Whether it’s an awkward Hinge date or a charged emoji exchange on Grindr, most people have a horror story to tell when it comes to online dating. For members of the LGBTQ community, these stories often involve alienating encounters that include baseless questions, harassment and fetishization.
Even so, gay dating is much like straight dating when it comes to the worry and anxiety that come with it. The following are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Keep it casual
Gay men have a lot of the same anxieties as straight people when it comes to dating. We’re worried about how our OkCupid photos might come across and whether we’ll actually have chemistry in person. Despite our best efforts, we can’t always control what our dates say or do. And, just like everyone else, we’re prone to the odd misunderstanding or fight in established relationships.
When it comes to casual sex, those fears can be even greater. For some, separating sexual desire from emotional intimacy is a challenging task that requires self-examination and the willingness to be vulnerable with your date. For those of us who want to keep things casual, we have to be aware that our desires and boundaries will shift over time and communicate about those changes.
Keeping it casual also means not lying about who you are to your gay date. If you have a tendency to stretch the truth about your hobbies or interests when you’re on a date, it could be dangerous to both of you in the long run.
There’s also a risk of being catfished on gay dating apps. Some people who use the app will pretend to be someone they’re not in order to make a profit or gain attention. It’s worth taking a look at your date’s social media before giving them your number and checking out their thirst trap Instagram feed for surefire warning signs that they’re not what they claim to be.
2. Be honest
If you’re dating a man who is cis and has never been gay before, don’t assume that he’s comfortable with you getting naked right away. Many cis men struggle with their sexuality, and it’s important to be honest about where you are on your journey so that they don’t feel pressured or rejected.
Regardless of how you label yourself or your sexuality, the pillars of a healthy relationship are the same for everyone. This includes open communication, trust, and being supportive. You need to make sure that your date knows what you expect from the relationship, and that you are both emotionally ready for sex.
All established relationships go through rough patches. Whether you’re gay, straight, monogamous or polyamorous, you’ll experience disagreements and (hopefully) rare fights. If you’re struggling to navigate your relationship, it’s always a good idea to seek help from a therapist.
It’s no secret that the dating scene can be intimidating, especially if you’re looking for a long-term partner. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of worrying about how your date will respond to your OkCupid messages or what they’ll think if you show up for dinner wearing a thong or crop top. If you’re dating someone who isn’t your biological gender, the uncertainty can feel even more intense. But if you keep these tips in mind, your dating life can be a lot less scary and more enjoyable.
3. Don’t be afraid to say no
In the same way that it’s not okay to force yourself on someone you’re not sure is right for you, it’s not okay to be afraid to say no when it comes to sex. There are many reasons why a guy might want to have sex with you after the first date and it’s important that you don’t feel pressured.
This can include things like a guy who wants to have sex with you because he’s struggling with trauma symptoms (PTSD or something very similar) that make it difficult for him to live his best life. Guys who struggle with PTSD can be victims of violent crimes or accidents, sexual abuse/incest survivors, combat veterans, or even AIDS crisis survivors.
If you’re not ready for sex with someone, just let them know! It’s their choice whether to keep dating you or not and there are many ways to be close with a person without sex.
Online dating is full of horror stories – awkward Hinge dates and screenshots of corny bios that make you want to vomit – but it’s even more common for members of the LGBTQ community to experience alienating interactions from cis straight people who shouldn’t be in their feeds in the first place. This can include baseless questioning about sexual history, harassment, and fetishization.
4. Be yourself
It’s important to remember that while the dating scene is a lot more open for gay men, it doesn’t mean all gay dates are going to be perfect. In fact, dating can be really hard, especially if you’re in the early stages of a relationship. From finding someone to take you out to a good meal to finding the right person to text when you’re feeling lonely, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.
Despite this, it’s still incredibly important to be yourself and find people who appreciate you for who you are. This means being yourself with regards to how you want to be touched, how much intimacy you’re looking for and being yourself in terms of your interests and values. For example, if you’re not interested in racism or body-shaming, don’t talk about those things on your dating profile or during your first date.
If you’re not interested in sex, that’s okay too! It’s just as normal to be not sexually compatible with everyone you date as it is with straight people. It’s not a red flag that you’re gay or that you’re not “gay enough”; it’s just a sign that you don’t have the same level of chemistry. You’ll eventually find the right person for you. In the meantime, keep on dating!