Dear Bearded Confidant,

I'm a 17 year old guy who just recently came out of the closet to my parents and some family members. I've had feelings for men as long as I can remember and I have hidden it away for so long that I just couldn't take it any longer and became depressed at one point.  Well, now that I'm out I feel awkward about them knowing, but at the same time I feel okay with it.  But also, now my biggie is that I'm so sad and lonely.  It's like the only way to find guys near my age (17-20) is online, but most of them are picky. I want to be in a relationship so badly.  But how can I find Mr. Right? I don't know if this is making any sense, but most guys are looking for "hook ups," and I don't want that. I want romance, etc. I don't know what to do.

Dear Help Me,

When most men first come to terms with their sexual yearnings, they nearly go out of their minds with desire to find a man. They are like wild animals, looking at every man as if he were prey, even though they may be too shy and unsure of themselves to approach anybody! You are going through a very difficult time, and I know that just saying "don't worry about it" isn't helpful or comforting. Most men in your position end up making an art out of jerking off, just to ease some of the pain of loneliness. It's actually a good idea to work your dick as much as possible during times like this. It allows you to release that pent-up masculine energy that is driving you fuck-crazy, and it also encourages you to fantasize about making love with your perfect man. The men I've talked to about relationships say that you should not worry about meeting people. They have learned that the right people find their way to YOU when the time is right. Just keep your eyes open, be yourself, and don't feel in a hurry to find guys to go out with. You'll be broadcasting your own special energy, and people WILL be attracted to it. Having said that, don't give up on cruising on-line, either. My own partner and I actually met as e-mail pals in a chat room on-line, and we've been together for years now. On-line cruising involves a lot of men looking for quick hook-ups, but there are also plenty of men out there like yourself who long for a stable, romantic relationship. You can weed out a lot of duds through e-mail and chat sessions before you actually meet one another in person. The ones who don't drop out of sight the second you don't put out may very well be interested in your mind as well as your body. That's the kind of friendship you obviously want to pursue, and it may lead to romance over time.