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gay men/ lesbians/ women

From a generalised viewpoint, gay men are more promiscuous than lesbians, that is to say, they are more inclined to have multiple sexual partners.  One could argue that men as a species are more inclined to need and want more lovers but it also has something to do with the gay lifestyle specifically.  While there is usually a 'scene' in every city, it tends to be a mobile population.  People come and go out of it and, because it is relatively restricted, especially in the smaller cities, it is also rather incestuous.  Lovers may stop being lovers but they still see each other socially; new couples can still be close friends with their exlovers; friends might sleep together for 'comfort sex', and so on.

Gay women try to form committed relationships with each other and many live together in 'marriages' that last for years.  This is less common among the guys, who will usually have short-term alliances, and more of them.

I think it's also safe to say that relationships between gay men are more sexually-based than those between women.  Most gay guys tell me that sex on the first meeting is the norm, and one-night stands are commonplace.  Sex between women often generates from friendship, which then might lead to a relationship.  That's not to say that lesbians don't indulge in casual sex as well.  Of course some do, but I believe that, on the whole, they are looking for an emotional connection as much as physical gratification.  I have drawn these conclusions from talking to gay men and women about their feelings and desires over a number of years.

Another difference is that gay men are more scene-based, that is, they like to go out and demonstrate their lifestyle in a public way, being seen, socialising, dancing, mixing with other gays, even kissing, fondling and masturbating in nightclubs and bars.  The more 'butch' gay women dress in a certain style and frequent pubs also, playing pool and drinking beer, acting to all intents and purposes like 'ocker' men.  But there are also lesbians who dress and speak like heterosexual women, who wear lipstick and dresses, who have children, who live in suburbs and rarely, if ever, go out to a gay venue.

This raises the issue of male/female roles in gay relationships.  One of the chief stereotypes about homosexuals is that they must play out these roles — there has to be a macho guy and a 'camp' guy together; one gay woman must be 'butch' and the other 'fem'.

I'd like to think that, as in so many areas of sexuality, this myth can be dispelled, along with others such as all lesbians must be men-haters, all gay men had dominating mothers, gays hate heterosexuals, and so on. There may be a grain of truth in these beliefs but they're not absolute or fixed.  As a realist, and a professional student of human behaviour, I know that couples get together for a whole range of reasons other than mutual physical attraction so even if an effeminate man desires a strong masculine one, he may be simply socialised to do so, or he may have deep-seated motivations that have nothing to do with statistics or trends.  These are complex issues which are not exclusive to the gay debate, but let me just say that I hope homosexual couples can enjoy each other mutually without posing or role-playing, for it is only in co-creative and not co-dependent relationships that any of us can find happiness.

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