LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

DATING
 

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Best LGBTQ Dating Apps
Video Advice: Unique LGBTQ Dating Problems

 

 

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Bryan and Mwinga: Blind Date

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Pink News: Most Same Sex Couples Meet On-Line

My Story: Blind Date

 

 

Same Sex and LGBTQ Dating and Relationship Advice
 

Is same-sex dating the same as heterosexual dating? Yes and no.

Anyone who wants a long-term, committed relationship goes through similar challenges. However, as an LGBTQ individual, you have unique needs and concerns. You may face discrimination at home, at school, or at work. The traumatic severity of these experiences varies, but can sometimes impact self-worth and self-esteem. In turn, these can affect your relationships and dating life.

New possibilities
 

New same-sex marriage laws and a more progressive society have empowered the LGBTQ community to get married, have children, and create families. They’ve also allowed the community to redefine what commitments and families can be.

Despite these steps forward, challenges remain for same-sex couples. Unlike heterosexual relationships, which historically have a well-defined path towards marriage, there are few models out of there for same-sex couples. Whether you want to get married or not, it’s tough to know what to do next without guidance or role models.

 



The challenges
 

In many ways, people in the LGBTQ community face the same challenges as their heterosexual counterparts. It takes the same effort to find a suitable partner, build a strong, long-lasting relationship, and improve that relationship over time.

On the other hand, coming out and the reality of oppression impact LGBTQ individuals in specific and concrete ways. This may affect how you look for and find a suitable match.

The rise of the internet and social media
 

The availability of the Internet and apps have dramatically changed the way people find their romantic partners. Dating sites and apps have replaced bars, restaurants, and other social spaces where same-sex couples would normally meet.

Because finding a partner has become easier, LGBTQ partnership rates have increased dramatically in the last decades. Studies show that more than 60% of same-sex couples meet online and there are more gay and lesbian couples than ever before.

But, online dating has influenced how people make decisions about their relationships. Due to a bombardment of possibilities, people may be less attentive to more suitable partners and more vulnerable to connecting with incompatible partners. This is especially true for those who want a long-term relationship.

 



Too much choice


Additionally, the illusion of endless possibility and choice may make people more apt to discarding a good relationship if it doesn’t immediately fulfill most of our needs. Why try if there might be something better out there anyways?

Well, this mindset isn’t entirely true. Dating is complicated because we want our partners to be our best friend, fulfill all our sexual fantasies and desires, support our dreams, share our financial burdens, and accept all of our flaws. Yet, the reality is that relationships take effort and consistent repairs. As in any relationship, once the romantic stage gives way to the next stage, conflicts over differences may arise. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying.

What does oppression have to do with dating?


As a sexual minority, people in the LGBTQ community are at high risk of stigmatization, discrimination, marginalization, and violence. Sometimes, they suffer at the hands of their own parents, siblings, and other close relatives.

Exposure to oppression can be internalized. This instills shame, self-hatred, and self-deprecating behavior. In turn, it may affect dating behaviors. Some people in the LGBTQ community may have a tendency to repeat patterns of rejection and blaming or stay in an unhealthy relationship for too long.

 



Coming out


The coming out process can also affect dating. Dating challenges depend on when an individual started the coming out process. The more recently a person came out, the more anxious he/she will be during the dating process.

Issues of being “out” to family, friends, and coworkers are different for each individual. You may be out to some people and not to others. This can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and shame, particularly when dating someone who is in a different stage of the coming out process.

People of color who identify as LGBTQ


If you also identify as a member of an ethnic minority, you may be exposed to multiple layers of oppression. And, studies show that discrimination against ethnic minority gay men and lesbian women can be perpetrated by their own families. Because of cultural values and a fear of shaming their families, many LGBTQ persons of color hide their same-sex dating behaviors and may lead a double life. Dating under these circumstances may be more challenging.

 

Relationship Advice for Same Sex Couples

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Love Panky: Types of Relationships

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How to Date Girls: Simple Rules for Properly Courting a Lesbian

Music Video: I Wish You Were Gay

Info: Falling in Love

Eight Types of Gay Guys I've Dated

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Info: Sexual Activity

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Grindr Etiquette: Johnny Sibilly, Kevin Mchale, Ira Madison III

Common Lesbian Relationship Problems

 

Tips for Successful Same-Sex Dating


Despite the challenges, love can last. With the right attitude and the right tools, you can find a long-term relationship.

