My 14-year-old son just came out to me. He has a slightly older boyfriend, and they're going to the school dance on Saturday night. I am adjusting to a truth I had long suspected.
I worry, though, that my son will get hurt. When I asked him if the other students at school would be cool with him bringing a boy, he said, "Who cares?" Bullying is not a huge problem at his school.
We have had the sex talk several times, but I have always assumed a hetero approach. I would really like him to wait a couple more years before he gets seriously sexually active, though I expect petting and kissing are givens. Any advice?
Still My Son
Treat your son to some of that equal treatment we gay people are always going on about, SMS, and treat him just like you'd treat your straight 14-year-old. You can be supportive without signing off on stuff you wouldn't sign off on for a straight child — indeed, it's the best way to show your support.
What else can you do? You can hover, scrutinize, interfere — all the crap that parents typically do when their children begin to date. For instance, this boy your son is seeing? Have you met him? Meet him. How much older is he? Find out. Are they messing around? Ask them. Make sure your son understands that he doesn't have to engage in anal intercourse to be authentically gay, or all grown-up, or out. He can — in fact, he should — take things slow. Encourage your son to date, hold hands, make out. And, as awkward as it's going to feel to say aloud, encourage your son, when he does become sexually active, to stick with mutual masturbation and oral sex for a good long time — until he's sure he's ready for intercourse, not just anxious for it.
You should also regard your son, at least through his adolescence, as more of a daughter than a son. We tend to be more protective of our (straight) daughters than we are of our sons. Why? A sexist desire to keep girls "pure"? That's a part of it, sure, but there's also this: Men are pigs, and people on the receiving end of male sexual desire/attention are in more danger than people on the receiving end of female sexual desire/attention (in general — individual results may vary).
Testosterone is the crystal meth of hormones, and men are more likely to be abusive and violent. The prevalence of HIV among gay men makes the stakes higher for your son. So don't allow him to date anyone you don't get to meet and approve of, and don't confuse being supportive with letting him do whatever he wants. Be active, be engaged, and never stop being his meddling, interfering, hypersuspicious dad.
Good luck, SMS. It sounds like your son lucked out having you as a parent.
I've been seeing this guy for almost two years. We've been living together for six months, and it's been REALLY bumpy. We fight a lot, I cry a lot, and it just gets really messy. I never get any time to myself; he's moody and insecure and always wants to know where I'm going or who I'm with. I'm beginning to think this is all one big mistake, but every time I try to leave, it always gets ugly. He's thrown my stuff in the front yard, broken things of mine and even called me names.
As sad and ridiculous as this is, I want to make it work. When we're mad, it's like World War III. But when we're happy, it's so blissful. What can I do? People tell me it's time to sever ties, but the people who usually tell me this are the ones who can't stand him. Am I stupid for believing in a love that feels destined to fail?
Hopelessly Devoted To Him
This is not a relationship, HDTH, it's a hostage situation. He's a controlling, abusive piece of shit — listen to your fucking friends. When your boyfriend breaks your shit, he's making an implicit threat: I can break your face just as easily as I'm breaking your shit, so don't even think about leaving. And of course things are great when they're great — that's part of an abuser's MO. If abusers were abusive 24/7, no abusive relationship would last longer than one date. He parcels out the good times because he knows that they convince you to stick around against your better judgment. Think of the good times as rainbow sprinkles on a dog-shit sundae — sprinkles or no sprinkles, you're still standing there with a bowl full of dog shit in your hands. Get a couple of friends to come over when he's at work, box up your shit, and leave. Go.
Apropos of nothing, Savage, you fucking suck ass.
You And Your Column Both Suck
Have I ever claimed otherwise?
And apropos of nothing, YAYCBS, I'm totally grooving on Garfunkel & Oates right now (www.garfunkelandoates.com), and everyone has to check them out; Perez Hilton was absolutely right about Miss California (she is a dumb bitch); and I recently visited the University of Georgia in Athens, where the kids asked me to come up with a dirty meaning for "between the hedges," which is their football stadium's nickname. Off the top of my head, I said, "The boy in a girl-boy-girl three-way could be described as being between the hedges." But upon further reflection, I think the term is a better description of going down on a woman with a particularly hairy bush — and the tongue, not the boy/girl doing the tonguing, is "between the hedges."email@example.com