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Building Bridges: Sexual Orientation Shifts

Time for another installment of Building Bridges, where we facilitate, then publish a conversation between two people in different life stages who have something with gender, sexuality and/or relationships in common. This time, our intergenerational pair is two women who have had their sexual orientation and identity shift for them during the course of their lives.

Amy & Candice: Shifting Sexual Orientation

Amy, 24: I came out as a lesbian at 14 and was, as I call it, "a Professional Gay" for a long time. I interned for activist organizations, ran the GSA at my high school, got a scholarship from a local LGBT organization for my activism and went on to a women's college where I eventually became co-chair of the LGBT organization on campus. I was, as a friend once said "her definition of gay."

Looking back, I struggled with liking guys for a long time, which sounds so backwards in the way that people think of sexual orientation transitions. I felt a strong connection and loyalty to th

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I loved him... then he told me he once had sex with a guy.

claudine_2345 asks:

I'm 19 years old, and I've been dating a guy who's 22. We've been seeing each other for a long time, about a year or so. Recently we were having a close talk, admitting things to each other we hadn't told anyone before, and he admitted to me that he had experimented with another guy when he was 16 by having anal/oral sex with him. At the moment, I didn't act shocked or anything, even though I was going crazy in my head. I've never experimented nor have I wanted to with the same sex because I'm completely straight. It's been a month since this happened, and I feel as if I don't love him anymore. I don't want to move forward with this relationship and it hurts because he's perfect in every other way. Am I making a mistake by breaking up with him? I just can't stop thinking that if he were truly straight, he wouldn't have gone so far with another guy, or have been able to finish (orgasm) during the situation. I'm just really, really disgusted by him now. Please help if you can, I know this situation is really weird.

We did everything for it to go just right... but it didn't.

Hedo asks:

My girlfriend and I are both non-op transsexuals; (i.e., she's MtF, I'm FtM, and we haven't had "the surgery" and don't intend to.) On a visit with her a little while ago, she and I were sitting in her car and talking about our feelings regarding sex. When our relationship started over a year ago she asked me to wait, which I was fine with, but didn't know she had been open to what we considered "in between" kind of stuff like oral (she doesn't want to go "all the way" because she was raped a little while before I met her and she feels like penetrating me is putting me in her position--it isn't, but I'm not going to pressure her), and while we had been discussing it we realized we were both in the mood and I asked her if she wanted to find some place more private and explore, and she said "only if you want to." I did.

Before we got started, I asked her if she still wanted to continue and if she had any other boundaries she wanted to set in place, and she said no. I reminded her that if she wanted me to stop at any time she could say so and I would stop everything.

Something About Olives. (Really. It's so totally about olives.)

Last night at dinner, my partner was telling me about a story on NPR that afternoon. I was sure I hadn't heard it, yet it felt so terribly, completely familiar, as if I had not only heard it once before, but a million times.

The NPR story was titled, "Your Olive Oil May Not Be The Virgin It Claims." Maybe it sounds a little familiar to you, too:

The next time you reach for a bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, beware. A new study from the University of California- Davis claims more than two-thirds of random samples of imported so-called extra-virgin olive oil don't make the grade.

To be extra-virgin, olive oil can't be rancid or doctored with lesser oils... many of the 14 major brands failed certain tests.
"It's become a very sophisticated practice, the adulteration of olive oil throughout the world," Shoemaker says. He says the lab can prove defects, degradation and dilution in olive oil beyond what human taste buds can figure out. The lab testing zeroes in on specific flaws.
There's

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I'm her one and only...and I don't think that's a good thing.

somethingeasytoremember asks:

My friend wants to be in a relationship with me, but I am afraid to because I am her only means of support (that's not me being full of myself, she's actually said that) and if things were to turn sour I have two parents and countless friends and trusted adults whom I have no problems talking to, whereas she would have no one to talk to, me being her only confidant, and she can't very well talk to me about me, can she?

She's just so shy and not good with people and she and her parents are not exactly on good terms. I don't want to enter an unhealthy relationship! What should I do?

Queering Sexuality in Color: Dharshi

Today we have one more another installment of our first-person profiles of queer people of color. If you're queer and of color, we're hoping this series can illuminate some of your own diversity, allow you to feel less isolated and know you're not alone. Queer youth (and queer people on the whole) are often isolated. That isolation hurts and can and does do very real damage. LGB young people who are also oppressed, marginalized and rendered doubly invisible because of race tend to face even greater challenges and isolation.

No matter who you are or what your deal is, we think you'll find these profiles challenge many perceptions and may make you reconsider or refine ideas or questions about orientation and race. It can also help you and others grow your compassion and your care, better understanding that every kind of marginalization and oppression both does very real harm and always has the capacity to do so, especially if it goes unseen and unheard.

Dharshi, 25

Color/race you are/id

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Is he gay? and other questions that hinder a coming-out party.

Meyli asks:

I guess I'll just jump right in to it! My boyfriend recently broke up with me, and confided in me that it was because lately, he's been seriously questioning his sexuality. I completely support him, I still care about him, and I want to help him find out, because I can't stand seeing him so confused and helpless (that's what he said he felt like). So problem #1 is, how can I be there for him? The past week, he's been very down, his head hurts from thinking, and every time I see him, he looks lost. He's not sure how attracted he really is to other guys, mostly because we live in a small town, and he's never had a relationship with a guy before. We've talked a lot, and spent a couple days after school just sitting, and me just putting my arms around him for a while. I don't know what else I can do for him.

Yes, No, Maybe So: A Sexual Inventory Stocklist

What do or might you want to do, not want to do or aren't sure about when it comes to sex with a partner? What about your partner?

Queering Sexuality in Color: Corinne

Here's another installment of our first-person profiles of queer people of color. If you're queer and of color, we're hoping this series can illuminate some of your own diversity, allow you to feel less isolated and know you're not alone. Queer youth (and queer people on the whole) are often isolated. That isolation hurts and can and does do very real damage. LGB young people who are also oppressed, marginalized and rendered doubly invisible because of race tend to face even greater challenges and isolation.

No matter who you are or what your deal is, we think you'll find these profiles challenge many perceptions and may make you reconsider or refine ideas or questions about orientation and race. It can also help you and others grow your compassion and your care, better understanding that every kind of marginalization and oppression both does very real harm and always has the capacity to do so, especially if it goes unseen and unheard.

Corinne, 25

Color/race you are/identify with: Bla

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Who's Calling Who Compulsive? Calling Out a Common Rape Survivor Stereotype

I was one of several guests on a radio show in Baltimore on Friday. The topic of the show was apparently going to be about sex education and social justice, but turned out to be more like fear-mongering and a whole lot of projections around teen sexuality mixed with focus on parents and teen sexuality. I got the impression all four of us who were asked to take part, despite some of our disagreements, were very frustrated with the show and the host clearly asking questions he didn't want factual answers to, despite purportedly asking us to take part to provide just that.

At one point, he asked one of the guests to talk about rape victims and survivors. She said she did not do any work with rape or survivors, but instead of deferring to any of us who had, or just saying "I don't know," she went ahead and did some postulating and guesswork. There were several things she said in a rush of words that bothered me, but one of the most troubling was a statement that rape survivors "compulsive

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