If you’ve been out of the dating scene for a long time, get help from a dating coach or a counselor. You can look for same-sex-specific dating advice online. First dates can produce anxiety, so it helps to do your homework and be prepared.


Try to date someone who is in a similar coming out stage. The future success of a relationship is more likely if both partners are at or around the same stage. If you are out and your partner is not, you can become frustrated and resentful at your partner because of his/her inability to be open and honest about the relationship. On the other hand, the more closeted member of the pair can feel pressured to come out before he/she is emotionally ready. This can lead to anxiety and resentment too.

 


If you are looking for a long-term relationship and not just a hookup, rethink your relationship with social media. Many social media platforms are not love and commitment friendly. Instead, they focus on hookup culture. This can affect how your dates view you.


Be clear about your monogamy versus non-monogamy values and communicate them directly. Try to clarify your implicit expectations and make them explicit. Don’t assume that your idea of cheating is the same as that of your partner. Encourage conversations about your sexual preferences and sexual expectations. If you are looking for a long-term, committed relationship, and you are the type of person who wants to be loyal and monogamous, find someone with the same values. A well-trained sex therapist can help host these difficult conversations.
 

Don’t move in together too quickly. Sometimes, we make decisions about living together without really deciding. It just happens. Many same-sex and other LGBTQ couples report that they started living together because their lease was up or because they spent a lot of nights together anyway. The decision to live together is an emotional and financial decision. It shouldn’t be made on a whim.

 


 

Seek counseling from a relationship expert if you have had traumatic experiences coming out, if you were exposed to discrimination in your family, school or work, or if you don’t have much support currently. Those experience can damage your self-esteem. You may find yourself repeating the same patterns over and over again in your dating life. To improve your chances for successful same-sex dating, seek counseling to unlock your potential and improve your resilience.


Finally, keep in mind that the things that make LGBTQ relationships work are the same things that make any relationships work: attention to the relationship, a good sex life, kindness, respect, communication, compromise, trust, and safety. Be sure to seek the help of an expert in dating and relationships to get on the right track.
 

Same Sex and LGBTQ Dating and Relationship Advice
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Best LGBTQ Dating Apps

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Rules for LGBTQ Dating

Relationships are challenging. They are not for the faint hearted. I just spent a month disseminating relationship and dating advice to 8 single celebrities for E! Network's new show, Famously Single (airing this spring), and I walked away feeling crystal clear that as members of the LGBTQ community, we definitely have our own set of challenges when it comes to dating and relationships. In an effort to help you bypass some of the most common mistakes our peeps make, I've compiled a list of rules to follow:

Be Equally Out or Closeted -  You should only date people who are exactly where you are on the Coming Out Spectrum. To date someone who is at a different phase of coming out than you are will create a power struggle. The person who is further along in coming out will invariably be dissatisfied with the more closeted partner. I've seen it hundreds of times and it's always the same story, though each couple hopes theirs will result in a different outcome, with the closeted partner assuring the out partner that she will eventually come out but that she's just more of a 'private' person, and the out partner swearing that she doesn't even care if her partner comes out -- the important thing is that they're together. This. Never. Works.

What happens is that both partners become fixed in their respective positions which results in a power struggle between the couple which then causes them to reach out to me for therapy and since I would rather walk through fire than deal with a couple, I send them to my wife, the Imago therapist.

 



Spend Nights Apart - We don't get Boys' Night Out or Girls' Night Out by virtue of needing time alone with our same-sex friends because, well, we're in a relationship with someone of the same sex. Which is precisely why it's imperative that you establish a night alone from the beginning. I've seen so many clients who have been in a relationship for a year or more who wish they'd established this habit early on so that it didn't feel like it was some sort of rejection of their partner later in the game. Time alone is one of the most important elements needed for sustaining a relationship. You need new stories to bring to your partner. It's how we keep excitement in the relationship.

Offer To Pay (Both of You) - You're the same sex, and until you've established a system for who pays for what, you both need to offer to pay.

