The 3 Dating Challenges for Gay Men

Dating is a subject that all individuals can relate to – gay or straight. Dating can either be perceived as an exciting, fun experience, or it can be perceived as a dreadful necessity in order to pin down a relationship. Even though straight couples have dating challenges of their own, dating in the gay world may have its own unique set of challenges.

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1.    A Smaller Dating Pool

Like I have mentioned in my previous posts, the gay dating world is extremely small compared to the heterosexual dating world. Because gay men represent a smaller percentage of the general population, gay men’s potential dating candidates are very limited. This may create a sense of anxiety for many gay men because the “plenty of fish in the sea” analogy no longer applies. This may be true especially if gay men inhabit a very small city or town where there is a limited amount of homosexual individuals to begin with.  In addition, because the gay dating scene is a small one, gay men may encounter other gay men that they have dated on a regular basis.

2. Distinguishing Gay from Straight Men

Although straight individuals can go up to an attractive member of the opposite-sex and them out on a date, gay men may have a more difficult time doing this.  In general, gay men must distinguish their potential mating partners (gay men) from other men that are only sexually interested in the opposite-sex (straight men). Some gay men may be skilled at doing this, however some gay men may not be. In the latter case, gay men may find it troublesome to approach a man that they find attractive due to the ambiguity of the man’s sexual orientation. This may be why some gay men prefer to frequent the same gay bars instead of venturing to other bars that are seen as “straight.” If there is a greater concentration of gay men in one establishment, there will be a greater likelihood that gay men may meet a potential dating partner.

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3.    A Date is also a Rival

Another unique distinction between the dating worlds of gay and straight is not only are gay men attracted to one another, but gay men are also in direct competition for dating partners. This poses a very unique dating dilemma for a gay man that is completely absent in straight dating. For instance, straight men are obviously sexually attracted to women, however straight men do not compete with women because they both desire mating partners of the opposite-sex. Conversely, because gay men are only attracted to members of the SAME-SEX, gay men can compete with one another because they share the same dating pool. Ultimately, this may create initial barriers and feelings of untrustworthiness between gay men as evidenced by recent research1.

For the most part, straight individuals are completely unaware of the unique set of challenges that gay men face in their dating world (at least in my experience). This is not surprising given that straight and gay individuals usually focus their attention on their own dating issues.

References:

1. Russell, E. M., DelPriore, D. J., Butterfield, M. E., Hill, S. E. (2013). Friends with benefits, but without the sex: Straight women and gay men exchange trustworthy mating advice. Evolutionary Psychology, 11, 132-147.

Forget Grindr: 3 Ways Women Can Help Gay Men Get Dates

On smartphones, Grindr may provide a useful way for gay men to meet one another, but gay men may also want to consider the help of their female friends. Here’s why:

1) Connection:

One big dating dilemma that gay men have is the difficulty of finding other gay men. Not only must gay men find other gay men who represent a smaller portion of the population, but they also must figure out if a particular man they are interested in is gay or straight. Women may be able to help alleviate this problem. It is very common in this day and age for a woman to have at least one gay friend. Because most straight women love the company of gay men, it wouldn’t be surprising for a gay man to discover that his straight female friend has a connection with another gay man. Thus, gay men may find it valuable to meet other gay men through their female friends1.

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2) No Threat:

One of the most beneficial things for gay men about having female friends is that they are “worry free.” In general, women will not go chasing after their gay male friend’s potential mates, nor will they attempt to sabotage their relationship. Both straight women and lesbian women tend to stay in their own dating lane when it comes to assisting their gay male friends with finding another guy. Even though gay men provide great networking and dating opportunities for other gay men, there is always a hint of competitiveness that may interfere.

3) “Matchmaking Fever”:

It may come at no surprise that straight women love setting up gay men with one another. When women arrive with their single gay friends at a party, gay bar, or special event, they are almost always itching to set each one of them up. Women are not usually shy about approaching an attractive gay stranger to introduce herself and her gay male friend.

“I think it is hilarious when my female friend tries to fix me up with men – particularly since she seems to concentrate solely on looks, ignoring little details like age, intelligence, and employment prospects. But she certainly does know a cute guy when she sees one.” (Hopcke & Rafaty, 1999)

However, many women are more discriminating and have an eye for a gay man her friend might find attractive as a dating partner2.

“I don’t want my gay friends to think I’m just assuming all gay men are compatible with one another. I have introduced larger groups of gay men from different parts of my life to each other, letting my theatre friends meet my other friends at a party, and this has worked better than a one-on-one fix up.” (Hopcke & Rafaty, 1999)

References:

  1. Russell, E.M., DelPriore, D. J., Butterfield, M. E., & Hill, S. E. (2013). Friends with benefits, but without the sex: Straight women and gay men exchange trustworthy mating advice. Evolutionary Psychology, 11, 132-147.
  2. Hopcke, R. H. & Rafaty, L. (1999). Straight women, gay men: Absolutely fabulous friendships. Berkeley, California: Wildcat Canyon Press.