Dating is already pretty tough for lots of reasons. Between trying to figure out what’s going on in another person’s head, meeting suitable people to even consider, and finding the time to date in the first place, you definitely have your work cut out for you. Now add being gay to the mix and things get even more complicated.
If you’re like most gay men, you didn’t grow up seeing what you’re looking for modeled in the media you consume or in other couples around you. That can make it a challenge to figure out what you’re really looking for, especially when you consider most other gay men are in the exact same boat. The following hard truths about life as a gay man can make dating even more of a mind-bender as compared to straight dating.
1. Most gay men are perpetually horny.
Most gay men have one very basic thing in common with straight men. We’re all pretty obsessed with sex and think about it all the time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bear, a wolf, a twink, or a jock. If you’re gay, you’re all about that D. The fact that society at large is similarly obsessed with sex doesn’t exactly help either.
In straight dating, that off-the-charts male sexuality is at least somewhat balanced by female energy on the other end. Gay dating, on the other hand, means not one but two parties are forever preoccupied with spilling their seed however and whenever they can.
2. It couldn’t be easier to go get laid.
That brings us to our next point – how easy it is to get laid pretty much whenever you want. The fact that gay men are almost always on the same page when it comes to having sex on the brain is only part of that equation. No matter what gay bar you walk into, everyone there is a potential partner – twice the amount of possibilities a straight person will have to choose from in a similar situation.
Plus, the sheer abundance of gay dating apps these days makes it even easier to hook up whenever you want, often at a moment’s notice. On the one hand, that degree of unadulterated freedom is exactly what we need, considering the shame most of us grew up with. On the other, it can complicate things for those in search of something lasting.
3. Gay men come with tons of baggage.
Pretty much all gay men grow up keeping a very important part of themselves under wraps, if not completely living a lie. Because being gay is still considered “different” (or even outright bad in some locations), a lot of us continue to do that. That can’t help but leave you with some emotional baggage to unpack, baggage that isn’t necessarily dealt with when and if you eventually decide to come out and live your truth.
Vulnerability is hard enough for straight people, but it can be especially difficult for gay men. Some aren’t even sure how to let their guard down while others decide it’s simply best not to do so. Naturally, there are a million different ways that can complicate gay dating.
4. Figuring out what we want can be confusing.
Straight people grow up with a pretty thorough understanding of what their options are when it comes to dating. They can adhere to traditional gender roles or not. They can decide they ultimately want to get married or not. They can start a family… or not. In other words, they’ve always known what’s normal and expected as far as straight relationships go. All they have to do is decide whether or not those norms are for them.
Being gay, on the other hand, is nothing if not confusing. There’s no real right or wrong way to be gay and very few of us grew up in a setting that was predominantly gay. Being gay in and of itself is bucking the norm. Everything else is up to us to decide – whether or not to be in committed relationships, what role we want to play, and so forth. Lots of gay men have terrible trouble figuring out what they even want in the first place and quite a few of us wind up changing our minds repeatedly.
5. Our standards and expectations can be unrealistic.
When you’re a gay man, saying that there are plenty of fish in the sea can feel like a serious understatement at times. Gay dating apps alone can make it feel like our options are limitless. Also, since we’re men, we’re not willing to settle down for just anyone. If Guy X doesn’t work out, we’re all too happy to send him packing so we can get to know Guy Y and Guy Z in the hopes they might be better.
As closeted children, so many of us learned to shoot for flawless when it comes to everything that we do. It was our way of keeping others from focusing on the very thing that made us different and counting us as less because of it. However, while striving for excellence is never a bad thing per se, it can also mean we as gay men have crazy unrealistic expectations, not only for ourselves but for anyone we might decide to associate ourselves with.
6. We don’t deal with pressure to pair up.
When you’re straight, you go into your dating life already on a timetable set up for you by Mother Nature. Since women have a biological clock that’s forever ticking, there’s more pressure to figure out what you want early in life, preferably with plenty of time to spare. Wait too long and certain options just don’t exist for you anymore, so there’s more social pressure to find your “someone” and build a life together sooner rather than later.
Gay men don’t deal with this same phenomenon and it can actually complicate dating for us. Kids aren’t a definite “go” for us, nor is there much (if any) pressure to pair off by a certain age for social reasons. In the gay world, it’s completely normal and accepted to be single at any age. In some circles, being perpetually single is more the norm than committed, monogamous relationships are. That in turn can create a different kind of pressure.
7. Many gay men actually fear commitment.
Until extremely recently, marriage wasn’t even an option for members of the gay community, let alone an expectation. We certainly didn’t grow up assuming we’d eventually meet someone, get married, and start a family the way so many straight people did. That said, an awful lot of us are still getting used to the idea of permanent lifelong commitment. To some of us, the mere idea of it can be downright terrifying and it can make us especially gun-shy when it comes to sticking with our relationships and making them work come hell or high water.
Being single is hard, but being a couple can be a lot harder in so many ways, as anyone in a long-term relationship can tell you. It’s all too easy to second guess things, make assumptions, and let our minds ask, “what if”. Since we’re guys, we’re not necessarily natural communicators either, so often we’re not even talking things out with our partners the way we should be.
8. Jealousy is par for the course in the gay community.
No, not every gay man is necessarily the jealous type. However, we can be woefully insecure for so many of the reasons listed above. For some of us, taking it as a given that we’re enough can be especially challenging. As can happen with straight couples, that insecurity can become our partner’s problem – especially once jealousy enters the picture.
As touched on above, there are men everywhere – in the bars, on our apps, and just about anywhere else we might go that’s predominantly gay. As men, we’re also competitive by nature, so it’s hardly uncommon for us to actually compare ourselves to our partners in ways that may not be healthy.
9. Timing isn’t always on our side.
So, we’ve established that so many of us as gay men are perpetually searching for that perfect ten. Every so often, one of us even finds him and that opens the door to a whole new realm of complications. Perfect tens aren’t usually single for long in the gay community, which can mean timing gets in the way a lot. You could feel ready to settle down, but Perfect Ten might not or vice versa.
Often, our attitudes toward commitment can shift with the seasons as well. People – gay men included – are more likely to want to couple up in the winters or near the holidays than they are when the sun is out, the weather is warm, and life is full of all sorts of possibilities and temptations. However, gay men are more likely to use such things as excuses not to pursue certain opportunities at the time they’re actually available.
Of course, these aren’t the only ways dating as a gay man is super challenging, but they’re definitely among the most common. Did you see yourself (or anyone you know) in any of the above?