Do Not Talk About Your Ex - The heteros seem to understand this intuitively. We can learn from them. No one wants to hear your war stories. Specifically, don't reference how they were in bed or how devastating the breakup was. I'm cringing just thinking about it.
 

Advice for Women - Resist the urge to merge. Do not U-haul for a minimum of a year. I don't care if you live in Manhattan and it just makes financial sense. It's a recipe for disaster. Please. We can change this stereotype. And yes, I broke my own rule and u-hauled early on. I'm a lucky one. Do as I say... I've seen it backfire more times than not.

Advice for Men
- Label it. Call it what it is. If you want an open relationship, clearly express it to your partner; likewise if you want a monogamous relationship. If you're somewhere in the middle -- say, you'd like to have sex with other partners but only with each other in the context of a 3-way, clarify that. I don't care what your relationship model is. I'm open to all. But only with 100 percent honesty.
 

[Source: Dr. Darcy Sterling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Host of Famously Single, Huffington Post, Dec 2017]

 


 

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Bryan and Mwinga: Blind Date

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Info: Having Sex

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Guys Only Dating Site

 

Dating Tips for Gay Men
 

Consider these tips to help gay and bisexual men make better choices about dating and relationships.

 

"Check in" with yourself to understand what’s behind your motivation for dating or being in a relationship. How much are you affected by others’ opinions of you based on whether you’re single? Do you feel more alive when you’re involved with another guy? Are you genuinely attracted to this guy? Are you reacting to feeling lonely or rejected?

Identify what kinds of experiences have been satisfying when dating or being in a relationship in the past. And what has left you wanting something else. How you've felt about past experiences can direct you to what will work for you in the future.

 



Get in touch with what you value, what you need and what you desire in another guy and in a relationship. Without this awareness, you may well make choices that don’t satisfy what’s really important to you. This is your life... follow your bliss!

Recognize that dating or being in a relationship makes demands on you. Not only time, effort and sacrifice, it also demands that you reveal who you are to another guy. It's important to know how prepared you are to do this at this time in your life.

Timing is (almost) everything. Are you really ready to date or be in a relationship? Or are difficult life circumstances (dealing with significant health changes, substance use, experiencing oppression, grief over a loss) stressing your ability to handle the additional challenges of connecting with another guy?

Be aware of the power balance between you and the other guy. If you feel you have little power, how will you be able to negotiate what you need or desire? If you feel you have most of the power in a relationship (not an easy thing to recognize), will you be able to really hear what the other guy wants or desires?

People change over time (and so do relationships), particularly in the early stages of getting to know someone. It’s important to be prepared for the natural evolution of relationships and the first step towards this is to accept that change is inevitable.

 


 

Before you begin to date or start a relationship, make sure friends and family are there for support. You’ll appreciate them helping you celebrate the highs and deal with the lows!

Recognize you have a choice in saying "yes" or "no" in any situation and that choosing to be single is a choice.

Be prepared for the feeling that dating or being in a relationship is not always easy. Many dates do not lead to an ongoing relationship and most relationships you’re in will not be the "final one." If this was true, we would all still be in our first relationship!


[Source: Greg Garrison, Counsellor, David Kelley Services]

 

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Gay Therapy: What Gay Men Should Expect in a Relationship

How Gay Men’s Relationships Differ from Straight Relationships

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Dating Advice for Gay/Bi Men
Finding Bliss: Dating Tips for Gay Men
Scientifically Proven Dating Tips for Gay Men
Dating Tips For Gay Men (That Everyone Should Follow)

 

Tips for a Healthy Lesbian Relationship

Good relationships don't just happen, they take dedication and work. But you also need to know what to work at. Here are some tips for a happy and healthy lesbian relationship.

Don't Expect to Get Your Needs Met  -  Expecting someone else to meet your needs is a failed concept. Instead, focus on taking care of yourself and what you can do to support your partner. This will bring out the best in both of you.

Establish Meaningful Rituals  -  Whether you take a walk after dinner each night or make pizza together every Friday night, establishing rituals allows you to stay in touch with each others' lives. Make dates on Saturdays or even just doing regular household chores together, like cleaning or grocery shopping helps keep you connected.

 



Work on Improving Yourself  -  For a relationship to be healthy, you need to grow and change. Work on yourself and also on trying to be a better partner. Try on new behaviors. Take some risks.

