I’m a 23-year-old non-binary queer, I’ve never really been in a relationship and this is a source of some emotional baggage on my end. This feeling has been exacerbated by recent events: I got briefly romantically entangled a few months ago with a close friend. It only lasted a week, and I got dumped right before my birthday. I’m not writing for advice about that—I severed all ties with the friend in question and got right back on the dating/hookup wagon—but it ties into the question I do have...

My best friend is in an open relationship and actively dating/having kinky sex with people other than her boyfriend. She tells me about a lot of these people in great detail. In theory, and sometimes in practice, I love hearing about my friend’s wild exploits; it can be funny to live vicariously through her escapades. Lately, though, I find myself feeling a little weird listening to all of my friend’s stories. She has a healthy relationship that is hitting the four year mark quite soon, she has amazing sex with hot dominants on a regular basis, and she still spent fifteen minutes complaining to me a few weeks ago that she had gotten locked out of Tinder.

Given how much sex she’s having, it’s difficult to muster genuine enthusiasm when she tells me about yet another kinky sex partner she met online. I don’t want her to feel like she can’t tell me things, or that I’m resentful of her romantic and sexual success, but I also don’t feel like I’m the best audience lately for some of her tales of debauchery.

How do I navigate this?

Feeling Adequately Gross

Use your words.

Or use mine: "Hey, you know I usually love hearing about your sexual escapades, best friend. But I'm still hurting after my longest relationship ever ended—after one whole week—and I'm feeling little down and a little insecure and I'm just not in the right headspace to enjoy your stories. Can we talk about something else? Or, hey, since you're so fucking good at this fucking stuff, maybe you can give me some fucking-and-sucking-dating-and-mating-and-subbing pointers. Help a brother non-binary sibling out, huh?"

That said (me to you, you to her), FAG, I don't know exactly what you mean by "back on the dating/hookup wagon." That could mean you're back on the apps and don't have anything to show for it—no sexual success, to say nothing of romantic success—or it could mean you're getting tons of anonymous-or-nearly-so sex but you're frustrated because what you want is a stable romantic connection like the one your best friend has with her boyfriend of four years. (It could also mean, I suppose, that you've sworn off the apps, in the off-the-sauce sense of on-the-wagon. But I'm gonna set that one aside.)

Lots of great relationships got their starts as one-night stands, FAG, mine included; and nearly 70% of same-sex couples met online (scroll down and look at that chart!)—and lots of those same-sex couples met via sleazy hookup apps, not holesome dating apps. So I'm not opposed to one-night stands and I don't think sleazy hookup apps are the death of romance and/or true intimacy and/or lasting connections. But if what you've been doing isn't working for you, FAG, whatever it is, then it couldn't hurt to make a change and try something else. Ask your best friend to hang out with you in bars and clubs (maybe you'll be in the right frame of mind to hear her stories after you've had a drink or two), do some volunteer work at a queer community org, join a team (doesn't have to be a sports team). Meeting people the old-fashioned way—or moving on both fronts at once (online, offline)—might get you better results. At the very least it'll provide a welcome distraction and opportunities to converse with people who can talk about something other than themselves.

Good luck!

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