“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
Anonymous said: so my boyfriend asked for a "break" over the holidays because he doubts his feelings, one week after a ferocious make out session during which i refused to give my virginity to him. i said i was up for a blowjob tho, but anyway that didn't happen because condom issue, whatever. it's the holidays right now, but how should i act in school? im worried he'll tell everybody, and i still like him.
Readers won’t stop sending the Bad Advisor their real-ass questions to answer, so the Bad Advisor is periodically going to try her hand at answering them.
Dear Worried -
There is a lot going on in your very short letter. I think we need bullet points.
- Your virginity is not a magical present that you “give” to another person, who will then own your body parts, or your body generally, or your experience.
Based on the information in your letter and a general bullshit cultural narrative that teaches vagina-having people that their human worth is tied directly to what they do or do not do with their vaginae, the Bad Advisor guesses you’re a vagina-having person, specifically one who is describing “virginity” as “the first time anyone puts their penis in your vagina.”
Now, there’s a reason p-in-v sex is a pretty big deal: it’s the baby-making kind of sex, and people who have that kind of sex should do so responsibly and (as with all kinds of sex) consensually, because potentially putting more people on planet earth is serious business. You’ll notice that Bad Advisor calls p-in-v sex a “kind of sex,” rather than “sex.” P-in-v sex is just one thing on a really fucking big menu of fucking, and treating it as something you “give” to someone, rather than something you consensually experience with them, is a really great (read: terrible) way of putting your self-esteem in someone else’s hands.
- About that someone else: your boyfriend did you a favor by asking for a “break.”
I know it sucks, but look here: you imply in your letter that you think maybe your boyfriend lost some of his feels for you, because you didn’t want to do p-in-v sex with him. And hey, that’s his decision to make. But you both have an equal right to decide what kind of sex, if any, you have with your partner(s). Which means that he can say he wants a girlfriend who will do p-in-v sex with him, and you get to say: I don’t want to do p-in-v sex. Shrug. I mean, that’s it. Maybe your boyfriend is a tool for ditching you after finding out he won’t get to do p-in-v sex with you, or maybe he’s just really tuned into what he needs out of a sexual relationship. Doesn’t matter, because either way, what he wants right now (p-in-v sex) is not compatible with what you want (not to have p-in-v sex) right now. The cookie: this is the way it crumbles.
- HELL FUCKING YEAH YOU USE CONDOMS WHILE YOU DO ORAL SEX! HELL FUCKING YEAH YOU DO! HIGH FUCKING FIVE! FUCK YES! YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT! AMEN AMEN AMEN
I think that bullet point pretty much nails it. New bullet point time.
- If you are worried your boyfriend will “tell everybody” anything you don’t want “everybody” to know, that dude needs to become your ex-boyfriend, PRONTO.
Friend, you are EXTREMELY smart and cool for not having p-in-v sex with this person in light of the fact that you cannot trust him not to betray your trust. Again, not because p-in-v sex is bad, but because a lot of people mistakenly, wrongly and totally shittily believe that whether or not a person has done p-in-v sex is important, relevant information about their worth as a person. It sounds like you think your boyfriend might be the kind of person who judges someone else for having p-in-v sex, or giving blowjobs, and I bet he’s not the only person at your school who does that. A lot of people who look down on girls who have p-in-v sex talk a lot about shit like “family values” but dearheart, listen to the Bad Advisor when she tells you:
- THE PEOPLE WITH THE BEST VALUES ARE THOSE WHO TREAT OTHERS WITH RESPECT BECAUSE THEY ARE FELLOW HUMANS ON EARTH, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE OR HAVE NOT TICKED OFF SOME ARBITRARY CHECKLIST OF ACCEPTABLE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR.
The Bad Advisor is not totally clear on what you are afraid your boyfriend might “tell everybody,” but she reckons it could be (1) that sometimes you have oral sex with your partners (2) that you have not had p-in-v sex before (3) that you refused to have p-in-v sex with him (4) that you are on a “break” in your relationship.
From what I can tell, (4) is the only one of those options that might be literally any other person’s business, just from a practical standpoint of hey, maybe there’s not-total-piece-of-shit person out there who has been dying to flirt with you for ages but has restrained themselves out of respect for your relationship status. Bad Advisor wants you to meet that person! Or no person at all! Because no person is better than crappy gossipy boyfriend who tells your shit to other people without your consent.
So how should you act at school?
- I think you meant: “How should I act at school after I make this ‘break’ into a permanent ‘break up’?” Right? Because you’re gonna make it clear to your boyfriend that not only are your sexual menus not coming from the same restaurant right now, you don’t trust him, and that’s an untenable relationship.
Of course you still like him, though! He has some redeeming qualities or you wouldn’t have gone out with him in the first place. But liking him doesn’t fix what’s wrong with your relationship, so here’s what you do:
- Let yourself wallow and be sad about breaking up with this guy. Don’t fight those feelings. Those feelings are real and sucky, but burying them will be worse. Please trust the Bad Advisor’s personal experience on this. It’s okay to eat lunch in a trusted teacher’s room some days if you don’t want to deal with social time, or to get a bathroom pass when you really don’t have to go just so you can spend five minutes sitting alone in the quiet. If you are sad at school, be sad at school. You don’t have to be a ray of fucking sunshine, or pretend to be an emotionless robot.
- USE SCHOOL TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! Friend, you have an institution around you that is just waiting to give you extra shit to do that will give you an easy out for awkward moments. Get busy with your studies, get or teach tutoring, take on an extra credit project, volunteer to help with some shit that needs helping. Shit gets awkward? People pick on you? OH SHIT YOU JUST REMEMBERED YOU’RE LATE FOR EXTRA CREDIT SQUARE DANCING.
- Stop wallowing and being sad after a while. Do this by reconnecting with friends you may not have seen as much of during your relationship with duder, or listening to music that makes you feel good, or watching marathon tv shows, or reading a new sci-fi series, or joining a new club at school or trying out for a play or something that requires your brain to reroute away from “mopeytime.”
- Definitely talk to your close, trusted friends about your feelings. But don’t overshare with randos and acquaintances about breaking up with this guy, and especially please don’t post about it on your Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or wherever if he or your mutual acquaintances can see it; it is really no one’s business but yours and his. Drama is terrible and boring. If someone wants to get “the dirt” or some insipid, small-minded crap like that, be honest and brief: “It wasn’t working out between me and Horfus, and it’s been tough and weird adjusting to single life, but I think we’re both headed in good directions now. Have I told you about my extra credit square dancing? It’s great. [exegesis on square dancing]”
- It sounds like you are into dating and trying out sexy things with your partners; continue to do this safely and consensually, and at a pace with which you are comfortable. Interrogate where any feelings of shame or guilt may come from: do they come from generalizations other people make about the way you, or people like you, “should” behave? Because that is bullshit, and it is also HARD AS FUCK to combat; it takes all of us regular check-ins with ourselves and our bodies to experience and explore our sexuality without all the crappy messages society sends us about what is “right” and “wrong” for people to do.
You actually are kind of a special snowflake; be kind to yourself, and live your sexuality on your terms, not other people’s terms.