Can I use these words?

A gay couple (not sure if couple can be used only for married people)

A gay lovers (not sure if I should put s here or if lovers can be used to describe two people who love each other)

  • 2
    Lovers is plural so you cannot use A. Simply gay lovers would do.
    – nico
    Apr 28, 2012 at 13:33
  • 5
    Why in the world would anyone ever say They are gay lovers or He’s his gay lover instead of the simple They are lovers or He’s his lover? Similarly for couple; the word alone suffices; you don’t need to qualify it with gay. Just say that They’re a couple. It seems, I don’t know, “something”-ist to me to qualify it.
    – tchrist
    Apr 28, 2012 at 15:06
  • 2
    @tchrist Yes, unless the couple being gay is central to the topic. In that case using gay couple is fine.
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Apr 28, 2012 at 16:33
  • 2
    Is it necessary to explicitly describe them as homosexual lovers? If not, you could just call them "lovers".
    – bobobobo
    Aug 10, 2012 at 0:17
  • 2
    @tchrist I think the "something"-ist you're looking for might be heteronormativist, which totally does not exist as a real word (but heteronormative does)
    – psosuna
    Mar 15, 2018 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


You can say they are a gay couple or they are gay lovers to refer to two gays in love with each other and not necessarily married.

  • 4
    Or just "they are lovers". Presumably the person you're speaking to has noticed that they are of the same gender.
    – user16269
    Aug 10, 2012 at 0:15

Assuming they're not legally married, gay and Lesbian couples usually refer to each other as "my partner" when speaking to others. If they are married, variations on husband and wife are used. Sometimes a gay relationship will have two husbands, two wives, or a husband and a wife.

If the relationship is less formal, boyfriend and girlfriend are often used.

I have no citation for this; it's just what I've heard and observed.

  • 2
    I don't think I've ever heard anyone (gay OR straight) refer to "my lover" except ironically. (Many people use it humorously, sometimes to refer to pets, children, or even celebrities.) "Boyfriend", "girlfriend", "SO" (significant other) and "partner" are the variations I regularly hear when people are talking about their own actual relationships.
    – MT_Head
    Apr 28, 2012 at 18:38
  • @MT_Head: I didn't use the term "lover" at all. If that's your complaint, take it up with Jasper above.
    – Robusto
    Apr 28, 2012 at 21:38
  • I didn't have a complaint at all - in fact I upvoted your answer. That was actually a "yeah, I've seen the same thing and here's a bit of amplification" comment, rather than a "NOOO! You're wrong!" comment.
    – MT_Head
    Apr 28, 2012 at 22:31
  • I've only heard "my lover" used by one person--a woman referring to her husband. (I thought it was cute.) But you're right, it's not common. Sep 2, 2012 at 13:32
  • @MT_Head I've certainly heard, and used, lover in times when "person I'm in a long-term relationship with, that involves sex" is relevant; which isn't that often. The people I hear it most often from are those who (with the consent of all parties) have more than one lover, or otherwise are outside of monogamous assumptions that lover, partner, life-partner, boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/husband/wife are all synonymous in practice, as they are for some but not all.
    – Jon Hanna
    Feb 28, 2014 at 12:40

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