Welcome to "Ask MISTER CARL." I'm Carl Sandler, the founder of the gay mobile app MISTER. You can also find me on SiriusXM Radio OutQ's The Morning Jolt discussing gay dating and relationships. In this series I invite readers to share challenges that they encounter in their dating and love lives. Remember, there are many ways to look at every issue. If you disagree with something I write, be positive and share your own strategies or suggestions in the comments.
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Dear MISTER CARL,
I've been with my boyfriend for about a year and recently went with him to visit his parents at their home for the weekend. I'd previously met them on several occasions, and we took to each other immediately. I'd never met parents who seemed so cool about their kid being gay (certainly not like mine), and they told him privately how much they liked me. But while we were there, his dad walked in on us while we were in the middle of some pretty heavy petting (I was going down on him under the covers). I felt so embarrassed, but my boyfriend assured me that it was no big deal. Still, I can tell that their attitude towards me has changed, and I feel like they're not as warm to me as they used to be. Did I totally blow it (no pun intended)?
Let's do a little mental exercise, shall we? I want you to close your eyes for a minute and think of your sweet-as-pie grandparents. Now imagine them butt-naked going to town on each other in the middle of their living room, where you played with LEGOs as a child. Have you figured out what to do yet with that little bit of bile that just sprang into the back of your throat?
In some societies around the world, sex between two loving adults is viewed as natural, healthy, and -- if you're any good at it -- fun. Unfortunately, American society is generally not one of them. Many people like to pretend that their grandparents, parents, or children never have sex. This is true for most family members, gay or straight, yet for gay kids, parents, and siblings there is often an added layer of shame, disgust, or even -- dare I say it -- curiosity associated with same-sex lovemaking. At the end of the day, you didn't do anything wrong or bad, and there's no reason to feel ashamed.
I suspect that the reason that you haven't been feeling the usual warm and fuzzies lately from your "future" in-laws is that they're just as embarrassed about what happened as you are. If your boyfriend says it's no big deal, I'd try to take a leap of faith and go with that. If you are still uncomfortable, one of the best ways I've found to break the ice in awkward situations is to use a little light humor. Next time you visit, thank your boyfriend's parents for inviting you back and say something like, "We promise to try to keep our clothes on this time." Or bring a cheap, plastic "Do Not Disturb" sign from your local motel and hang it from the bedroom door handle. Chances are that they'll laugh about it, and you can all move on.
Ultimately, if you and your man are in it for the long haul, what happened is just the first of many messy, uncomfortable situations that come with being a member of any family. Embrace the awkward moments. Use them as opportunities to become closer, and find joy in the shared memory. Embrace your future in-laws. And for god's sake, embrace your boyfriend. Just make sure the door is locked next time! Ain't nobody got to see that.
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Dear MISTER CARL,
I'm hoping you can offer some perspective regarding an argument I'm having with my brother (I'm gay, he's straight). I consider him my best friend and feel comfortable telling him anything -- including the fact that I'm having a sexual relationship with a married man. "Mr. Married" is a hot Italian stud with the macho good looks of a young Tony Danza and the piggish proclivities of a world-class porn star (I know, HOT!). We've been sweating up the sheets for close to a year now, usually two to three times per week, and it's by far the best sex I've ever had.
To make a long story short, my brother got pissed when I told him about it and started acting really judgmental, saying I have no morals and that I'm disrespecting Mr. Married's wife and marriage and that I'm morally obligated to steer clear of him to "save him from himself." As if it's my responsibility to be the moral compass for every man I have sex with! I mean, I'm certainly not in love with Mr. Married or anything like that, but I'm not going to give up mind-blowing sex (let alone feel bad about having it) just because he chooses to cheat on his wife. Am I in the wrong here?
--Married Manmeat Makes Me Moan
This is a really great question, and it brings up a lot of important issues around ethics and sex. That being said, I can't tell you if your actions are "right" or "wrong" any more than your brother can. I can only tell you what is right for me. And the sensible part of me would break things off with Mr. Married faster than you can say "who's your daddy?" My reasons are twofold: I don't want to make myself emotionally available to someone who's not available to me, and I don't want to be a party to a secret with this kind of potential for harm.
However, both reasons have to do with my own comfort level and choices. They do not involve protecting the imagined feelings of his wife. We have no idea what's really going on between Mr. Married and his wife or how she might feel about it. Maybe the Mrs. would be thrilled to find out that her husband is cheating on her, so that she can divorce his ass and be free to find a man who respects her. Maybe she's banging the gardener on the side and couldn't care less. Maybe she knows (or suspects) that her husband is bisexual and is cool with him getting some on the side.
The only thing we know is that Mr. Married is dishonest in his primary relationship and that there is a high likelihood that the entire situation is a recipe for drama -- and not just your run-of-the-mill gay drama but Mary J. Blige-sized drama. And in this respect, your brother is doing you a favor by telling you to keep your gay ass out of it. Find another guy who is either single or in an open, honest relationship (with a man or a woman), and give your mad bedroom skills to him instead. Mr. Married doesn't deserve them.
As for patching things up with your brother, respect his perspective and ease up on giving him a play-by-play of your adventures in infidelity.
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Next time: "Is my boyfriend's porn past a deal breaker?" Have a question for me? Send it to AskMrCarl@misterapp.com.