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Dear Dan:

My younger brother and I are close. He came out of the closet last year, although it wasn't much of a surprise because everyone knew he was gay since forever. But for the last six to nine months or so, he's been really depressed about not ever having had a boyfriend. He's 21 and he's always talking about how he wants to find a boy to be with in a relationship and not just for sex, but he says it's impossible for him to meet said boy.

Me being straight, the only advice I've ever been able to give him is to just try new things and that way you'll meet new people. My brother, however, framed his issue to me in a way I've never really thought of — which is that only a small fraction of the population is gay, and an even smaller fraction of that may be compatible with him, so meeting new people for a gay guy is actually a lot harder than it is for straight people.

He's been on the whole online dating thing for a while, but said it's really difficult to meet anyone who he feels a connection with. I asked him if he ever goes to gay bars, because that would obviously change the ratios around, but apparently it's a little insensitive for a straight guy to say that, and he said he's not really into that scene.

Anyway, I just wish I could give him some good advice without being unintentionally offensive (the gay bar suggestion). I'd still like to offer him any advice I can for him to meet a guy he feels strongly about.

Seeking Advice For Family

There are 3.5 billion men on the planet.

Even if we accept the lowest educated guesstimate of the percentage of the population that's gay — 1.7 percent — that means your brother has nearly 60 million potential romantic partners to choose from worldwide; he has 2.5 million potential romantic partners in the United States alone. Other informed guesstimates of the percentage of the population that's gay are much, much higher — seven or eight times higher — so your brother's odds of finding a partner are probably much better.

It sounds like your brother is going through a common if rarely discussed stage of the coming-out process: Wallow in Self Pity and Bite the Head Off Anyone Who Tries to Help. That's why he was offended by your perfectly reasonable, not at all offensive suggestion that he get out there and hit some gay bars. Yes, the bars aren't for everyone. But if you're single and want to meet people — gay or straight — you need to be moving on all fronts: online dating, hitting bars and clubs, volunteering, and just generally getting out of the fucking house.

Your brother is 21 years old and he just came out, SAFF, and his frustration is understandable. He's been watching his straight peers (and his straight brothers) hook up and fall in love since middle school and he feels anxious to make up for lost time. But he won't find that first boyfriend if he isn't willing to put himself out there — and that means giving the guys he meets online a chance, giving the bars a chance, and giving the people who are trying to help him out a break.

Dear Dan:

My girlfriend of two and a half years and I are ready to move in together. Finally! I am so excited to take this next step, and so is she. The problem is that I work third shift four to five nights a week and she works a regular day job. I can't help but feel that we aren't going to get the full experience of living together with our work situations being what they are. I won't be waking up every morning to her saying, "Good morning, beautiful," etc. What can we do to make this a better situation and take advantage of the next step? Thanks.

The Next Step

Here's a tip, TNS: Don't spend too much time comparing your actual relationship, which will always be shaped by circumstances not fully in your control (like your work schedules), to your idealized notions about what a romantic relationship should look like. That only ensures constant disappointment.

Don't get me wrong: Once you move in with your girlfriend, there will be days that begin with her rolling over and saying, "Good morning, beautiful." But there will also be days that begin with your girlfriend rolling over and farting. The trick is to fully appreciate the moments that rise to the level of your romantic ideals ("Good morning, beautiful") without obsessing about those moments that disappoint (split shifts, ripped farts). Good luck!

I'm a guy. I've been with my girlfriend for almost two years. I love her, but in the last year, sex has been an issue. I feel attracted to her, but I find myself easily distracted these days, kind of worried during sex, which has resulted in me either coming super fast or losing my erection altogether. As a result, she does not orgasm at all. It's gotten to the point where I'm afraid to be intimate with her for fear of letting her down. I have gone to see doctors to try to understand if my medical conditions—severe sleep apnea, elevated blood pressure—might have something to do with it. I'm in treatment for these things and I've started going to a therapist, too. I am thinking of buying some sex toys to use while I work to overcome my problems. My girlfriend doesn't own any, and she says she doesn't masturbate because she tried it once and never came. How do I approach her with the idea of using sex toys during sex? Should I? I just want her to experience an orgasm even if I need to get some extra help from a vibrator.

Devil In The Details

Incorporating some adult toys—vibrators and dildos—into your sex life isn't just a great way to maintain your sexual connection while you work on your physical and mental issues, DITD, it's also a great way to take the pressure off your dick. Performance anxiety and worries about leaving your partner unsatisfied can combine to create a hugely destructive, dick-deflating negative feedback loop. As for your girlfriend...

A woman who doesn't masturbate—because she tried it once and it didn't work—has hang-ups, DITD. And a woman with hang-ups is much likelier to forgive a partner for having purchased some sex toys than she is to give a partner her advance permission to go and purchase some sex toys. So find a good local or online sex-toy store and buy whatever you think looks like fun.

I've been with my boyfriend since I was 15. I'm 20 now. In all the time we've been together, I've never had an orgasm. For a long time, I wanted to get a vibrator, but my boyfriend hated that idea and never wanted me to get one because he says he already feels like crap that he can't get me off. Recently, I thought, "What the hell — I want to see what happens!" So I bought one on my own. The very first time I used it, I got off in two minutes. Now I feel stupid for not buying one sooner. My question is...How do I tell him? Should I tell him? He always wanted to be the first person to give me an orgasm, and as far as he knows, I still haven't had one.

Couldn't Wait Forever

Tell your boyfriend you bought a vibrator, CWF. If the boyfriend has a sad about your purchase — and your ability to climax (congrats!) — tell him that some women require the kind of intense, focused stimulation that only a vibrator can provide in order to get off, and, as it turns out, you're one of those women. And he can still be the first person to give you an orgasm: He can give you one with a vibrator in his hand. And if he acts like an insecure bitch about it, CWF, if he blows up or melts down, well...New vibrator, newly orgasmic—maybe it's time for a new boyfriend, too?

