Monday, November 10, 2008

Email from a gay guy wanting dating advice

About a week ago, the following email arrived in my inbox:

Dear GB,

I came across your blog, thought it was pretty intriguing. I was just reading your "gaydar advantage" and "something about Mary effect" posts, it got me thinking about my online dating history so far. Most guys I've met online seem to just want sex and some of them will say anything to get in my pants. In fact, I met someone on Manhunt a month ago, thought it went pretty well, turned out he was just playing and wanted to have sex with me. I didn't have sex with him when we met despite his somewhat aggressive way to get me to it, I actually told him from my experience if I have sex with someone on the first date he usually won't call back and I didn't want to rush things with him cuz I like him, apparently it went over his head. Now I'm wondering if I did the right thing? He might have thought I was too tense and prudish. Should I have just got the sex out of the way and see what happens next? Or should I unload myself before I go on a date?

Obviously I'm moving on and trying to keep dating, but I'm really confused about the right approach to internet dating, the right mentality for gay dating, the whole sex or dating priority conflict. I just turned 25 today, and I've never had a boyfriend. I'm at a point where I'm (secretly) desperate for a relationship more than anything and I don't wanna get my feeling hurt over some random guy again (even tho it doesn't happen that often), I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I mean, going at this rate I doubt I'll ever have one. Should I drop dating/sex sites?

Anyways, hopefully I made sense lol. Looking forward to your insight on this. Would really appreciate!!

Looking back over the years, I've had some good experiences with sites like gaydar and, so I don't think it's necessary to stop using such sites. Also, although I think it can be a good idea for straight guys to unload before an important date, I don't think that it's a good idea for gay guys. Gay life can be quite sex oriented, so I reckon it's better to keep a full tank to use with one's new friend :-).

Indeed, I think the "gaydar advantage" post summarises my view quite well. As the reader says, I reckon one should just have sex and see what happens next! Perhaps one thing that I didn't say was that after a successful liaison, it may be that neither guy feels confident enough to phone the other guy for another meeting. However given that one met online, it usually feels much easier to make contact online again. So rather than waiting for a phone call, if one likes a guy a good plan can be to watch out for him again in the chat rooms, and arrange subsequent meetings in the same way that the first meeting was arranged.

Since dating is quite a personal thing, I thought it would be a good idea to get some other views on this subject. So I took the reader's email, deleted his name and email address, and sent it to a few of the bloggers that I've met to get some further opinions. The first guy to respond was Monty who had the following to say:

Mmmm, tricky question. “right approach to internet dating, the right mentality for gay dating, the whole sex or dating priority conflict” Initially, I started out somewhat like your reader, seeing Mr Right in quite a few guys that I met. And as a consequence, this lead to a lot of disappointment. I suppose the thing that prevented me from getting too disheartened was the fact that I was also out there meeting quite a few Mr Right Nows as well (for shags). My attitude towards internet dating was that I was online looking for a Mr Right and therefore, the likelihood was that Mr Right was online too, looking for me. We just had to find each other. And so, I was going to search my arse off. BUT, I also realized that there was plenty of guys online who weren’t looking for Mr Right (even if they said they were) – they were just looking for a shag and that was it. So, I thought that while my search was going on, I was going to take all the opportunities that arose (no pun intended) to have some fun. No point in being a nun! So I was fairly laid-back (again, no pun intended) when meeting up with guys…if there was attraction, I was up for it. Even if I thought that the guy had potential, I still was willing to shag first, ask questions later. And this did lead to a few mini-relationships (3 – 4 weeks) with guys who I thought could have been, but obviously, in hindsight, weren’t Mr Right. And eventually, it did lead me to meeting my gorgeous McBrad – the thing is, we did chat on the phone a couple of times before meeting, but when we did meet, we did shag on the first date. And it did more than work out.

3 rules that one of my friends gave me in relation to internet dating were also good. Always have a face pic, always talk on the phone before you meet up, and always meet in a public place. This was not only beneficial from a personal safety perspective, but talking on the phone allowed me to get a bit of an idea about the guy first too. Your profile could also state that you are open to a relationship – this may put off some guys who are only after a shag, but that’s a good thing if you’re wanting to find a guy who is open to a relationship.

What am I trying to say to your reader? Best advice – chill out. Don’t stress about whether to shag or not. Date as many guys as you like, keeping an open mind about them and sooner or later, you’ll find HIM! The right one won’t mind if you have sex on the first date. Relax and Enjoy the search.

