5 Obvious Signs He’s Using You for Sex

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with wanting casual sex. But sometimes, you want something a little bit more, especially when you can actually see yourself falling for the guy.

The thing is, you don’t want to come off too strong. I’ve had guys ask, “So, what are we?” after the second time we’ve had sex. At which point I’m like, “I have absolutely no idea. I literally know nothing about you besides the fact that you look fabulous naked.” Mind you, these were guys I met in bars or online, and there was very little communication before having sex. These weren’t guys I went on actual dates with and got to know prior to getting down to business.

Now, as someone who (in a past life) used men for sex (more often than I care to admit), let me share what the telltale signs are that he’s not looking to have a more serious relationship with you.

1. He’s not befriending you on any social media.

This is a big sign he’s not interested in you for anything more than sex. If you’ve hooked up a few times, and he hasn’t accepted your friend request on Facebook or Instagram, that means he’s not looking for something serious. He wants to keep you at arm’s length and is attempting to do so by not connecting with you on social.

2. He’s not sending any “How was your day?” texts.

When you like someone (for more than their body), you want to hear about their day. You want to actually talk to them. So, if he’s not messaging you during the day, asking those silly conversational questions, then he’s not that interested in getting to know you. If you’re only getting the “You up?” text at 1 AM, then obviously he sees you as more of a booty call than as something serious.

3. You don’t go out together.

If your activities are limited to the bedroom, and he never wants to go out to a bar, movie, or restaurant with you, then odds are he doesn’t see you as more than a blow-up sex doll. If he were interested in you for more than sex, he would set up (or at least agree to) a night on the town together, where you would spend more time chatting as opposed to bumping uglies.

4. He doesn’t introduce you to his friends.

I would never introduce a guy to friends if I only saw him as a casual hook-up. Meeting the friends is a signal that this is a more serious relationship. So if he keeps saying, “Yeah, one of these days you’ll meet my friends,” but doesn’t make an actual effort to set up a get-together, then you know he’s not looking for anything more than sex. When you like a guy, you want to introduce them to your friends, because you want to hear their feedback. You want your friends to say, “Oh my God, I looooveeeee him.”

5. He only likes positions where you don’t look face-to-face.

Don’t get me wrong, positions like doggy style are great. However, these types of positions are definitely less intimate than positions where you actually have to look into each other’s eyes. If the guy sees you as something casual and wants to keep you as something casual, he’s not going to willingly engage in positions where you are forced to look each other directly in the eyes for extended periods of times.

If you find yourself in the situation of wanting something more (when it’s unclear if he does), first make an effort to see if he’s open to going out, meeting your friends, and trying more intimate sexual positions. Who knows? Maybe he’s just afraid to kick your relationship up a notch or doesn’t think that you have any desire to. If you see him actively pushing back against your attempts to take your relationship to the next level, then I’d recommend having a conversation with him, moving on, or at the very least, changing your expectations so that they are more in line with his.

Look At You: Can Selfies Be Works of Art?

Last month, London’s Saatchi Gallery caused a stir by opening the “world’s first-ever” selfie exhibition, “From Selfie to Self-Expression.” Alongside modern-day celebrity snapshots, the show house’s iconic self-portraits by the likes of Picasso and Frida Kahlo as well as images by Tracey Emin and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The gallery even held a “Selfie Prize,” allowing social media users worldwide to submit their own snapshots for inclusion in the exhibition.

In truth, it’s not a hugely radical move – some of the best moments in art history have come from self-portraits – but it’s still one which has sparked controversy. One reviewer called it an exercise in self-promotion for the gallery and pointed out its sponsorship by Huawei, but others were quick to highlight that the show does a good job of laying down the facts: the way we consume art has been irreversibly changed by modern technology.

In the past, huge amounts of skill and patience were required to create a self-portrait. Amateur chemist Robert Cornelius is said to have taken the first photographic selfie way back in 1839. To do so, he had to remove his camera lens cap, run into frame, sit perfectly still for five minutes, cover the lens and then develop the picture. Now, all it takes is the slide of a touchscreen and the click of a phone to create crystal-clear images. We’re lucky to grow up in a world which allows us to document the best bits of our own lives. Whether we’re creating carefully-staged thirst traps for Tinder profiles or just posing with family members on special occasions, most of us now utilize the advanced tools that poor Cornelius would have probably killed for.

