While this article discusses 5 myths about gay monogamy, I’d like to start by saying that I’m not going to, or even trying to, portray open relationships in a bad light. Not at all.
This is an article that hopes to convey gay monogamy in a realistic, positive light. But as gay men, we are all entitled to live our lives, and have relationships, that suit us. Without judgement, prejudice and negativity.
So, with that said, here are 5 myths about gay monogamy:
1. Gay monogamy is boring
This is probably one of the most common myths about gay monogamy. Surely it stands to reason that having sex with only one person for any extended period of time gets boring, or at the very least, develops into a dull familiarity? How can things be exciting when you know your partner inside and out?
I don’t see it that way. I personally believe that we all need to take responsibility for our sex lives. If I’m feeling that my sex life is boring, then perhaps it’s a reflection on me? What am I doing to keep it exciting and fresh? And if boredom is an ongoing pattern in my sex life, well, isn’t the common factor me?
The other side of the coin is that casual, one-time only sex can get boring too. Sure, it’s exciting and fun at first. But if that’s the only type of sex you’re having, doesn’t it become repetitive and familiar too? Go online. Exchange info, pics. Agree to meet. Meet. Have sex. Go back online. Repeat…This isn’t a judgement. It’s questioning whether continued spontaneity can become boring and familiar too.
2. Gay monogamy is limiting
Having sex with the same person isn’t limiting at all. Why should it be? I feel like I have all of my sexual needs met by my partner and vice versa. I’m not left wanting for anything, and neither is he.
Sex has become compartmentalised. It’s become a preference/fetish checklist essentially. Top. Bottom. Vanilla. Kink. I have my list, you have yours, needs have to be identified and then matched as compatible.
But sex is more than just the sum of its individual parts. I was surprised to learn that only about a third of gay men actually have anal sex. If we start to move away from defining ourselves and our sex lives by labels and practices, and see it as a means of connection and pleasure, limits fall away. In this way, two ‘bottoms’ can experience incredible intimacy with once another, without the need for penetrative sex, for instance.
3. Gay monogamy means you’re conservative, prudish
I often feel that people look at monogamous couples as conservative ands prudish. Really? I can tell you with certainty I am neither conservative nor prudish. Why is the measure of sexual freedom measured by public exhibition or flaunting of our sexual drives ands habits? I’m a private person. I like to keep things to myself. This doesn’t just apply to sex. I only really share my innermost thoughts and feelings with a very small, close group of people. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not interesting or intelligent.
In the same way, having sex with the same person doesn’t limit my sexual adventureness. I am confident that I am just as kinky and horny as any red blooded gay man. I just choose to focus that energy on my partner, and on myself.
Open relationships don’t necessarily imply that the people involved in them are any more sexually liberated or open minded than anyone else. Maybe a couple in an open relationship like to invite a third guy for oral sex only? Where did the ideas of ‘monogamy = conservative’ and ‘open relationship = liberated’ come from?
4. Gay monogamy is easy
I don’t mean to sound like I’m oversimplifying things with this post. Gay monogamy isn’t easy. At the risk of contradicting myself, it can be boring, it can be limiting and it can suit conservative people and sexual practices.
My main point is that while it can be all of these things, it also has the potential not to be any of them. And that’s what can make it hard. Like all good things in life, it requires work and a degree of commitment and perseverance. It’s up to us. What we put in, is what we get out of it.
You can’t give up when the going gets a bit tough. Or you hit a rough patch. Or you find yourselves in a bit of a sexual lull. In the absence of a quick fix or instant boost me up, these periods challenge, but can also bring partners closer together. Especially when they come out of it, on the other side, together and stronger for the experience. It’s not easy, but are relationships ever easy?
5. Gay monogamy is forever
Life is fluid, and things change. Nothing stays the same forever. The same is true for gay monogamy. Relationships change as the people in them change, both as individuals and as partners in the relationship. Just because a relationship starts of monogamous, and remains monogamous for a period of time, doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way forever.
I don’t believe that there should be any judgement on couples that choose to open their sexual relationship up. Whether it’s a one off thing, our an ongoing practice, as long as it suits the needs of both partners, it’s completely fine and natural.
Communication, and an understanding of the fundamental needs of each parter are crucial to making this work. It’s hard to be honest and communicate what we feel openly, when we feel that it might hurt our partners. Bringing up topics such as sexual attraction to someone else can be tricky. But it’s so important to be honest about what we feel, think, want and desire.
Hiding or suppressing feelings doesn’t work, especially in the long term.There’s only so long it can go on for, before some not so great behaviours start to creep in. How many affairs could have been prevented if partners talked openly and honestly to each other first? Sure it’s hard, awkward and uncomfortable, but isn’t it better than feelings of betrayal and loss of trust? Communication is sometimes about short term pain for long term gain.
Communication also provides an opportunity for each partner to find out what their partner really wants, as well as what they really want. Sometimes fantasies that exist in our head, change into something else when spoken aloud. Sometimes, they fizzle. Other times, they’re an engine starter towards the real thing.
Also, if there are underlying issues in the relationship, these issues can be bought to the surface, discussed and hopefully resolved. After all, sex should be an expression of joy, not a tool to mask (or worse yet, inflict) pain upon ourselves, our partners or the relationship.