Straight Talk Advice

Apr 22, 2014

Heterosexual girl shares warning about bi-experimentation

Dear Straight Talk: I'm in high school and after reading your column on heterosexual girls pressured into trying lesbian sex (FEB 11), 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, Calif.

Moriah 17, Rutland, Vt. Ask me a question

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 Ask me a question

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, Calif. Ask me a question

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, Calif. Ask me a question

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. As for your older cousin, I might not be so lenient. If she was over 18, this could be considered child molestation. 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.

Editor's Note: I appreciate the panel so much. They truly reflect what's going on in their world in terms of trends, thinking, moral code, and what's politically correct. And while many panelists in today's column believe same-sex experimentation is okay, none are okay with being pressured into it.

What they don't see from their "bubble" is that societal expectation IS pressure, and this tremendous social pressure, from within their own ranks, to question their orientation and feel the need to experiment to "find out" is causing a great deal of unnecessary pain. It's the latest trendy, politically correct, and unfortunately, destructive new thing. But it's morally incorrect to call it destructive, because that would somehow imply that you don't support gays and bis — who usually do need to do some experimenting — and who most young people really want to support! (Anyone who reads Straight Talk knows I'm a big supporter of ALL human rights. I'm thrilled to see people identifying as bi- or homosexual be more and more accepted, even able to marry in many states. Kudos to this generation for playing a big role in that!)

While some hetero young people bounce back from same-sex experimentation, or from racking their brain over it, for many, the resultant confusion, angst, depression, despair, even suicidal ideation, is very real. We saw the same thing with "conversion" therapies that tried to make gay people act like they were straight. These therapies were very destructive and thankfully have been officially debunked and opposed by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and every accredited medical and psychological association in the U.S..

We've worked hard to get homosexuals to accept themselves and be accepted. Now if we can just do the same thing for heterosexuals! :)  —Lauren

To read a longer blog on this topic, read, "Why is Everyone Bi?" Please know that, while the blog focuses on girls, the "bisexual" movement is affecting boys, too.

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  1. By Tom, age 16, from Vallejo, CA on 04/22/2014

    I enjoy reading Straight Talk every week when the new column goes online.  The one thing that disappoints me is that nearly all of the questions and comments about teen sexuality issues come from girls.  I realized that it’s just as much my fault as anyone else’s since I had never submitted any comments, so I decided to comment on this week’s column since I have personal experience with this issue from a guy’s perspective, and I really hope that more guys will start doing so.

    My stepbrother and I are about the same age and have become good buddies.  We share a room during visitations and like many teenage guys, we talk about girls and our sexual feelings.  We’re both totally straight.  Since we’re both guys, we have no problem seeing each other naked when we undress and it’s never caused any sexual stimulation.  Like all guys, we get frequent boners and just laugh and tease each other about it if we happen to see each other this way.

    A few months ago, we got to talking about oral sex and what it would be like to get a blow job from a girl, and we realized that the feeling would be no different whether it was done by a girl or a guy, so we decided to do it to each other.  We wore condoms, so we didn’t actually come in each other’s mouths or anything like that.  It satisfied our curiosity and we realized that it wasn’t that much different than masturbating which we do all the time with ourselves.  We haven’t done it again and don’t have any desire to.  It hasn’t made us want to be gay or done any damage to our friendship.  I don’t even look at it as experimenting with gay sex, just as satisfying our curiosity about oral sex, and in our case at least I feel that it was harmless.

    Tom

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    1. By LAUREN, from StraightTalkAdvice.org on 04/25/2014

      Tom—I really appreciate that you wrote. Thank you! I, too, get disappointed that we don’t hear from very many men, especially regarding sexual issues. I hope your letter will encourage others to write.