There are, of course, consequences. Countless cultural criticshave discussed “millennials” in less than favorable terms, usually labeling modern youth as perpetually distracted, self-obsessed narcissists. This argument is often buoyed by links to reality TV stars like Kim Kardashian, who has released anthologies of her own selfies and documented her life on screen. She has become the poster child for vanity and is torn to shreds regularly for it – especially when her nudes come accompanied with a message of empowerment.

Other naked photos, however, are quickly stamped out by social media censorship, which is becoming increasingly vague. The #freethenipple movement has spread online in the form of countless topless selfies, whereas the body-positivity brigade has been using selfies to both spotlight and empower a series of beautiful bodies not often seen in the mainstream. Although frequently linked to low self-esteem and a worrying obsession with image, selfies can actually have the opposite effect – they can be a tool of empowerment, allowing us all to curate our own image.

The exhibition tagline, “Selfies to Self-Expression,” is also interesting in the sense that Instagram and various other platforms have allowed us to manipulate and distort our own image to craft personalities. They also present the opportunity to ask exactly to what extent we should be allowed to express ourselves. For example, images featuring menstrual blood and body hair are quickly filtered out, as proven by a recently-released book entitled Pics Or It Didn’t Happen. This is a conversation which also carries into the art world – the lines between art and porn have frequently been challenged , perhaps most famously by Jeff Koons and his gloriously tacky “Made In Heaven” series.

If anything, the threads linking these conversations prove one unequivocal fact – there’s nothing tacky or lowbrow about a selfie exhibition. Artists have been documenting their own image for centuries. Who’s to say that, given a smartphone and the right tools, Basquiat and Monet wouldn’t have been snapping the same selfies that most of us are today? The fact is that most of us now distill art history into Instagram posts which we share far and wide. We can take selfies at exhibitions, geotag our favorite museums, and curate our own nudes, using social media to create an image and a personality much like Kahlo and Basquiat did before. After all, the role of art is to act first and foremost as a cultural commentary – in that sense, the Saatchi is taking a step towards more accurately documenting the way that millennials frequently interact with their favorite artists.

5 Signs You’re In A Healthy, Loving Relationship

There’s a quote from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower that comes to mind whenever I discuss relationships with any of my friends. “You accept the love you think you deserve.” Many people feel undeserving of love and affection. This is especially true for us gays who want to fall in love like the straights in the movies we watched growing up. Now that it’s legal to get gay married and there’s more representation of romances that resemble our own, how do we know if our relationship — that consists of two men who don’t adhere to traditional heteronormative expectations — is healthy and loving?

Here are five areas to reflect on:

1. You can speak honestly about anything.  

If you can tell your beau he has bad breath or body odor, or that you don’t really want to go to dinner with his homophobic boss, you two are on the right track. Partners can talk to one another about anything, no matter how small or how delicate, especially if both parties know the words are always coming from a place of love.

2. You are okay being away from one another from time to time.

Here’s something people don’t tell you. It is perfectly okay to want some time away from your significant other – time to go to happy hour with just your friends or even a night in where you can read or watch YouTube videos in bed alone. Partners who let one another grow separately also grow together.

3. You make decisions together.

Even if your relationship is new, if your BF involves you in making decisions and seeks your opinion, you should probably call up Delilah and dedicate a song to him tonight. Involving each other in decision making indicates mutual respect for each other’s concerns and desires.

4. You trust each other.

From sharing your bank account or your bed with your bae and everything in between, trust is key. Following rule #1, you speak honestly about anything, so there are no secrets between the two of you.

5. Your relationship is a safe space.

Being with your boo should feel like home – sacred, affirming, and supportive. If you can be your flamboyant, crazy-in-love self, you have a safe space. If you can ask stupid questions, you have a safe space. If you can cry and show fear, you have a safe space. The answer to Whitney’s question of “How Will I Know?” is if you can be emotionally vulnerable with your partner; that’s how you know. But I guess that’s not as catchy as saying a prayer with every heartbeat.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in Manhattan. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Hired ‘N Out

Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released the 15th Corporate Equality Inbox rating workplaces on LGBTQ equality. Over 500 major companies spanning a variety of industries earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” You can read the full report here.

