My last girlfriend broke up with me because I couldn’t get hard when having sex with her, and one night, I even screamed “Oh, Steve!” during sex (Steve is my roommate). Am I gay?

There are many possible reasons why you couldn’t maintain an erection with your girlfriend that have nothing to do with your sexual orientation. Men who are tired, stressed, drunk, distracted, worried about their performance or about pleasing their partners can all have difficulty in this area. Also, sexual difficulties can be indicative of larger problems in the relationship, so if your relationship is rocky, sex isn’t likely to go smoothly.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to hazard a guess about your sexual orientation – only you can do that. A good place to start is by honestly asking yourself if you feel attracted to men. If that feels too intimidating, you can try thinking back to who/what you fantasize about when you masturbate or who your childhood TV crushes were.

Please note, however, that even if you’ve had a fantasy or two about being with a man, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re gay or bisexual. People can fantasize about activities that they would never want to engage in in real life (for example, some people have rape fantasies but in no way actually want to be raped). It’s this naughty/taboo/wrong aspect of the fantasy that can make it exciting.

If you do think that you may be gay or bisexual, know that you’re in good company. There’s a lot more stigma for men to admit that they’re anything but heterosexual, but according to the Kinsey institute’s research the majority of people are bisexual to varying degrees (i.e. not purely homosexual or purely heterosexual).

With regards to calling out your roommate’s name, you may have primed the idea of him in your mind by remembering a conversation that you had or by looking at something in the room that belonged to him. Then again, if you were having a sexual fantasy about him, you could simply be attracted to him and caught up in your imaginings.

Ultimately, I’d suggest taking some time to pay attention to your fantasies with an open, non-judgmental mind. Sexual desire comes in many different forms and, whatever you may discover you like, I can guarantee that there are others who share your feelings. If you can be honest with yourself about what you truly like, it puts you that much closer to being able to find it and enjoy it in real life.

What do you do when a guy pressures you to have sex and is really good at manipulation? He makes you feel bad about it when you say NO.

I don’t care how good this guy is at manipulation; he can’t make you feel bad without you allowing him to make his needs more important than your own. Think about it this way – would you accept treatment like this from a friend who always wanted her way and tried to make you feel guilty if you didn’t put her needs first regardless of how you were feeling? I hope not.

You and this guy are equals. What you want is just as important as what he wants and whatever “arguments” he is using are as equally valid as your own. For example, if he says something like “if you loved me you would have sex with me,” I would argue that if he truly loved you, he wouldn’t feel comfortable pressuring you into doing anything you were hesitant about.

It can be even harder to assert yourself in this way if you’re a woman because women are socially conditioned to put others’ needs first, to be agreeable, and not to be assertive.

Women are portrayed in the media as being sexually disposable and easily replaced if they don’t want to engage in a given sexual act. In reality, this insecurity is a marketing ploy for magazines to attempt to sell you confidence via image or beauty-building products.

Your sexual skills are only a tiny portion of all that you are as a person, which is anything but interchangeable. It may hurt to realize that this guy that you care about isn’t treating you with respect, but I see it as dodging a bullet. If he doesn’t value you properly, it makes it easy to walk away and find someone else who does.

Estrada is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Clinical & Social Psychology.


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