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LoveFAQ is a weekly advice column for geeks, by geeks about love, life and maxing out your romance meter. Got questions for LoveFAQs? Send them to advice@escapistmag.com.

Dear LoveFAQ,

I seem to have somewhat bad luck with relationships. The women I have relations with, despite them saying “I want to take it slow”, all end up initiating sex, mounting me multiple times within the first few weeks. Then they cut off contact with me shortly after. While most men may envy my situation, I yearn for companionship, and to be completely honest, I don’t enjoy sex that much.

With my last girlfriend, everything was going great, and about a month into the relationship, we had sex. Needless to say, we did have fun. Unfortunately, the following week she stopped replying to my messages, and she dumped me by text, giving no real reason.

As this was the fourth time this had happened to me, I called her out on it and she admitted she “just wanted to have fun with me and not get into anything serious.” I was pretty hurt.

I am getting tired of being used “for fun”. What can I do to break the cycle?

Sincerely,
Mr. Instant Gratification

Dear Gratification,

If you want to take things slow, then stop putting out. Sex doesn’t just happen. It requires two people. So find some willpower, and just say no.

As for your other concern, it’s not a hard and fast rule, but generally when two people have sex after just a few days or weeks of knowing each other, it indicates their relationship will be more casual and short-lived. For many people, sex is a way to take a relationship to the next level, a step only undertaken once they’ve gotten to know each other fairly well. But how well can you really know someone in just three or four weeks?

Sex can’t build a connection or forge a relationship when there isn’t one. The best it can do is solidify and strengthen what’s already there.

If no-strings sex is what you want, then fantastic-you’ve already got the recipe. But if you want something more intimate or long-lived, then you won’t find it until you build a relationship with someone before you sleep with them, rather than expecting it to work the other way around.

One last point-and I don’t say this to be cruel-but generally, people can tell when their partner isn’t into sex, because it shows in his or her performance. And if the ladies you’re bringing home are only interested in casual sex-well, what’s the point of sticking around with someone who isn’t enjoying it?

Again, I recommend holding off on sex until your relationship is ready. Once you take the time to build a real relationship with someone, you might find your connection will improve, both in and out of the bedroom.

Dear Love FAQ,

Is there an easy way to tell if a girl is being flirtatious, or is just being nice?

Thanks,
Emotionally Illiterate

Yes. Ask her out. Nothing answers a question quite like trial and error.

Dear Love FAQ,

I’m a teenage guy in high-school, and I’ve thought for years that I was straight. But recently I have started liking a guy. I’m not sure how to interpret this, seeing as up til now I’ve only been attracted to girls, and I only really started liking the guy when I figured out he was probably gay.

I can’t just ask the guy out for a few reasons: I’m not the best guy at socialising, I’m scared as hell of rejection, and I’m still not entirely sure about my feelings. Having Christian parents doesn’t exactly help to inspire confidence much, either.

I’ve thought about this for days now and I’m yet to work out my actual position. It could be that my mind has decided that I like the guy just because he’s gay, or it could be that I actually like the guy. I feel like I really need to anonymously contact someone for advice. What should I do?

Thanks,
Can’t Think Straight

Dear Can’t Think Straight,

First off, there’s nothing wrong with you. Not that you said there was, but it bears repeating, because “sexuality is a spectrum,” is one of those axioms we often hear but rarely internalize. Society still treats attraction as a binary switch: You are either “Straight” or “Gay”, and never in between. Fifty years after Kinsey, we still act as if bisexuals or pansexuals are like Santa Claus-fairy tales we should dispel at every opportunity, lest innocent children grow up thinking them true. (Don’t even get me started on the raw deal asexuals get.)

Maybe you like girls, and maybe you like guys, and either way or both ways, it’s okay. Don’t let anyone-not your friends, not your parents, not your church-tell you otherwise.

As to why this particular guy opened your eyes, who knows? Maybe you’re just curious. Maybe you’re extra picky about your man meat. Or maybe you’ve had these feelings for a long time, but never acknowledged or recognized them, simply because you’d never met someone who had the potential to reciprocate them.

Not that he does reciprocate them, mind you. Just because he’s gay doesn’t mean he’s interested in you, specifically. At the same time, it doesn’t mean he’s not. You won’t know for sure until you decide pursue it further.

This is a scary situation to be in, I understand, and it won’t stop being scary. Our culture still doesn’t gracefully allow kids to ask questions like the ones you’re asking yourself now. But think of it this way: agonizing over what or how you feel right now won’t help. Just accept that what you feel is what you feel, even if it all remains just one big confusing jumble for awhile. And keep in mind that sometimes it’s only when you act on your feelings, one way or another, that you know for sure exactly what they are.

For what it’s worth, I’m sorry that the world’s going to suck for awhile, and that some quarters of it will never truly be receptive or understanding of where you’re coming from. But as so many have said before me, it does get better. High school sucks for everyone-gay, straight, bi, alien from Mars. So just hold on. Wait it out. You’ll see.

In the meantime, you may find these resources helpful:

Advocates for Youth: I think I Might Be Bisexual, What Do I Do?
Planned Parenthood: Info for Teens About Coming Out
Gender Equity Resource Center: Coming Out
It Gets Better Project

Disclaimer: LoveFAQ is written by Lara Crigger, who is by no means a trained psychiatrist or therapist or even a middle school guidance counselor – just a smart gal who wants to help out her fellow geek. LoveFAQ is meant for entertainment purposes only, so don’t take it as a substitute for professional advice. If you have real problems, consult your physician.

Got a burning question (or a question about burning) for LoveFAQ? Send your emails to advice@escapistmag.com. All submissions are confidential and anonymous.

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