Are homosexuals and heterosexuals different when it comes to relationships?

by Dorian Minors

April 22, 2014

Analects  |  Newsletter


We talk about a lot of really basic, fundamental concepts here at The Dirt Psychology especially about how romance and love work. What I get asked is whether it all applies to homosexuals too? In this article, I answer that question so you don’t have to wonder

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I talk a lot about relationships and romance here at The Dirt Psychology, because social relationships and romantic relationships are so crucial to our everyday happiness. But since I began talking about homosexuals, I’ve started getting emails asking if the same principles apply. So, I thought I’d answer that question in a short article. The short answer is yes, for the most part. Keep reading if you want to find out the juicy details.

Although we might find different people attractive, we still do the same sort of things to get ’em to like us.

In 1983, Blumstein and Schwartz found that out of all couples (gay, straight or otherwise), gay men have the most sex. The least? Lesbians. But lesbians engage in the most touching, hugging and cuddling. Why? Well, it makes sense really, men love sex. They’re wired up to spread their seed far and wide. Lesbians can go for that emotional connection that women crave by that same evolutionary process here’s an article that breaks how that all works for you. So really, although some of us bat for a different team, we’re always behaving in a similar way based on our evolution.

What else? Well, Haas and Stafford in 1998, Kurdek in 1992, 1998 and 2004 and Gottman and his colleagues in 2003 showed that both homosexual and heterosexual relationships have very, very similar maintenance behaviours and follow similar patterns and principles in terms of satisfaction and dissolution. The differences are few:

  • Homosexuals experience a greater sense of autonomy and have fewer barriers to breaking-up (e.g. hard to have children together, hard to get married with all the asset splitting a divorce would entail etc), and consequently more frequent break-ups
  • Homosexuals report higher levels of sexual satisfaction
  • Lesbians report higher intimacy and greater feelings of equality than other couples
  • Lesbians feel more equality, liking for each other and trust than their male counterparts
  • And again, lesbians have higher relationship satisfaction and report better conflict resolution than anyone else.

So basically, gay or straight, the same basic principles apply. But if you’re going to be gay, better off being a woman. Lesbians have it better (except for all that pesky discrimination). Sorry transgenders, we promise to put some stuff up for you in the near future!

I’d love to hear from some of you guys who do swing the other way and whether or not some of the basic stuff we talk about here fit! Email me, get on Facebook or simply comment below.

If you’re wondering what article sparked the emails, you can find that here. Otherwise, maybe you’ll be interested in some other common misconceptions about sex, here. Giving you the dirt on your search for understanding, psychological freedom and ‘the good life’ at The Dirt Psychology.

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