We caught up with a couple of executives from two companies on the list – Jolen V. Anderson, Chief Diversity Officer at Visa, and Sharon Silverman, Group Vice President in Human Resources at Macy’s – to talk about being out in the office and how LGBTQ candidates can actually use their diversity to their advantage to stand out when seeking employment.

For Anderson, diversity and inclusion mean more than just checking off a box. “Today, diversity and inclusion are business imperatives, and companies who get that are winning in the market,” said Anderson. “The global marketplace and workforce are changing faster than ever, and that is reflected in the demands and expectations of our consumers, merchants, clients, and employees. Our workforce must reflect that diversity of thinking to understand how to tailor our products and services to meet those demands and expectations.”

Grindr: So, now that companies are expected to be as diverse as their consumers and clients, how are companies recruiting diverse candidates?

Silverman: Key things we look for on a candidate’s resume include leadership in diversity-focused groups, philanthropy, service-minded experiences and community involvement. Candidates can stand out by amplifying these areas and experiences during their candidacy.

What’s it like being out in “Corporate America” today?

Silverman: Our diversity is celebrated today. It’s a great feeling being able to join in celebrations with my colleagues and have my family – my spouse and our children – participate with my heterosexual colleagues and their families.

Anderson: We believe that differences and unique attributes contribute to our company’s success. It’s important that our employees feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work every day.

What type of training and support exists for fostering inclusivity in the workplace today?

Silverman: Macy’s, like many companies, offers employee resource groups so employees can meet people like themselves and find community. The resource group at Macy’s heavily influenced company policy around family-leave benefits. So, in addition to organizing events like Drag Bingo and participating in the Pride March, employees help shape policy and climate within the company.

Anderson: We have LGBTQ+ and Ally employee resource groups across our global offices –called Visa Pride- and are committed to key issues like Marriage Equality, signing the Amicus Brief and urging Supreme Courts to strike down prohibition laws.

Any other advice?

Silverman: Networking is no longer optional. Employers rely much more on personal referrals than ever before. Make sure you’re attending events, getting in front of employers and asking your friends to refer you.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in Manhattan. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Move On: Why Being Jaded Makes You Unattractive

“I’m a bitter, single, old queen.”

I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve had friends say this to me. Maybe not with these exact words, but in words that describe the same sentiment: I’m too old to find love, and I’m over all gay men.

Many gay guys love to boast how they “hate all gay men,” or “gay men are the worst.” They wear their jadedness on their sleeve like a badge of honor.

It’s a sign of maturity to them. They’ve seen and experienced so much that they think they know the so-called “truths” about gay men: We’re all shallow, only looking for casual flings, liars, cheaters, incapable of a healthy relationship, and so on and so forth.

Now, they believe this about all gay men because that’s the type of gay man they’ve had the misfortune of dating. They’ve had their hearts broken more times than they’re able to count by guys who seemed different. Guys who seemed like they wanted something more, who seemed like they were “the one.” Only to learn that during their relationship, they were getting lied to the entire time.

This sucks. Plain and simple. I’m not going to pretend that it’s fun to get ghosted by a guy you thought you really hit it off with. It is, of course, incredibly painful when you reveal your true self to someone, only to be immediately rejected. And there are few things in life more devastating than having the man you love leave you for another man.

When you’ve experienced this type of repeated rejection, for years on end, it’s difficult to not become jaded. But that’s exactly why being jaded is not the symbol of maturity that so many gay men think it is. Being jaded is easy. It’s giving up. The mature thing is to keep dating with a changed approach and to keep your head held high. Adults don’t give up when they encounter challenges. That’s something toddlers do.

These gay men are conflating life experience (which they absolutely do have from dating multiple guys), with how they respond to their experiences. Just because you experienced something doesn’t automatically make you mature. Being mature requires going a step further: analyzing and learning from your mistakes and experiences.

