Dear Bearded Confidant,

I was wondering what to do if you are a straight acting person but want your friends to know you are gay without just saying right to their face "I am gay." Is there any way to hint to your friends that think you are straight that you are open for an expierence? How would you tell them that you are gay without them thinking you are hitting on them?  And also are there any steps to follow to tell if your friends might want to have fun without possibly ruining your friendship?

Dear Jon,

I have some specific advice regarding your questions, but first some important points. Any time a straight guy talks about hot date on Saturday night or the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model he has a crush on, he's announcing his sexual orientation even though he doesn't use the words "I am heterosexual." He is simply open and comfortable talking about his interests and activities. Likewise, you should be open and comfortable around your friends. If you are afraid they won't accept you for who you are, they probably aren't really friends in the first place. Having said that, many gay men are in the habit of being careful not to reveal their sexual interests around friends and acquaintances. They often have genuine reason to fear prejudice against homosexuality. Therefore, they avoid--sometimes to the point of ridiculousness--any mention of anything that might possibly be construed as having homosexual implications. They wouldn't say "I think David Beckham is better looking than Zac Efron" because that might imply they noticed how guys look. But that is exactly the type of thing you should be comfortable saying, and words like that can let your friends know that you are open-minded. Casually discussing topics of masculine interest, such as bodybuilding or personal grooming, allows you to freely talk about the male form in general and your own body in particular. For example, when you say somthing like "I've been working on building up my pecs, and I'm trying to decide whether or not to shave my chest to show off my muscles," you are subtly revealing to your friend that you have a hairy chest and like to exhibit your body. Then you can see if he seems to be interested in that sort of thing. Or when you say something like "That moustache looks really good on you. I've been thinking about growing mind out, too. What sort of clippers do you recommend?" then you are subtly paying a compliment to a guy's masculine features while technically talking about grooming. It's particularly good to focus on topics involving male-male physical contact, such as wrestling, martial arts, and massage therapy. For example, when you describe being pinned down by a strong man in a wrestling match, that creates a visual image in your friend's mind. Or when you describe what good hands your massage therapist has and how he releases tension from your body, you are subtly letting your friend know that masculine contact makes you feel good. Such talk can be sensual and full of innuendo, yet it won't be a direct announcement of your sexual orientation, nor will it be a direct way of hitting on someone.