Whether you’re gay, straight or queer, when two people fall in love they experience similar highs and lows. There’s the excitement of meeting someone and thinking “wow, this could be serious!” The inside jokes, the glances, the extra long goodbye hugs – all these things signal that something special is happening.
Like all couples, lgbtq+ couples often face challenges and disagreements. These can be internal or external: deciding who to tell (or not), coping with family members’ negative reactions, dealing with the impact of anti-gay sentiment in society, and navigating the “coming out” process. But it’s also important to remember that each relationship is unique and may not fit into a box, even one as broad as “gay relationships.” The key to successful and healthy gay partnerships is learning how to communicate openly and respectfully and embracing the diversity of lgbtq+ relationships.
One challenge many gay male couples have is navigating heteronormative expectations, especially when it comes to sex life. In a study on sexual relationships, researchers found that gay men often feel pressure to “show up” in their sex life the way a straight couple would – for example, by demonstrating that they both enjoy vanilla sex. They’re also likely to compete for the attention of their peers, so they might talk about money or appearance more than other couples do. Adding to this is the fact that some lgbtq+ men are disproportionately impacted by racial, gender and class inequality.