So you’ve done some soul-searching and decided it’s time to try queer online dating. Where do you start? While it can feel like a huge personal milestone, a bi-curious voyage into the Tinder-sphere doesn’t have to turn your life upside down.
Once you’ve changed your “interested in” settings and you’re ready to start swiping, follow these tips to stay confident, respectful, and true to yourself as you expand your dating circle.
Do Be Honest
No, you aren’t required to disclose your entire sex and dating history in your Tinder bio. But once you’ve found someone you’re interested in, it can relieve some pressure to be upfront about your experience level. Keep it light and try to create space for a conversation to unfold. For example: “I’m actually pretty new to queer dating. Do you have a favorite LGBTQ [bookstore, bar, etc.] around here?”
Don’t Get Bogged Down By Labels
You may feel pushed to label yourself as soon as you start dating in queer circles, but it’s not as crucial as you might think. You can meet cool people whether or not you’ve settled on an identifier like bisexual, pansexual, etc. Sexuality is fluid, and the label(s) you identify with can change over time. What matters more is your connection with the person on the other side of the screen.
Once you’ve found someone you’re interested in, it can relieve some pressure to be upfront about your experience level.
That said, if labeling who you are and who you’re into is important to you, that’s cool, too! OkCupid is considered the most inclusive mainstream dating site for its wide array of gender options, and HER is a dating app specifically for queer women and nonbinary people.
Do Mix Up The Conversation
If you haven’t had a ton of queer dating experience, it can be tempting to treat the first person you match with as your personal encyclopedia of queer life. While you’re welcome to ask a few questions or swap Queer Eye trivia, remember that there’s more to a person than their sexual orientation. Instead of making the meetup all about your shared queerness, bring other topics into the conversation. It will help you get to know the other person better and make them feel less like your token queer hookup.
Don’t Get Discouraged By Judgment
Bisexuality still carries a lot of stigma from gay and straight folks alike. Though stereotypes about bisexual people abound, exploring your sexuality is completely normal. If a potential partner shames or criticizes you for dating bi-curiously, don’t let it keep you from experimenting — they probably aren’t someone you’d want to get involved with, anyway.
Do Remember Consent
The rules of consent don’t change based on gender. If things get physical, communicate with your new partner about what you’re into and what’s off-limits. It’s O.K. if you’ve never had a queer hookup before; again, honest communication about what you’re comfortable with is key. Likewise, listen to what your partner wants and respect their boundaries, too. If your partner is trans, consider brushing up on how to hook up in a way that’s affirming and validates your partner’s gender.
If a potential partner shames or criticizes you for dating bi-curiously, don’t let it keep you from experimenting.
Don’t Give Up
Your first few experiences with queer online dating might be great, but they also might not be... That doesn’t mean there’s nobody out there for you, or that you’re not “really” queer. Try different dating sites, go to events at your local queer establishments, or ask trusted friends to introduce you to someone you might like. There’s no perfect way to meet the queer babe of your dreams. It’s only a matter of time before you stumble into them.