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9 Mar 2011

Singapore's first gay dating guide

Oogachaga, a Singapore-based counselling and personal development organisation for LGBTQ individuals, has launched a 32-page dating guide for gay men.

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Available in print and online for download, Oogachaga's Gay Men Dating Survival Guide is a dating manual that promises to offer "tons of useful, bite-sized information on courting protocol, sex and love."

To download the PDF guide, click onto oogachaga.com/gaymendatingguide.

Bryan Choong, Oogachaga's centre manager and a long time volunteer since 2005, told Fridae the guide is a result of the feedback they had received after the centre conducted two runs of 'Many Single Men' workshops on 12 and 13 February 2011 and 29 May 2010.

"We realised that dating related workshops are very popular in Singapore and online forums are filled with questions related to dating and starting a gay relationship." However, many gay men are "at a loss when it comes to dating another gay guy", Choong explains.

"They are often lost at where to find the right guys, how to strike conversation with someone they are interested in and when it is good to initiate sex. Of course, many people also do not know how to protect themselves physically and sexually, simply because men are often expected to know how to protect themselves." 

The 32-page guide written by volunteers Eugene Quek and Jonathan Koh starts with dispelling some myths about gay relationships, and offers tips to find out if a guy is gay, information on dating safely online, dating violence, safer sex and dealing with rejection.

To download the PDF guide, click onto oogachaga.com/gaymendatingguide.

Oogachaga operates a hotline (Tel: 626 86 626) from Tuesdays to Thursdays, 7pm to 10pm; and Saturdays from 2pm to 6pm.


The following excerpted from the Gay Men Dating Survival Guide:

gay relationship: myths versus facts

You may have been conditioned by society and the media to accept what one should expect in a gay relationship. In fact, many gay relationships do not end in heartbreak and tragedy, a la Brokeback Mountain. Here are some commonly held myths that we think should be busted.

Myth One: There must be a top and bottom in a gay relationship.

Not true. Don’t worry if you think your date doesn’t fit the mold—a relationship can work outside of the traditional dominant-submissive model.  Part of the joy of being gay is the fluidity and flexibility that comes with how you define yourself in a relationship. Of course, you may prefer playing a particular sexual role in bed, but remember that all relationships are unique and may evolve over time. Don’t be afraid of seeing someone you ordinarily won’t think of dating - it just might work! 

Myth Two: Gay relationships don’t last. 

While being in a gay relationship in Singapore presents its challenges, there are many gay couples who have withstood the test of time. Getting involved in gay support groups is an excellent way of meeting people in long-term relationships. Seek their advice. And hey, look at how many famous gay couples there are out there: Elton John and David Furnish, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, the list goes on. Take heart!

Myth Three: Gay relationships are doomed to fail because gays are promiscuous.

Monogamy is an issue which should be discussed frankly with your partner early in the relationship. Some healthy relationships are sustained on the mutual understanding that sexual liaisons with other people may happen. On the other hand, you and your partner may choose to remain monogamous because it is important to you. Again, each and every relationship is different. Trust and open communication with your partner will result in a committed and happy union.  

know yourself first

1. Your motivations Before you do anything, ask yourself this first: why get into a relationship? Do you wish to find someone to care about? Or someone to care for you? Or a sexy dance partner to show off to your friends? Asking yourself this question is important. You will realise this influences the kind of guys you search for and prevent yourself from aimlessly moving around, like driftwood, from partner to partner. 2. Your values and beliefsUnderstanding your own sexuality, values and boundaries is important. Some people can accept an open relationship, some cannot. Some are more adventurous and liberal and want a polygamous relationship. Are you a gay man with strong religious belief and is trying to come to terms with your identity? How open are you regarding your own sexuality? A couple with different comfort level with sexuality may face different stresses. Some gay people may even have a negative perception of gay relationships! If you are one of them, this severely reduces the odds of you entering into a stable, healthy relationship. Do consider talking to a professional if you have serious issues long overdue.

1. Your motivations

Before you do anything, ask yourself this first: why get into a relationship? Do you wish to find someone to care about? Or someone to care for you? Or a sexy dance partner to show off to your friends? Asking yourself this question is important. You will realise this influences the kind of guys you search for and prevent yourself from aimlessly moving around, like driftwood, from partner to partner.

2. Your values and beliefs

Understanding your own sexuality, values and boundaries is important. Some people can accept an open relationship, some cannot. Some are more adventurous and liberal and want a polygamous relationship. Are you a gay man with strong religious belief and is trying to come to terms with your identity? How open are you regarding your own sexuality? A couple with different comfort level with sexuality may face different stresses. Some gay people may even have a negative perception of gay relationships! If you are one of them, this severely reduces the odds of you entering into a stable, healthy relationship. Do consider talking to a professional if you have serious issues long overdue.