Nevertheless, becoming jaded is a natural biological response. Jadedness is a manifestation of what psychologists call “learned helplessness.”

The idea behind learned helplessness is simple. When a person repeatedly endures a painful or otherwise aversive stimulus (rejection from various men), and no matter what he does (he dates different types of guys, goes to therapy, becomes more communicative with his partners, etc.) he’s still unable to avoid the aversive stimulus (rejection from gay men), he will eventually give up trying (stop dating altogether).

He feels that no matter what he does, the bad thing is going to happen, so why bother trying? That’s why it’s called learned helplessness because, in essence, he’s learned through repeated experiences to become helpless.

So I don’t mean to call all the jaded queens immature. What they’re feeling is natural. It’s arguably expected. But let’s not flaunt being jaded with pride.

It’s okay to let our past experiences with men shape us. It’s necessary to learn from our mistakes. But don’t let these past negative experiences define who you are as a person. Don’t let them depress you or discourage you from meeting new guys. Don’t be proud to be jaded. Because at the end of the day, being jaded doesn’t do yourself, or anyone else, a service.

The Werk: 5 Ways to Stay Sane When You’re Unemployed

Being unemployed doesn’t mean you aren’t busy getting your hustle on. Remember that life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and when you “eat your frog” or do the thing you dread the most, first thing in the morning, the rest of the day is smooth sailing. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the down times (and trust me…we’ve all been there):

1. Wake up and slay

First thing in the morning, looking for a job is your job, and this is the time where you research the companies you think you would be interested in working with. If you aren’t getting any bites, redo your resume on a different template. Apply for jobs and reach out to your network via Linkedin and e-mails. Don’t rule out temp agencies or volunteering. Remember that your network is your net worth.

2. ASK ASK ASK

The worst response you will get is a “no,” and when that happens just move on to the next. Ask your friends or network for informational meetings about their field/profession and company. Pick their brain. People want to help you. Hell, the universe is cheering for you and you should cheer for yourself, too. Everyone loves a happy ending and the feeling that they made a difference in your story/life. But sorry gurl, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, and most people don’t read minds. So speak up and ask for whatever you need.

3. Have an attitude of gratitude

Fantasize about that dream job with that dream company. What will you be wearing? How will your co-workers interact with you? What kind of car will you drive? What comfortable living arrangements will this afford you? See you, as your future self. Don’t think or dwell on past mistakes or failures. Instead, remember all of your successes. Write them down so you don’t forget and read it daily. The second a negative thought comes to mind redirect that thought and think about all the good things coming into your life. C’mon, you have access to clean water and the internet to find that dream job. Priorities, people!

4. Meditation keeps you off the medication

Now is the time for a different kind of work: inner work. It’s a proven fact that 1 hour of meditation is equal to 7 hours of mental/physical work. Find a quiet spot in your pad, sit or lay down, and get clear. Use some background music if it helps. And don’t worry about quieting the mind, over time, with practice you will become a master jedi.

5. End your day with a lewk

Make sure you’re alone when you do this, so no one thinks you’ve lost your mind. Look into a mirror and appreciate yourself for everything you accomplished for the day: “Hello (insert name here), you handsome stud. Today was an awesome day, you woke up, and you slayed!” Say all of the good things you did that day like eating healthy, staying within your budget, helping someone in need, applying for 20 jobs, etc. Then tell yourself about tomorrow and what you want to accomplish.

Need some work/life advice with plenty of real talk mixed in? Pop a question on our kween Millie Naire at [email protected].

5 Online Pickup Lines Better Than ‘Hey’ & ‘Looking?’

Today, I conducted a little experiment. I left my Grindr app opened all day to collect as many messages as I could. As I sit here writing, I’m looking at 20 messages. Ten of them begin with “Hey,” five of them open with “Hi,” and the others are a mix of nudes and a compliment.

I’m flattered, and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but how boring, right?

If my average-looking self is receiving 20 messages a day, imagine how many messages the hottie you’ve been hitting up for months is receiving. Probably in the 100s.

You have to stand out – yes, even if you’re keepin’ it casual.