Have More Positive Than Negative Interactions  -  Try to have a five-to-one ratio of positive to negative interactions. Give more compliments, hugs, affection and appreciation than negative comments or blaming. Better yet, try to eliminate negative comments all together.

Surprise Her  -  Keep things exciting with surprises. Take her on a special date night, sneak a love note into her briefcase, send her flowers, bring her lunch at work. Buy her tickets to her favorite musician or write her a song and sing it to her while she's in the tub. Surprises little and big are important to keeping things fresh.

Take Care of Yourself  -  No one is a good partner if they're stressed out and unhappy. Make sure you take the time for yourself to stay healthy. Eat right, exercise, do yoga, take alone time when you need it. The better you feel about yourself, the more you're going to be able to give to your relationship.

Develop Common Interests  -  Nothing kills a relationship faster than sitting around on a couch, looking at each other with bored looks on your faces. You're going to be spending a lot of time together, get involved in something that excites both of you. It can be golfing, traveling or volunteering at the local animal shelter. Find your common interests and develop them into pleasurable experiences.

 



Be Kind, Not Right  -  Whether you're right or wrong is not really the issue. Think about not being right, but about what you want, which is to have a loving relationship. Spend more time being kind and you'll argue less and enjoy each other more.

Fight Fair  -  When fights or arguments do happen, don't say things in the heat of the moment that may damage your relationship. Walk away to cool off and come back to the discussion later.

Make Alone Time a Priority  -  Your lives may get busy with work, children and social activities, but make sure you schedule in time each week for alone time. It's great if this time is something fun, like a date night or sexy time, but even just turning off the TV and sitting on the back porch and talking about your hopes for the future can bring you much closer together.

 

[Source: Kathy Belge, Lesbian Life Expert]
 

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Popular LGBTQ Dating Sites
 

In the on-line dating world, there are sites that are particularly targeted to the LGBTQ community, including Scruff, Grindr, Tinder, Guys Only, Bumble, Elite Singles, Zoosk, Hornet, Jack'd, Her, Hinge, Lex, Scissr, Fem, Pink Cupid, Lesly, J Swipe, Feeld, The League.  Other popular general dating sites include Match, E-Harmony, Mingle, Bounce, OK Cupid.

 

 

Scruff - Scruff might have a reputation solely as a hook-up app, but not so, according to its CEO Eric Silverberg. “Members all over the world have met their partners and husbands on SCRUFF, and we're delighted by the stories of love shared with us over the years.” One key feature that differentiates Scruff, an app that caters to gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals, from its competitors is "Scruff Match": single guys looking for dates are only shown other single guys open to dating or relationships. One of the biggest ways to stand out from the competitors on an app like Scruff? A clear picture of your face—which will undoubtedly stand out against a sea of torsos and blurry shots. Scruff is free, but you can try Scruff Pro for $19.99/month, which offers unlimited search, filters, and the ability to sort your grid of perspective matches.
 

Grindr - Grindr is often regarded for its contributions to hook-up culture since it allows you to instantly meet up with people that can be as close as feet away. But make no mistake, Grindr can be a place for love. The app is is particularly good if you’re of the “see now, buy now” persuasion in that it presents LGBTQ in closest proximity to where you are, making the opportunity to take the conversation from online to IRL both easier and faster. It also has the biggest name recognition within the space. It’s that popularity that makes the user pool particularly wide, and as a result, diverse. The app is particularly targeted toward men, and offers both a free version and an “XTRA” (with free trial) starting at $19.99.

 

 
 

Hornet - Originally founded in 2011 as a “better version of Grindr,” according to the company, Hornet has since become the world’s largest gay app with 30 million users worldwide, including the US, Brazil, Turkey, and Russia. “Our mission is to create a digital home where queer men feel they belong and are supported—and also where they can possibly find Mr. Right,” says Hornet CEO Christof Wittig. In addition to the app, which caters specifically to the B, G, T, and Q letters of the acronym, Hornet also offers a “stories” section on its website with LGBTQ focused content, from tips on how to avoid injuring yourself when shaving down there to lists of the best local bathhouses. Really, Hornet is more of a social app than an explicit dating app, one meant to cultivate meaningful connections. This app is free, but like many of the others, offers a premium version starting at $9.99/month.
 

