Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote

ang111604
Angelo Pezzote
MA, RPh
 Managing Friends-With-Benefits
 And How can you tell if you're gay?

 


Dear Angelo,

What do you think of friends-with-benefits? I have been "seeing" someone for 3 months when his "needs" come up. But little-by-little, I am getting emotionally attached to him.

Signed, Hopeful Romantic

Dear Hopeful Romantic,

Be careful with your heart! Some men can keep sex and emotion separate. But even though it is supposed to be "just sex," a key to this type of relationship is consistent communication. You may think that you do not need to talk since it is only about sex. But to navigate this type of relationship successfully, you need to talk openly, honestly and clearly about your feelings. These relationships need to begin by defining the ground rules together. The boundaries need to be crystal clear from the start. Then each person needs to respect the rules, honestly follow them and talk when things change.

Friends-with-benefits only works when sex is all that is wanted by both guys. There can be no hidden agendas or hope for something more. Do not cling to the idea that he will change or that this will bring you the love you want. Don't blindly hope. Ask him how he feels for clarity. Since you are getting emotionally attached little-by-little, tell him now where you stand and how you feel. Do not wait. You could be hurt if you do not talk to him about it now. Many guys think that just letting things happen naturally is the way to go. I say - do not ignore talking about the relationship. While it is important to balance lightheartedness with seriousness, know that any good relationship has good ongoing communication. Find out where he stands. Then decide what you need to do for you.

It is vital to re-evaluate once emotions come into play in this type of relationship. Depending upon where each of you are, this friends-with-benefits relationship may have to end or turn into something more romantic. Whatever happens, know that this just-sex relationship needs to change now, since you have feelings. Respect yourself and tell him how you feel now, before you get more attached. It will save you a lot of heartache later if he's not in the same place as you.

Dear Angelo,

Besides the obvious, how does one really know they are gay?

Signed, The Quest

Dear Quest,

While it is true that gay men are attracted to and have sex with other men, this is not sufficient to define being gay. Being gay is not about sex. For example, a gay person can be celibate for life and still be gay. A gay youth can know he is gay years before his first sexual experience. Alternatively, a man can have man to man sex in prison for life but not be gay. Or for some men who have sex with men only the bottom is gay. Being gay is not about attraction either. There are many men who are attracted to or fantasize about other men, but may never act on it and who still identify as straight overall. So what is it then? The essence of being gay is about feelings. The key is how you feel, not what you do or what images get you off.

You know you're gay when you are predominately sexually attracted to men AND when you want to fall in love with a man romantically. When you desire to truly love another man. When you dream of waking up next to a man and sharing the moments of your life with a man. When you wish to create a union and perhaps a family with another man. These feelings are at the core of being gay.

The powerful fear of being gay can block these feelings. We are taught from an early age that it is not OK to love another man. Stifling same sex feelings can manifest itself as confusion about your sexuality. Coming out is hard. It is scary and risky because it involves the fear of loss. Loss of love, family, friends, work, status and more. Coming out can be painful and stressful. But to be happiest you must come out to live your truth and be who you are. To begin, give yourself permission to explore what you already feel and know about yourself. That will uncover more of what you do not know. This will lead you to some answers. Gay Affirmative Counseling and coming out support groups can also be very helpful.