Expanding your dating pool to more genders? Here’s how to navigate your nerves

It’s natural to be nervous (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Well, well, well. You’ve realised you aren’t quite as straight as previously thought, and are now officially opening up your dating app preferences to more than one gender.

If you’re feeling nervy about the move, don’t panic.

There’s something seriously intimidating about going from opposite-sex to same-sex dating.

Maybe it’s the fear that while you know how to flirt with men, you’re a bit clueless when it comes to women. Perhaps you’re anxious about what all this means for your sexuality. Or you might feel like you have no clue of what your type is when it’s a different gender than your usual.

Whatever the reason, it’s okay and normal to feel a tad daunted.

But to help you dive in, we asked the experts for their top tips.

It’s okay to say you’re nervous

No need to pretend you’re totally cool, calm, collected – or more experienced than you are.

‘When it comes to dating honesty is your best policy. If you’re feeling a certain way then don’t be afraid to voice your concerns,’ says sex and relationships expert Annabelle Knight. ‘Chances are the person you’re dating is either going through a similar thing, or has done in the past.

‘Either way they’ll be able to sympathise.

‘Making your feelings known will also help to bring you and your date closer as it will show a certain level of trust that you have in them, and help to build bonds of intimacy through sharing information that could be deemed as personal or sensitive.’

Enjoy letting go of the way things ‘should’ be done

When you’re a woman dating men, you’ll encounter all sorts of ‘rules’ – he should text first, he has to make the first move, he should pay for dinner, on and on.

So when you start dating women, you might feel nervous about how it all works. Who’s going to ask the other person out? Who’s going to take charge?

It’s natural to feel nervous about this, but we propose a different approach: celebrate letting go of all those expectations.

No more waiting around for your match to message – you can go ahead and text whenever you fancy. Ask them out on a date if you want, or let them. The rules are gone – enjoy that freedom.

Lesbian couple in coffee shopKeep an open mind (Picture: Getty Images)

Head to a safe space

‘For those who are curious and don’t know where to start there are organisations like Skirt Club, which hosts events for bicurious women,’ notes Lelo’s sexpert Kate Moyle. ‘That way you are in a safe space where you know that there are others in the same boat as you, which for some can feel really reassuring.’

Make sure you know what your goals and intentions are

Are you looking for a serious relationship, or just a hookup? Are you trying to suss out your sexuality?

Make sure you know the answers to these questions before you plunge in headfirst.

‘Dating anyone, same-sex or not, can be a tricky business,’ says Annabelle. ‘Going into it it’s a good idea to know what you want from your dating experience.

‘Deciding on the type of relationship you’d like is equally important as it will help to inform your choices going forward with someone.

‘Having a clear idea of your priorities, goals and intentions will also help you to date honestly – by this I mean you’ll not only be able to be honest with your date (or dates!) but you’ll also be better equipped to be honest with yourself.’

Man on mobile phone dating app clicking like at homeTry to have fun (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Don’t force it

Met someone and found that it’s just not working? That’s okay – it doesn’t mean your experiments are a failure or that you need to scurry back to the way things were before.

‘Dating is about meeting and exploring with people that you are interested in, and who are interested in you,’ Kate tells us. ‘Remember that there will be people that you don’t click with and that’s just the law of averages so you don’t have to write it off straight away if it doesn’t work out first time.’

Keep an open mind

‘Be open minded,’ Kate recommends. ‘You might find yourself working things out as you go and that’s fine.

‘You might feel one way in terms of expectations and then that the reality is different, and this is a normal part of dating whoever you are seeing but might feel more like the case when you are trying something for the first time.’

Take the pressure off

A date is just a date. A chat on an app is just that. Don’t pile a load of meaning and pressure on to every interaction just because it’s happening with a gender that’s not what you’re used to.

Dating is supposed to be fun – so relax and enjoy it.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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