Gay, Monogamous Relationships. A Sex Positive Perspective
The answer is yes! But it may not be for everyone. With marriage now legal in the United States, it is no great leap to consider why more and more gay men are embracing and seeking monogamous relationships. But it did not take legal marriage to make monogamy happen, many gay couples have always chosen that path for themselves.
Open, or partially open relationships have, have long been thought to be more common among many gay men. And there are many gay couples who find success in open relationships. But for those who are thinking of pursuing a monogamous relationship, the idea can seem intimidating.
Let’s dive into a couple of questions to explore this idea a little deeper.
How Did Open-Relationships Become a Trend Among Gay Men?
Gay men often have chosen open-relationships or no commitment at all for several reasons, possible in part to how society views same sex love.
1) Sexual Freedom and fighting the norms of Society
Many in society still think that being gay is a choice or even sinful. When we reduce the noise of other people’s view of how our life should be and listen to our own authentic self, maybe the need to conform isn’t as powerful and allows us to explore other options.
2) “Velvet Rage” or Toxic Shame made lead to struggles to connect
Most gay men have grown up with some experience of being treated as an “other,” or less than. This contributes to how a person views themselves and the way they relate to others. Many talented and attractive gay men, who seem to have it all, struggle to connect on a deeper level with another man. It’s smart to check in with yourself as a gay man for possible internalized homophobia, which can include shame and/or rage for being gay.
Many gay men may have not sought monogamy because society has often forced secrecy and shame on romantic gay love. Many are taught gay love is shameful and wrong and this can lead them to disconnect emotionally from others.
Complex factors contribute to the way we as gay men see ourselves. In some places, coming out in the workplace can lead to fear of harassment, loss of promotions, or even termination. Real or imagined, the impact of being an “other” may be significant psychologically. Simple questions like, “who do I bring to my company retreat?” may become more complex. Society has often forced secrecy and shame on romantic gay love, which may lead some to not even aspire to it.
3) Healthy sex is fun!
Exploration of monogamy vs. open relationships may be a healthy part of one’s psychological development of self, when pursued in a safe and healthy manner. It can be joyous and add to the colorful experience of life.
So Why Choose Monogamy? Is it Just a Trend?
Choosing monogamy for some may reduce stressors such as jealousy and feeling competitive with the other sex partners.
It reduces the risk of sexually transmitted disease by reducing the number of sex partners.
Most importantly, for some it is simply the right choice. It is because it feels right and is possible! In a recent survey conducted by Lanz and Blake Spears, 90 percent of single gay men stated they were seeking monogamous relationships. Though monogamy might prove more of a challenge for gay couples, it is not absurd or impossible with a little bit of work.
Here are a few simple tips that can improve the odds of a monogamous relationship:
1) Make each other a priority
Yes, it seems almost too obvious. However, establishing priority for your partner is key to fulfilling the desire that they are cherished, and loved.
Some ways that you can give priority to your partner is by scheduling weekly dates where it is just the two of you, looking into each other’s eyes for 30 seconds a day, holding hands, cuddling, or hugging.
You can also make an active effort to greet one another when you wake up as well as when you end the day, asking each other questions about their day, emotions, etc. Avoid problem solving unless asked to. It is a simple step that we often assume occurs in our relationships. Yet, taking an analytical look at your day-to-day interactions, you might be surprised how much intimacy is getting left out.
2) Find other monogamous couples to socialize with
Sure, the club is fun but you may want to also consider alternative social outlets, like volunteering together or joining a faith group. It is easier to stay in a monogamous relationship when you are not the only couple doing it.
Think about the old stigma, third-wheeling. Single people sometimes feel uncomfortable or insecure when they are in a group of couples. The same insecurity happens to a monogamous couple in a sea of singles or people in open-relationships.
3) Don’t demonize flirting or going to “gay” places
Having a sense of community can make a couple stronger when boundaries are process and honored, so don’t demonize going to “gay” places. Flirt with each other. Have fun conversations with other gay men. Allowing there to be harmless flirting in a monogamous relationship can make the relationship stronger and prevent cheating.
Monogamous relationships between gay men, though often stigmatized as absurd, are actually a very popular pursuit among couples. Though it can seem difficult, it is not impossible provided the right tools. Just as coming-out required a confidence in your wants and needs, a monogamous relationship requires the same skills.
Consider therapy to fine tune your ways of relating and to work past grid-locked issues!
It is not a sign of weakness to reach out for help when you need it. Try not to wait until you are in crisis to take this important step! It is essential to find therapist that is not merely tolerant but affirmative of your gay selves.
In conclusion the choice of being monogamous or open is yours. Do some soul searching about what you really want and need to live YOUR authentic truth.