A girl’s (straight) eye for the gay guy.
It is easy to assume that the world of dating is a single sphere in which rules for gay and straight people are interchangeable, but this simply is not the case. Historically women have been labelled with innumerable terms of derision simply because they might enjoy sex, the premise being that women are not sexually promiscuous. Of course men have been relatively unscathed by such judgemental terms, if anything promiscuity is expected of men, probably why Henry VIII passed the Buggery Act (1533) and Queen Elizabeth I reinstated the sodomy laws after Edward VI had repealed them. Thus history has expected men to indulge in such acts and sought to criminalise this whilst never criminalising females. The history of male gay sex is therefore far different to that of female counterparts. Men learnt to take fleeting glances and determine interest; they indulged in illicit encounters in toilets, parks and other locations that allowed for brief moments of pleasure that the law deemed abhorrent. Gay men even created their own language, Polari, in order to communicate in a world that threatened their very liberty. Having a history of disapproval with severe consequences – initially it was punishable by death (under Henry VIII) – has meant that the sexes approach and treat sex differently. Despite the repeal of laws criminalising gay sex, you are still unlikely to see two men holding hands walking down the street or kissing in public. However sad this is, it is true.
For a straight woman to provide advice to a gay man about relationships and more specifically intimacy is somewhat devoid of the realities many gay men face. The dating world for the gay man is far more body focused. Pictures are casually traded showing everything from cocks to asses to sphincters to fetishes. If anything we are less likely to be shocked by such images flashing up in a message feed. There is an acceptance that the fetishised body exists in the world of gay apps; many choose to openly state that they don’t want to see such images, although secretly I am sure that we are all voyeurs. It is for this reason that intimacy between men cannot really be advised upon by a straight female, they simply do not fully appreciate the world in which they are seeking to provide insight into.
Recently I began dating a guy; he was handsome with the features of a Roman noble. He was intelligent, a graduate with an enviable career. Having had a first date that went really well we arranged a second. Being an open and honest individual he progressed to tell me that he had sought and received advice from a straight female friend about how to approach the relationship. She had confidently told him he should not sleep with me until after the fifth date. His admission of this made me smile, I hadn’t even kissed the guy and he seemed a little reticent to offer any intimacy beyond stroking my hand over a drink; had she advised him about kissing too?
Before leaving him after the second date I got a peck to signal his farewell, it would not be until the end of the third date that I even received a kiss of note. I could have explained this as him being coy but I knew this wasn’t the case, apparently he was interested in a relationship and was playing for that. It wouldn’t be until date 5 that we actually had sex, by then it was somewhat of an anticlimax. The delay and the revelation that this was him following advice had taken the natural mood of two men who meet and are physically and mentally attracted to one another. It felt a little like going through the motions, completing an act to cement a relationship, devoid of the passion that new relationships offer.
In my opinion he should never have followed the advice, and certainly never revealed what the advice was. Relationships are natural, organic encounters between people. They evolve not through the strict adherence to rules but rather by accepting the mood and chemistry that are created, by embracing the emotion that brings two people together. Had he accepted this rather than the advice of a straight girl seeking to attract a husband, akin to the outdated perceptions portrayed by The Rules, he might have created a stronger foundation based on desire rather than obeying the guidance of others. Ultimately we seek to indulge in our lovers and partners, to consume them physically as well as mentally, nourished by all that they offer us and all that stimulates us on to successive encounters and dates.
If you’re after my advice, ditch the rules and play it by ear. If someone is going to respect you it is not earned by holding out until a third or fifth date, it’s there in the very inception of the first date – if it’s not, they shouldn’t be worth your time, after all you deserve the respect you offer willingly to others.