. Are you gay, tho?”
HAVE A NICE DAY.
"If you’re confused about your sexuality, what are some ways to try and clear things up a bit?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I think the only way to ‘clear things up’ is to forget about sexuality and follow your heart.
I’M SORRY THAT I’M SO CHEESY, but I’m also totally 100% for real. It isn’t something you figure out over night. AND LIKE how are you supposed to know who you’ll fall in love with ten years from now? You could literally shout about being gay from the rooftops for ten years and then fall madly in love with a human of the opposite gender, YOU ARE NOT PSYCHIC AND YOU HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE.
In other news: you could try dating different people and see what you’re into. If you REALLY LOVE going on dates with girls and you SORT OF LOVE going on dates with boys and your NUMBER ONE FAVORITE DATES are with folks who identify as genderqueer. WELL THEN THERE YOU GO.
There is nothing wrong with going on dates to test the waters. How will you ever know if you like kissing someone if you never kiss them!?!?
Spoiler alert: I don’t have a word that ever means anything to me when it comes to my own sexuality. I am marrying a woman this Summer and still, in moments, scrunch my nose up when I try on words like “lesbian” and “queer.” I just don’t feel like a word. I feel like a person.
So, my advice to you is to toss those words out the window when it comes to thinking about yourself. You may find that in a few years you are like, “Oh man, I totally identify as a lesbian,” or you may find that you just settle into being a person with feelings, and that you use certain words to help you describe yourself to others… though always knowing that they don’t QUITE sum you up perfectly. Those are both completely awesome ways of being – it just depends on YOU.
If you are wondering, specifically, who you like to kiss or hold hands with or bone, then I think the only answer is time and having an open mind to different experiences. You don’t have to have an answer right now — just look outward at the people who surround you and think about the things you want and desire and stuff. Go after the things you want and then reflect on how those things make you feel after the fact. I kissed three girls and thought it was SO GROSS until I kissed a fourth girl and was like OMG WHAT… so you just have to take things person by person, experience by experience.
It’s tricky and confusing and overwhelming at times, but also know that that is part of the experience when it comes to understanding sexuality. It’s a slippery little sucker for some of us, but so long as you follow your gut, take things a day at a time, and don’t feel pressured to pick one word that sums you up, you are going to be a-okay.