According to Hinge’s 2023 Date Report, the number of LGBTQ+ adults has doubled over the last decade, meaning “2023 will be a year of firsts for many.” Coming out is notoriously stressful as f-ck, with many choosing to soft launch their sexuality in the past year. But navigating this pivotal moment of coming out and “being queer” can trigger one trait that will definitely, disrupt your dating life: FOE.
FOE, also known as fear of exploration, refers to the hesitance that comes with exploring your newly discovered identity. Hinge’s report elaborated: “Opening up a meaningful conversation with anyone is tricky, let alone on a first date. Meeting new people comes with potential triggers, expectations to live up to, and the added pressure of making a great first impression. But creating a connection means overcoming the fear and potential discomfort of sharing intimate information when talking about dating preferences.” In other words, “FOE isn’t just a barrier to dating, it’s a barrier to self-acceptance.”
Push past FOE and come out as a first timer
Despite what you may believe, 87% of bisexual people were “ready to explore their sexuality more,” with 80% comfortable with being someone’s first queer experience. So, if you’re worried being fresh meat will be a problem — there’s an 80% chance it won’t be.
Communication = the best cure
“Establish healthy communication from the start by having the ‘expectation check’,” as Higne calls it. Within its community, “Daters are realizing that consistent communication and transparency at every point of the dating journey helps build lasting connections when dating,” so not being open will work against you.
Break the cycle of avoiding conflict
“The key to getting past the ‘talking’ stage is accepting that healthy conflict is a part of a healthy relationship.”
For more sex and dating news, explore Molly Surazkhsky’s I ♥ American Boys.