Love, Sex

The Difference Between Gay And Straight Relationships, According To A Pansexual

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pansexual dating

Hello, I’m pansexual — I’ve dated men, women, transgendered people, and nonbinary individuals as well. After all the years I’ve spent dating people, I’ve noticed that there’s definitely a stark difference between the ways that each gender (or lack thereof) dates. 

More specifically, there seems to be a very strong divide between gay relationships and straight ones. Though there’s probably many exceptions to the rules here, I’ll give people an idea about the differences I’ve noticed in my past relationships, both LGBTQ and heterosexual in nature. Here's what pansexual dating is like and how it differs from heterosexual dating.

1. The gay dating pool is way harder to deal with. 

Though I consider myself agender, I was born female. So, technically, I had lesbian relationships (and would-be relationships) in the past. I am very much attracted to women, but because of the much smaller dating pool and the awkwardness of asking a girl if she’s straight, I generally am afraid to approach them on a sexual level. Moreover, I don’t want to be a creep, since I know how defensive people can be around those who have feelings for them.

As a result, most of the relationships that I’ve been in with women have started off as friendships. Of the almost-relationships I’ve had, a lot of girls just didn’t want to have me as a full girlfriend but were very much interested in sleeping with me.

So, I tend to be very laid back and careful of what I say around girls I’m interested in. At most, I’ll tell them I’d be okay with having sex if they want it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I excuse myself or say that I’m cool with being friends but totally understand if they’re not down with that, either. Either way, it’s hard on that level, since there are so few lesbians and bisexuals compared to women.

There’s also the issue that a lot of bisexual women will drop female or nonbinary lovers the moment they can have a guy. Having had that happen with one girl I was interested in, I can say it makes people wary in that community.

Meanwhile, since I look like a woman, this makes it a lot easier for me to just walk up to guys and flirt. It doesn’t come off as weird or creepy because the gender issues alone make it clear what’s going on. Since there’s way more men and way less awkwardness that can ensure, willing men are way easier to find.  

2. Gender roles are almost exclusively hetero.

One reason I’m still open to LGBTQ relationships but am very leery of straight ones is because of the gender role issue. Among gay relationships, I’ve noticed it’s a lot more egalitarian. There’s no unspoken belief that your partner is going to do the housework while you go out and work. Similarly, there’s not as much chance of having serious concerns being written off as “being hormonal.”

But it’s not only these kinds of gender issues that make being in a gay relationship or going through pansexual dating better. It’s really rare (if even possible) to meet a gay female misogynist. After all, it’s hard to hate your own demographic, really. Even among fellow nonbinaries and transpeople, I don’t see much misogyny, nor do I see that adherence to gender roles.

On the other hand, I’ve met plenty of woman-haters who straight up told me that they think women are money-grubbing leeches. Knowing I’d run into that among straight dating sites makes me really leery of the entire experience of dating men.

Whether I like it or not, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s always that weird undercurrent of gender norms and expectations that men have with women. Almost always, those expectations end up with me losing freedom, getting hurt, or just basically risking everything for a man who might not even appreciate all the work I do.

It’s not even like I’m saying all men do this on purpose or that all men are abusers. As of right now, I have men who do treat me nicely who have made a point of saying that they want a relationship with me, but part of the reason I say no is because of the potential of those gender roles coming back to my foreground.

The double standards straight women face makes it really, truly hard to trust men. Additionally, if I complain about the double standards, I’m almost instantly tutted with a “Not all men,” or a “You’re offending me.”

3. Sex is very different, too.

Mechanics aside, sex is very different between men and women. In most cases, lesbian sex seems to be a lot more intimate, egalitarian, and for lack of a better word, familiar feeling. You know your partner’s body better because you were born with the same equipment.

From what I’ve personally experienced, sex tends to be a lot rougher when it’s straight sex than when it’s LGBTQ. But, then again, that could be my preference in partners speaking. What I can say is that it’s often harder for me to figure out if what I’m doing is good with a guy rather than a girl.

If you’re nonbinary and your body reflects it (lucky bastards!), then obviously there’s a lot to learn before you can even have sex. After all, every body is different.

4. Arguments are different.

One thing I’ve noticed is that men in heterosexual relationships tend to be much more direct than my female exes were when it came to voicing their displeasure at something. Perhaps it’s because women were socialized to “be nice,” but when it comes to fighting, being in a relationship with a woman tends to lead to way more passive-aggression than with a man. Sometimes, even getting your girlfriend to come out and talk to you about the issue is an uphill battle in and of itself.

Moreover, I’ve noticed that men seem to feel way more comfortable being physically violent or threatening than women do. That being said, there’s definitely also some truth to the phrase of, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” While men may have mastered aggression, women seem to have mastered revenge.

From what I’ve seen, both genders are way likely to try to force themselves into your life or try to keep using you after you call it quits with them. Women tend to be way more subversive about it than men are, though. As far as transpeople and nonbinary people go, it’s almost always a total grab bag in terms of how they react when they argue.

5. Overall, every gender has issues

I can’t sit there and villainize men, nor can I say that women are terrible, either. Each person has their own “flavor” to them in a relationship, and though there are exceptions to every rule, there’s definitely trends to each gender in dating as well.

Personally, I’ve had a lot better experiences with women, transfolk, and nonbinary people, so I think that may be why I’m way more open to dating them than I would be to being committed to a man again. But, once again, I’m just talking about my own experiences. Your mileage may vary, but at the very least, I hope I may have shed some light on it all.