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The Gay Blade

11th September 2008

Shake hands? Or go on a date?

Posted by: Michael Stevens

There’s a joke that for gay men, having sex is like shaking hands. It’s just what we do, you know, it’s how we  say hi to a stranger. And there’s an element of truth to it, after all,  as gay men we are defined to some extent by what we do with each other with out clothes off. Or at least flies open. And it’s often said that nzdating should really be called nzfucking, cause that’s how we treat it.

And I’m not complaining about this. Casual sex is one of our great treats.

But what about dating? Why don’t we seem to do that in this country?  I was talking about this with an American friend recently, and he claimed that over there it’s actually quite normal to go out and have a meal, maybe a coffee or a drink, and not fall into bed straight away. From what he said, they sometimes even do that two or three times before they do fall into bed.(OK, not always, and maybe not so much in NY). And I was also talking with another friend, who is, sexy, and smart, runs his own business, and he said to me “Why can’t I meet a partner?” He can get laid ok, but meeting someone to actually spend time with and that you can introduce to your family? That seems way harder for us gay guys as a group.

So why don’t we date?  I think this is an interesting concept. Imagine, getting to know someone a little bit before getting your rocks off? Wouldn’t that be an interesting and novel experience?

And you know, I think there is something to be said for it. Without the total focus going on getting laid, maybe we’d actually get to develop friendships and find out if we really liked the other guy. For some reason, it often seems harder to do that after you’ve fucked I find. It often seems that sex first equals friends, or acquaintances after, or even less. How many guys have you had sex with that you’ve never called again, or can’t remember their names when you see them out next?We seem to have this sexual culture built around the chase, the hunt, getting it, then leaving. I wonder howgood this is for us as a group.

One of the things that strikes me  when I talk to young gay guys, in their teens as they are coming out, is that they so often say they want a boyfriend. I’ve perhaps gone on about this before. But it’s such a common desire. A boyfriend. A mate. Someone to hang out with, to go out with, and yes, to fuck with too, but they really seem to show a desire to have a steady mate in their lives.  And I think that’s something that most of us can identify with too.

And I think that what our gay world does, with its emphasis on sex as a way of saying hello stranger, it makes it so much harder actually  for young guys to date without the pressure of sex. We have such a sex centred culture in the gay male world that we miss out on some of the emotional side of things, the intimacy, the getting to know each other, the friendship and trust - all things that I think you need to make a relationship successful.

I suspect this part of our long legacy of having to live a life in the shadows. We were illegal and persecuted for so long, that we tended to take our pleasures on the run as it were. Gay male culture has set up certain patterns and these are hard to shake off, even now. I’m not against recreational just-fro-the-hell-of-it sex. Hell, if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know that.

But maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if we tried every now and then to actually date. To go and sit down, to talk, to get to know each other. Why not save shaking hands for really shaking hands at least some of the time, and spend the time to get to know each other a bit better before jumping into the sack.  Treating the other person like an adult,a fellow human being, with needs and hopes and fears, instead of just a piece of meat to consume, I think it might lead to some interesting developments, and, let’s face it, some more grown up forms of interaction. You’re highly unlikely to want to spend the rest of your life with someone just because he’s a great fuck - right?

Perhaps we might all be surprised at the outcome.

Tags: General

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rhys // Sep 15, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Bravo Michael. I love how you put into words how most guys feel. I think one of the main problems is that, face it, most gay “relationships” will only last somewhere between 2 weeks and 2 months. i’m guessing most guys just dont wanna waste all their time courting someone when they wont be around for long anyway.

    I’ve always been a hopless romantic myself, showing up at their door, bunch of roses, all that soppy sickening stuff but finding the right guy to share it with seems like the impossible search sometimes

  • 2 Tim // Sep 15, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Well done, I too thought the art of dating was a lost cause, until I met my current partner. We have been happily together for almost the last two years, and I attribute this solely to our decision not to get down to it and sleep with each other, but to take the time and get to know one another on a more personal level, as opposed to an intimate level.

    We had both been in previous relationships were the focus was too strongly on the sexual side of things, and not enough on the ever growing cracks on the personal side of things.

    From the start going out on dates was great, from simply him picking me up or me picking him up, going for a drive and then a walk, to coffee, to going out for dinner and movie, and this has set the tone for the entirety of our relationship, we continually suprise each other either by showing up with some flowers for each other, right through to an Island getaway in Rarotonga for a week!

    I thought all hope was lost, but now my faith restored that it’s not all just about sex!!

  • 3 BJ the Muse // Sep 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks Michael,

    Your sentiments echo my own feelings of late and the slow realisation for me after a youth spent indulging in, as you put it, just-for-the-hell-of it sex that I don’t really know how to form meaningful relationships with other gay guys other than under the pretence of having sex with them.

    We ‘come out’ to a vibrant gay scene offering sex on a platter. We come together purely on the basis on our sexual orientation. Sex becomes so accessible that many of us seem to end up thirsting for it. We don’t have to look too far or endure the thrill of the hunt too intensely to find a conquest. For many gay blokes a different sexual partner every weekend becomes a lifestyle.

    From my own experience the ease at which I have been able to form throw away relationships and enjoy fleeting sexual encounters with other guys has limited my ability to form the meaningful and intimate relationships I desire.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my hedonistic years on the gay scene in Auckland and in the UK. I’ve been happy to meet guys on a sex only basis.

    Now that I truly want more….

    I do wish I had learned the old fashioned art of courtship and developed a confidant ability to approach guys that I am attracted to and get to really know them and let the sex follow.

