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Ask Athena: A Q&A With Seven Days' Expert on Love and Lust


Published August 19, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

  • MAtt Mignanelli

Q: I met a great guy downtown. We went home together and had a wild night. It turns out he's, um, my professor and now acts like he doesn't even know me. What should I do?

— Hot for Teacher in Ryan Hall

A: What should you do? Cool off, Hot, and stay far, far away. He's avoiding you because he's probably horrified that you've turned out to be one of his students. Even if you were amazing in the sack, he's protecting himself from getting sacked by getting close to you again. Respect the distance and move on.

Q: A girl I just started dating hit me the other night. We were really drunk and had a little argument. Then, all of a sudden she got crazy and smacked me in the face pretty hard. I really like her, but when she gets drunk, she gets mean. How do I deal with this?

— On the Defensive in Redstone Campus

A: No matter how beautiful and special this woman might be when she is sober, the drunken version sounds pretty dangerous. She needs some help and guidance, immediately.

The first thing to do is talk to someone at the counseling service at your school or a local organization such as the Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. These people are trained to guide you through challenging situations without violating your privacy.

Don't let the fact that she was drunk lessen the gravity of the situation. This is often how abusive relationships start.

Q: I just started dating this guy and I like him, but we haven't had sex. I'm not ready, so we do other things — like oral. He recently asked me to lick his anus. I think it's sort of gross, but I'm getting over that. Should I be worried about sexually transmitted infections?

— Tongue-Tied at Lyman Hall

A: Any time you lick, suck, kiss or use your tongue at the opening of an anus, you're inviting whatever bacteria or germs reside there into your body. The penis comes with its own risks: viral infections such as herpes simplex 1 and 2 and, in rare instances, HIV, HPV or Hepatitis B/C. Bacterial infections include chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Take your choice. And seek counsel at your local Planned Parenthood for information about how to protect yourself and insist your partner be checked out, too, if he hasn't already.

Most important: Don't feel pressured to do anything you don't want to do. Stay true to yourself. If he isn't cool with it, he's not worth your worry. Plenty of others out there will appreciate and respect your boundaries.

Q: I'm gay, but nobody back home knows it. Now that I am in college, I really want to explore being with guys, but some of the people from my high school go to this college, and I'm afraid they will tell people back home. How do I explore without old friends and family finding out?

— Closeted in the Cottages

A: You have a tough choice to make. But it looks like you might want to consider coming out. As challenging and scary as that is, you'll never experience the freedom of being who you really are until you take that step. Bonus: You can stop worrying about what your high school peers are saying about you.

Reach out to the LGBTQ support group or club at your school, or community groups such as Outright Vermont and the Pride Center of Vermont for guidance on how and when coming out will work best for you. The folks there can help you through this exciting new phase of self-discovery. After all, that's what college is all about.