Jack’d - Jack’d self-identifies as “the most diverse digital queer space in the world.” According to CEO Eric Silverberg (who also oversees Scruff), the app is known as a place where users can be themselves and find connections without fear of the kind of racism and harassment that can be commonplace on such apps. Like Scruff, it caters to the GBTQ letters of the acronym. “We strive to make sure that Jack’d is a true safe space, where people can be both sexually and emotionally open, and because of this, Jack’d is one of the best places for QPOC to find dates and create new relationships.” To that end, early in its history, Jack’d focused on the queer community of color through its marketing, sponsorships, and social media, which is an effort that continues today, according to Silverberg. Jack’d is free and offers a Pro version for $9.99 per month.
 

   

 

Her - Her is focused on "the unique behaviors and community interests of queer womxn," founder and CEO Robyn Exton, explains, saying that as a by queer/for queer app, the queer experience was the top consideration from conception. "We have 17 sexualities and 18 gender identities. You can assign more than one pronoun to your profile. We've created communities to connect you with other folks with the same identity, from Queer Womxn of Color to Trans Womxn to They/Them communities." Those gender identities include womxn, non-binary, gender fluid, pangender, agender, questioning, gender non-conforming, two-spirit and more. The app, which is the largest for LGBTQ women, is free, but also offers premium memberships, starting at $14.99 per month.

 

Bumble - Bumble says, "There’s no equality without respect, and that’s where all healthy relationships start. To challenge outdated heterosexual norms, women make the first move on Bumble." Just how inclusive is it? When you get started, you can choose between being shown "men", "women" and "everyone". Once you set up your profile, there are tons of gender identity options. You can also decide whether you are shown to users looking for women, or looking for men. You can also choose not to display your gender identity. What makes it different? The whole premise of the app is that women can message men first. So if you're an LGBTQ woman or femme, wanting to meet women or femmes, this feature is kind of redundant. Cost: Free and upgrade versions are available.


Tinder - Tinder says, "Tinder makes being single more fun and rewarding by connecting people who may not have otherwise met in real life. We celebrate that being single is a journey. And a great one. Being single isn’t the thing you do, unhappily, before you settle down. We stand up for how a whole generation chooses to live their lives." Just how inclusive is it? I found I could only register as a man or a woman, which enraged me. But then I messaged Tinder all angry, and they were like, 'No hun, go into your settings'. And it turns out, if you dig deeper you can actually pick from 72 options. It's not super-easy to find, so FYI: Under 'edit info', scroll down to 'Gender/I am' and click on 'More' underneath male and female. You can then search words and it should come up with all the options. In terms of which profiles you're shown, the options are "show me men" or "show me women", however you can toggle both. What makes it different? It's the most popular dating app for a reason. It's super easy to use, and you can connect your Spotify and Instagram which enables low-key snooping on potential dates. Plus, there are just so many people on there.

 



Lesly - Lesly says, "A great community for lesbians, bisexual and queer women to chat, date and hookup with other LGBTQ singles in their area or around the world. As a new and exciting lesbian dating service in the field, Lesly is the most trusted and secure place for gay women to connect, get to know and even fall in love with each other. Whether you are looking for a serious relationship, or just searching for a blind date, meet up, hookup, even FWB, NSA fun with other adult lesbians, Lesly has them all!" Just how inclusive is it? It was made by a group of 'lesbian dating experts' so that's a start! What makes it different? Unlike some of the other apps, Lesly claims to put all profiles through a rigorous verification process to weed out any scammers or fakers. Apart from that, it doesn't look very different to other apps and it works in a very similar way to Tinder. Cost? Free version and monthly subscriptions from $9.99.

 

Hinge - Hinge differs itself from the competition through personality-revealing prompts in an attempt to allow matches to get to know each other better. It’s also the app where Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met his husband Chasten. The company's ultimate goal? To eventually become irrelevant to potential users: “Based on user surveys and in-person focus groups, we’ve determined that many LGBTQ members have frustrations around dating apps as many are used to facilitate hookups, rather than forge lasting relationships," a spokesperson for the app says. "Hinge’s goal is to get all members off the app and out on a great date—and eventually, for members to delete the app for good.” Until then, you can download the app for free or pay to be a Preferred Member (subscriptions start at $19.99 for one month).

