January 1999

I am so confused.

Lately, my world has been shifting. I have always been the practical one. The nice one. The one who is everybody's friend. The rational one. Besides those things, which are positive, I have also always been the uptight one. The anal-retentive one. The one who has the irrational fear of any unfamiliar situation. The one who would almost rather die than drive downtown on a street he's never heard of. I have been the one who has never had an impure thought in his life. The one who doesn't think about sex. The one nobody even thinks is CAPABLE of having a sexual relationship with anyone, a guy OR a girl. You don't believe me. "Nobody is that uptight," you say. Believe it. I only started talking about masturbation with some of my closest friends this year. Most guys my age have been discussing it since eighth grade. Then again, I guess it's not good to generalize.

Moving back onto the topic at hand... I'm tired of being thought of that way. I'm a guy. A guy in college. It goes without saying that I've got some hormonal urges occasionally. But I don't know what to do about them! "Duh, Brian," you say. "Go have sex!" Funny. VERY funny. I can't.

"Huh?" you ask. I can't answer. I don't know why. How does one have a sexual relationship? Well, where I'm sitting, there are two choices. One: I can get a boyfriend. Two: I can trick.

Option one is difficult for my repressed brain to take. To get a boyfriend, I have to date. To date, I have to call people and go places and DO things. Is that difficult? No, of course not! So how come I've been putting off calling this guy for two weeks? Right when I'm looking for his number, I say, "Gawd, what if he asks if I want to meet or something?" For some reason, when I'm writing this column, it doesn't sound so bad. I'd love to! But in that situation, I stop looking up the number and turn on the radio. Why? I dunno... I think I must be crazy.

Option two. Ah, that ever-present option two. I don't know how I feel about it. It seems like everywhere I look in the gay community, people are sleeping with other people they've never met before all the time. I just read a book of coming out stories written by prominent writers. Most of them had sex with a stranger, or someone relatively unfamiliar, before reaching 18. Someone I know who is quickly becoming a good friend says he is not a slut. He says "tricking" is not his thing. Yet it comes up in one out of every four conversations. He was bored, and horny, so he tricked. I admire him for every other aspect of his personality. But why do I see sleeping around as a fault?

See, here is the pinnacle of my confusion. I don't even know why I criticize people who have park/anonymous/casual/call it whatever you want sex. I don't know whether it's because it's so against my values, the morals I have been instilled with all my life, to even contemplate. .. or for another reason.

Because, you see, I've contemplated it. I've thought many-a-time -- especially recently, because physical relationships have been so much on my mind lately -- about meeting a nice guy off IRC for the night. Or some other situation... take your pick. But I don't. Is it because of my morality? Or is it because I know I would feel uncomfortable doing it? Is it one of those "unfamiliar situations" that I abhor?

I wish someone would explain it to me. I feel like I can't make up my mind. Because I have always had a high degree of morality. But, looking back, I wonder if it truly is MORALITY, or if it's just being uptight. Everyone's doing it. Even straight couples are sleeping together on the first date. Don't believe me? Watch MTV. Sex in the '90s. Maybe it's not 100% accurate, but it's close enough. ("Wow, he is SO sheltered," you're thinking).

Is it too much to ask for a guy to be able to control his hormones? Just because he hasn't had sex for a year doesn't mean he has to trick with somebody. Or am I being uptight again? Please, somebody tell me if I'm wrong. Tell me casual sex is okay, as long as it's protected. Tell me I'm mistaking a sense of morals for staying in a comfortable spot on my couch. Give me SOME indication one way or the other. I repeat: I'm confused. And I don't think writing down my thoughts has helped clear it up, as it sometimes does...


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