      It’s interesting that while most girls who write say that gay experimenting caused them a lot of discomfort and anxiety afterward, for you and your stepbrother, you say it appeared harmless. I would definitely like to hear from other young hetero men on this, because I think for many it brings up a fear that they are gay (not that there is anything wrong with being gay).  Guys: Am I right? Please enlighten!—Love, Lauren

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      1. By Bill, age 17, from Carmichael, CA on 04/26/2014

        OK, you wanted to her from more guys, so here’s my point of view.  I find the idea of 2 stepbrothers (or any 2 guys) giving each other blow jobs to be totally perverted, even with a condom as an experiment.  Just the thought of it makes me want to barf!  I also share a room with my stepbrother when he visits, and like most teenage guys, it’s no big deal when we see each other’s dicks when we get undressed and no big deal if one of us sees the other with a boner, but unlike Tom, we don’t laugh about it, we just ignore it.  But no way in the world would I let him or any other guy put it in my mouth and suck on it, even with a condom!  And no way would I put mine in another guys mouth! Until I’m in a sexual relationship with a girl, I will continue to satisfy my sexual urges by masturbating, and I only do it in private.  It might be different for girls, but I also find the idea of mutual masturbation between guys to be sickening and perverted. 

        If Tom and his stepbrother only did it one time as an experiment, it probably doesn’t mean that they’re gay, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing to do!  That is my opinion.

        Bill

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        1. By LAUREN, from StraightTalkAdvice.org on 05/03/2014

          Bill—Your “ew” reaction thinking about this scenario is completely expectable for heterosexual men. Running such a thought experiment is what Breele was asking young people to do if they are at all confused by social pressure to “just try it.” Thank you so much for writing in with the results of yours!—Love, Lauren

          PS: Always interested in hearing from more males on this subject!

          Reply to this comment

  2. By S.L., age 16, from Anaheim, CA on 04/23/2014

    During a sleepover with 2 friends we raided the liquor cabinet since my parents were gone for the evening and coming home very late.  On a lark, we decided to have 3 way girl on girl sex “just for fun.”  All three of us are straight and have boyfriends and had never done anything like this before.  It was a terrible experience.  When I woke up naked in bed with one of my friends and also with a bad hangover, I felt very, very ashamed of what I had done.  My friends felt the same way and we could hardly look at each other or speak to each other.  I even felt uncomfortable with them seeing me naked even though I had never been shy about them seeing me before since we’re all girls and all the same.  I will never do anything like this again, and I haven’t gotten drunk since, so one positive thing came out of it!  I don’t really think that it did me permanent damage and it certainly didn’t make me gay.  If anything, it had the opposite effect, but I wish like anything that it had never happened.

    S.L.

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  3. By N.N., age 16, from Carmichael, CA on 04/24/2014

    While it’s slightly different from this week’s topic, I want to say that having heterosexual sex as an experiment is just as harmful.  My stepbrother and I had been stepsiblings for 10 years and always had a very friendly brother-sister type relationship, but there had never been anything sexual between us.  We were still very young when our parents were married and weren’t even close to puberty, so our parents saw no problem with us sharing a room during visitations since there was no extra space and since we always got along with the arrangement, nobody saw a reason to change it even when we reached puberty.  We “played doctor” a few times when we were first sharing a room, but lost interest in seeing each other’s bodies after we had seen everything there was to see a few times and didn’t have a problem undressing in front of each other.

    One night about six months ago when I was there on a visitation and we were home alone, we decided to experiment with each other to see what it was like to have sex since neither one of us had ever done it.  He wore a condom which he said he always kept on him “just in case” so there was no risk of pregnancy.  I didn’t enjoy it at all and in fact found it painful.  He was able to come, but didn’t seem to enjoy it either.  We both felt very uncomfortable and embarrassed afterwards and our relationship has never been the same.  I now feel very uncomfortable sharing a room with him and undressing in front of them.  However, I don’t know how to tell my dad and stepmom that I suddenly have a problem sleeping in the same room with him as I can’t tell them what happened and there’s really no other place for me to sleep.  Even the couch wouldn’t work since our parents usually stay up later than we do and it would be very uncomfortable anyway and I doubt I would get much sleep, but I’m also now uncomfortable sleeping in the same room with him whichalso makes it hard to sleep.

    I now believe that having sex as an experiment is a very bad idea whether it is homosexual or heterosexual sex.

    N.N.

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  4. By Linda, age 17, from Petaluma, CA on 04/25/2014

    My best friend and I did this as an experiment while sharing my bed during a sleepover.  We are both totally straight and this didn’t change anything.  However, it ended our close friendship.  We both felt very ashamed and guilty afterwards and being together after this always was a reminder of what we had done.  We were afraid to ever share a bed again and even became uncomfortable undressing in front of each other and ended up drifting apart.  We didn’t enjoy the sexual experience at all, and no way was it worth the permanent damage that it did to our friendship.  My advice to others is not to experiment like this.  It’s not worth it, and based on N.N.‘s comment it looks like it applies to doing either gay or straight sex as an “experiment.”

