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My younger brother and I are close. He came out of the closet last year, although it wasn't much of a surprise because everyone knew he was gay since forever. But for the last six to nine months, he's been really depressed about not ever having had a boyfriend. He's 21 and he's always talking about how he wants to find a boy to be with, but he says it's impossible to meet said boy.

Me being straight, the only advice I've ever been able to give him is to just try new things and that way you'll meet new people. My brother, however, framed his issue to me in a way I've never thought of — which is that only a small fraction of the population is gay, and an even smaller fraction of that may be compatible with him, so meeting new people is a lot harder than it is for straight people.

He's been on the online dating thing, but said it's really difficult to meet anyone who he feels a connection with. I asked him if he ever goes to gay bars, but apparently it's a little insensitive for a straight guy to say that, and he said he's not into that scene. I wish I could give him some good advice without being unintentionally offensive. 

Seeking Advice For Family

There are 3.5 billion men on the planet.

Even if we accept the lowest educated guesstimate of the percentage of the population that's gay — 1.7 percent — your brother has 2.5 million potential romantic partners in the United States alone. Other informed guesstimates of the gay population are seven or eight times higher, so your brother's odds of finding a partner are probably much better. But let's put that 1.7 percent figure in perspective: Jews represent just 1.7 percent of the population of the United States. So even if the percentage of the population that's gay is "just" 1.7 percent, your brother has the, um, same cross to bear as an American Jew who wants to marry another American Jew.

It sounds like your brother is going through a common, if rarely discussed, stage of the coming-out process: Wallow in Self Pity and Bite the Head Off Anyone Who Tries to Help. That's why he was offended by your perfectly reasonable suggestion that he hit some gay bars. The bars aren't for everyone. But if you're single and want to meet people — gay or straight — you need to be moving on all fronts: online dating, hitting bars and clubs, volunteering, and just generally getting out of the house.

Your brother is 21 years old and he just came out, and his frustration is understandable: He's been watching his straight peers (and his straight brothers) hook up and fall in love since middle school. But he won't find that first boyfriend if he doesn't put himself out there — and that means giving the guys he meets online a chance, giving the bars a chance and giving the people who are trying to help him a break.

My girlfriend of two-and-a-half years and I are ready to move in together. I am so excited, and so is she. The problem is that I work third shift four to five nights a week and she works a regular day job. I can't help but feel that we aren't going to get the full experience of living together. I won't be waking up every morning to her saying, "Good morning, beautiful," etc. What can we do to make this a better situation?

The Next Step

Don't spend too much time comparing your actual relationship, which will always be shaped by circumstances not fully in your control, to your idealized notions about what a romantic relationship should look like. That only ensures disappointment. 

Don't get me wrong: There will be days that begin with her rolling over and saying, "Good morning, beautiful." But there will also be days that begin with your girlfriend rolling over and farting. The trick is to fully appreciate the moments that rise to the level of your romantic ideals, without obsessing about the moments that disappoint. Good luck!

I'm a guy. I've been with my girlfriend for almost two years. I love her, but in the last year, sex has been an issue. I feel attracted to her, but I find myself easily distracted these days, kind of worried during sex, which has resulted in me either coming super fast or losing my erection. As a result, she does not orgasm at all. It's gotten to the point where I'm afraid to be intimate with her for fear of letting her down. I have gone to doctors to see if my medical conditions — severe sleep apnea, elevated blood pressure — might have something to do with it. I'm in treatment for these things and I've started going to a therapist, too. I am thinking of buying some sex toys to use while I work to overcome my problems. My girlfriend doesn't own any, and she says she doesn't masturbate because she tried it once and never came. How do I approach her with the idea of using sex toys? Should I?

Devil In The Details

Incorporating some adult toys into your sex life isn't just a great way to maintain your sexual connection while you work on your physical and mental issues. It's also a great way to take the pressure off your dick. Performance anxiety and worries about leaving your partner unsatisfied can create a dick-deflating negative feedback loop. As for your girlfriend ...

A woman who doesn't masturbate — because she tried it once and it didn't work — has hang-ups. And a woman with hang-ups is much likelier to forgive a partner for having purchased some sex toys than she is to give a partner her advance permission to purchase them. So find a good sex-toy store and buy whatever you think looks like fun.

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

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