3. Your type

Some gay people have a list. They want their potential partners to be handsome, rich, and muscular. What is your list? It doesn’t matter if skin-deep qualities are the most important to you – as long as you admit it to yourself. Relationship counsellors advise writing down a list of qualities you find attractive in a potential partner (ranging from things like height, build, ethnicity to personality, demeanor and his family life). Doing so will clarify things for yourself, and help you to stay focused in your search for an ideal mate.

finding out if a guy is gay

You might want to develop a friendship first, since his sexuality is unknown. Start with inviting him to do buddy things – a movie, pool, or a game of Wii. Don’t seduce him. As your friendship develops, you’ll develop a mutual trust for each other. Thereafter you can broach the topic of sexuality.

Be vague at first – point out to him issues like gay marriage, gay people serving in the military, or your (fake) gay friend in secondary school. See how he reacts. If you like his reaction, you might want to consider coming out to him. He might catch the bait and disclose his sexuality. If he’s not gay, you can still be friends. (And remember, try as you might, you will never be able to convert a straight man into becoming gay.)

types of relationships

What kinds of relationships are you interested in? There are many arrangements and sociologists have studied them for ages. Here’s a helpful summary of the possible configurations:

Monogamous relationship - one where the two parties in a relationship have exclusive sex (i.e. no sexual contact with outsiders)

Polygamous relationship - one where more than two parties in a relationship have exclusive sex (like a three person relationship)

Open relationship - the two parties in a relationship agree to have casual sexual flings (usually no emotional involvement) with parties outside of the relationship. There are various types of open relationships.

Fuck buddies or friends with benefits - having non-committal, ongoing sex with gay friends

Friendships - duh. No sex involved!

There are implications both sexually and emotionally for each arrangement. If you intend to have a monogamous relationship, it is important to communicate that to your partner, who may be more sexually adventurous and wants an open relationship. Also, are you falling in love with your fuck buddy? Watch out. He might not be that into you (no pun intended)!

To download the PDF guide, click onto oogachaga.com/gaymendatingguide.

Reader's Comments

1. 2011-03-09 22:42  
cool, great advice
2. 2011-03-09 23:14  
i have ever read it, very useful for the way to date.
Recommended.
3. 2011-03-09 23:51  
nice reading it... useful advice.
4. 2011-03-10 00:23  
great stuff. i can hear plenty of bells ringing within me.
5. 2011-03-10 01:30  
hmm....where was all this safe advice when i was younger (and better looking). then again, sometimes, it's good to figure things out on your own. or not. hmm...now where did i leave my dentures????
6. 2011-03-10 03:38  
This is a great idea, congratulations. A few years ago when I moved "into dating" as opposed to just sex (:)) I bought some on the shelf guides to gay dating and they were very helpful. But the cross cultural aspect is so important. It is great that SG has done this.

Nobel Pink Prize for Literature!
7. 2011-03-10 06:04  
Definitely worth the reading!
8. 2011-03-10 06:55  
I was skeptical, thinking what kinda wierd guide it would be. But it turned out to be pretty interesting, and helpful (if u're really looking for a genuine relationship).
9. 2011-03-10 07:52  
a very good input n remind our mind........
10. 2011-03-10 09:57  
love it.
11. 2011-03-10 10:41  
Download it and loving it.
12. 2011-03-10 11:39  
Excellent, I'm loving it ^^.
13. 2011-03-10 13:24  
Very well written and sensible article/advice. Will be a tremendous help and also positive affirmations of being gay.
Good stuff!
14. 2011-03-10 13:26  
very nice
15. 2011-03-10 14:34  
Very informative and helps clarify some questionable myths. Helps the reader to discern for himself and make his choices!
16. 2011-03-10 16:06  
They forgot the section on ah bengs and married men...lol
17. 2011-03-10 16:10  
lol
18. 2011-03-10 17:34  
I specially love the part that break myths that gay relationships don't last. They do.
19. 2011-03-10 17:34  
I specially love the part that break myths that gay relationships don't last. They do.
20. 2011-03-10 19:23  
nice reading it....
21. 2011-03-10 19:41  
Lol cool article
22. 2011-03-10 21:27  
nice one
23. 2011-03-11 04:03  
aw, the comments here are sweet.
contradicts the myth that GLBT are just into sex.
24. 2011-03-11 21:13  
Hey, I have downloaded it and I must say that it's really great! The models are so cute! And the text speaks out very clearly haha I think seriously it will help! Congratz!
25. 2011-03-12 04:38  
why no lesbian guide?gender inequality...*pouts*
lols.....
26. 2011-03-13 12:00  
SO true.....will follow your advice.
27. 2011-03-14 23:17  
Cool!
28. 2011-06-18 09:11  
great advice

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