It’s almost a cliche when a gay guy develops feelings for his best guy friend. In rom-coms and coming-of-age novels, it often ends in unrequited feelings and heartbreak — but one guy is trying to avoid a similar ending to his own bromance-turned-romance.
About three months ago, an advice-seeker who contacted Slate started dating his long-term best friend. “We’re a perfect match and stupidly attracted to each other,” he wrote, “but our sex life has been floundering recently.”
The problem seems to be that the two are so used to hanging out platonically, that they both feel a little uncomfortable and clueless about how to relate sexually.
The two are so used to playing video and tabletop games together that when they had an evening in with no plans, the boyfriend suggested they play the card game Uno. Another time, when the two were playing video games, and his boyfriend said he wanted to “ravage” him, the advice-seeker cluelessly mentioned that the game they were playing didn’t have a player-versus-player option.
“We’ve had sex, but it’s usually on formal dates, which are pre-established to be more than ‘just friendly,'” the advice-seeker wrote. “Asking for it outside that rarely pans out.”
While Slate’s resident advice-giver Rich Juzwiak thought that the couple’s sex life could benefit from the erotic build-up of going on more dates, he also warned that the awkwardness could be a sign that they’re lacking bedroom chemistry, a possible red flag for a brand-new relationship.
The boyfriend could be having second thoughts, or perhaps their long-term friendship made the boyfriend see his mate as more of a friend rather than a boyfriend. Or it could be that both guys are moving at “different speeds,” Juzwiak wrote.
“If you are such good friends, you should be able to talk about this,” Juzwiak added, noting that the advice-seeker may be avoiding the conversation for fear of a breakup.
Despite any fear, he told the advice-seeker to go ahead and discuss it. “It is better for you to know now, before you get more romantically invested in something that’s just not going to work out,” he wrote.
The advice-seeker doesn’t say how old he and his pal are, nor does he say what makes him so certain that they are “stupidly attracted” to one another. But he shouldn’t worry too much.
Many queer men have tried dating and bedding their close pals just to see if they’re compatible. Sometimes it sparks a romance, sometimes it takes a while for couples to find their sexual groove, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Either way, it doesn’t mean that something is “wrong,” nor does it mean that they can’t remain friends.
The truth is that U.S. culture often sexualizes emotional and physical intimacy between two men, making them feel that if they’re so close, then it must mean that they should date. The media also treats romantic and sexual relationships like the most important bond that two people can share, but that’s not true either. Friendships can be far more enriching and supportive than sexual and romantic relationships.
But maybe it’s time for the two to dig deeper and see what other interests they have beyond indoor gaming. Sharing other hobbies and adventuring outside of the house could help them deepen their appreciation of one another and create new contexts where their relationship can grow beyond fighting games and Uno. If good sex follows, huzzah! And if it just gives them new ways to connect as friends, that’s a blessing too.