Dear Bearded Confidant,

My problem is making me really anxious and I don't really know what to do about it. I am a senior in high school. First of all, I am attracted to one of my closest friends. We spend a lot of time together, whether it's at school or just hanging out. Whenever I'm with him I just can't stand not having fantasies about him or imagining him and myself together. It's really frustrating sometimes. Well, he says that he's strictly heterosexual, but I don't believe him. Whenever we talk, we're always joking about sex and we always act like we're attracted to each other either when we're online or talking in person. Also, whenever he is spending the night at my house, he always wants to sleep in the same bed as me and we usually end up getting really close, like snuggling or holding each other really tight, or, once in a while, he would even touch me intimately. He would take my arms and wrap them around himself or he would lie on my chest and hug me until he falls asleep. I'm not the expert on sexuality, but I get the feeling if he were that serious about being straight, he wouldn't be doing these things with me. I talk about it with friends and they say that he just feels comfortable around me, but that he's not gay. I want to know on whether or not I should make a move whenever we are this close. I get the feeling that he might be attracted to me too, but I'm not completely certain. The only problem is that I worry that if he really is that homophobic and positively straight, that I would ruin our friendship, and I definitely don't want that. But, if the prospect of getting in bed with him or being in a relationship with him is there, I would take it in a heartbeat. What should I do?

Dear Anxious,

The fact that you can't tell for sure if your friend is gay or not is both good and bad.  The bad part is that you are worried about making a serious move on him, lest he be not interested in you sexually.  The good part is that men don't have to be one thing or the other.  They can be gay, straight, or any of a million places in between.  It is possible that your friend is 99 percent attracted to girls sexually, but that he feels so close to you that he could be your lover as well.  Or, it is possible that he feels very close to you and enjoys spending intimate time snuggling and hugging but wouldn't want to suck or fuck with you.  Some men have snuggle buddies of all genders and sexual orientations whom they never have sex with.  Sometimes it feels good to snuggle and to express intimate closeness without sex being involved.  Likewise, sometimes it feels good to have sex and not snuggle afterwards.  It all depends upon the two people and their moods at the time.  My gut instinct is that your friend wants to be more than a snuggle buddy with you.  He probably wants to have sex with you as well.  But he may not be sure how to go about it, and he may feel conflicted about his own feelings for you.  He may believe that he is totally straight and can't reconcile his attraction for another man.  Or, he may not be sure how *you* would feel if he made a move on you!  My advice is to forget trying to label your friend as gay or straight.  He is simply a man who has a close and tender friendship with another man.  That is an awesome thing, and you should cherish it dearly.  The next time the two of you are snuggling in bed together, allow your hands to gently and very slowly run across his body.  The slower the better.  Let it be natural, easy, quiet, gentle, and slow.  See if his hands mirror what you are doing.  If he starts exploring your body as well, the two of you may end up touching genitals, and we all know where that sort of activity leads!  Or, if your friend falls asleep, gently explore his body with your fingertips, including between his legs.  If he starts to wake up, pretend that you were asleep and accidentally rubbing against him.  If he stays asleep and gets hard from your touch, he might be pretending to be asleep himself but you should keep touching.  The key here is to take things slowly.  Don't confront your friend about his sexuality.  Don't try to force him into a corner or you're bound to be the loser.  Give him time to come to terms with where he wants this friendship to go.  Enjoy your special time together.  Take advantage of intimate time together by casually taking things more toward a sexual direction without jumping his bones.  Try to determine if your friend is getting a hardon when the two of you snuggle.  Look and listen for any clues that he might want to take the relationship further.  Most of all, don't get uptight about this situation.  If you can stay cool and not be in a hurry, you are likely to get everything you want.