Hi. My name is Jenny, I’m still studying at a university, and I’m a lesbian. The thing is: my partner and I study at the same university. We have been together for about two years, and we have not had sex. However, within the past few weeks, she has been depressed. She started talking about having sex, but I don’t think I’m ready for that. I told her that she is welcome to share any difficulties that she is having with me, but she will not tell me what is wrong. I’m getting worried. I don’t know what I should do now. She always treats me nicely and comforts me at all time. As far as I remember, she has never hurt my feelings. I love her so much, but I don’t know what I should tell her. We need to focus on our studies as well, and maintain good grades in order to keep our fully funded scholarships, or we’re gonna be in trouble. But this matter is bothering me, and I’ll feel guilty if I refuse her desire. She might get offended. My mom would kill me if she knew about this. My mom doesn’t even know I’m a lesbian. I don’t have a dad, by the way. He left us and married another woman. This is stressing me out. Help me. I need to know: what should I do? I don’t want to hurt my partner’s feelings. I also want to know: is sex dangerous? If yes, in terms of what? If not, should I do it? Other than that, do you think I should tell my mom about my sexuality? I’m so scared of telling her because my mom always had high hopes for me, and wants me to have a successful life and relationship as well.
I’m glad you decided to write us about these feelings. I can tell from your letter that you are a strong, intelligent, dedicated, caring young woman who knows who she is, and has her priorities in order. I am happy to hear that you take your education seriously, and that you have found someone special who treats you well and makes you happy. Successfully balancing studies and relationships can be very difficult, especially while struggling with the issues you are having. And, as evidenced by your full scholarship and two-year romantic partnership, it sounds like you are managing both very well.
As far as sex is concerned: your body, your decision. No one can tell you if you are ready to have sex or not, but I can tell you that feeling anxious about having sex for the first time is something everyone experiences. Learning the truth about sex can relieve some of that anxiety. The most important thing to know about sex is how to do it safely. The Avert.org website has a section called “Lesbians, Bisexual Women and Safe Sex” (http://www.avert.org/lesbians-safe-sex.htm) that may be helpful. Also, consider talking to your partner about these feelings. Try initiating an honest discussion about your concerns with having sex. Share your feelings. Start the conversation with something like, “I am nervous about having sex,” and tell her why. Do not be afraid of having an honest dialogue with your partner. It is always better to address a relationship problem than to suffer in silence. Having an open, honest talk about each other’s feelings on this matter could do a lot of good for the both of you.
Coming out can be an emotionally satisfying experience, but it can also bring about serious troubles and worries. You should make your decision about coming out after carefully considering the impact it would have on your safety and future. In situations where the family or community is unaccepting, many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people choose to stay in the closet until they settle into a safe environment and become financially independent. Although you have a full scholarship, you may depend on your mother for other assistance such as housing expenses, health insurance or vehicle expenses – assistance that you will need (and deserve) until you complete your education and find a job that will make you financially self-sufficient. Also, if you somehow lose your scholarship, you may need your mother to help with tuition. Your safety and future is very important to us. If you suspect that coming out to your mother or anyone else would put either your safety or your future in jeopardy, then now is not the right time. You should look at the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf. It is full of great information that can help you make up your mind about coming out.
It takes courage to reach out to someone as you have. I urge you to continue on your path to becoming an educated, successful, independent woman, and to trust yourself to make good, informed decisions about your body and your life. If you would like to chat with other young people (ages 13-24) who can relate to what you’re going through, consider joining our safe, online community, TrevorSpace. Also, if you have come out at school, you may want to join your university’s LGBT student organization (if one exists). Feel free to write us again, and remember: if you need to talk, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Trevor Project