Dear Straight Talk: I’m in high school and after reading your column on heterosexual girls pressured into trying lesbian sex, I want to say that experimenting with gay sex is very harmful.
When I was 15, on a family visit, my older cousin pressured me into sex when I was sharing her room and bed. She insisted she wasn’t gay, but thought we should “see what it’s like.” She made me feel totally unreasonable if I wouldn’t “give it a try.” It messed me up royally and has made it difficult to have a relationship with a guy or normal friendships with girls. To those who think it’s harmless, you are wrong. — Monica, Sacramento
Moriah, 17, Rutland, Vt.: Sexual orientation is something teenagers all struggle with today. Some accept society’s roles and don’t question their orientation, others know their orientation from a young age. But many feel they need to experiment to be sure.
Brandon, 22, Mapleton, Maine: This baffles me. I know bisexuals, “experimenters” and friends who identified as gay and are now straight, and they’ve been able to come back from a bad relationship. This stuff can happen to anyone, gay or straight. Lots of boys pressure girls into unwanted sex. We all have bad relationship experiences, but it’s up to us how much we dwell on them. We’re slowly turning into a society where “gay sex” will be referred to as “sex”, but for now, many people still feel morally against homosexuality and same-sex intimacy can haunt them.
Breele, 20, Dana Point: I find “bi” confusion juvenile and almost nobody in my current friend group worries about it, and the few who do, I’m like, really? Not that I judge those who act on it — either out of societal expectations, pressure or curiosity — but so many get messed up over it. I get approached by girls who want to fool around. I may appreciate the girl’s beauty, but am I turned on? No. Now, if it’s a gorgeous guy? YES! Big difference in reactions! Another trick if you’re confused: Look inside and ask the nitty-gritty question: Do I want to go down on a girl? Or for guys: Do I want to be penetrated by a guy? If you get a high “ew” reaction, there’s your answer. The body doesn’t lie, whereas the mind can. I politely let the girl know I’m straight and that’s that. It’s like saying “no” to a guy I don’t want to sleep with. If there’s pressure, I remove myself.
Molly, 22, Berkeley: I disagree that “experimenting with gay sex is harmful.” For many, it’s a positive learning experience. What’s harmful is being pressured into any sexual interaction you’re uncomfortable with.
Dear Monica: You are not alone. Many panelists (in reflection of current youth culture) believe same-sex encounters can be positive, or at least “not harmful.” In truth, many young people do experience harm from them — not because they are morally against homosexuality, but because they’ve gone against their biology. Sex too young is destabilizing, period. Adding this element can throw a person into chaos. Fact: The vast majority of people are heterosexual. It’s just how most people are born. Nobody cool (or professional) today encourages homosexuals to “try” heterosexual sex, yet, oddly, there’s huge social pressure for heterosexuals to “try” homosexual sex. It’s a top stressor for young people today. Monica, you did nothing wrong morally, you just didn’t follow yourself. Please seek help from a counselor so you can move on. To others: If you are confused, Breele’s “nitty-gritty” question and her comparison of what “turns you on” could help you understand yourself better. If confusion persists, please wait until adulthood to experiment. — Lauren
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