Gay, Monogamous Relationships. A Sex Positive Perspective
Our society generally props up monogamy as the gold standard of relationships. I’m not saying monogamous relationships can’t work. But it’s also good to identify a relationship style that would work best for you now and continue having ongoing discussions about boundaries, desires, and needs.
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.
Gay Men, Non-Monogamy, Norms and Our History
Gay men often have been more open in their discussions about open relationship and non-monogamous relationships styles. Younger, straight people are more openly than ever before talking about monogamy as an option, rather than the assumed only relationship option. More bisexual, fluid, and pansexual people are also coming out in their relationships and although many members of these communities choose monogamous structures, people are having more open discussions. There is more authenticity in relationship discussions than ever before.
Historically, gay men were more open about these possibilities in relationships. Gender and power differences within straight relationships meant discussions about non-monogamy could easily be seen as a threat. Whereas in gay men, there was greater equality and thus, men could talk more openly about what they wanted.
There could have also been a rebellious element that encouraged this openness. When gay men were shamed for being who they were already, abiding by cultural norms such as monogamy made less sense. Gay men didn’t have the luxury of mindlessly living within the norms.
So Why Choose Monogamy?
The key question to ask yourself is why you want either monogamy or non-monogamy. These reasons may include symbolism or meaning in the relationship. Your reasons may represent some beliefs that you have. Or they might represent some feeling experiences that you’re wanting to have with one partner, or several partners.
Choosing monogamy for some may reduce stressors such as jealousy and feeling competitive with the other sex partners. This alone may not be a great reason to choose a particular relationship style. For example, those stressors are likely to follow you in monogamy or non-monogamy. But learning about what you’re jealous about can help you explore your boundaries and beliefs.
Monogamous relationships can be challenging. But openness with yourself and your partner can help you prevent things like betrayal and cheating from happening.
Despite being challenging, there are things you can do to try to increase the odds of success. 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.