A couple of days later, I got a reply from czechOUT, who said:

Internet Dating vs. Internet Cruising: The problem you are experiencing looks like it can be easily fixed. Consider the nature of the website that you are using. We are blessed (or cursed) with a huge choice of dating, chat and cruising sites. You say that you were using Manhunt. Like Gaydar, Manhunt is a cruising site where guys tend to be looking for Mr Right Now rather than for Mr Right. You may well stumble upon Mr Right along the way, but guys usually go there to cruise for no-strings sex. In contrast there are gay dating and social networking sites whose purpose is to bring like-minded men together for other activities. Try OUTeverywhere, a site where the focus is on dating rather than meeting for sex.

The "no sex on first dates" rule: It is not unusual for people to have a "no sex on first date" rule. This tactic is only going to have meaning where we meet someone on a real date and not where the other person is only looking for sex. When people want to meet for sex then once they have "done you", unless they are looking for a regular fuck-buddy, you are ticked off their list. It sounds like the people you are meeting simply aren't seeing those meetings the same way you do - as a date. For them it's about sex. In the future use the cruising sites to cruise. If you are looking for a serious and proper date, then switch to a dating site.

Then, yesterday evening I got a reply from HBH, who said:

While I understand this readers predicament I feel he's looking for love in an unlikely website. Manhunt, I fear, has even more of a sex factor than a love factor. I think there may be some readers who would beg to differ but I base my knowledge about Manhunt from the friends I have and what they look for on that website. And, it's not love.

I myself, a user of Gaydar have always had two minds about this website. I'm proud to say I have found love there and put to rest a notion that it's on the same level as Manhunt. With a higher love factor than Manhunt I think the reader might find better luck on Gaydar or perhaps Again, this is solely based on my situation and an off the cuff analysis from my dating experience on Gaydar.

The reader seems to worry about second guessing himself in his approach. I think if he is looking for love then my all means he is right to be very up front with his dates. It is the failure to be up front that often leads to confusion after sex. Then the reader no doubt spends days after waiting or wondering what happened. If all is set out in clear, concise words (tactfully) then the reader will either find exactly what he seeks or not. Like the guy the reader spoke about, who had his words 'fly above his head' should be seen as a good thing and not the opposite. It's a good thing to be firm. The result is no false expectations regardless of how heartbreaking.

I would suggest he continue his string of dating from websites if that is what he is comfortable with that medium. It takes some patience and kissing a few frogs before a prince will turn up. Alternatively, I would suggest the coffee shop scene. Coffee shops in noted gay areas are becoming good meeting places. The reader seems to have a good head on, and knows what he wants. I caution against being too desperate as that can set off alarms. It's never any good to be desperate about anything.

Finally I got a reply from DL, a straight blogger that I met last June, who said:

As your writer had come to realise, most people in chatrooms and dating sites seek sex with no strings attached. I guess at the end of the day, what is more important is to follow his heart and know what he wants to get out of his actions. He can still use such sites but continue to hold on to his principles. Maybe he'll need to examine why he hasn't found a bf after all these time? He'll probably need to deal with those first? In any case, i think it is possible to not rely on such sites. A friend of mine met his partner in a lift! He may be the rare few but it is certainly possible. Also, he could consider using the tips in your blog. ;)

Hopefully amongst the thoughts of myself, Monty, czechOUT, HBH and DL there'll be some ideas that the reader can use :-). But do any other bloggers or readers have any other thoughts on this subject?


Kaio said...

Hi Banker,
Nice blog!
Have a sextastic week!
Cheers from London

Ken Skinner said...

If you have the right attitude then it's a win-win situation. Don't go in with any expectations other than meeting. You may not be attracted to each other. He may have some annoying habit that you can't cope with. You may take one look at him in real life and walk the other way. Anything can happen...

I don't believe in the 'no sex on a first date' rule. What's wrong with sex? Moreover, if you have sex and it's BAD, BAD, BAD, it can be a real relationship killer. Imagine getting into a one month celibate relationship only to find you're completely incompatible?!?!

And if the sex is bad because of you??? Well, then you need the practice :-)

I still really don't understand this whole internet thing. In my day you'd go to a crowded smoky bar, cruise some guy for hours then go home with his friend... how times have changed :-)

Anonymous said...

First, I can sense a lot of anxiety in the letter at the top of your post. My first piece of advice to the yound chap would be the following: relax. You're only 25. You've got the rest of your life ahead of you. Although sometimes it might feel like it, I promise, you're not going to die alone.

