Monogamous relationships in the gay community: A discontinued model?

Whether it’s Tiktoks, memes on Instagram, or a look at dating and sex apps like Grindr, gay men don’t seem to think much of monogamy. Virtually everyone who is in a relationship is in an open one. The classic relationship model is obsolete. Is that true, or are those in open relationships simply more visible?

A study by the Gay Therapy Center in San Francisco surveyed 517 gay men and found that around one-third were in a non-monogamous relationship. Earlier studies have found even higher numbers, up to 40 percent, while only five percent of heterosexual relationships were open – but that was back in 2005. This fuels social perceptions – even within the scene – that gay men don’t want to commit, are afraid of intimacy, and are only out for sex. These are all supposed to be reasons why there are so many open relationships among gays.

Open relationships are not easier

Especially for single men, it can be difficult to get to know someone seriously. An open relationship is a safety net for some, especially if you haven’t known each other that long: so you don’t get too emotionally involved, you keep a few options open. For some, such a relationship may be less serious than a monogamous one.

However, an open relationship does not mean an easier relationship. It requires a lot of communication and rules that need to be followed. Do you sleep together with someone or individually, do you tell each other about the other sex partners or not? An open relationship is not right for everyone, just as a monogamous relationship model is not right for everyone.

Are you living in a gay open relationship?

What rules and hurdles do you have? Why do open relationships appear more visible in the community than monogamous ones?

Article first published in Der Standard. 

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