For the most part, gay men are like everyone else on the dating scene. They're looking for affection, attention and love. Like their straight counterparts, gay men also desire connection, companionship and commitment.
Unfortunately, the gay dating pool is viciously competitive. So, instead of fighting over the newest man meat on Grindr, I recommend these practical tips for gay men:
1. Get in the game. Sitting on the sidelines will get you nowhere. Either play the gay dating game or get out of the other gay guys' way! This doesn't mean you have to play every day. The goal is for the single gay community to know you're in circulation.
2. Try something new. Try a sparkling, new approach to gay dating. That is, if you've been doing the same thing and expecting a different result, then change detergents, add some fabric softener and try a new way of putting yourself out there. Going to the same coffee shop, grocery store and gym leads to the same scenery and the same results. Yawn! So instead, change it up!
3. Step out of the box. You love to run, hike and go to the theater. Great. Now what activity would be so out of the box for you, it might put you in a space to meet new guys, make friends with people who have gay friends or try a new hobby? Think of it this way: If you can step out of the closet, you can certainly step out of your rut!
4. Reflect what you desire. If you really want a guy who appreciates monogamy, then hanging out with people who have open relationships probably isn't the best place to meet Mr. Right. From sex to finances and family to intellectual awareness, letting your true desires show up doesn't make you weak, weird or wacky. It's you being truly you, so let your authentic self shine.
5. Stop making excuses. The more you make excuses for why your gay dating life is the toilet, the less chance of it shifting in a positive way. If every date you go on with a gay guy leads you to say, "He was nice, but ... " stop and ask yourself "Why are you always justifying your way out of dating?"
6. What's sex got to do with it? Well, it depends on your position — no pun intended. Dating from the perspective of "it's all about sex" can pay off if that's how you truly feel. Conversely, making sex the secondary acquisition can also be a home run. Regardless of your perspective, being honest with yourself all along is my point. When you hide from your truth, it won't set you free. Plus, being honest with yourself is a great launching pad for honesty in your relationship.
7. Ask yourself, "So what?" Constantly in a tailspin with the same old audio tapes playing in your head? Do you always say: "Gay dating is such a chore," or, "Gay men just want sex," or "Every gay guy I meet only wants to talk about themselves?" If so, start asking yourself, "So what?"
For example, "Gay dating is such a chore." So What? "When it becomes work, it's not fun." So What? "If it's not fun, then I might as well just stay home." So what? "If I stay home then I get depressed and lonely!"
Bingo! Gay dating is a chore that eventually leads to feeling depressed and lonely ... or at least that's what the replay of the tape your listening to is saying. So change the tape!
8. Be a fearless, foolish and fun-loving. Crazy as it sounds, one of these three "f-words" could lead you to Mr. Right. First, be fearless in your gay dating pursuits. After all, if he thinks you're afraid, you probably are, and your sweaty armpit stains will rat you out! If you can't win them by being fearless, then be a little foolish, and let your heart lead you. Even if you feel like a fool, you'll rack up the frequent heartbreak points that will eventually pay for an all-expenses-paid trip to true love. Finally, let the fun-loving gay dater in you out to play. What's the worst that can happen?
9. Stop comparing. Check out the merchandise, evaluate the functionality, weigh the benefits, but for crying out loud, stop comparing yourself to everyone around you! The more you look to others to validate your existence, your value and your self-worth, the deeper the hole gets for you to lay in and have sand kicked in your face. Just because "Bryce" dates like a mad man doesn't mean he's more datable than you. Find your stride, your way, your place and snuggle in. That cozy warm space of dating your way will find you.
10. Trust yourself. You've heard it before: Trust is the basis of everything. But honey, practice makes perfect, and it starts with you. As gay men, one of the hardest obstacles we face is trusting that we're okay because we're gay. The more you dial in, trust yourself and stop second-guessing, the more you'll rely on your own instincts and create the dating situations that are right for you. But baby, you gotta trust yourself because their ain't no one else that's gonna do it for ya.
Whether it's a first date, casual dating or dating to mate, gay guys face the same challenges as everyone else. The only difference is they do it with class, sass and still get a piece of ass when it's done right!
Rick Clemons, The Coming Out Coach, is a Certified Professional Coach and an expert featured on The Ricki Lake Show and on numerous other radio shows, in print and on national blogs. Rick also hosted his own radio show, The Coming Out Lounge.