Traditional Gender Roles in LGBT (and Straight) Relationships

I was recently asked by someone who is bisexual, but who had never been in a same-sex relationship, a few questions about how things are supposed to work in a same-sex relationship, with regards to the traditional gender roles. The scenario presented was about who is expected to pay for dinner and who is the dominant one when it comes to sex. 


The expectation presumably is that the man is supposed to be the dominant person in the bedroom and that he would also pay for dinner on a date. I'm not sure how commonplace that is, even in an opposite-sex dating situation, but I suppose if you're more the traditional-minded sort, maybe you might adhere to those roles. It seems somewhat antiquated to me, but if that's your thing, and you both like it that way, then more power to you. I'm not going to tell you how your relationship needs to work. 

Being gay, I don't really subscribe to that sort of mindset. I never have. Having been raised by a single mother, with no male figure in the home to take on the old-fashioned, Ward Cleaver sort of patriarchal role, I just don't really feel like that's the way it needs to work. Well, aside from any weird notions that might have gotten drilled into my head by watching old Leave it to Beaver episodes. 

When I'm dating someone, I often choose to pay for the meal. I mainly do this because it's just easier than having the awkward discussion of who should pay. I also dislike starting a meal at a restaurant while on a date by telling the server that we'll be on separate checks. To me, that feels like I'd be giving the impression that I'm a cheap bastard. I don't really want to give that impression... But I am a cheap bastard! 

I really only do those things because I like to avoid the awkwardness. I don't feel like I'm expected to pay, most of the time, but there are times when I feel like that might be the case. When I'm with a more submissive sort of guy, I feel like I have to take care of him, and in those cases, I feel a bit of an obligation to pay the tab. But then I also end up resenting the guy for never offering to pick up even their own share of the tab. When I add in the fact that I'm usually the one driving us around, regardless of who I'm dating (It's like no one owns a fucking car, anymore!), then I really start to resent the fact that they aren't chipping in. 

I recommend that everyone offer to pay their share when on a date, or at least offer to pay the whole tab every other date. If the other person insists on paying, you can hem and haw a bit, but go ahead and let them pay, but dammit, you better show a lot of appreciation for it. And I don't mean that you have to fuck them later. I mean throw a lot of "thanks yous" at them. Show some gratitude. It'll help keep them from feeling used or feeling resentful towards you. 

When it comes to traditional gender roles in the home, I don't know how common the whole housewife and breadwinner arrangement is in opposite-sex relationships. I can't imagine it's all that common. I can't picture the wife always making dinner and taking care of the kids, while the husband works 40 hours a week and then comes home and watches football, and mows the lawn on the weekends. Maybe that shit happens, but as far as I know, that's not how it is. 

In a same-sex relationship, whether you're gay, lesbian, or bisexual, there are no predetermined roles. It's not set in stone that this person will work a regular job while the other person stays home and cleans the house and makes dinner. Both parties may work, and may share the chores at home. There's no distinction that certain tasks are meant for men or meant for women. You just do what needs to be done. I might be responsible for fixing things that are broken, or for moving furniture around, while also being the one who washes the dishes or does the laundry. Hell, there might not even be any set person who does specific tasks. Maybe either person will just do what needs to be done as it comes up. 

I suppose that right now a few people's blood is boiling because I'm acting as though some tasks are expected to be men's roles, and other tasks are expected to be women's roles. Well, you can get mad at me if you like, but you're kidding yourself if you think that many people don't have these notions of what men are supposed to do, or what women are supposed to do. Whether we adhere to these traditional, old-fashioned roles or not, it's pretty well known which tasks are more commonly expected to be the responsibility of which sex. I'm not advocating that mindset, but I'm also not pretending that those sexist role expectations don't exist. Are we clear on that? My acknowledgment of their existence isn't my endorsement. We cool? Good. 

Here are the gender roles to which you should adhere: None. 

Do what works for the two of you. Ignore all sex designations for any and all tasks and do what is most convenient for you around the house, and what you can both agree will work best. Unless you need your genitals to perform the task, your sex is irrelevant to whether or not you can wash dishes, take out the trash, or make the bed.

When it comes to sex, two men or two women don't necessarily need to have a dominant role and submissive role. There's no rule that says one person is the top and the other is the bottom. There are no rules. However it ends up working will be however the couple (or triad?) decides to make things work. In my case, when dating, some amount of discussion has been made about sex, oftentimes before even the first date.  At some point, though, we'd likely discuss whether we're a top, bottom, versatile, etc. There might even be talk about various kinks. From what I hear, this sort of frank discussion takes place more often in LGBT relationships than in straight ones. I think, in this regard, straight people could learn a thing or two from us. 

In my experience, when it comes to the bedroom, roles kind of naturally develop. If you're into being dominated, or dominating, or what have you, you'll figure it out quickly. 

There seems to be some fear of scaring your new partner off by being dominant when they want a submissive partner, or in not fulfilling your expected role. But if you lose this person, well, that's probably for the best. You weren't compatible, sexually. If you're naturally dominant, and your partner is as well, and you're not willing to compromise somehow, then it's just not going to work. Why fear destroying a relationship which was destined to self-destruct anyway?

Be yourself and don't sweat about filling a particular role. You're more likely to end up with a compatible person if you're not trying to mold yourself to fit a particular role. You'll end up with someone who likes the real you, rather than the fictional you.