CONFIDENTIAL TO EVERYONE: Make porn! Details on HUMP!—the annual porn festival that I host in Seattle and Portland—are here: www.humpseattle.com. Films are limited to five minutes in length, they don't wind up on the internet, and you don't have to live in the Pacific Northwest to submit to HUMP!. And this year's grand prize is $5,000!

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

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Dear Dan:

I'm a gay man and a hunter with a gay boy who's a vegan. But he likes how I look in my camo, holding a rifle, so it works. Last fall, I went to Idaho and shot a black bear and a 13-point buck. A taxidermist mounted the buck's head, which hangs above my bed, and made the bear into a rug. Most people don't know this, but the head on a bearskin rug is entirely fake except for the fur. The skull, teeth, and tongue are plastic, and the eyes are glass. That bear's hardly a bear, if you catch me.

So we got the rug, and he liked it. Even wanted me to screw him spread-eagle on that rug — until he walked in while I was doing it with the bear. I rigged up the mouth with one of those Fleshlight things, pretty much as a joke, but my boy freaked out when he saw the bear giving me a blowjob of sorts. Called me sick and disgusting, and ever since then, he won't let me tie him up or beat him or anything. He says he's afraid I will kill him and then screw him. I keep telling him it was all just a game, but he won't believe it. What can I do?

Bear Grinned Anyway

What can you do? You mean besides send video of you and your bear in action to prove this isn't the most entertaining fake letter I've received since Michelle Obama invited me to dinner at Sarah Jessica Parker's apartment?

You can do this: You can draw a distinction between what was going on in that bear's mouth when your boyfriend walked in and what was going on in your head. When a man beats off, two things are kinda sorta happening simultaneously: what the man is doing with his dick and what the man is imagining he's doing with his dick. Guys who beat off using a clenched fist, for example, generally aren't clenched-fist fetishists; they're just horny and their fists are there and, say, Sarah Jessica Parker isn't. Fists provide necessary friction; imaginations provide sexy scenarios.

So your boyfriend walked in and saw you fucking the face of a dead bear. That's gonna look bad, BGA, even to a boyfriend who isn't vegan. So how do you fix it? By patiently explaining to your vegan boyfriend that while, yes, you were face-fucking a bear when he walked in on you, you weren't thinking about face-fucking a bear. Tell him you were thinking about him, and the bear's mouth was just a convenient place to wedge your vegan-boyfriend-substitute — i.e., your Fleshlight. Tell your boyfriend you don't entertain any murderous fantasies, tell him you only long to fuck living things, and tell him that Homo sapiens are the only animals you find attractive. Tell him all of that, even if not all of that is entirely true.

Dear Dan:

I'm a 17-year-old male, and I'm currently in a relationship with a girl who was sexually active before we got together. Me being a virgin, I think you can understand why I might be nervous when things get heated. I would like to engage in the act with her eventually, but I don't know if she wants a virgin fumbling around in bed with her. And it's not particularly manly to go to someone and basically say, "I'm not going to be good at this for a while." I feel she's ahead of me in experience. What's the best advice you could give me on the subject?

Nerves Entirely Wrecking Boy

If your girlfriend is close to you in age, NEWB, the odds that she's any good at sex are vanishingly slim, her prior sexual activity notwithstanding. Some people have a knack for sex, of course, but almost all teenagers are lousy at sex.

Now here's my advice: Chill the fuck out. Presumably, your girlfriend likes you and knows you're a virgin. Which means she knows you'll be a little nervous the first time you two have sex and that there's probably going to be some fumbling. But you wanna know a secret? Even sexually experienced adults — even adults who are really good at sex and have had tons of it — still get nervous, and there's no such thing as sex without some fumbling.

As for your concerns about seeming less than manly: You're bringin' the dick, NEWB, so you're the man. Your nerves won't render you dickless. If you're worried about displaying a manly confidence, well, you can still do that: Go into your first sexual experience confident that your girlfriend is into you and confident that she wants you, and be honestly and unapologetically who you are. Being yourself is far more manly than pretending to be someone or something you're not.

One last thing to do before you lose your virginity: Watch a weekend marathon of 16 and Pregnant on MTV. That show will inspire you to use condoms religiously and correctly, every single time, no matter what.

Dear Dan:

Following up on the letter about masturbating in the privacy of a public toilet stall: Guys are being banned from Multnomah County libraries in Portland, Oregon, for wanking in the supposed privacy of locked bathroom stalls. Facilities security officers peep through spaces between stall doors and write up reports that go into detail about "shiny liquids" spotted on offenders' hands, and those who are caught are excluded from the libraries for a year. I thought "sexual activity" required a partner and masturbation wasn't a crime if practiced in private — but tell that to the peeping uniformed officers working in the Central Library, aka "Portland's Crown Jewel." You can't go to a locked bathroom stall and rub one out, on pain of landing on the Excluded Patrons List as a masturbator. Victorian prudery lives.

Wanking In Private Environs

The letter writer who got caught wanking in a public toilet had taken pains to find an empty men's restroom on a deserted floor of an office building. He wanted to have his midday wank without disturbing or unnerving others. I don't think the same could be said for the men who are rubbing 'em out in the toilets of Portland's Central Library.

Look, I'm familiar with Portland's Central Library, WIPE; I wrote huge chunks of two of my books there. The toilets are crowded, and there's no way you can beat off in one without disturbing others. I don't have a problem with people rubbing 'em out — hello — but guys who get off in public toilets because they get off on public toilets are forcing other people to serve as props in their masturbatory fantasies. And that ain't cool.

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