Here are five pick-up approaches that have proven successful for me over the years. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Pose a question based on their profile

Your goal is to spark a conversation and get the other person talking. Find something in their profile and ask them about it.

“Hi, who’s your favorite Will Grace character?” or “You’re a NY native? Where in the city were you born?”

Be creative with your compliments

If you notice his eyes, chances are everyone else has, and it’s possible he’s been getting compliments on them his whole life. So, saying “nice eyes” or “I love guys with blue eyes,” will probably make him roll them at his screen. Same with calling him sexy or hot or handsome…soooo original.

Compliment his smile: “Wow, you have a beautiful smile. Your father must have been a dentist.” Or if he’s standing there shirtless with nothing but a towel: “Wow! That’s a lucky towel!”

See what I mean? Be creative, be witty, show some charisma.

Ask him what his three biggest turn-ons are

If you’re looking to cut right to the chase and you get the sense that he is too, you could go with the stale, “Looking?” or you could try something more original. Ask him what three things turn him on the most. This is a more sophisticated way of asking him what he’s into sexually. It also forces him to say something more than just “bottom.”

Introduce yourself

It’s a little off-putting when a person messages you and bombards you with question after question. Unless this is the beginning of a cops and robbers scene, let’s make the conversation a two-way street.

Try introducing yourself first. You know how to do that, right? Say your name, where you’re visiting from and what you’re after. This is called “leveling the playing field.”

Use an emoji or Gaymoji

This is my go-to trick when I come across a profile that makes me a little misty down there. I shoot him a message with three heart-eyed emojis. It’s a goofy way of saying “Holy shit you’re hot!” If his profile really knocks me down, I might send three engagement rings. Don’t be afraid to be silly, and again, charismatic.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie living in Manhattan. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

#HairGoals: Styles That Make The Cut

We all know a friend who’s had the same haircut for years. It’s almost like they wake up in the morning and put the same wig on every day. But it’s time to look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Whooooooo is that gurl I seeeeee?” Are YOU the friend who’s stuck in a hair rut? We get it, hair is tricky and change can be terrifying, but when you’re ready to take a move from Mulan’s playbook and change up your look, here are some hot summer #HairGoals to help you get inspired.

Shaggy

Grab your sex wax and lube up your longboard. Surfer coolness is casual and no-fuss, so this look requires a great haircut with minimal styling and product. The shaggy cut works well with all hair textures, but pulling this off will require a conversation with your hairstylist about what cut will complement your hair texture and face shape. Think 70’s Brazilian surfer spending the summer eating tacos on Venice beach. If styling your hair with salt air isn’t a realistic option, a great sea salt spray applied on wet hair will achieve the same effect. It will give your hair a little grit so you can just run your fingers through it when you need to re-amp your volume. Just add tacos.

Photo credit: Marlon Teixeira

Photo credit: Yassine Rahalby John Balsom

Mid-length

The hardest part of this style is growing it out. Only the very patient (or very lazy) will achieve this coveted, grungy look. Once you reach your desired length, just add some grooming cream and go. This cut looks the best with no structure. Slick it back and then let it fall for a total 90’s throwback!

Photo credit: @iblamejordan

Photo credit: Sang Woo Kim by Giovanni Martins

Photo credit: Dylan Jagger Lee by Damon BakerShaved Skin Fade

Shaving off your hair can be very liberating. And a good skin fade is undeniably sexy. This is a great option for anyone who needs a low maintenance option for a hot summer. Have a conversation with your barber about where your fade should start: low, medium, or high. A skin fade should blend out to just skin. This look requires minimal product, but we recommend a great scalp clarifying shampoo and, of course, sunscreen. Without the hair that’s usually acting as your SPF, your skin will now be directly exposed to the sun. Before you leave, be sure to schedule your next visit to the barber in three to four weeks– fades may be simple to wear, but the key to maintaining this look is keeping it sharp.

Photo credit: Zayn by Adrain DennisBleach Blonde  

When in doubt, bleach it out. Every gay man should bleach his hair for a summer. It feels edgy and cool; you can’t not feel like a badass. But, gurl, please leave this to a professional. There are many hair shades of oh-hell-no before you get to a yes! The best part is when you start to tire of the bleached-out blonde look, it’s super easy to transition to a color. We love the bleached out sea foam green on Frank Ocean. A blonde-specific shampoo will help you keep your blonde brighter for longer, but only use it every four washes to avoid drying out your hair.

