What could hetero dating culture learn from LGBTQ+ dating culture(s)?
January 18, 2022 10:45 AM   Subscribe

What differences have you noticed between heterosexual dating norms, expectations, assumptions and practices and those in LGBTQ+ dating? Where do you think one does better than the another, and what would you like to see cross-pollinate between them?

By “dating” I mean the entire spectrum of activity there, including hookups as well as finding life partners.
posted by d288478 to Human Relations (13 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Prior to parenthood LGBTQ+ couples tend to divide household labor more equally.
posted by brookeb at 11:00 AM on January 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

Being friends with people after you dated or hooked up, and just in general having close friends who are in the gender category(ies) you would date, and this not being a huge problem for your partner. Like, if gay people acted the way that straight people do — so many rules about who their partner can be friends with, constant suspicion that any opposite-gender friend means they're cheating — none of us would have any friends at all. I even see it in a lot of the answers on this website, even though I suspect the crowd here would think themselves more enlightened than that.

That being said there are straight people who are cool with their partner being friends with their exes, and gay people who are controlling and suspicious of their partner's friends, but I think the "norms" in each culture are the opposite. If that makes sense? Like, in my immediate circles it's weird and kind of a red flag if you're not friends with any of your exes, so I mostly play down that I'm on bad terms with most of them and mention the one I'm still friends with.
posted by 100kb at 11:24 AM on January 18, 2022 [40 favorites]

Best answer: That sex is a conversation between bodies and not something one person gets from the other person in a rote way. I know this isn't a black and white thing with cishet people operating one way and queer people the other, but broadly I think queerness, as well as sex that is often not going to be quite "tab A into slot B," nudges people to a more holistic view.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:25 AM on January 18, 2022 [17 favorites]

Many of the non-heterosexual folks I know tend to pay for dates based on the person who initiated the date or split the cost of the date. At least some heterosexual folks I know still have (in my opinion) arcane gender-based expectations on payment of date activities. I like the former better.
posted by saeculorum at 11:35 AM on January 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Perspective: married het monogamous-in-practice (though not necessarily in theory) guy who hangs out in a majority gay community (gay square dancing): I really like the directness in stating attraction and intent right up-front. I have had a conversation with several men that has gone something like "I'm enjoying the flirting, but sex is not gonna fulfill any desires I have", and gotten "Great! I like the flirting too, let's keep flirting." And we have, and it's fun.

I also really admire the way many friends in that community seem to have decoupled erotic relationships from nesting ones. For all of the traumas, I have a lot of trouble decoupling those things personally, but from the outside it looks pretty healthy to be able to.
posted by straw at 11:49 AM on January 18, 2022 [24 favorites]

Well, I'm very queer, so every relationship I'm in is a queer relationship. But when I have dated cishet men who think of me as a woman (I'm non-binary but didn't really have the words for it when I was still dating cishet men), I found that they did not treat me or think of me as a full human person. There were a lot of gender expectations in those relationships, and dehumanizing me seemed to be a necessary component to making the relationship function. My romantic relationships with other queer people have never felt dehumanizing to me, even when the relationship did not work out.
posted by twelve cent archie at 12:02 PM on January 18, 2022 [36 favorites]

Best answer: I've dated both in the hetero world and the queer world. In general, I think queer dating has less reliance on scripts, so people have to be more upfront about what they want and expect. Not that those scripts don't exist, and not that some queer people don't try to rely on them, but I didn't realize how fully so many straight people, even progressive straight people, have absorbed these scripts until I experienced something else.

There are a lot of jokes in the lesbian/WLW world about "useless lesbians" - ie, without the script of the man as the aggressor, lesbians can have a hard time with one of them making the first move. I think this is more common with young queers. I've personally found the opposite - the women I've talked to on apps are SO open. There's a lot less game-playing. That was actually hard for me to get used to but it's very nice in a lot of ways.

In some places/circles, polyamory or non-monogomy are so common as to be the default. And the relationships involved sometimes look very different from what you might think of as a romantic relationship.

I think it's a lot easier for queer people to go from friends to dating to back to being friends, or to try out dating, realize it doesn't work, and then become friends. A bunch of my friends are people like that, and same with most of the queer people I know. I suspect this is because there's some shared experience in being queer, being in queer culture(s), and less heteronormative baggage (ie, not as many hangups about being "friendzoned" or other weird gender-related shit).