He seems also to have some misgivings about not sleeping with a recent date because he wanted to adhere to certain rules he had set, but then he had second-guessed himself. Let's be clear: it is completely his prerogative to decide who to sleep with and when to sleep with them, and he shouldn't ever feel like he's letting someone down by not having sex with them. It's his prerogative to decide what to do, and just because he's afraid his date might think him tense or prudish doesn't count for anything.

Personally, I believe that you have to let love come to you, and that people really do give off "desperate vibes" which others can detect - and it can be a major turnoff. Searching for love, in my opinion, is a bit of an oxymoron; paradoxically, the harder you look, the less likely you are to find it.

This guy seems desperate for a relationship (in fact he says as much), but in my opinion is going about solving his problem in the wrong way.

You're virtually guaranteed NOT to find love on websites like Manhunt. Reputation aside, it's clear in the name that most guys are only there for one thing - and it's not love. It's good to play the field a bit, and go on lots of dates with different guys. But don't expect that most guys on Manhunt are looking to buy the two-bed cottage in the Cotswolds and settle down. But I think that most guys on Manhunt DO expect some sort of sex (and little else), so the young man should avoid this particular scene if it keeps getting him into difficult or troubling situations. There are plenty of other places on the internet to meet men.

The young man says "I'm really confused about the right approach to internet dating, the right mentality for gay dating, the whole sex or dating priority conflict."

I guess it depends on what his priorities are. I can see pretty clearly that he doesn't want to have sex straightaway with his dates, so he should stand by his convictions and pass it up. He'll feel better in the long run for having done so.

I doubt he's convinced deep down that he's going to find Mr Right on gaydar (or Manhunt), but he probably doesn't know where else to turn. He can use this as an opportunity to broaden his social circle and meet some new people. As long as he remains firm in his head that sex isn't a possible outcome when he goes on dates, then that's what will happen - because he'll be in control. I'm very good friends with some people I've met online - some of whom I've gone on dates with (and never shagged) and we realised we're better as friends. It does happen.

For what it's worth, I didn't have my first serious boyfriend until I was 28, and we've been together almost 4 years. We're very happy, and are almost certainly going to get CP later this year or early next. Just because you don't have a long-term relationship at 25 doesn't mean you're over the hill.

Anonymous said...

Dear Gb,
I would like to refer your readers especially the young man in question to your old post of jan 2008.....How should gay relationships be constructed'. He should consider some of your thoughts especially about 'shagging around' but also the your coverts...He needs to think would he be readfy to give up things for love etc...or should he just have fun relax abit until love hits him, as HBH said desperation is not a good look...
Maybe also some of your fellow bloggers and yourself re visited this to see if this is how they are constructing their relationships...anyway keep it up ol boy

Will said...

I don't think Manhunt or Craigslist (do you have that in the UK?) are the right fora for finding a relationship. They are great for mainlining you from feeling horny right into getting laid, and have done that for me on numerous occasions.

For a relationship, he needs to meet eligible gay men in social, non-sexualized activities--a gay book reading group, gay ballroom dancing, gay kayaking, gay ANYTHING where guys who want to find boyfriends can meet in activities they both enjoy. The theaters and opera houses here are holding gay and lesbian encounter performances with special intermissions with reduced price drinks and pastries or a post-performance party. That's a far better way to meet a guy for romance.

And, in my experience, the no first date sex thing is a crock anyway--not only did the man of my dreams and I have sex on the first date, we had sex at the BEGINNING of the first date. We celebrate our 12th anniversary next May.

Unknown said...

Wow, I was so glad to find your blog. Good advice. There's a book out now called, How To Be Single. It's written more for single chicks but alot of it applies to gay men as well.

Anonymous said...

Will - everyone's rules are different. For you and your guy, sex on the first date worked for both of you and it was great. That's wodnerful.

But your rules and what works for you doesn't apply to everyone, and nor should it. This guy obviously doesn't feel comfortable going that far so quickly with someone he doesn't know but might want something more with (I am similar). He's had some experiences in the past which have put him off. In my opinion, that's his prerogative and his rules should be respected.

Anonymous said...

I agree with John F that this young man is just that, young. He's only 25 and shouldn't be so ready to give up.

Myself, I'm 35 and my only real 'boyfriend' lasted 3 months and that over about 4 years ago... damn, that sounds depressing now that I think about it.

I know I had a point with this.... oh well.

Great blog, GB!