I’m a Senior in High School and feel secure in being Pan and Poly. Problem is, I haven’t dated since elementary school, which doesn’t really count in my opinion, and I don’t really know anything about dating in general, never mind as a young, queer woman. I’d like to explore that before I graduate, but I’m not sure exactly how to start.

Honestly, you can’t really set a deadline on dating. It might not happen before you graduate - you can’t force it no matter how badly you want it. And you may find that moving on from high school, whether it’s to college, a job, travel, the military, etc. without trying to maintain a high school relationship is easier in many ways.

There is no rule that you have to have your first dating relationship before you graduate high school. Many people don’t, and you won’t be at a disadvantage or get left behind in knowledge or experience. It can easy to feel rushed or pressured, especially when it seems like everyone else is dating or if you think there is something you need to be learning that you’re not. But trust me, everyone’s dating life moves at its own pace.

But it’s totally understandable to want to start dating now that you feel ready and while you’re still in high school. The best thing to do, in my experience, is to be yourself, be patient, and be open to experiences as they come. Join clubs or activities where you can meet people who share your interests. Cultivate the boldness and courage it takes to ask someone out if you’re interested! Learn to let go of the fear and desperation that can come with rejection - because everyone actively seeking to date will experience that.

And there’s plenty you can learn about dating without having to be actively practicing yourself. Read up about healthy relationships, safe and consensual sex, setting boundaries, self-love and self-esteem. Learn about yourself and what you need in relationships. Masturbate, read erotics, and/or do other things to help you explore what your sexual fantasies and interests are. Think critically about the subtle lessons you’ve been taught about relationships. Tend to your non-dating relationships, because close friendships are just as important as romance. Read narratives by other queer women. Try to let go of any hard deadline to start dating and enjoy the journey you’re on. You’ll get where you want to be. I promise.

Here are some resources:

Good luck!