Friday, January 29, 2010

Open Season

News that a soon-to-be-released study shows that monogamy is not a "central feature" in 50 percent of same-sex relationships certainly makes me pause given that the five gay couples with whom I am most close all favor this "feature," as do Michael and I, and the survey sample was from the Bay Area(!). But I certainly do not judge or disagree with the logic of open relationships, especially given the prevalence of extramarital activity going on in "opposite marriages." (Why cheat when you can play with permission?) But despite such obvious benefits, it's hard to imagine this won't undermine the legal fight for same-sex marriage, where right-wing "family values" types like wag their finger and swear that things be between one man and one woman and then secretly carry on with multiple women and multiple men.

The New York Times reports:

A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many. Some gay men and lesbians argue that, as a result, they have stronger, longer-lasting and more honest relationships. And while that may sound counterintuitive, some experts say boundary-challenging gay relationships represent an evolution in marriage — one that might point the way for the survival of the institution.

New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area. The Gay Couples Study has followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.

That consent is key. “With straight people, it’s called affairs or cheating,” said Colleen Hoff, the study’s principal investigator, “but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.”

The study also found open gay couples just as happy in their relationships as pairs in sexually exclusive unions, Dr. Hoff said. A different study, published in 1985, concluded that open gay relationships actually lasted longer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Most of my coupled gay friends are monogamous, though I also know several non-monogamous ones.

From what I've seen, the monogamous ones seem to have better relationships. I don't know the causality of it. (Does monogamy lead to better relationships? Do good relationships lead to monogamy? Are they both caused by a prior antecedent, such being an emotionally mature, sensible person?) But it's definitely something I've noticed.

I can only talk about my limited world, of course.