Gay, Sober, and Looking for Love

By The Fix staff 07/08/19

Substance use is prevalent among gay men, but connecting with other sober singles is still possible.

Image: 
two gay men on a sober date at the beach drawing a heart in the sand

If you’re gay and looking for love, connecting with other men is easier than ever before. If you want to get out in person you can head down to the bar or club and have a few drinks. Or, you can opt for one of the many apps that help gay men connect. 

However, for men in recovery, gay sober dating can be a challenge, even in 2019. In gay culture using drugs and alcohol is pervasive, so connecting with someone who shares your sobriety can take time. That’s where gay sober dating site come in, helping you cherrypick men who are also avoiding drugs or alcohol. 

This is particularly important in a community that has higher rates of drug and alcohol use than other groups. Writing for The Fix, Tessa Torgeson recalls how using substances made it easier for her to become comfortable in LGBTQ+ space, and eventually begin dating.

“I also realized that alcohol and pills were the easiest way for me to ‘break bread,’ in the LGBT community,” she writes. “They were magical potions that could teleport me from being an outsider to an insider, give me the courage to flirt with women, to numb the shame. I’m not alone. For many, Pride and being part of the queer community is synonymous with drinking and drug use.”

People who are sober can’t utilize this easy connection over drinks or drugs, so they sometimes feel it’s harder to meet people to date. That’s why connecting in a space that is LGBTQ-focused and sober — like a gay sober dating site — can help people blend both parts of their identity. 

Embracing your sobriety and your sexuality can help you connect with people on a deeper level, since you’re not hiding any aspects of who you are. Writing for Into, Seamus Kirst said that he used to think his sobriety would stand in the way of dating other men. But once he embraced gay sober dating he realized that his sobriety was actually an asset. 

“I used to feel embarrassed by my sobriety, and feared it made me less attractive to other young people. Years of therapy, trial and error, and just putting myself out there, over and over again, has made me me realize how wrong I was,” Kirst writes. “After four and a half years of sober dating, I have come to find that my sobriety is an asset. My sobriety is a testament to my strength, and it is a part of who I am. My addiction, and my recovery, have shaped the way I approach life, the things I value, and my sense of humor.”

Like many people who have tried dating sober, Kirst found that it was best to be up front about sobriety. This meant that perspective partners or dates already knew an important part about him — he didn’t need to come out all over again, about his sobriety. 

While some people feel they can safely go to gay bars and date people who are using without compromising their sobriety, others chose to exclusively date men who are sober. Dating someone who is also sober is a good choice for many people. It not only helps you avoid the temptation of the bar scene, but it can also help avoid smaller triggers, like being around someone who smells like alcohol. 

“Some choose to only date other sober people, and I completely understand that decision,” Kirst wrote. “I have spoken to sober people who have discussed how it can feel triggering for them to kiss someone who has been drinking, as their mouth might literally taste like alcohol. I have friends in recovery who believe that only another sober person will be able to understand their emotional needs based on that shared experience of overcoming addiction.”

Dating in sobriety can be nerve-wracking, especially for the first time. However, using a dating site that connects you with other people with the same values that you have can take some of the unknowns out of it. By connecting with other singles who are gay and sober, you ensure that you can have fun and enjoy dating, while also continuing to grow in your sobriety.

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