Queerness is inherently an abandonment of rules. The lawlessness of queerness is what makes it all so beautifully terrifying and terrifyingly beautiful. So when it comes to queer dating for the first time, it can feel a little intimidating. Being brand new at something is natural and normal. We were all new at one time. Even the most seasoned daters and lovers had their first times.
While there are also no laws when it comes to dating, there can be homework — sometimes (re)learning etiquette, manners, and respect for someone else, and sometimes for yourself. That’s why we’ve compiled a few common questions and tips to ease you into the queer dating scene.
Now, the Queer Dating Tips for Beginners listed below won’t answer all your questions, but they will hopefully set you up to start this delicious journey for yourself.
I know I’m not straight but...wtf is my label?
Homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian, gay, queer...to name a few. There are a lot of ways to identify. Use them, or don’t. It’s okay if you don’t know right now, or feel like your sexuality or gender identity evolves over time. Don’t use labels to make others feel comfortable, or because you feel like you should. Only claim a “label” if it feels right. It should feel like proudly wearing a badge.
Do I need to tell my dates that I’m new to queer dating?
You certainly don’t have to, but the transparency might feel good, and will let you air out some of your nerves (and probably make you feel better). But again, you don’t owe this information to anyone. Dealer's choice. Anyone who judges you for how much or how little experience you have isn’t worth sticking around for.
How do I know if other people are queer?
Think of it like any other person you might approach: you don’t know if they’re in a monogamous marriage or not. They might be someone you’d get along with or not. They might be queer… or not. While it’s always a bit of a gamble, you can be on the lookout for clues! Maybe they’re wearing pronoun pin on their jacket, or a rainbow bracelet. While it might not be appropriate to ask if someone is queer or not, why not sublty mention in conversation that you are and see what they say? Confidence is sexy.
What if it’s not the dates that scare me, it’s what comes next….?
Not only is queerness lawless, queer sex is pretty lawless, too. But, like most things in life, if you lead with love, honesty, and a good sense of humor, you can’t lose. If you have consent and practice safe sex, you two (or three, or four…) get to choose your own adventure. Discuss boundaries, ideas, and fantasies before taking off the clothes (or putting the handcuffs on) to ensure everyone involved feels comfortable and confident. But there’s no need to rush into it! Take your time — you have nothing to prove to yourself or anyone else.
Fill your feed with inspiration
TikTok and Instagram are ripe with queer creators talking about their own experiences and journeys with their sexuality and love lives. Follow people that excite and inspire you and take notes!
And if you’re not ready to date online or IRL? You can still explore your sexuality without dating. Think of it like getting to know yourself (again).
Watch LGBTQ+ films & read LGBTQ+ books. We rounded up a well-rounded reading list. There’s a little bit of everything for everybody — from dealing with trauma to phantasmasmic queer poetry.
Attend LGBTQ+ events, venues, and spaces.
Daydream and fantasize. Masturbation encouraged, but not required.
Talk it out with a friend. Nurturing your non-romantic relationships is just as important as romantic relationships. Not to mention a listening ear and different perspective can help you learn something new about yourself.
Journal. Jotting down your stream of consciousness can help you work out your thoughts privately, and gives you a physical keepsake to reflect back on. Journaling is also a less daunting foray into meditation — being present and feeling your feelings without judgement.
Talk to a therapist. Thankfully, therapy doesn't have as much stigma attached as it has in the past, and the CARES Act allows you to work with out-of-state doctors or therapists since the pandemic began. Check out PsychologyToday.com and filter therapists by their specialties and interest in helping LGBTQ+ patients. It's also important to find an LGBTQ+ affirming doctor, and if you're having trouble finding one in your area, consider tele-health services like Planned Parenthood, Fenway Health, or FOLX Health, which works exclusively with and for the trans and LGBTQ+ community.
Nurture your self confidence. People like secure people. Would you date you? Obviously, confidence ebbs and flows. If it’s in the ebb phase, learn how to feel more confident in your skin so you can get back into your flow.