While each relationship—whether gay or straight—takes two to do the proverbial tango, there are some lessons people from the LGBT spectrum can teach us about love, sex, and dating. Here, we got real guys and girls to share things they learned from their same-sex romances. Listen up—they’ve got some damn good advice.
Don’t just sit around waiting for ~fate~ to happen—take action.
Gay men can teach single girls a thing or two about putting themselves out there instead of just staying at home waiting for serendipity to hurry the hell up. Says Augustine, 21, “There’s less beating around the bush with men; expressing attraction is more straightforward.” This goes hand in hand with actually making an effort to be more attractive—which is one of the reasons gay men are so fabulous. “It's not easy to meet someone you like in only the most romantic, accidental way,” Augustine continues. “For it to happen, you need to dress well, fix your hair, work hard for your body, be cultured, buy that expensive perfume, iron that shirt.”
Manage expectations when dating.
Dating resiliency is common among gay men, meaning they can bounce back quickly from misses. “I think it’s because we find it easy to reject or ignore someone when we’re not interested, and we usually recover quickly when we get rejected or ignored,” Barny, 30, says. “Think how much time you can save when somebody says ‘He’s just not that into you,’ and then you shrug and just move on.”
Taking things at face value also applies to sex. “A one-night stand is just a one-night stand; it does not have to extend into something more, and if it does, lucky you,” says Augustine. “We also know that sex is just sex, it doesn’t have to be a prologue to a love story.”
Know your partner’s body.
Same-sex couples know all too well that when it comes to sex, it pays to be familiar with your partner’s pleasure points. “Since anatomically you and your partner are built the same, it’s easy for her to hit the spot because she knows exactly how to handle it,” says Jessica, 28. “With men, there are really some times when a woman fakes it just to appear satisfied.”
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Jessica, who has been in LTRs with both men and women, says that her same-sex one involved more open communication and sensitivity to each other’s needs. “Unlike guys who avoid confrontation and conflict, females are more open to having touchy-feely discussions that men normally don’t want to delve into,” she says.
Ed, 35, who identifies himself as a long-term relationship kind of guy, says his most successful ingredient in relationships is also communication. “Communicate when something goes amiss in the relationship, never let a day end without speaking what's on your mind, and last but not the least, always delay your judgment,” he recommends.
Don’t let things fester in a fight.
Take it from Michee, 30, and Alla, 31, a couple who runs an advocacy promoting gender equality called Love Is Love. Michee and Alla have established a rule for handling conflict: They could only be angry at each another for one hour, tops. “Once the hour is up, we get to talk about the issue in a calm manner and both of us lay all our cards out,” Alla shares. “If, for some reason, one is being stubborn and is still refusing to talk, we agreed that we can do something funny to snap the other one out of her drama.”
This is consistent with findings from a study by relationship experts Drs. John and Julie Gottman, which discovered that compared to straight couples, gay and lesbian couples were more likely to use affection and humor when bringing up disagreements and to stay positive after a fight.
Stereotypical gender roles don't always have to apply.
This is particularly true when it comes to money, shares Michee. “There's no ‘Hey, you're the man in this relationship so you better bring home the bacon’ line of thinking,” she reveals. “First of all, there's no man in our relationship. Both of us are women. Secondly, women can earn as much as or even more than men. It really shouldn't be an issue. Let's stop pitting men and women against each other.”
Erin, 27, agrees. “People used to ask me and my ex, ‘Who's the girl or boy in the relationship?’ My answer? ‘We're both girls.’ They would ask again, ‘Yeah, but who makes ligaw, who's more dominant, etc.?’ It’s always both of us. Relationships work because two people work hard at it, regardless of gender and stereotypical roles.”
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