One thing I've noticed is that a lot of the standard metafilter advice for dating: figure out what you want and ask for it, don't worry so much about gender roles, don't put all your emotional energy just into one romantic relationship, etc. is much more followed in the queer dating world, and MUCH harder to practice in hetero dating.
posted by lunasol at 1:05 PM on January 18, 2022 [15 favorites]

+1 many times over for the way queer relationships can go from being a FWB or dating situation to friends and back again (usually) with much less baggage than cishet relationships. When I date within my community, it feels more honest and authentic, and also more chilled out in some ways. I have friends I met for the first time at kink events/sex parties (often while naked and, uh, indisposed) and didn't learn their names until afterward. Some of those friends I've since hooked up with, others I've briefly dated, and we're mostly all still friends and it's never been a big deal. Most of my friends are non-monogamous in some way.

On the flipside of that, the drama that does happen tends to be more widely spread, it impacts whole circles of people you may never have met because there's so much interconnectedness.

When I was still mostly identifying as a woman and dating other women, I did run into the "is this a date??" problem. Now I find things are more straightforward, but that might be just growth and learning how to express what I want.

(Caveat: these are my experiences in the largely gender-non-conforming trans/enby-friendly queer scene in a large metropolitan city. I understand that, for instance, the dating scene for cis gay men and cis lesbians can be quite different. I also haven't experienced all that much of the "traditional" cishet dating world.)
posted by fight or flight at 1:38 PM on January 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

When two non-men date, chores like cooking, dishes, etc, are much more likely to be equally shared. When a man and woman date, she’s expected to do the chores unless he does them as a treat and expects a gold star. I’ve never had a man make the bed. I’ve never had a woman NOT make the bed.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 2:28 PM on January 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

I know this isn't exactly practical advice for cishet couplings; but I love being able to share in the fact that my spouse and I both find the same types of people attractive.... pointing out handsome dudes to each other when out and about and whatnot. It may sound counterintuitive but I feel like it's a fun little secret game we get to share in that helps keep us close to one another.

( Neither one of us ever makes the bed, FWIW ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
posted by wats at 4:35 PM on January 18, 2022 [7 favorites]

For people who like flirting and enjoy feeling skilled at it, I feel like cruising is a much better model than pickup artistry. Like, it has its problems for sure. But framing the interaction in terms of mutual excitement and not control seems like a big step in the right direction.

(That said, there are definitely straight scenes that feel pretty cruisey, even if they don't use that word. I see straight folk dancers do the mutual-excitement flirting thing a lot, for instance, and the only thing that makes it Not Cruising is that it lacks the additional fun layer of picking other queers out of the crowd.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:58 PM on January 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

Married lesbian married to a bisexuality differences I've noted between our relationship and our hetero friends':

-Kids 100% has to be an actual conversation not something you back into after a surprise.

-No gender role scripts means chores and responsibilities divided by whos better or hates the thing the least.

-Our communication around sex is A+.

-No bullshit hangups about who's making mote money.

-We enjoy telling each other who we find attractive.

-Last person out of the bed in the morning makes it.

I would say the downsides largely come from interacting with the outside world. It'd be handy to have a rent a man service to deal with contractors and doctors who are particularly dismissive of women, but also that's a solvable problem with proper review perusal prior to using a service.
posted by edbles at 6:17 AM on January 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I am a bisexual woman who has relationships and hookups with men, women, and non-binary people. My biggest take away is that the differences are about the individuals, not their genders. When (ignorant) straight people tell me how they wish they were queer because same-sex relationships seem “so much easier” or “so much better”, I want to roll my eyes because a same-sex partner is not by default better nor is the relationship in terms of communication, compatibility, love, etc. I mean, I’m sure it is for some people — there are plenty of examples here! — but it hasn’t been the case for me. Which is cool because I’m not into elevating any gender or relationship model! Unfortunately also, there are higher rates of domestic violence in same-sex relationships between women, and bisexual women, regardless of the gender of their partner, are at highest risk for domestic violence and mental health issues. I love who I am and I love my queerness but for me the only real differences are the differences in privilege society gives us in each.
posted by smorgasbord at 1:40 PM on January 19, 2022 [3 favorites]

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