Recently, several younger members posted questions about sexual orientation. The same question seems to recur, again and again. Though only in their late teens, these young men show enough wisdom to know that they are, for the most part, gay. Their erotic thoughts give little room to deny it; men turn them on in a way that women dont. Congratulations, guys. Youre a long way ahead of where many of us found ourselves at your age. But the men who flood the imagination when in the throes of orgasm, seldom make it into dreams they hold for day-to-day life. They dont feel gay. Mainstream gay culture leaves them non-plussed, or even alienated. They relate emotionally better to women, and maybe even enjoy straight sex. They see themselves with a house in the suburbs and a gaggle of smiling kids. A recipe in which ingredient number one is a woman. These young men wonder if they can still have their cake and eat it. Might they be (or become) bisexual? Can one get sexual release in one place, and emotional fulfillment in another? Must they keep their desires out of the way of their dreams? Our advice has covered a broad spectrumas it should. Some of us tried that formula. Many of us agreed that both emotions and sexuality are fluid; it ought to be possible for a (fundamentally) same-sex oriented man to have a life that involves meaningful, mutual commitment with a woman. I understand that the new biopic of Cole Porter and wife Linda Lee shows their relationship thus. In Porters words, a swellegant, elegant couple seen together at all the right placesa perfect social, intellectual and emotional match. Its just that when it really came time to get his rocks off, Cole grabbed pal Monty Woolley and shot uptown to the male brothels of Harlem. A happy ending or not? In any case, the Porters life of childless privilege teaches few lessons to those whose dreams demand a daily grind of mortgage, car pool and baby puke. That dream takes work. It assumes that two adults, whose lives are totally consumed by all this stuff, meet each others emotional needs naturally and unselfconsciously. Thus each has enough resources on tap to meet the emotional needs of the childrenwhich dont let up, 24/7. (As an aside, I am told that even in privileged homes where the practical chores of child-rearing are made easier, single parents struggle most with the need for their own emotional support, in order to have enough inner strength for their children.) Young men, ask yourself this. Can you really meet her emotional needs without sexual passion in your soul? Can you really make her feel desired and secure enough to free her heart for the children? Can she meet your emotional needs in the same way? I was re-reading Portnoys Complaint , and a passage struck a chordthats one reason to post on this subject again. The hero, crusading middle-aged lawyer Alexander Portnoy, is sexually obsessed with his girlfriend, a gorgeous blonde underwear model. But he cannot allow himself to love her truly, since his parents made it clear that he should marry a nice Jewish girl, and he bought their line. He even calls her Monkey because her real name, Mary, reminds him shes a shikse . Roth has Portnoy read Freud, who maintains that for love to be healthy, two currents of feeling should be united; the tender, affectionate feelings and the sensual feelings. Where the two flow together, there is passion. Where not, we findin Freuds wordsthe most prevalent form of degradation in erotic life. Personally, I feel it degrades your non-erotic affection, too, if you cannot abandon yourself completely to your most significant other. So again, heres my advice to the Cales and the qwertyu's of this world, to name but two. Dont settle for degraded love. Be prepared to enjoy the affection of other men, as well as their bodies. You might just find erotic and emotional joy in the same place. Open your hearts first, and thereafter work out how youll build your dream a dream you both share, hopefully. You just might find yourself dreaming a little differently. OK, you won't live the pipe-and-slippers fantasy of a wife, 2.3 kids and membership in the country club. But hey, fate sometimes throws us a curve-ball and you deal, right? You make the best of it, and the best might just be better than the hoary old sitcom ideal to which our imagination often defaults. Better, because its real . Dan Savage recently published a book called The Kid , a loving but ruthlessly unsentimental account of how he and his boyfriend Terry adopted a son. Recommended reading, even though his cynical realism about affairs of the heart may shock those amongst us who havent been around the block a few times ourselves. Savage is, after all, a columnist who gives out sex advice. The American poet Galway Kinnell wrote that when youre young, your wife or husband is the one who gives you the most sexual excitement . After thirty years or so, your wife or husband is the one who helps you find your glasses. When you put on your glasses, whom do you want to see? A woman of comforting familiarity, whom you regard with great affection and respect, or the man you love? I think you young men, in your heart of hearts, know the answer.