    Then again… I am a man after all.

  • 4 Dan // Sep 15, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Love this article!! i really do believe that this is the way of the future. I have been on nzfucking, as you like to call it, and there are alot of people who just want sex. i actually cant tell you of any of my friends anyway that have met “the one” on nzdating. but of course we are all on the site anyway!

    we have all been the typical little gay boy once, and done the sex-for-the-hell-of-it thing. Its fun for a while, but if you think about it, can kind of be demoralising in the end. I know personally after a while of going through this process every weekend for a while, i did start to feel like a cheap dirty little slut.

    so if anybody out there still does the whole dating thing, good on you. I am also trying to do this, and it is hard to find someone who is interested in doing the same!! Anyway guys, be safe be happy and do what feels right for you.

  • 5 Nick // Sep 15, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I agree with Tim, me and my bf have been together 18 mnths, we waited 3 weeks before sex even though 2 weeks of it we shared a bed. We dated, dinners out, movies etc…..it was nice to get to know him first!

  • 6 Brad // Sep 15, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    I have to say this was something that did need to be brought up. I’m still a teen, and I’ve found myself not really confused, but unable to decide if I should take things slow with someone, or just to have casual sex. But I think I’ve decided to take things slow with people I feel I could potentially have a relationship with. Otherwise, why not have casual sex? (I don’t know if that’s a good way to look at things..)

  • 7 Steve // Sep 16, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Wow what a great article! As an American, I also have to say it was a shock to come to New Zealand and see how different the gay culture is here compared to the States. It seems that a majority of the guys I have come in contact with are not satisfied with what they have right in front of their eyes, and almost afraid to get to know someone for who they are. This can even be said for some couples out there as well. As an American, yes we want instant gratification, but we also try to see the value of what we have, and really take the time to get to know the other person. And guys, this doesnt always mean that the other guys will want to marry and move in with you on the second date…Unless..it is true love…

  • 8 dizzle // Sep 17, 2008 at 6:06 am

    i love the article… im just 20…. and it’s so hard to find a partner here… and gay guys here just see the things that are on the outside… and doesnt look for what’s inside… :-(

  • 9 Alex // Sep 17, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Totally agree, i would love to do the whole dating thing with dinner movies and all that but what usually ends up happening is we meet and within 30 mins were fucking lol

    Seriously though, if i could find someone that wants to take it slow that would be great

  • 10 Kyle // Sep 18, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    There is the other end of this spectrum too!

    I’m infamous for stringing the courting on and on, so much so that they disappear. maybe a good thing I don’t know.

    Current guy has been around for almost a year, fingers crossed

  • 11 Ben // Sep 19, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I think most guys don’t know what they want

    I talk to so many guys who say they want someone to spend quality time with blah blah blah but then these are the same people who go out and sleep with someone different every weekend

    I’m looking for a certain type of guy and I know he’s not going to be at family every week

    maybe some people should broaden their horizons a bit

  • 12 Benjamin // Sep 21, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Wow, this really has hit so many nails on the head. I’ve just turned eighteen, after coming out to a thankfully open minded family and social group at sixteen, and spend every weekend with my friends jokingly attempting to find the next love of my life.
    It’s all in jest, because no matter how much I seriously want it, it’s almost impossible to seperate those who are good for a night, and those that are good for the long term.
    I think the thing that gets me most is the fact that I came out and went straight into a year long relationship.
    As soon as that ended, I expecting more like it to come my way, but instead have spent the last year and a bit messing around, fucking around, hurting and being hurt.
    But I haven’t learnt, because nobody seems to think that there is a lesson to be learnt!
    While I’m not looking to settle down before I’ve even finished school, something serious would be nice, and I’m crossing my fingers for people like me to find that.
    But until then, weekends out may have to be Mister Right-Now, as opposed to Right.

  • 13 Dan // Sep 21, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    I think it is cool to read so many responses in favor of dating. But many people do tend to just harp on about finding a relationship, but sleep round in the mean time. That tactic is stupid, because the people looking for a relationship will see that kind of behaviour and write that person off as a slut and move on.

    But a bigger issue of the culture of sleeping around is HIV. I know it can be a boring issue, but with more and more people getting looser and looser it’s no wonder its spreading like wild fire.

    I do think the community needs to re-evaluate how it operates. Without a bit of reflection we will never be able to shake off our bad rep.

  • 14 TerryN // Jan 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Stands and Claps… I have been trying to tell my friends this for a long time and get told “CRAP”, I’ll be sending a few people a link today - Thanks

  • 15 dave yang // Jan 18, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Having sex with someone is the easy part, living with the person is the true test to see whether you would last in a relationship. It’s about compromising and giving up some of the things that you would normally do if you were by yourself. Partner and I have been together for 3 and half years now, we met on nzdating. We waited a month or so before having sex. I thought we were going to die of old age before we’d get a chance to do it.

  • 16 dave yang // Jan 18, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Our first few dates ended up with him giving me a hand restoring my old corolla and we went on to dinners etc. Common interests are essential but at the same time you are still individuals living your own life up to a point, it’s a delicate balance that many of us find hard to achieve and maintain. It is also logical to argue that it’d be a waste of time should one engage in a friendship first and sex later dating model only to find out say 6 months down the track that the 2 of them are totally sexually imcompatible e.g. both tops / bottoms.
    It can be like buying lotto, you just don’t know until you have got to know the person, whether sexually or personally, because lets face it either one of the two would have to happen first anyway. If both work out then bingo, we have lift-off, the next challenge is to keep the relationship up and running.

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