June: Ask Agony Uncle Eli

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Rainbow Counsellor Elijah Luke Michel is here to help with your problems:


I’m in an open relationship with my partner. I have another boyfriend and we see each other weekly, and practice safe sex. My partner, however, has numerous bed-buddies (which is fine) but he sometimes he forgets to wear protection. Three times in the past month we’ve had to have an STD test because he, or his bed-buddy, have ridden bareback. I can’t keep doing this, and don’t know how I can help him remember to be safe?

Well done for practicing safe sex yourself. I presume you do also with your partner, knowing his tendencies? You’ll need to sit him down and let him know the stress his behaviour places on you. You can source condoms (free from the NZ AIDS Foundation and other organisations) and ensure he has a good supply in his car, backpack, briefcase or pockets! If he continues to ‘forget’ or allow his bed-buddy to, you may need to renegotiate your relationship. Health comes first.

I’m pretty confused about where I identify on the sexual orientation spectrum. I am open to a relationship with anyone – male or female, cis-gendered or trans* – so I’m aware that I am pansexual. But, I’m not interested in getting physical with anyone unless I know and love them. One night stands are out of the question. I really want a long-term partner, but how do I find one if I don’t understand myself?

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I hear your dilemma. Humans are great at applying labels to sort us into groups, even though each of us are completely unique! You are right in that being open to dating anyone deems you pansexual. It also sounds like you are demisexual, which lies on the asexuality spectrum. This means you are neither interested nor comfortable with any physical intimacy until you are connected on a deeper, emotional level. You are not alone, and now that you know, it should be easier to find others.

Elijah Luke Michel works with the LGBT+ community as a chaplain and face-to-face counsellor at OUTLineNZ. If you have an issue you would like Elijah to talk about in express, email ask@gayexpress.co.nz.

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