Ask JT! Do You Believe in Fate? And How Risky is an Unprotected Beej?

Hey JT,

Do you believe in fate and destiny? I know that’s a silly question, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I started dating this guy about two months ago that I met when my college had an LGBT mixer with a few other local schools. As soon as we met – fireworks! We were immediately drawn to each other, and spent the whole weekend together. It was super hot, but more than that, it was emotional and mind-blowing.

We never even talked about dating exclusively. It was just a thing that happened right away. We both knew it was exactly what we wanted. It’s the first serious relationship for both of us. And I know this sounds crazy but it feels like we were somehow supposed to find each other, like it was fate and it couldn’t have happened any other way. I’ve told this to a few of my friends, who all said I was a hopeless romantic. But what do you think? Can it be fate?

Written in the Stars

fateballOh, you are definitely a hopeless romantic, WITS. But that’s not a bad thing at all, and what’s more, who knows? Maybe you were fated to meet your Romeo.

And maybe not. Let’s break it down.

Regarding my belief in fate, something happened to me on a recent vacation that still boggles my mind. My boyfriend Morris and I went to a friend’s wedding in California where the only people we actually knew were the bride and groom. The bride was Morris’s friend from his time in Japan, and I was his plus-one.

When we took our seats at the table to which we were assigned, everyone began to introduce themselves. One of the people at the table was a very funny, affable young man, very much the kind of person you immediately like before they even open their mouths. And as he was introducing himself, his name and his description of his life and career sounded very familiar …

“Can I ask you a question?” I asked. “Did you ever read a column called SGM Seeks LTR in NYC? On TheBacklot? Used to be AfterElton?”

Curiously, he said he had.

“Wow,” I said, shaking my head incredulously. “Yeah, so I’m JT Riley. And this is Morris.”

Not only was he a reader, he had been a very supportive and witty commenter. We had even corresponded a bit, and I remembered everything about him. (Yes, I read everything you guys write.)

To make it crazier, he had known of Morris for a long time through the bride, but they had never met, and so he never knew Morris was the same guy he had been reading all about in my column this whole time.

When you think about it, the odds that the we would all be at the same wedding, at the same table, are incalculably small. And yet our lives were already so connected virtually, it kind of feels like that meeting was meant to happen.

So do I believe in fate? Yeah, I kinda think I do.

But now that I’ve gotten the super-indulgent part of the column out of the way, do I think you were fated to meet this paragon of yours? Well, that’s a tough question to answer.

Two months is not a very long time to be dating someone – yes, even in “gay years” – and your first love can be a powerful intoxicant, making you think all sorts of dreamy thoughts. So my advice? Let a few more months go by so the novelty wears off a little, then return to contemplating the great big questions of the universe and where you fit into them.

But I’ll tell you one thing fate can never do. It can never fix the personal “I” that you inexplicably insist on writing in lower case, and you won’t always have an advice columnist to edit your writing. So STOP DOING THAT.

I kid, I kid. It’s all love.

But seriously, stop doing that.

Dear JT,

I am a very newly out gay man. I had a random hookup with a stranger the other day (the very first gay sexual encounter I’ve had), but we just exchanged blowjobs because neither of us wanted to bottom. For my part, it is because I am still concerned about STD’s and HIV in particular. However, afterwards, I began reading about how HIV is still transmittable orally.

I know this is foolish, but as I don’t have anyone to talk about these things with, I just wanted to ask: was what I did (oral sex without contraception) safe? There’s no reason besides my own nervousness to assume that there might be something to be scared about, but I’d still like to have someone reassure me.

I’d also like to know what I should do now as I guess I am now newly sexually active – should I get tested straight off this encounter, and for what? Should I insist in the future that oral sex should be done with a condom? Should I, as someone who is naturally anxious, just stay celibate until I’m in a relationship with someone I trust, and avoid random encounters?

Thanks for the advice!

New and Nervous

NAN, if you’re looking for someone to tell you that any sexual contact without protection, which includes oral sex, is safe, then you’re looking for someone to lie to you.

I don’t want to add to your anxiety, NAN, so I’ll start with this. The likelihood of contracting HIV through oral sex is very small. However, there are STDs and STIs out there which are spread through oral sex.

Don’t freak out. You haven’t done anything that basically every single gay man in the history of ever has done. Seriously, have you seen us? We LOVE the wang. Can’t get enough.

Wait, where was I? Oh, right. What’s important moving forward is that you make smart, informed choices.

I hesitate to give you this link, because reading about illnesses online while in an anxious state is a bad combination, but I feel strongly that you really need to educate yourself on gay men’s sexual health. So I’d like you to check out the Center for Disease Control’s website about just that. It’s a great resource for questions you have about STDs.

Here’s what I want you to do. Read that site and educate yourself, and then think about your future dating life. I, personally, am a big fan of monogamy, because in addition to just sort of being wired that way, it also eliminates the worry of STDs once one and one’s partner get a clean bill of health. Maybe you’ll find you’re the same way, or maybe you’ll discover you’ll never be a one-man kind of man. If it’s the latter, just make sure you always play it as safe as possible and are always honest with your future partners.

Hey JT,

I know you get this kind of question a lot, but I’m taking a trip next week to NYC, and want to go to some great gay bars. Any suggestions?


You’re coming at a good time, T, because you’ll still be able to catch a truly historic gay bar before it shuts its doors forever.


Splash, the wild, Speedo-bartended club, is closing. For over two decades Splash has been part of New York’s cultural landscape. I’ll never forget the night I went there with my friend Josh Berresford of TV’s Dante’s Cove and we saw former figure skating gold medalist Oksana Baiul attempting to start a career as a Kylie Minogue-esque gay disco queen. I, uh … think we all know how that turned out.

But that’s just the kind of weird shit that happened at Splash. That, and you always got your overpriced drink with a Speedo-bulge and a smile.

Check it out before it closes. It’s a piece of NYC gay history.