    Linda

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  5. By Lori, age adult, from toledo, ohio on 04/25/2014

    I’m concerned that you missed a key issue when Monica wrote to say she felt pressured to try gay sex with her OLDER COUSIN. Monica was sexually molested. Her cousin simply used the “lets see what its like” line to trick Monica. Sexual abuse should be reported to authorities. Depending on her age and other factors this is also crime. What would the panel have said if Monica had been pressured to have sex by an older male cousin? While far less common there are female sex offenders, and they can be just as clever in manipulating vulnerable victims.

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    1. By LAUREN, from StraightTalkAdvice.org on 04/25/2014

      Lori—Thank you for this comment. I couldn’t agree more. And yes, I think we are all guilty of being softer on women than we would be on men, which isn’t fair or constructive in ending sexual abuse. Thanks for calling us out on this.—Lauren

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  6. By Peter, age 26, from Honolulu, Hawaii on 04/25/2014

    What you mention isn’t experimentation with one’s own feelings—if this cousin is over 18, it’s child molestation which is basically a kind of rape. The take-aways in my mind are that 1) one should never try and coerce someone into doing something they don’t want to do, and 2) saying no is a right. It’s not just a gay sex issue, it’s a sex issue in general: Nobody has any right to your body besides you, and if they tell you otherwise, they are wrong and you need to seek help from someone who respects you.

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  7. By Brie, age 22, from San Francisco on 04/25/2014

    Honestly, if you have to be pressured into something it’s wrong. If someone is unsure of their sexual orientation, they should explore it at their own pace and manner, but nobody should be told they should “at least try it.” Stay true to who you are. 

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  8. By Colin, age 20, from sacramento, ca on 04/25/2014

    I don’t believe that “experimenting” with sex, gay or otherwise, is psychologically harmful.  I do believe that pressuring a 15 year old minor into having sex with you is most certainly harmful.  I think that if both parties aren’t consenting with some degree of enthusiasm, something’s wrong.

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  9. By S.L., age 16, from Orange, CA on 04/26/2014

    I don’t know if you’d actually call it experimenting with gay sex, because we only touch ourselves and not each other, but I’ve engaged in mutual masturbation with my sister and my best friend.  We only do it when our mom isn’t home since the door to our room doesn’t have a lock and she sometimes walks in on us without knocking and we know this would freak her out.  I don’t think it does us any harm and we are able to share our feelings about our sexuality and different ways to stimulate ourselves.  I would never actually have sex with my sister or my best friend or any other girl, but I don’t feel this is doing us any harm.

    S.L.

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    1. By Tammy, age 15, from Granite Bay, CA on 04/26/2014

      I agree with S.L.  that mutual masturbation isn’t “gay sex” and that it does no harm.  And I also totally agree that don’t let your mom (or stepmom) catch you doing it!  I share a room with my stepsister on visitations and we’ve become close friends and are totally comfortable with nudity in front of each other and we first just started talking about ways to sexually stimulate ourselves and then began doing it together.  Her mom (my stepmom) care home unexpectedly and “caught” us.  She was furious.  She put all the blame on my because I’m “older” and said that I was “corrupting” my stepsister.  Well, I’m only 8 months older, so we’re really basically the same age and we were equal participants, so I don’t think it can be said that I was “corrupting” a younger girl.  She said she would give us a “pass’ this one time, but if she ever caught us doing something like this again, I would have to sleep on the couch instead of sharing my stepsister’s room and double bed.  Now she constantly barges in on us without warning to “check” on us and make sure we aren’t doing anything perverted which really bugs me especially when I’m nude or just in my bra and thong, and it’s totally unnecessary.  I’m not shy about other females seeing me nude, including my stepmom, but I still don’t like having my privacy invaded like this when I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.  I couldn’t care less when my own mom sees me nude, but I still appreciate that fact that she has the courtesy to knock before coming into my room.

      Tammy

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  10. By Chris, age 18, from islip NY USA on 10/17/2014

    is nobody bringing up the fact that they were cousins?!?!

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