Here's what I know about this topic.
Note: Please stop reading here if you might be offended by a discussion of gay dating. I completely respect your religious beliefs and am not advocating that you make any of the life choices that I have. In particular, I respect your choice to A) be celibate or B) be part of a mixed-orientation marriage. This post is for those who might be curious about what option C entails.
When you first come out, entering the dating scene can be daunting. I think there are four reasons for this:
Like job hunting and heterosexual dating, same-sex dating is all about connections. The best source of leads is through the social connections you already have. The trouble is that you may not have a lot of social connections if you've just come out. So rule number one of gay dating is:
1. Get some gay friends.
You need to expand your social circle to include people who might know eligible single gay men. This leads to rule number two:
2. Join in some gay social activities or do some volunteer work.
When I came out, I did not know any gay people and had just moved from Cache Valley to Salt Lake. I started by doing some volunteer work, in my case, with the Utah AIDS Foundation. In less than a year I had a decent circle of friends that included many gay people. (I also learned a lot more about illness and grief than I bargained for, but I was the better for it in the end.) One of my friends introduced me to the person who became my boyfriend.
The point of this story is that sometimes looking for a boyfriend isn't the best way to get one. Sometimes just engaging yourself in a social circle may be the best place to start. I mention this because it is common that people who have just come out need to start over socially. You need to factor this into your plans.
In the city where I live there are all kinds of gay activities and clubs. There's a gay hiking club, a big gay men's chorus (no, I don't live in Provo), country/western dancing and even gay karaoke. There are gay-friendly churches to attend. There are political and social service volunteer opportunities. If you have fingers and can use an Internet search engine, you can find some kind of gay social activity. (Apologies in advance to readers in Iran and Vernal.)
So get out there and have some fun and meet some people. Remember: your goal isn't necessarily to date the people you meet at these activities. Instead, it is to develop a social network.
3. You can also meet people online. This is incredibly popular.
Online dating has an undeservedly bad reputation. Online dating is just another way to meet people. It's not as good as personal introduction by friends, but it's not bad either.
Let me stand on a soapbox for a moment. I get peeved when people paint gay folks as uncaring sexual libertines. This is a lie. In fact, gay people run the same gamut of personality as straight people. From sociopaths to saints, you'll find them in about the same proportion. (My boyfriend, for example, radiates wholesomeness.)
There is a myth that everyone online is just looking for sex and may be a dangerous predator. This just isn't true. There are all kinds of people online. You're online, for example.
Here's a tip: if you use a social networking site to find dates, make sure your own profile is accurate. Say that you are new to gay dating. Say that you are more interested in dating than casual sex. Let the reader get a sense of who you are and what you're about. People will usually respect what you say.
The protocol for meeting someone online is to chat with them via IM several times before meeting in person. During the chat sessions you should get acquainted and get the basic questions answered. If you think there might be chemistry, the next step is to meet them in public (for example, in a coffee shop) just to chat. This meeting is not a date; it's a chance to talk face to face and get introduced. It should be brief, no longer than a half hour or so.
If the in-person meeting goes well, then you can schedule a date. From this point on, online dating becomes indistinguishable from any other kind of introduction.
A popular gay social networking site is gay.com. There are others, including myspace and even blogspot.
4. Cool your jets.
Dating your first guy will be exhilarating. You may fall in love quickly (see gay adolescence above). Your hormones are playing tricks on you. Cool it.
Do not jump headfirst into a relationship. Take your time. I cringe when I hear about first dates that turn into weekends spent together. This kind of instant connection is a recipe for disaster. Instant relationships burn out. I don't know why it works like this, but it does. I've seen it happen many times.
Take your time. If you like someone after a first date, schedule a second date within a week (but not the next day). If things go well, see them once or twice a week. Let the relationship build over time.
You may be tempted to go faster than this. Don't.
Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limerence. Then reread it.
5. Be safe
I hope this doesn't even need saying, but here goes. If you decide to have sex you are responsible for preventing the spread of sexually transmitted disease. There are many online resources if you are unsure how to do this.
6. Sexual attraction is just one piece of the picture.
You should be looking for a guy you can respect. You should have common interests and compatible personalities. You want someone who might be a friend even if he was not your lover. This is just common sense.
Good luck. Does anyone have any dating tips or experiences to share? Feel free to discuss in the comments.