By Justin Hernandez
Originally published on Advocate.com February 20 2014 5:36 AM ET
When Match.com held a recent press event to announce the results of its 2013 “Singles in America” study, there wasn’t much time devoted to gay singles. It was questionable whether any data was inclusive of same-sex dating. As it turns out, the website actually studied a large enough sample to ensure that gay and lesbian people were represented.
The study found that single men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, have the same outlook when it comes to dating. A large percentage of singles are open to or actively seeking a relationship (88 percent of gay men and 96 percent of lesbians).
Finding a partner who is comfortable communicating their wants, needs, and desires, as well as having a sense of humor, are top qualities sought after by gay and lesbian singles. This is also on par with heterosexuals, with all groups falling in the 90-percentile range for these categories.
Based on Match.com’s study, it seems that there is a lot of common ground in the pursuit of love regardless of gender and sexual orientation. Most of us want the same thing — companionship. Most people are dating in the hopes of finding a partner and eventually getting married, and it seems that the number of gays and lesbians who want to tie the knot surpasses those who don’t. The study found that 41 percent of gay men and 43 percent of lesbians want to get married, as opposed to the 25 percent and 19 percent who don’t.
Interestingly, 33 percent of gays and 37 percent of lesbians were unsure if marriage was right for them. As for starting a family, 15 percent of gay men and 18 percent of lesbians want children.
Not surprising, physical looks factor in dating choices. Having a partner who is physically attractive is important to 90 percent of gay men and 87 percent of lesbians. Perhaps the biggest divide among those who were surveyed was in the fitness department. While physical attraction was important across the board, 22 percent of gay men (versus 12 percent of straight men) expressed a strong desire that their dates be more athletic than themselves. For women, 10 percent of lesbians (versus 27 percent of straight women) wanted their dates to be more athletic.
The same study also shows that gays and lesbians are more likely to have fallen in love with someone they didn’t initially find attractive (the respective percentages were 48 percent and 50 percent).
Speaking of love, 65 percent of gays and 60 percent of lesbians do indeed believe in love at first sight.
We might have varying points of view when it comes to dating and go about it in different ways, but it all comes down to establishing an intimate connection with another human being. One question in that department stuck out. If you can’t refrain from checking your phone while out on a date, it turns out you’re not alone. While many singles admitted to engaging in the activity, 60 percent felt it was rude behavior. For the record, heterosexual women have the worst first-date phone etiquette, according to this study — 47 percent say they check their phone during a first date. This was followed by 40 percent of lesbians, 38 percent of heterosexual men, and 37 percent of gay men.
Commonalities aside, the study did yield some noteworthy differences with regards to how we search for love. For starters, 70 percent of gay men and 47 percent of lesbians have dated someone they met online. Justin R. Garcia of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction says technology is changing how people find and establish relationships, and there has been a huge jump in online dating among gay and lesbian singles.
JUSTIN HERNANDEZ writes about sex, dating, and relationships for The Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @HernandezJustin.