I just found out that my 16-year-old son, who's been out since age 11, was making out with a longtime female friend over the weekend and is now confused about it. As am I. I know he's been frustrated that he's never dated, and all his (straight) friends seem to be coupled up right now. He's a tall handsome kid and this girl was always attracted to him though she knew he was gay. I know that hormones run high in adolescence, but in your experience is it common for gay teens to experiment with the opposite sex? He doesn't know that I know, and I'm flummoxed over how/whether to bring this up. I'd really appreciate any light you can shed.

Mom Observes

You've heard the term heteroflexible, right? It describes a straight person who's up for a little same-sex sex/sexiness every once in a while. And you've heard of situational homosexuality, correct? That's when otherwise straight men engage in a little same-sex sex/sexiness because there are no women around or otherwise straight women engage in a little same-sex sex/sexiness because there are no men around, i.e. prisons, pirate ships, Mormon missions, etc.

Homoflexible isn't as popular term but it's definitely a thing, MO, and the same goes for situational heterosexuality. Also a thing: bisexuality.

Your son, having come out at 11 and then spent the next five years watching his straight peers date and hookup, may have decided that messing around with a girl he likes and trusts is better than not messing around with anyone at all—in other words, this is some situational heterosexuality. So long as he isn't misleading this girl about his orientation or his intentions, there's no harm in it. A lot of gay teens experiment with the opposite sex—sometimes because there aren't any other out gay teens around, sometimes because the connection is less emotionally consequential and therefore less fraught. It's also possible that son came out as gay at age 11 because he was attracted to boys too, not to boys only, and wrongly concluding (at his tender age!) that any attraction to boys automatically meant gay.

I would tell you to stay the fuck out of it—to let your son figure this out on his own—if it weren't for the results of this 2015 study...

Pregnancies are more common among lesbian, gay, bisexual youths than among their heterosexual counterparts, suggests a new study of New York City high school students. Overall, sexual-minority students who were sexually active were about twice as likely as other students to report becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant, researchers found. "The message for me is that these populations are often ignored or assumed to not need information or reproductive care or services and they absolutely do," said Lisa Lindley, the study's lead author from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

So you're gonna need to have a talk to your gay son about birth control, MO, and consent and pleasure and STIs while you're on the subject.

I was having sex with women when I was your son's age, MO, and I somehow got it into my head that closing my eyes and pretending my girlfriend was Andy Gibb or Sean Cassidy or—better yet—Andy Gibb and Sean Cassidy was an effective form of birth control. It wasn't, as it turned out. Have that talk with your son ASAP.


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