The Hook Up: 8-31-2011

I came out about eight months ago and my straight best friend has been very supportive. We’ve talked about dates I’ve been on, the girl I was seeing, sex, etc. just like we did about guys before I came out. But whenever I ask her to go to a gay or lesbian bar with me, she says no without making an excuse. I asked her to go see Uh Huh Her, she wasn’t interested. I get that this isn’t her normal crowd, but I’ve always gone to bro bars with her even though it has never been my scene. And, yeah, she may be uncomfortable being hit on by a girl at a lesbian club, but I’m not comfortable getting hit on my guys when I’m out with her and I put up with it.

Do I have room to be annoyed by this? How do I express this without it sounding ungrateful for her being so awesome about this generally? I am nervous but excited to explore the LGBT scene more, but with a totally straight friend group it is hard to figure out how.

Anna says:

Great question. Part of the whole being-close-friends-with-someone package entails participating in some activities we find unpleasant. Baby showers are the first things that come to my mind. Like, if I have to change a cabbage patch doll’s diaper blindfolded, you bet your ass you’re gonna help me make some elaborate quinoa tofu dish for the next gay potluck we’re attending together. I don’t care how pregnant you are.

So, yes, you have every right to be annoyed, especially if your straight friend’s assumptions about gay culture are tinged with homophobia. Is she really worried about getting hit on at a gay bar? We’re not the most forward in the queer bunch, and it’s hard enough for straight-appearing ghey ladeez to get hit on as it is. But, at this point, it seems like you’re going on speculation alone, so you’ll need to have a talk with her.

Approach the conversation from a place of curiosity and it won’t come off as an attack: “Hey, I’ve noticed when I invite you to Dyketopia you never seem to want to go. Does it make you uncomfortable? If so, how come?” Depending on her answers, you might have to do a little coddling at first to convince her that gay spaces are usually just as boring as straight ones, just better decorated. If she needs further hand-holding, suggest bringing another friend to tag along, or make it a group outing. You can and should reiterate how important it is for you to have such a supportive friend in your life, and that you appreciate her awesomeness while you’re exploring this brave, new world. You’re also free to mention that you’ve made your fair share of sacrifices for her at Bro-Back Mountain bars, but resist turning it into some kind of competition for who suffers more for the friendship.

Also, it’s not like you’re suggesting naked drum circles to pay service to the Goddess. It’s a concert. She can deal with it.

So, here is the long and the short of it: I am very much in love with my girlfriend of three years. We are even planning to get married. The only thing is, I have this friend that seems to invade my thoughts at times. We have a couple that we spend a lot of time with and I find myself very attracted to one of them. We have a lot in common, she is very much like my girlfriend in so many ways and I think I could have gotten past it long ago, but I feel like it may be a mutual attraction. We often have late night conversations about our lives (our respective girlfriends are very aware that it happens and know that there is nothing going on between us) and I often wonder if the best way to get past it is to get it all out in the open by asking her if there is something there or if I am imagining things.

I would never do anything to hurt the girl I am with, and I don’t believe that she would either. Do you think it would be easier to get past this if I know, or should I just keep it to myself and wait for it to go away?

Anna says: No, you shouldn’t bring it up. I think you both already know there is something there. And that’s fine. It’s perfectly normal and expected to develop crushes on other people when we are in committed relationships. But if you don’t plan on doing anything about this something, i.e. cheating on your girlfriends or leaving them, then there’s no point in hashing out the details of your awesome chemistry.

Indeed, it seems that an overt conversation about your attraction to each other would only serve to torment you further, and make your one-on-one time fraught with sexual tension. I’m afraid you’ll have to let this crush, like all crushes that we can’t/shouldn’t act on, run its natural course. If that involves spending less alone time with her, so be it. I’ve found that telling my partner about my crushes helped to defuse them, and if your girlfriend trusts you, which I’m guessing she does, then admitting that you have a crush on this other girl will also presumably be no big deal. I realize that jealousy is a potential factor in such an admission, but I think our crushing tendencies, which again are totally normal and natural, would be so much less fraught and nerve-racking if we could be more open about them with our partners. It’s silly to pretend that just because we find someone we click with that all other people cease to be attractive or interesting.

This isn’t a relationship question per se, but more of a curiosity. My partner and I were at a sex toy store the other day and the dildos were huge, literally like wine bottles. My question is do people really use them? Lesbians? Gays? Straights? Octomoms?

Anna says: You know, I always assumed they were mostly for novelty purposes. But maybe I’ve simply seen too many bridal parties pushing giant dildos around in strollers with plastic, penis-shaped shot glasses around their necks. (What was that about queers destroying the sacred institution of marriage?) I also remember seeing a breadbox-sized dildo in a German porno flick called Bizarre Anal Insertions once. (It was just on!) But since I have limited experience with such toys, I reached out to the smart folks at Good Vibrations to fill us in (sorry) on the nitty gritty.

In an email, Dr. Carol Queen, Staff Sexologist at Good Vibes, wrote: “The larger dildos are of special interest to the people who are into fisting, either vaginal or anal. If you look at the diameter of a wine bottle (or one of the large dildos) and then compare it to a fist, you’ll see how that could appeal. Using them this way is generally a super-slow process and is absolutely NOT for beginners to dildo or insertion play. It takes a great deal of physical control, knowledge, and practice to do anal fisting in particular. And using a very large dildo is not in fact easier than fisting. Among other things, someone playing with a toy this size really must have ample good-quality lube that their body reacts well to.”

Dr. Charlie Glickman, Education Program Manager, noted that some people do use them for shock value, but he also had an interesting, psychological take: “Another reason some stores carry them is that they make other toys seem smaller. For example, if a store has a dildo the width of a soda can (certainly a big one, but not too uncommon a choice), and it’s the largest they carry, some people might see it and think that there’s something weird about them since they want the biggest toy in the store. But if there’s one that’s even bigger, it makes the soda can-sized one seem more reasonable. It can be like a loss leader — it’s there to influence how customers think about other products.

I suspect (although this isn’t based on anything other than a guess) that some people do the same thing at home. If you give a partner a choice, they might hesitate to pick the biggest dildo in the drawer. But if it’s the second-biggest, it might be more likely to be picked.”

So there you have it. Now you can impress your girlfriend with toy knowledge that encompasses far more than your GigaPet and commemorative spoon collection.

Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a professional tweeter/blogger for Mother Jones and a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at and on Twitter @annapulley. Send her your Hook Up questions at