Dear Zad: dark rooms, open relationships and have I outgrown my relationship?

Author: Josh Mayhew

Dear Zad answers all your LGBTQ+ dilemmas

You can find Zad shit posting on Insta at @joshmayhewnyc and submit your dilemmas anonymously using the box below! 

NOTE: Zad is not qualified in anything. Just a sassy gay with a LOT of opinions.


K****n in Manchester writes:

Hey Zad. I wanna try out a dark room but I’m worried people will think I’m a hoe. Plus are they safe? Idk 

So because I’m a tenured professor with in the specialized field of absolute horse shit, I’m going to organize this answer into two parts for you:


1- As far as being worried that people will think you’re a hoe, don’t. This is 2022; as far as I can tell, someone “being a ho” is literally not even a thing anymore. (In retrospect, it probably should have never been.)

If someone is totally happy with their own sex life, they prolly wouldn’t have too many opinions on yours. So anyone who might judge you for “being a ho” is clearly hung the fu*k up on sum’n.


Send them your blessings. ALSO, one day when you’re 99 years old and your dentures are falling out onto your birthday cake there’s a pretty big chance you’ll want to do so knowing that you felt comfortable owning your sexuality when you were all young and spry (whatever that means for you individually.)


2- Only you know your own comfort level with sexual boundaries. I would say set some of those boundaries with yourself ahead of time and keep your confidence with maintaining them in the moment.

I’m pretty sure most dudes are just lookin’ to unwind a bit in those spaces and those with mutual interests will find each other pretty quick.


People like a dark room the same way they might prefer Golden Corral over PF Chang’s – tons of variety, a buffet instead of just one entrée, and once you find what you like you can go back for as many helpings as you want.  


Have fun bbe, and be safe!

Love, Your Zad (@JoshMayhewNYC


B***y in Detroit writes: 

Hey Zad, I’m pansexual and I’ve been in a relationship with a guy since we were like 18. I’m 21 now and I feel like I might need to spread my wings but also I don’t wanna lose him. Advise pls. 

Hey B,

We could obviously talk about feelings and read Rupi Kauer to each other and fluff ourselves with Hollywood narratives about coming of age and sexual awakening, BUT because I have exactly one serotonin molecule and exactly two working brain cells left at this point, when it comes to dilemmas like this I pretty much like to think only in tangible outcomes.


It’s obviously a weird situation because it sounds like there’s some history there, and nothing makes us feel quite as safe when the future is uncertain as our memories of a less complicated time. (Can you tell I had an asymmetrical haircut and listened to The Smiths in high school?)


Kinda sounds like you have three options: open the relationship, bounce out, or keep on truckin’. And if it were me, I’d weigh the worst possible outcome of each one and go with the seemingly least shitty one. Consider how you, as you are in this current moment, would manage through each of those shitty outcomes and be try to be both realistic and kind to yourself. 


What I might say, being literally 154 years older than you, is this: I literally do not even remember being 21, but I do remember wishing at times that my self respect was stronger than my feelings. Take your time to decide, but don’t wait forever.

Love, Your Zad (@JoshMayhewNYC


T*m in Philadelphia writes:

Hey Zad. Me and my bf of ten years have opened up the relationship on and off. But each time we’re open, I struggle with feelings of jealousy, even though we’re in a really good place. We still have a good sex life just us and there’s no reason whatsoever for me to feel threatened by other guys. We communicate well and he’s recently offered to close the relationship again because he knows I’m finding it hard. But I don’t want that and would much rather find a way to make it work. Any suggestions?

What’s good, gorgeous?

I think it’s totally okay to own and acknowledge feelin’ a lil jealous when your man gets turned on by other dudes. It can be hard not to stack yourself against others. One thing about gays, they WILL compare shit… di*ks, drag queens, lubes, you name it. BUT despite that, try and look at the bigger picture when you feel yourself gettin’ that familiar lil jealous twinge. 


Although I wouldn’t know the inner semantics of your relationship (i.e. who would be who on on Selling Sunset, who queefs more, who posts excessively on IG) I can objectively offer two silver linings here based on what you’ve told your dear Zad today:


First, just the mention that you “still have a good sex life” and “communicate well and he’s recently offered to close the relationship” should show that your man is still super into you after a decade, both in the clapping cheeks sense and in the I-give-a-shit-about-your-wellbeing sense. 


Second, everyone is equipped with a spectrum of characteristics that are all perceived differently, so try and remember yours that make you special and unique and hot.

When you find yourself focusing too much on how attractive others are, maybe you aren’t leaving any space in your mind to remember how attractive you are too.

Because here’s the newsflash: multiple attractive people can co-exist. One ain’t gotta be better or worse or hotter or bigger or smaller than the other. They can literally just be. And that’s prolly why there are millions of hot people in the world, instead of just like two or three.


So considering that you can share the general commonality of attractiveness with someone else, seeing your man getting turned on by another dude may begin to feel less like a threat. You may have that dump truck ass, Tristan has great teeth, and Jason is hung. Everyone’s great, everyone gets a car. (I tried to pick the gayest names I could think of, I hope you’re proud.)


Your partner done been with your ass for ten damn years because at the end of the day you come with a long list of features that he simply can’t be without. To him, you’re the whole package. And some fu*kboy with insufferable creatine farts and a big di*k from Morningside Heights ain’t got shit on that.

Love, Your Zad (@JoshMayhewNYC


For more from Zad (aka Josh), he’s on Instagram right here Submit your own dilemmas in the box below…