 

Lex - In 2017, Kelly Rakowski launched @personals, an enormously successful Instagram account that posted user-submitted, text-based personal ads (yes, like the ones found in the backs of newspapers and magazines) from queer, bisexual, transgender, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people looking for love. From that, the free dating app Lex, which is short for Lexicon, was born. Like the old-school Instagram account, Lex encourages users to focus on the things people say, rather than what they look like ("Text first, selfies second," according the company), which is why ads on Lex include a 34-character heading, a 300-character body, and the option to link to an Instagram account.
 

 

 

J Swipe - While JSwipe is a dating app that caters to the Jewish community, it was founded on a universalist mindset, according to creator David Yarus. “The beautiful thing about JSwipe is it's meant to be used to help you find love, whatever that means and looks like to you,” he says. “We've been told by the LGBTQ Jewish community that we're the only Jewish app/site that allows for that...which we hope isn't true!" Plus, you don't have to be Jewish to use the app—it's open to anyone and everyone who celebrates Jewish culture. (You can identify as Just Jewish, Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, Traditional, Willing to Convert, or Other.) It's free, but offers a paid, premium subscription, called First Class, for $17.99/month.
 

Feeld - Feeld, which was founded in 2014, is a dating app open to all genders and sexual identities, aiming to create an inclusive space “where everyone can be honest with themselves while being responsible towards others.” The app offers its members more than 20 gender and sexual identity options to choose from, as well as the ability to pair profiles with a partner for polyamorous couples or couples looking to explore together. "This aims to normalize unconventional relationship structures and ethical non-monogamy,” says Lyubov Sachkova, the company's communications lead. You can download the app for free or pay for a Majestic Membership ($11.99 per month), which offers additional features, like the ability to see who has already liked you.
 

The League - “We are an app if you want a relationship,” Amanda Bradford, Founder and CEO of The League says. “A real one.” While other apps may be more vague in defining what to them a connection looks or feels like, The League is for those looking for love. And though the app is for everyone, “most of our users from the LGBTQ community are gay.” The League is unique in that it offers users a nightly “Happy Hour” in which they provide you with anywhere from 3-7 matches via the app’s algorithm. “We were curated for the professional in mind,” Bradford says. “Most of our users are extremely educated and profession driven. They want to meet their match—a partner who will complement them and walk side by side and support them in their careers.” There are a variety of membership types, from free to $99 (member) to $199 (owner) and all the way up to $999 (investor).

 

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Info: Falling in Love

Queer Dating Tips: What I Wish I Had Known

Guys Only Dating Site

Dating Advice for Gay, Bi, and Pansexual Men
Cosmopolitan: LGBTQ Love and Sex Tips
Pink News: Most Same Sex Couples Meet On-Line

Music Video: I Wish You Were Gay

 

LGBTQ Dating Tips: Things You Need to Know

LGBTQ dating comes with all the trials and tribulations of hetero-normative dating, but with a couple of extra complications on top. If you are new to the dating game or you have recently come into your own sexuality or come out as queer, then you are in the right place. Here are things you need to know about LGBTQ dating.

Honesty Is The Best Policy
 

As things can be a little bit unclear in the LGBTQ dating world, the best way to approach it is with honesty and transparency. This doesn’t mean you have to tell the world all your intimate details, but if you are asked out by a gay man, and you do not identify as a man, then you can make this clear by stating that you either are non-binary, gender fluid, transgender, etc. You get to reveal as much as you are comfortable telling, remember that! You do not owe anybody anything, but a little honesty can go a long way in saving you time and other people’s time too.

If you are dating or having sex with multiple people, you must be transparent about with the people you are seeing. Talking about Sexually Transmitted Diseases is important regardless of your sexuality and identity. So make sure that you are honest about your activities and ask potential partners about theirs. That way no one feels betrayed if later down the line someone catches an STD.


 

Consider The Other Person’s Outness
 

Almost all of us in the LGBTQ community have had to ‘come out’ in some shape or form. For some it is easy and for some it is difficult. A lot of people may not be out to friends or family and this is something you should carefully think about when dating. When dating it is important to make it clear how ‘out’ you are too, that way there is no risk of being unintentionally outed by the person you are dating. You might be dating a transgender person who does not want people to know that have undergone a transition process and you have to respect this. By understanding each other’s level of outness you can establish respect for one another’s boundaries which is vital in the LGBTQ dating world.

