Dear Bearded Confidant,

I have an interesting problem.  A guy I have a crush on started spending a lot of time with me after we graduated high school.  One evening when we were having a real heart to heart conversation I admitted to him that I was gay and that I had a crush on him.  He was so understanding that I could have thrown up.  He told me that he was not like that but if he was that he would talk to me.  He remains my friend but I try to get him to be something more and I keep failing. Another day when we were having another heart to heart talk he confessed to me that he would emotionally die without me.  What does that mean?  He also seemed a little jealous because I was over a friend's house and he thought he was my boyfriend.  Some of my friends tell me to leave him alone, but everyone believes that he is gay and not admitting it to me.  Because of all this I find myself depressed and finding that I could actually kill myself over him.  Is he gay and not telling me, confused or whatever?  Could you help me find a way to get over him or help me get him? I prefer the latter.

Dear Unloved,

Many straight men are secretly intrigued by man-to-man sexual contact. They are curious about what it would feel like to casually jerk off with a buddy or feel another man's cock in their hands, mouths, or asses. Once they find out that a friend is gay, they enjoy openly referring to sex and joking around about it in a slightly flirtatous way.  Perhaps they feel comfortable talking about gay sex once they have "established" that they are straight and their friend is gay.  A classic example of this occurs in the movie Orgazmo (written by the creators of the "South Park" cartoon series), in which one male character says to another, "I don't mean to sound queer or anything, but you've got a cute butt."  Your friend may or may not be gay.  If he hasn't yet participated in homosexual activities, then he is technically straight.  He may indeed feel strong emotional ties to you but not sexual urges.  There are many, many different types of masculine relationships.  Though you desire to express your feelings for this man in a physical way, remember that intimacy can take many forms.  Your friend's apparent jealousy could point to sexual tension between you, or he could simply feel possessive of your friendship and worry that you won't always be there for him. Give your friend time to contemplate and explore the nature of his feelings for you.  Defining one's sexual identity can be a difficult process.  Until he comes to terms with his own feelings and is comfortable and confident with his inner self, he will not be able to tell you if he is gay or straight.  Go on with your life and allow your friend to grow as well.  If your friend isn't ready to take your relationship to the next level, and if in the meantime you become romantically involved with another man, then so be it.  If you meet someone else and your friend confronts you about it, you can discuss each other's feelings and make your choice at that time.