A man once asked me what it would take to make him orgasm.
The question was so awkward I almost forgot I was talking to him.
A decade later, he asked again.
This time, I wasn’t sure what to tell him.
The answer was the same: the same awkward, awkward conversation he’d had.
“I was a kid and I was in love,” he said.
“And I knew I wanted to be a gay man, but I wasn.
I was afraid of what it might feel like to be gay.”
I know this because, more than twenty years later, I still feel the same.
But, more importantly, I know I’m doing better.
This is because I’m living my truth.
I’m saying it out loud and honestly, without shame.
It’s not an easy thing to do.
It requires guts.
But it’s worth it.
You can read more from The Cut on how to talk to a gay orgy.
I’ve been doing this for a few years now, so I’m fairly familiar with the challenges and benefits.
But I’m also not used to being asked this kind of question in public.
So I sat down with my best friend, a man I’ve known since he was a teenager.
It was our first interview in nearly five years.
I had to go back and talk to him for a while because he’s been getting married.
I didn’t want to do this alone.
I wanted him to see my true feelings and ask what he could do to make me feel more comfortable and confident.
My first reaction was a mix of shock and disbelief.
It didn’t occur to me to ask him to do anything, to get to know him, to talk about anything.
But then, he looked at me and asked, “Do you want to know what I want to talk [about]?”
I told him I did.
He asked me, “What about sex?”
I said, “Yes, but only with my husband.”
He asked, and I nodded.
“Do I feel safe?”
“Well, I don’t feel safe if my husband isn’t there to help me.”
He said, with a smile, “No, I feel comfortable, too.
My husband and I are good together.”
He then told me, with conviction, “We love each other.
We don’t want you to get hurt.”
I felt the heat of anger.
He was right.
This conversation was going to take me years to reconcile.
And I’m not sure what he meant.
“My husband’s a good partner,” I said.
Then I looked at him and asked him, “How about you?”
“Well,” he replied, “I love him.
But he doesn’t love me.”
I was stunned.
It took me a moment to get over how much he loved me.
I said that in a way I’d never said before, but that he didn’t need to tell me how.
It wasn’t that he was lying.
I just needed to know that he loved someone who loved him back.
“No,” I replied, with the most genuine of nods.
“So, you love him, too?
You love your husband?”
“And you want him to love you back?”
I said it with sincerity.
I love you too, too.”
It took some time to process this information.
After a while, I realized that I didn, in fact, love my husband.
I knew that for a fact.
I realized he was very special to me.
I was so confused.
Why didn’t he just tell me?
What was he hiding?
I started thinking about my marriage and how it had changed.
“When I was growing up,” I explained, “our marriage was more of a platonic thing.
It had nothing to do with sex.
My mom and dad were the people in our life.
We weren’t allowed to talk sex.
And my mom’s a Christian and my dad’s a Muslim.
My dad taught me everything I know about Islam and about God.
He taught me to be strong, to listen to God and to love him.”
I knew what I wanted.
I loved him.
And he loved that.
I wasn, in a sense, my brother’s keeper.
But when I married my husband, I became a new person.
And that’s where I was confused.
He’d left my family and my faith behind.
I needed to be my own person, to make my own choices and to make sure he had my whole heart and my entire soul.
So it’s easy to understand why my husband is so interested in what I’m going to tell you about sex and what I think of it.
It could be the first time you’ve ever shared something about yourself, something you’d been afraid to talk openly about.
Or it could be something you’ve