On a separate note, if you are someone who is fully out, you need to consider if you can date someone who is not out. This will sound harsh, but the reality is that some people struggle with this as they feel they are regressing into feelings of shame. So if you start to experience this, it is better to cut the cord and allow that person to find their way out in their own time.

Be Kind


It is really important that we are kind to both other people and ourselves. The likelihood is that we have all gone through something to get to where we are today. If someone is holding back from you or not giving you all of their personal stories at once, just respect this and have patience. You never know what someone has been through, with some people surviving hate crime, assault, conversion therapy, family rejection, and more. The same logic applies with hetero-normative dating, and essentially this tip is to not be a bad person.


 

Confidence Is Key


Confidence and a smile are the two sexiest things you can wear. Being proud of who you are and your identity is extremely attractive and it will draw people to you like a big queer magnet. It is not always easy to feel confident, especially if you are newly out or new to the LGBTQ dating scene. However, there are some things you can do to make sure that you are radiating with confidence.

Firstly, your body language is everything. If your date goes to touch your hand and you flinch or pull away because you are not comfortable with being seen, this is a bit of a recipe for disaster. We are not suggesting you do anything you are not comfortable with, more that you have to have an awareness of how you present yourself. Hold your head up high, puff your chest and drop those shoulders back and this creates a powerful posture. Standing like this will not only make you feel more confident but it will also make those around you feel more comfortable in your presence. Fake it until you make it!

Think About Your Sexual Compatibility Early On


This point can feel a bit awkward at times, but you must consider how sexually compatible you both are early on. You don’t need to make split-second decisions about people before taking the time to understand their perspective and how they identify. Much like you would not like someone making presumptions about you, someone else would not like you to make assumptions on their behalf.

Once you have respectfully understood and acknowledged each other’s sexual preferences, you will get a fairly good idea if you are compatible. For instance, if you are someone with a high libido and you are dating someone who is a romantic asexual, you have to weigh up whether this is going to work in the long run? Again it can feel harsh, but both parties should find out sooner rather than later.

 

We Are All Human


Another big tip for you to remember is that at the end of the day, we are all humans just going about our lives. Try not to overthink or overcomplicate things as in many ways dating in the LGBTQ world is similar to your hetero-normative dating. When you strip away all the labels you can see what makes up the person you are dating. This doesn’t mean you should ignore how someone identifies or their sexuality, but more that they are not defined by their labels.

The takeaway from this post is that you should try to be kind, patient, positive, and open-minded. With this approach and mindset, you will thrive in the LGBTQ dating scene.

[Source: Kayleigh Alexandra, Millennial Magazine, May 2021]
 

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Safer Sex and Partner Communication

--To reach mutual understanding and agreement on sexual health issues, choose a convenient time when you will both be free of distractions.


--Choose a relaxing environment in a neutral location, like a coffee bar or a park, where neither of you will feel pressured.

--Use "I" statements when talking. For example, "I feel that abstinence is right for me at this time." Or, "I would feel more comfortable if we used a condom."

--Be assertive.  Do not let fear of how your partner might react stop you from talking with him/her.

--Be a good listener. Let your partner know that you hear, understand, and care about what she/he is saying and feeling.

 



--Be accessible.  Let your partner know you are open to questions and that you won’t jump on him/her or be offended by questions.

--Be patient with your partner, and remain firm in your decision that talking is important.

--Recognize your limits. You can’t communicate alone or protect you both alone, and you don’t have to know all the answers.

--Understand that success in talking does not mean one person getting the other person to do something. It means that you both have said what you think and feel respectfully and honestly and that you have both listened respectfully to the other.

--Get information to help you each make informed decisions.

--Avoid making assumptions. Ask open-ended questions to discuss relationship expectations, past and present sexual relationships, contraceptive use, and testing for STIs, including HIV, among other issues. For example, "What do you think about our agreeing to avoid sex until after we graduate?" Or, "What do you think about our using hormonal contraception as well as condoms?" Not, "Did you get the condoms?" Or, "When will you have sex with me?"

