Would you open your relationship?

by Justen Roderick Haynes

Research on same-sex male couples revealed an interesting trend: open relationships seem to work better for gay men. As a matter of fact, a little over 40 percent of gays keep the love alive by sleeping with other dudes. Another researcher found that non-monogamous couples seem to be more satisfied because their communication is better. This doesn’t come as a surprise. Gay men seem to have always preferred polyamory at the displeasure of heteronormative society, which condemns any romantic pairing that is not exclusive or monogamous. It’s part defiance in the face of ‘breeders’ and part longing for something new, adventurous, and exciting.

But are there pitfalls to open relationships that one should consider before trying it with his partner?

I really enjoy Huffpost because of its voyage into the minds of queer individuals with universal stories. One of their pieces, titled Why I Stopped Hooking Up With Guys In ‘Open’ Relationships by Jeremy Helligar, pointed out a few really interesting things:

  • Hooking up with open couples can be fun but a dead end if you’re looking for more.
  • Threesomes with couples has essentially the same emotional effect as sleeping with a married man.
  • The open couple may have too many restrictions (no kissing, no oral, no eye contact) that depersonalize the experience.

I fell in love with this article for one reason: It’s unapologetic in its stance that open couples need to stop pushing non-monogamy as the norm without even trying to discipline themselves by attempting for monogamy first, and threesomes with them can be fun but are ultimately fleeting in that the third is basically an extramarital sex prop.

Gay men like variety, and that means different men… and lots of them. Even those who claim to be sexually prude have kinks and sexual fantasies they’ve acted upon in a past life. Our culture celebrates experimentation and sexual exploration, even if the straights who dominate the world don’t agree with it. But it would be silly to preach that you’re happy in an open relationship without, first, confronting the fact that you just cannot commit to one person due to your desire to want many, and second, admitting that the only perk is that you can fuck other people.

For instance, one encounter I had with a married couple ended in one becoming bitter that he wasn’t getting enough attention. You certainly cannot be happy if you need validation in the form of sexual attention from someone you’re not even partnered with. If that’s the case, then don’t open your bedroom to the entire Grindr population. It’s that simple. This shows that open relationships can open up room for sexual jealousy and an interest in alternatives, or other partners. You agreed to face rejection when you assumed a trick would desire you and your partner the exact same way. One will always be favoured over the other.

Monogamy may not be the hottest fad in the greater community, but it certainly has one great benefit: self-discipline. We’re all adults, and part of being an adult is making sacrifices. You sacrifice buying those suede Chelsea boots to pay your student loans on time for the month. You sacrifice going to the club on a weeknight to get adequate rest for your early shift at work the next morning. You sacrifice having sex with men who want the same thing you do (to hook up with a variety of other men, free from constraints) to be with someone who’ll have sex with you and not rush to take an Uber back home because his guilty conscious won’t allow him to spend the night.

Relationships look like many things, but we don’t have to even consider non-monogamy in order to be fulfilled. Many people don’t like to share, and with a lover, should you really want to?


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