Girlfriend or Girl Friend, Part 2


by The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way,

I have a girlfriend that I’m casually seeing and we get together occasionally. Things can be fun and hot when we’re together, but there’s one thing. She’s had some trauma in the past (which we haven’t really delved into), and wants nothing to do with touching me. (No hands, and forget about mouth.) It’s OK for the most part, but it’s become clear things aren’t going to change. Any thoughts on what I should do? A guy needs some love.—GQ


The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown

GQ, I’m really confused. When you say you have a girlfriend, do you mean someone you’re dating? Or is she a girl (SPACE) friend who’s more of a friend with benefits? Because “girlfriend” and “get together occasionally” don’t really make sense together.

Next, how is this situation “OK for the most part” for either one of you? If she’s your girlfriend—space or no space—aren’t you concerned about her past trauma? If she doesn’t want to delve into it with you, don’t you think it might be good to encourage her to talk to someone else about it? And don’t you think it’s weird for a girlfriend not to touch you when you’re doing all kinds of touching to her?

Here’s what I think you should do, GQ. I think you should encourage her to talk about what happened to her, if not to you, then to someone else. I think you need to decide if this is someone you’re seriously interested in, or if she’s just someone you want to hook up with. Once you decide that, find out what she wants. If she’s interested in more than just play, proceed with caution. But be honest with her about your needs—you’re not being selfish, it’s OK to want to be touched by someone you’re dating and being physical with. If she’s not ready to do that, maybe she’s not ready for a relationship with you.

If you decide you just want to have some fun and hook up, ask yourself why you’re in this arrangement in the first place since you’re not getting that much from it physically. Second, and more important, you need to stop seeing her. If she’s been sexually abused, she’s had a hard enough time with physical relationships, and if you’re not in it for the long haul, you don’t want to contribute to any more of her pain. But don’t just skip out; explain why and talk to her about it. Otherwise, you’re kinda shopliftin’ the pootie (I hope you saw Jerry McGuire), and that just ain’t right, GQ.

Check in tomorrow for the straight man's perspective by Chris Kennedy.

The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.

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