Photo credit: Justin Bieber

Photo credit: Lucky Blue Smith by Steven Khan

Advice from Couples Who Have Been Together for 10+ Years

It shouldn’t have been that difficult to find gay couples who have been in a relationship with their partner for 10 years or more…but it really was. This reveals the sad truth regarding the fate of same-sex relationships for some men: They typically don’t end with happily ever after.

Luckily, I was still able to find 10 couples who’ve been together for 10+ years. They all agreed to take a survey about their relationship. (The names of the respondents in this piece are changed for the sake of anonymity.)

Going into this project, I assumed the usual culprits for a healthy relationship: honest and direct communication, a passionate sex life, patience, compromise, and generosity. I was right. These factors absolutely contributed to a successful long-term relationship, but there were also a few emerging themes that I didn’t expect.

Out of the 10 couples who took the survey, the average number of years together was 19. Three of the couples claimed their relationship was closed, whereas six stated they were in an open relationship. One couple stated they were polyamorous.

With that out of the way, here are some of the main themes that emerged.

Infidelity is not a deal-breaker

Many respondents had their partner cheat on them, or violate the terms of their open relationship. (For example, some men agreed they would only play together, and their partner went off and had sex with another man by himself.) However, infidelity was never a deal breaker for these men. They admitted that it posed additional challenges, but as Warren, who’s been with his partner for 20 years, stated, “We work every day to rebuild and reestablish the trust and faith that was lost, but in many ways, I think it has made our relationship stronger. It has forced us to communicate.”

The couples were also very clear to attack the root of their infidelity. Were they feeling sexually frustrated? Were they feeling disconnected from their partner? Are they simply incapable of sleeping with the same person for decades on end? They spoke, in great detail, about why their partner felt the need to cheat.

Embracing the present

As you get older, you don’t know if you are going to grow together or if you’re going to grow apart. You can’t focus on the future because there’s no way to predict what’s going to happen. Instead, you need to embrace the present. As Allen mentioned, “Perhaps someday, DJ and I will change in ways that make us incompatible. Perhaps the romantic connection we share will shift to something else. I’d be upset, very upset, but it remains a possibility, as it does for everyone. Until then I’m grateful for what I have [with him].”

Rejecting heteronormative, or “straight” ideas of relationships

Perhaps it was a skewed sample (or simply too small of a sample size),but the majority of the men who took the survey were in an ethical, non-monogamous relationship. Of course, this isn’t traditional or standard. One respondent explicitly mentioned that it was important to reject conventional ideas of what marriages are “supposed” to look like. He said, “Do not model it after our heterosexual counterparts. It is different in many ways. [As gay men,] we have to make our own rules.”

Honesty to the point it’s hurtful

The only time I tell a white lie is if he asks me if he looks fat,” Aaron said, who’s been in an open relationship with his husband for 15-and-a-half years. But that seemed to be the only time it was acceptable to lie. Nearly all the couples were “as open and honest as I can be, to the point of it hurting his feelings.” There never seemed to be a reason to lie, and as one respondent said, “Lies only lead to being upset. Lies are what soap operas are based on, and I don’t want to live in a soap opera!”

Staying in touch with him throughout the day

Staying in contact throughout the day, and calling when one partner is out of town seemed crucial to a healthy relationship. “We text all the time while we’re at work,” George said, who’s been in a relationship with his partner for 21 years. “It’s important to know what’s going on with your partner throughout the day. It makes you feel connected.”

Finding someone who you can talk to…forever

God knows gays love to have “types” and reject romantic partners based off of their appearance. While that may get you to the one-year relationship mark, it definitely won’t get you to the 10-year mark. It’s necessary to find someone who makes you smile and has something interesting to say. As Mike mentioned, “Find someone who you can laugh with and enjoy talking to. Sex will become less and less important as you grow older, and you need to have someone who you enjoy just hanging out with.”