In Defense of Open Relationships

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A common belief perpetuated widely in gay men is an insatiable sexual appetite fueled by lust, depravity and a general lack of morals which ultimately makes all gay men – sluts. This stigma has been used to fuel hate messages, anti-gay marriage campaigns and hurtful stereotypes that still linger in the community, being perpetuated not just by heterosexuals but gay men alike.

The truth of it all is, not all gay men are the same, just as the assumption is not made that all heterosexual men are the same and have the same expectations from a partner and a relationship. As dynamic human beings, we are all driven by our own passions and desires.

We ultimately all seek happiness, which as reality would have it, never fits one ideal societal mold.  

The story-line usually reads that two guys meet and fall in love, they’re together for a while and promise to love each other forever until one of both of them commit an instance of infidelity when the physical attraction wanes. Men, not just gay men are perceived as sexual predators, sexologist Winston Wilde in an interview said “I would feel comfortable saying that at least four out of five long-term gay male couples are not monogamous. Monogamy rarely does work for more than two years — for most straight and bi men as well.” This is not to say that fidelity is unattainable, but gay men are in a unique position where we are able to create healthy, fulfilling relationships outside societal norms, if two men are on the same page then monogamy is incredibly attainable and enough to sustain a vigorous sex life.

But in defense of monogamy, some men argue that it is able to separate love from sex and lust, they are able to express brief sexual attraction with other human being and are in a unique position where their emotional needs are not conflicted by their sexual ones. Open relationships desire a strong level of trust and respect in order to be successful,it requires a couple willing to talk openly about individual needs without hesitation, avoiding the issue when one partner desires sex from an outside partner and one does not is usually the setup for infidelity. Open relationships are not a possibility for a couple with a high degree of distrust or jealousy. If a couple is already volatile, then adding another person — or persons — is simply not an option.

Couples who agree on open relationships should practice before anything else communication skills, setting clear boundaries that respect the integrity of the relationship and the other partner. The more specific the guidelines are the better. WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE needs to be outlined clearly and if this conversation makes you uncomfortable then an open relationship is probably not advisable. Most importantly, partners should always remember to honor the primary relationship first and sex outside that relationship second. Your partner needs to know that you’re coming home to him, that you’re in love with him, that you want a long-lasting relationship with him – by definition, the covenant to be non-monogamous is the direct opposite of cheating. This is a negotiated arrangement within an interpersonal relationship between two adults. It’s strictly about sex. It’s not a secret you keep from your partner. In setting up the rules in the first place, partners need to discuss this possibility. If there’s a breach, steps should be taken to pause the open relationship and create an open, nonjudgmental space for the partners to share their feelings and what events brought the rule-breaking into being.Once two men have agreed to have an open relationship, they must further decide how much information about outside activities is to be shared. Will it be “don’t ask, don’t tell” or “tell me everything”?. If one partner is not told what’s going on, they often begin to obsess about what might be happening. However, the ‘tell me everything’ option can also bring out any insecurities a person may have and/or cause extreme jealousy or obsessing about what the partner may be doing with someone else.

STDs are one obvious risk and a significant one. The other primary risk is a shift of loyalty from the primary partner to another.

The decision to introduce another partner into the relationship also presents the possibility of new STDs, protecting yourself as well as protecting your partner should be paramount. SAFE SEX SHOULD NOT BE A NEGOTIATION. Frequent HIV and STD tests become even more important. Despite the downfalls and possibility of failure it presents, non-monogamy can be a source of satisfaction for willing and open partners. It can aid couples to develop more compassion and trust in the course of the relationship when they are open and clear that they really want each other to be free, honest, and happy.

The Attractor

3 thoughts on “In Defense of Open Relationships

  1. I love the way write; you give vivd details and paint pictures that take me to places in which you often describe. I wish that I was able to meet the man behind the blog. Anyways, keep up the good work; I’m definitely a fan.

  2. You are doing your very best to maintain your relationship and then your partner comes to tell you that he wants an open relationship. Could be one of several things… Either his interest is somewhere else or they are not on the same page as commitment and monogamy is concerned

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