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Valentine's Day makes all this week particularly romantic and so OutUK's Adrian Gillan has been asking three lonely hearts if gay love is harder than the straight stuff and how they'll make that date with Cupid.
"Off the top of my head," says 21 year old Simon from East London, "I can't name any famous gay couples, real or fictional. Elton and that Furnish guy? Oscar and Bosie?"

Not an auspicious start then when you think of the hundreds of straight couples in public life from David & Victoria to Beyoncé & Jay-Z rammed down our throats via the media every day or the doting hetero lovers portrayed on screens both large and small.

The few we do see - from My Own Private Idaho to Talented Mr Ripley - are normally doomed to dysfunction or tragically fated to fail. And forget advice from home or school.

Of course, we all know we can and do fall in love, and with marriage and civil partnerships now a significant option for gay couples we do seem to be sticking together much more. But where are our role models? Are us gay guys permanently on hormonal heat? And is our love shunned by mainstream society, or is it rather just our lust that is egged on by the shameless, shagging scene?

"I think it is hard to sustain a loving gay relationship," moans single Simon. "There is a great deal of scepticism around about gay relationships from all corners, gay and straight. But it's certainly not impossible. If I had to single out one thing I need in a relationship I would say it was being loved. And I'd say an introduction through friends is the best way for me to find this."

"Having tried most methods to meet Mr Right," swanks unattached 30 year Richard from Manchester, "I'd have to say the best way must be one I have yet to try - such as on a bus or through a personal ad. In general though, I reckon bars or parties with friends are pretty good for meeting nice people properly."

He continues: "Having a partner with the same kind of outlook on life - happy to go out clubbing one week, confined to bed the next - has probably been the most necessary thing for me in a relationship. I think it also helps if you're both earning similar money, to avoid financial tensions."

"I reckon," moots Richard, "there's definitely a tendency for two men together to be more interested in sex per se than a man and a woman, or two women together. There at least seem to be a larger number of open relationships in the male gay community and these are subject to the same kind of jealousies and sexual pressures as any liaison, which inevitably causes problems."

He continues: "The gay scene itself is dominated by sexual imagery and is filled with temptations to have casual sex at every opportunity. It is surely this desire for, and availability of, multiple sexual encounters that can undermine gay male relationships. However, I do not necessarily think that monogamy is the core of any relationship, even though a lot of people expect and demand it."

"I've been in love with several men over the years," cracks Richard, "but I've always had more luck with the gay ones. Being in love is at the same time one of the most fulfilling and frustrating experiences a person can have. And the sex I've had has always been better with a loving partner - even if I've been thinking about someone else at the time."

"Love just happens," springs solo 40 year old Alan from Aberdeen with hope eternal, who's been around the block of love a fair few times. "In a bar or on the street - it just happens. I even met one guy after sending a Valentine's Card with my name and number. He came round that night and we lasted a year. So if Valentine's Day is commercial, it certainly bought me some love - and cheap at twice the price!"

But like Richard, Alan suspects us queers have actually got it right: "Straights collapse the two conversations of sex and love. We are far advanced. We can separate them out and have developed the ability to have mutually agreed, non-monogamous, long-term relationships. And they work."

 

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