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Published on May 28th, 2013 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles

Taking It Online Without Losing Your Mind, Your Morals, or Your Manners

by Wilfrid R. Koponen

Peter’s Story: A Cautionary Tale

Peter wanted a long-term relationship (LTR), not a hook-up. He thought hot guys would be turned off by “LTR,” so he didn’t put it in his online profile. He heard that in his city, the serious relationship-oriented gay sites attracted few guys. A site known as a hookup site got ten times the traffic, so he created a profile there. He didn’t want to seem like a prude, so he put in nude photos of his dick and butt. He thought he was too old for some of the hotter guys, so he shaved six years off his age. He got a lot of invitations to join others right away for three-ways and orgies. Why did he have no luck meeting guys who wanted a LTR? He got upset when he met one guy and realized that the photo he’d used online was 20 years old. He met another guy who shaved 15 years off his age. Peter thought that it was reasonable to take off 6 years, but 15 was too much.

Welcome to Fantasy Island (the Realm of Gay Online Dating)

How can you go online in search of love, romance, or sex without losing your mind, your morals, or your manners? You need to do two things: Be yourself. Be kind. No matter how big your dick is or how good you are in bed, if you’re not kind, you will never leave a good impression. You need to answer three questions: Who are you? What do you want? How can you get it?

Who are you?

To go online on a gay dating site, you will need a profile. Keep it real. Be yourself. What do you wish to reveal about yourself? Say enough to let someone figure out whether he might want to meet you. Use recent pics.

What do you want?

What kind of relationship do you want? What kind of man (or men) do you want to meet? What’s a must? What’s a deal-breaker? What’s negotiable?

  • Are you looking for a long-term relationship? Open or closed?
  • Are you looking for casual sex, for hookups, a fuck buddy, or a friend with benefits?
  • What do you like to do sexually? What are you not into?

The clearer you are, the greater your odds of getting what you want.

How can you get what you want?

What works? What doesn’t work? Which online sites suit what you want? Be honest. Stay positive. Say what you DO want, not what you DON’T want. Thinking about lying about your age or using an old photo? How would you feel if you met someone who used a photo taken 15 years ago or who shaved 15 years off his age? How stable is a relationship erected on a foundation of lies?

Going negative is another common mistake. I read one profile that said “no fats or femmes (no offense).” Guess what? If you have to say “no offense,” you’re being offensive. Here are some negatives and how to fix them.

NEGATIVE: Not into fat or flabby guys.

FIX: Into guys who work out and stay fit.

NEGATIVE: Not into femmes./Straight-acting only.

FIX: Turned on by masculine guys.

NEGATIVE: Not into older guys.

FIX: Looking for someone my age or younger.

NEGATIVE: Not into twinks/young guys.

FIX: Looking for someone my age or older.

You’re Online. Now What?

OK. You’ve gotten recent pics of yourself and created an online profile. Now what? You’re in cyberspace. Welcome to Fantasy Island. Despite the excitement of dick pics and lewd e-mails, nothing has really happened until you’ve met in person. No one has to find you sexually appealing or has to meet you. The other guys are shopping; so are you. You can walk out of the store empty-handed.

If you are interested in a guy, express interest, but keep it short at first. Your initial goal is to get the guy to check out your profile and respond if he’s interested. Don’t invest emotional energy. Send a brief message or wink, then let it go. More activity increases your odds of meeting someone, but there are no guarantees. If someone doesn’t reply, don’t take it personally. He’s not being rude. He’s just letting you know that he’s not interested (or maybe he hasn’t been online in a while).

If you’re not interested in someone who expresses interest in you, don’t tell him why you’re not interested. Just don’t respond. If you’re not sure, keep it short, keep it positive, and keep your options open. If someone sends you a compliment, you can reply: “Thanks.” This doesn’t mean that you’re ready to negotiate a marriage contract.

The point of going online is to meet in person. Once you know you’re interested, steer things towards the possibility of meeting. Some guys may wish to chat with you forever without meeting. Say, “I’d like to meet you” or “Let’s meet.” Pay attention to how the other guy responds. If he expresses no interest, unless you want a cyber pen pal, let him go.

The All-Important First Meeting

How you arrange the first meeting matters. If the guy asks you to his place right away, he’s probably looking for a hookup. If that’s NOT what you want, try to get him to meet for coffee. That’s a low-stress way to meet to see whether you might have chemistry.

On the first meeting, you cross the bridge from the Fantasy Island of cyberspace to the mainland of face-to-face interaction. The point of the first meeting is to find out whether there’s chemistry. If there’s no spark of attraction, be gracious, but accept that and move on. First impressions matter. They set the tone for what follows. If someone shows up for a first meeting in dirty clothes, stinking of BO, is this someone you’d want to date? Observe carefully. Put your best foot forward. Put the other guy at ease. Ask him general questions about who he is and what he likes to do. Express interest without being pushy.

Tune into your intuition and body sensations. How does being around this guy make you feel? Are you attracted? Are you bored? Are there red flags? Does he offend you or make you feel defensive? Is he rude? Is he amusing? Does he monopolize the conversation and not let you get a word in edgewise? Is he socially skillful? Is he someone you could introduce to your friends? Is he bitter about past relationships? Is he a control freak? Is he a nice guy? Do you want to see him again?

One final issue: Should you put out on a first date? This depends on you, what you’re comfortable with, and what you want. Consider this ahead of time. Otherwise, you may send mixed signals, leaving the other guy confused. The more serious you are about a long-term relationship, the more reason there is NOT to have a sexual encounter on the first date. You can let the guy know that you are attracted to him and want to see him again without putting out right away. Be true to yourself.

Final Thoughts

If you go online in search of love, romance, or sex, maybe you’ll find what you want. Maybe you won’t. As you step into cyberspace, the Fantasy Island of sexual longing, remember: there are real men staring at their computer screens on the other end. Be nice. If you remain honest and treat everyone with kindness, you can look in the mirror of conscience without blinking. Happy hunting. May you drink deeply from the cup of love and find fulfillment at the end of your desire.

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Wilfrid R. Koponen is the author of the book Embracing A Gay Identity and is the proprietor of Writing & Editing Services in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is single and has “LTR” in his online profiles. He can be reached at WRKwriter@aol.com.

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