Gay dating and hook ups can be such fun. From Grindr to Tindr, Scruff to Christian Mingle, there’s a myriad of resources at our fingertips featuring the same countless headless torsos, blank profiles, and occasional “looking for a real connection” kind of guys. While this is partially said in jest, the truth is that gay dating can be, well, “intimigayting” if you will. With all of the different tribes, generations, fantasies, kinks, and so on, it’s not as simple to just be attracted to someone and live happily ever after. Leave it to us gays to get so creative with our preferences — bring back tradition and family values!
This feature may or may not help you think differently about dating. A caveat to consider before fingering the next couple of pages: transactional sex and meaningful, deep connection can live on their own or coexist together. It’s mindfulness of the experience of who we’re in pursuit of and an understanding of our intentions that will best serve us in the gay dating scene.
There are many different preferences, or “tribes,” in our community. All of “The Apps,” as we often call them, have implemented tools to display our preferences with convenient tags and cute categories — it’s never been easier to find people with shared interests and desires. Now, some of you may look at the apps and scoff at them, while others spend all day refreshing their feed as if to open a refrigerator door again and again expecting there to be something different to eat. You all know who you are.
That said, a universe can exist where “The Apps” can both serve you and harm you. There are seasons where you may need to celebrate your sexual desires with full force, painting the town with… something. Other times you may need to reflect on whether or not your “sexcapades” are instigating a rash — rather than scratching an itch. Practice being present minded, make decisions about sex with the “why” defined, consider a palate cleanse every once in a while. This could often put other parts of your life in more perspective. Oh, and for God’s sake, use PrEP if you can, that stuff may even cure migraines and other common ailments. If not, practice safe sex and protect each other.
Tribes and Preferences
Anon. Masc. Oral. Jock. Dogperson. The latter may mean something a little different than what you might think, but as mentioned above, tribes and other ways to showcase your “type” have allowed for us to more clearly identify and pursue our desires. When you’re on the hunt, this helps you cut down the fluff in conversation. You know the ones I’m talking about, those super constructive convos that go something like: “Hey.” “Hey.” “Into?” “Open.” “Same.” “Cool.” “Pics?” “Yea.” Then again, this tool can be isolating if it locks you into one type and never gives you room to explore variety. How dare two tops get together without penetration! Bring back tradition and family values!
But seriously, you never know what might get your gears Grindr-ing if you don’t open yourself to trying new things. You might even find yourself having a connection beyond sex. Remember we’re all entitled to our individual tastes, just don’t kink-shame if it’s not putting someone in harm’s way. That’s not a good look. We applaud you Leather Whipped Cream Furry Guy!
“Looking for Connection”
Alright, between us girls, this does exist. Connection can come quickly when you least expect it, like that one bro saved in your phone as “Fast Hackensack Guy.” Imagine you’re scrolling through Scruff on a warm summer Sunday, just having left the gym and wanting someone to take you to, well, we’ll call it “Church.” You wait patiently at a fountain in the center of town to meet up with this guy for coffee, fully intending on getting on with your day soon thereafter because your place is right around the block. Three hours later, you’re still in that coffeeshop talking and five years later, still dating. It works out sometimes, albeit with its own challenges. That said, be careful with the quick connections — take your time and enjoy the journey, it’s not worth rushing.
By the way, if you are one of those “looking for connection” kind of guys, do us a solid and try not to change the narrative after a few quick messages that you’re looking for fun. Be authentic in the way you present yourself. You can have both credibility as someone who’s looking for connection, but also likes to let down his hair every once in a while.
Image Type and Age
Well, we’re really getting deeper now, and it might not even feel good! Image, different types, and notions about age have blessed our community and cursed it. You may be the most attractive one in the room, but see something totally different in the mirror at home. Or, you’re not an Adonis and still have a confidence that draws everyone around you into the fold.
Sure. Height, weight and everything in between can shape our perception of beauty, but when you learn to avoid being locked into a “type,” especially when it’s focused on the physical, it’s funny how those superficial things begin to fade away. It can even enhance your sexual experience. Maybe you’re into older guys, maybe you’re not. It’s possible that twinks are your thing, or that BBC is your preferred news network. It can be very complex, but it could also be argued that we make it complex because our ideas about image are just a little off.
Now, it’s normal when pursuing a date or hookup to have a few very human reactions as you chat back and forth: “He’s out of my league,” “He’s not my type,” “He’s way too old,” “He’s way too young,” “I guess he’ll do,” “He seems thoughtful,” “What a dick!” It’s okay to have these thoughts, just don’t be an asshole. It’s also worth mentioning, try not to be ageist if older guys aren’t your thing, we have a lot to learn from the Queers that paved the way for so many of us. They survived a different type of pandemic and should be applauded for it. On the other side of the spectrum, it’s important to understand our baby gays are starting journeys of their own and have to be protected from people in our community who don’t always understand boundaries.
We may approach image with a positive appreciation for people and in celebration of our community’s vast sexual differences, but it’s possible that we also we write off people based on first impressions. Even more dangerous, we may not realize that we fetishize people for who they are, and while for some, being objectified can be a turn-on, it could also make people feel unseen and isolated. All this said, it’s worth noting that NSA is a real thing, it can be a great thing, but when gay dating goes beyond casual sex, let’s think about the human experience.
Healthy perceptions on gay dating, hookups, apps, and image can’t be summed up in a few paragraphs, but if you realize that there is a place at the table for everyone, no matter the shape, size, color, background or kink, it’s a real game-changer. There will always be the profile that makes us say, “Whoa… there’s a man dressed like Little Bo Peep in 10 inch heels if I’ve ever seen one,” or maybe we take a chance on a blank profile and meet a man with a heart the size of a truck — either way, they both belong here. You belong here. Happy hunting, everybody.