 



--Ask for more information when unsure. Ask questions to clarify what you believe you heard. For example, "I think you said that you want us to use both condoms and birth control pills? Is that right?" Or, "I think you want us both to wait until we graduate to have sex? Is that right?"

--Avoid judging, labeling, blaming, threatening or bribing your partner. Don’t let your partner judge, label, blame, threaten, or bribe you.

--Do not wait until you become sexually intimate to discuss safer sex with your partner. In the heat of the moment, you and your partner may be unable to talk effectively.

--Stick by your decision. Don’t be swayed by lines like, "If you loved me, you would have sex with me." Or, "If you loved me, you would trust me and not use a condom."

[Source: Youth Resource]
 

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What Straight Couples Can Learn From Gay Couples
 

Research suggests that married heterosexual couples can learn a great deal from gay and lesbian couples. Researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, Berkeley have published what is said to be the first published observational studies of homosexual relationships.

John Gottman, one of the lead authors is quoted as saying that "Gay and lesbian couples are a lot more mature, more considerate in trying to improve a relationship, and have a greater awareness of equality in a relationship than straight couples. I think that in 200 years heterosexual relationships will be where gay and lesbian relationships are today."

In the first of two papers, the researchers explored the conflict interaction of homosexual and heterosexual couples using mathematical modeling techniques.

 



In the second study, they looked at factors influencing gay and lesbian couples' relationship satisfaction and dissolution.

"In the modeling paper we looked at processes, and they look so different you could draw a picture," said Gottman. "Straight couples start a conflict discussion in a much more negative place than do gays and lesbian couples. Homosexuals start the same kind of discussions with more humor and affection, are less domineering and show considerably more positive emotions than heterosexual couples.

"The way a discussion starts is critical. If it starts off in a bad way in a heterosexual relationship, we have found that it will become even more negative 96 percent of the time. Gays and lesbians are warmer, friendlier and less belligerent. You see it over and over in their discussions, and their partner is receiving the message they are communicating. In turn, their partner is allowing himself or herself to be influenced in a positive way. With married heterosexual couples a discussion is much more of a power struggle with someone being invalidated."

Gottman describes gay and lesbian relationships as being characterized by "the triumph of positive emotions over negative emotions." He stated that "Negative emotions have more impact in heterosexual relationships. This is why our previous research has shown you need a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative statements. This seems to be universal in heterosexual couples. But it may be different in gay and lesbian relationships where positive emotions seem to have a lot more power or influence."

 


The subjects of the studies did more than complete questionnaires. Researchers videotaped discussions each couple had about what occurred that day, a topic of ongoing conflict, and a pleasant topic. They analyzed the verbal and nonverbal content of their interaction during the talks and again at a later time when the partners viewed the tape individually. The researchers also collected an array of physiological data, including heart rate, during the conversations.

Homosexual couples were recruited in the San Francisco Bay area and they filled out a questionnaire that assessed relationship satisfaction. Forty pairs (12 happy gay couples, 10 unhappy gay couples, 10 happy lesbian couples and 8 unhappy lesbian couples) were chosen to participate in the study. The comparison sample of married couples was drawn from a larger study that recruited couples from around Bloomington, Indiana.

It was matched in terms of age, marital satisfaction, education and income to the homosexual couples and consisted of 20 happy and 20 unhappy couples. The researchers went on to collect data for 12 years on the relationships of the homosexual couples. By then, eight couples (20 percent, one gay and seven lesbian) had broken up. This rate, if projected over a 40-year period, would be almost 64 percent, which is similar to the 67 percent divorce rate for first marriages among heterosexual couples of the same time span.

The research found that high levels of cardiovascular arousal among straight couples during a conflict predicted lower relationship satisfaction and higher risk for relationship dissolution. The reverse was actually true with homosexual couples. With gays and lesbians, low physiological arousal was related to these negative outcomes.

The gay and lesbian couples talked more openly about topics such as monogamy and sex. Heterosexual couples avoided talking about sex. This may be because their sexuality is already an issue when they deal with a largely heterosexual world. The authors are content that such open and honest communication may improve the relationships of heterosexual couples.

[Source: Leonard Holmes PhD, Journal of Homosexuality, October 2003]

 

 

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