I'm a straight college guy, age 21, and I share a house with some buddies and a couple. Anyhow, the interesting stuff: This couple has been together for four years. They're both quite sexual, but she's got more libido than he does. I've got a big sex drive, too. Both of them have stated an openness to polyamorous situations. She started flirting with me three weeks ago, and flirting turned into no-sex threesomes with her and her boyfriend every few nights.
I'm perfectly fine with poly, or I wouldn't be doing this, but it feels a bit awkward fingering her or sucking on her nipples while her boyfriend is in the room, or even the same bed. Both of us guys are straight and have no desire to see the other naked, so there's none of that going on. I've got no beef with guys who like beef, but being in a sexual situation with another guy makes me uncomfortable. And anyway, I feel like he's the "primary" one, the one she loves and kisses, so I move over whenever he shows interest. This is reinforced because she said that she didn't feel comfortable kissing other guys – although fingering is fine – and I get the impression (although it could be my imagination) that he's not entirely happy that I'm cuddling and/or fingering his girlfriend while he plays Dawn of War five feet away from their bed.
I'm fine with being the "secondary" guy. But I'd much rather have some privacy if we – meaning me and her – are gonna try to get each other off, particularly if this arrangement of ours should progress to actual sex. But this is tough, since there's nowhere else in the house to go other than their room. Incidentally, we haven't told our other friends/housemates about this, although they could probably put two and two together; she screams in orgasm, and half an hour later I say good night and go back down to my room.
Any advice for making the situation more comfortable for all involved?
Can't Think Of A Clever Name
You're fingering her, you're sucking her tits, you're getting her off, she's getting you off – which means that this can't be described as a "no-sex" arrangement. You're not having vaginal intercourse, you're not kissing the girl, but you're having sex.
But I wouldn't slap a 10-dollar word like "polyamorous" on what you're doing. You may be in a polyamorous relationship someday – with this couple, with some other couple – but all you're really doing at the moment is "messing around."
It sounds like this girl is pretty up front about what she's comfortable doing and clear about her boundaries. You need to be similarly assertive. Tell them both that you're not comfortable messing around while he's in the room. So instead of playing Dawn of War while you two mess around, her boyfriend could head to the library, go for a walk, do some reading in the communal space of your shared house, or – hey – go play Dawn of War in your room for a while.
If he balks, then you may want to reconsider the assumptions you've made about him. You're not comfortable with any hint of guy-on-guy, but he may want to be in the room while you're messing around with his girlfriend because he digs that hint. I'm not saying that he's bi, or that he wants to get with you, but I'm not saying he isn't bi or doesn't want to get with you, either. I guess what I'm saying is…
Considering 1) his presence every time you're messing around with her (surely the library, the living room or your room would've occurred to him if he were uncomfortable being in the same room while you fingered his girlfriend); 2) the limitations she's placed on the kind of sex she'll have with you; and 3) his tendency to suddenly "show interest" after you've been messing around with his girlfriend (at which point you "move over" and, presumably, out), I'm thinking this girl's boyfriend is into cuckolding-lite.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. But it could mean asking for quality time alone with his girlfriend would bring the messing around to an end.
IT GETS BETTER: Last week, I wrote about Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old kid in Indiana who took his own life after enduring years of bullying for being gay. Billy didn't identify as gay and may not have been gay. But the consequences of anti-gay bullying – whether the kid being harassed is gay or closeted or just different – are often the same: isolation, pain, despair and suicide.
After last week's column went to press, I learned about another teenager – this one openly gay – who recently took his own life. Cody J. Barker was a 17-year-old high-school student in Shiocton, Wis. Cody was a cyclist and a gardener and a Lady Gaga fan who had planned to start a gay-straight student alliance at his high school this fall. "He really cared about making schools a safe place for students," a friend of Cody's told the Wisconsin Gazette. "That wasn't always his own experience with school."
Billy Lucas in Indiana, Cody Barker in Wisconsin, Justin Aaberg in Minnesota – these three boys and countless other LGBT kids have committed suicide because they couldn't picture a future for themselves.
That's why my boyfriend and I launched the It Gets Better Project, a slightly grand name for a YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject). We made a short video about our lives – the harassment we endured in school, the full and rewarding lives we enjoy now – and invited other LGBT adults to make and upload videos about their lives. The response has been completely overwhelming: thousands of members, hundreds of thousands of views and more than 100 videos from people all over the world sharing their stories, all in an effort to let bullied and isolated and unhappy LGBT kids know that it gets better.
There are a couple of similar and ongoing projects that deserve a shout-out: the amazing and deeply moving I'm from Driftwood (www.imfromdriftwood.com) documents "true stories by gay people all over." Please check it out. And there's a large archive of YouTube videos from LGBT teenagers talking about their own coming-out experiences at www.tinyurl.com/2fuwffh. And if any LGBT teenagers reading this are contemplating suicide, please visit the Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org), a suicide-prevention project for gay teenagers, or call its 24-hour hotline at 866-488-7386.
And here's a thought for people who are thinking about making videos for the It Gets Better Project: Many of the early submitted videos focused on something many gay adults have in common with gay kids – our experiences with being bullied. The pain we endured as kids should be touched on. But it would be great to see more videos that give gay young people a picture of the lives they could make for themselves if they just hang in there. I realize that sometimes it's hard to talk about the good in our lives, the things that make us happy, because it feels braggy and jinxy. And knowing that not everyone finds happiness in the same things can make us self-conscious. But LGBT kids who don't know any LGBT adults need to see – with their own eyes – that gay adults lead happy and rewarding lives. So if you decide to make a video – and I hope that you do – don't just share your pain. Share your joy. Give 'em hope. Save a firstname.lastname@example.org