Trevor Kuhn is a certified love and relationship coach based in New York City.

Humans are creatures of habit. We get used to doing things a certain way – whether good for us or not – and this includes in dating and relationships. It’s why most people have their “type,” something that friends playfully point out when we share that we’re into someone new, who looks just like our ex. After all, it takes a lot of effort to try something different from what we’re used to. But doing so can be tremendously rewarding. Breaking the pattern of falling for specific types of gay men can be a transformative journey. Here are some steps to help you in your quest:

1. Exercise self-reflection.

Take time to reflect on your past relationships (even if they were only “pseudo relationships”) and see if there’s a common thread among the people you’ve been attracted to. Ask yourself why you were drawn to them and what needs they fulfilled. What kind of person were they both physically and emotionally? Understanding these patterns will give you insight into your preferences and motivations for pursuing different types of gay men.

2. Identify red flags. 

We all have deal-breakers, right? Make a list of them – really, write them out! Include all the things that have caused issues in past relationships. These could be anything from poor communication to lack of shared values. Being aware of these red flags will help you recognize them in different types of gay men early on and avoid falling into the same patterns again.

3. Explore new scenes.

Break out of your usual routine and explore different LGBTQ+ social scenes and gay tribes. Or try new activities or hobbies that you’ve never considered before. This will expose you to a wider range of types of gay men and increase your chances of meeting someone who will help you step outside of your old patterns. Plus, you may just discover something new to love, while looking for someone to love.

4. Look beyond the physical.

Yes, we are gay men. We are visually inclined. We see something we like and we want it. “Wouldn’t they look good on (top of) me?” And while characteristics of body types are a major indicator of initial attraction and sexual desire, we are ultimately seeking real connection beyond what is the most desirable body type among gay men; namely, human connection. When your “type” is tied to specific physical attributes like wolf vs bear vs otter, you’re significantly limiting your own potential for finding your real match.

5. Embrace diversity. 

Surround yourself with a diverse group of friends, acquaintances, and gay tribes. Instead of focusing on what body type gay men find most attractive, focus on connecting with people on a deeper level. Look for shared values, interests, and goals rather than habitually seeking out gay based on their body type. By being open-minded and embracing diversity, you’ll have a better chance of finding a genuine, more lasting connection.

6. Allow yourself to be surprised. 

According to sex therapist Dr. Rachel Needle, “Attraction can grow as you get to know someone and experience increased closeness and connection.” This is due in part to the mere exposure effect, whereby individuals tend to develop a preference or attraction for someone simply by being exposed to them repeatedly over time. Even if you’re not really into different types of gay men at first, you just might start to see them in a new light after spending time together and discovering qualities, personality traits, or values in them that outweigh the lack of immediate physical attraction.

7. Take care of yourself. 

Self-love really is the ultimate glow-up nowadays. Prioritize your well-being and make sure your own needs are getting fulfilled. When you have a strong sense of self-worth, you become less reliant on others to define your value or your happiness. Plus, a strong self-care practice is a great way to boost your confidence and makes it easier to attract the right kind of partner for you. Just as Beyoncé says, “I make me so damn easy to love.”

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