Hey Alex, How are you? My question is well I’ve been exploring my sexuality for the past couple of years. I have fooled around with guys, done hookups, had connections, and think of myself as bi. I’d like to explore more about the culture and because I have a birthday next month, I’d like to possibly go to my first gay bar or club. Because I’m from Atlanta, I know I should expect tons of the culture in the downtown area, but how do I know I’ll enjoy myself fully?

I’d be open to the possibility of dating more guys and build connections but I’m just scared because I haven’t come out to my family though I do think it no one’s business ya know. But there’s also a side of me that doesn’t want to get too serious and have my fun for now. I’ve had one guy who I frequently hooked up with and though we became friends, he felt like that I was catching feelings for him and wanted to break it off. I was confused and hurt (kinda still am) on why he did that if I didn’t feel like I did nothing wrong.

So yes I’d like to know if I’m a “beginner” in the LGBT world, then how can I make myself have a good time and avoid situations in which feelings for somebody else get in the way. There is quite a stigma on how monogamy among gays and lesbians is seen as repulsive and how we’re seen as people who hookup and want to have fun. I’m ok with that but the one person who I had the experience with, has given me a lesson on how to not do fwb all the time.

Whoa. Okay. You’re venting. That’s okay.

I’ll start at the beginning.

You want to learn more about queer culture because you’ve realized we are your people. Welcome!

Unfortunately there is no way to know if you’ll enjoy yourself. You might not. I didn’t enjoy the scene when I first came out.

It took 2 years of bad hookups and getting drunk and crushes that never panned out before I learned how to be gay and not feel scared all the time. I can’t say that learning process was easy or very enjoyable, but today any gay bar in any city feels like home.

There’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for this. You just have to do it.

I’m not sure what happened between you and this guy — if you got feelings for him or not — but he’s one guy. There will be Guy Two and Girl Three (since you’re bi) and Girl Four and Fuck Bud Five, and so on. You have more people to come.

Try not to get “lessons” from your earliest sex/dating experiences, or if you must, remember these “lessons” are going to change. Whenever you think you’ve learned a rule about people or dating, someone will come along and torpedo it.

Don’t avoid FWBs. Friends with benefits are great, especially when you’re new. Casual sexual relationships are my most valuable connections. Some of them are my greatest loves. You may not understand that, but you will someday.

When you’re new, FWBs are better than attempting relationships you don’t know how to do yet and aren’t ready for.

Have fun. Play around. Learn the scene. Discover what you like.

There’s also no way to avoid getting crushes on people. Crushes are part of the journey.

My friend, you will have to come out to your parents. Maybe not today, but someday soon.

If our identities existed in a cultural vacuum, if lives did not depend on us, you would be correct in saying your sexuality is no one’s business.

But it is people’s business. People across the world who will never fuck you or know your name have made it their business.

It’s not just your identity. It is the identity of some of the greatest activists and artists and campaigners in history. You don’t get to claim it quietly. Unless you live in Chechnya or some place where coming out can get you killed, you must come out. You owe that to those who can’t.

Last bit: suspend your expectations about queer culture, including the notion that monogamy among gays and lesbians is “repulsive.” You will find many different stigmas in our community and many different views of monogamy. What you think and feel about it is the only opinion that matters.

If you want to be monogamous and practice monogamous relationships, you’re free to do so. Fuck what others think.

I’m not quiet about my feelings on monogamy. I think monogamy is an antiquated and unrealistic idea fostered on shame and oppression. For me it’s a deal-breaker. I won’t date someone who wants me to be theirs and only theirs — sexually or otherwise. But I’m one opinion. Many others think monogamy is ideal. Those people are yours.

And since we both live in ATL, I assume you know who I am. Say hi.

— Beastly

Writer, blogger, illustrator, kinkster.

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