We’re here, we’re queer, we’re conquering our fears

Don't feed the fears, queers, The Q offers advice this week on facing the unknown, from your secret fetish fantasies to relationship commitment issues to your mind-numbingly boring rut.

Q:

I’m 42, and I’m still going out the same bars, eating at the same places, and running into the same queers that I did when I was 32. It’s OK I guess, but is that all there is? None of this is where I saw myself going.

Should I change jobs? Travel? Get new friends? Chase an old pipe dream?

Dear Stuck:

Most people in their 40s take stock in how life’s going so far and come up wanting more. Welcome to midlife and its famous “crisis.” Think of it more as an opportunity.

Your life’s proverbial halfway mark is a chance to identify, evaluate and face down the fears that have held you back – of the unknown, of failure, and yes of success.

What choices would you have made if you had not been afraid? What would you do if you could not fail? Is failing worse than not trying? Use the answers to define your next chapter.

You can’t change the past or predict the future, but you can act boldly. You’ll almost always wind up glad you did.

 

Q:

My boyfriend is getting too close for comfort. He’s leaving things at my house. He wants to introduce me to his mom. I want to bolt. Why do guys do this to me when things are perfectly comfortable as is?

Dear Phobia:

It’s called fear of commitment. Pushing him away may be easier in the moment, but progress comes from outside your comfort zone. Your guard against being hurt in the future is hurting you in the present.

None of your boyfriend’s actions constitutes a lifetime obligation. Stick around long enough to discover what’s next.

 

Q:

Bondage porn is hot, but I’ve only had vanilla sex. During sex, what’s going on in my head is way different than what’s going on in the bed.

I’m afraid to try BDSM because I don’t want to get hurt (too much) or lose control. I’m intimidated by the fetishes I see at Pride. They fuel my fantasies, but also my fears.

I’m also afraid of being seen as a freak. People ridicule fetishists behind their backs, and I’m afraid of being lumped in with them. Should I try it, and how do I meet people who won’t judge me for my desires?

Dear Fraidy Cat:

Fears get a bad rap. They’re not all created equally. Natural “fight or flight” responses kick in as a warning to evaluate your situation.

The problem comes when you stop there. If you accept fear as a reason to avoid circumstances without assessing them and making an informed decision, you’re stuck.

BDSM invites you to use your fear to your sexual advantage. Turned on and intimidated at the same time? That’s the point. Adrenaline pumps, you’re short of breath, and your sweet relief comes from giving in. You owe it to yourself to try it.

A whole community of people can teach you about passion via consent and trust. Forget naysayers who use their own fears to judge and ostracize those they don’t understand. Stop making life decisions based on what you fear others might think.

The Q is for entertainment purposes and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected].

Illustration by Brad Gibson

This article originally appeared in Q magazine. Pick it up all over Atlanta, and read the digital verison below.