First we looked at cheaters, then at the men who stayed with them. This week, the possibilities – or impossibilities? – of monogamy between gay men.
By Jason Mietelski
Well, guys, this one’s sure to get everyone fired up. As we begin to settle into the relatively new norm of marriage equality, a unique situation arises as we decide for ourselves how our relationships will work.
It seems that in the dawn of a new era we all apparently want to settle down and claim our equal portion of the (hetero-normative) American dream. Or do we? After scouring numerous sources, what we discovered is interesting.
No, all men do not cheat, nor do all gay couples consider monogamy and sexual exclusivity one and the same. The first thing that becomes clear is that many of the numerous studies and statistics on gay male sexuality are skewed, because we are still newly evolving in our culture and views of ourselves and sexuality.
In the past, we had no peer group or role models. We were taught by society that we were deviants and forced to seek out emotionless clandestine sexual encounters. Now we’re learning what it’s like to love ourselves and other men for reasons deeper than sexual validation and need.
That means as our view and acceptance of ourselves begins to change shape yet again, and naturally, so will the direction of our relationships.
According to Adam D. Blum, MFT, a licensed gay sex therapist in San Francisco, monogamy is more than possible in gay relationships. In fact, his research shows that roughly 50 percent of gay men in longterm relationships practice monogamy. To make these relationships last, he offers a few tips:
OPEN UP ABOUT SEX
Tell each other what turns you on! Be playful and flirt. Keep it sexy. Engaging in fantasies together increases intimacy.
Yes, longterm sex with the same person might become boring. Add variety by experimenting with roleplay or kink—newness is what’s exciting and keeps men interested.
The Body Electric School offers workshops to help spice up your sex life. www.thebodyelectricschool.com
Resentments destroy sex lives and relationships. Be willing to compromise.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
If you have the urge for sex with other men, find out why. Many of us have an inner need for validation as sexual beings. Discuss your feelings with your man, and perhaps set rules for harmless flirtation.
And make sure you validate each other. Tell your man how sexy he is, how horny he makes you and how much you love him.
On the flip side, 50 percent of gay men are in long term, non-monogamous relationships. Can they work? Absolutely. Based on his research and experience,
BE ON THE SAME PAGE
If you want an open relationship and he doesn’t, this is a recipe for disaster, no matter how much you love each other.
TALK, TALK, AND MORE TALK
Most people enter into long term relationships for security and because they want to feel special to someone. Adding sex partners into the mix can be perceived as a threat, so once you’re on the same page with your man, TALK about it. Tell each other how you feel.
Guidelines in an open relationship are important. Most non-monogamous partners separate sex from emotional fidelity. They often set rules like: No kissing; no hooking up with the same guy twice; let me know where and when.
What’s OK and what’s not? You can check out the book by Dossier Easton and Catherine Liszt, called The Ethical Slut, for ideas.
You might not be responsible for changing the way he feels, but you are responsible for listening to him and helping him process his feelings. If the issues that arise aren’t resolved, the relationship can fall apart.
Basically, which type of relationship will work for you depends on your feelings, values, and your partner. Successful relationships are built on honesty, trust, and willingness to talk about—yep, you guessed it—sex! We’re guys; we love sex; we just have to know what we want, how to get it, and what it takes to keep it.