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truths about gay relationships on the road to marriage equality
June 20, 2013 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Master Bedroom, Extra Closet: The Truth About Gay Marriage
"In the fight for marriage rights, gay activists have (smartly) put forward couples who embody a familiar form of unity... But not all gay unions are built on the straight model, particularly when it comes to the issue of monogamy... The gay rights movement has made a calculated decision to highlight the similarities, not the differences, between straight and gay love on the road to marriage equality."
posted by andoatnp (56 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
and, not just that, but of a bit of small importance, the gay movement also strssed up front the idea that marriage was a right between two people, that marriage gave economic (tax) advantages, equality, fairness, and that a large part of the public thought gays should have the right of marriage.
posted by Postroad at 10:21 AM on June 20, 2013


It should also be noted that the "straight model" is not universal for breeders either.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:25 AM on June 20, 2013 [33 favorites]


I think part of the problem is the perception that the "straight model" is even a good one. The vast majority of men (70%) admit to cheating on their wives.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:28 AM on June 20, 2013


For years, the main spot for demonstrations in favor of gay marriage was in front of the IRS building. (I remember back in 1987, which gay marriage was crazy unthinkably weird, at the march on washington there was a standalone pro-marriage demonstration at the IRS and I had a moment of "what?" followed immediately by "oh, of course. Taxes. Yeah.")
posted by rmd1023 at 10:28 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The vast majority of men (70%) admit to cheating on their wives

Really? Where'd you get that statistic? I googled around and found anywhere from 20-50% being tossed around, but not 70.
posted by mathowie at 10:32 AM on June 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


But it’s a very different story than the one of, say, how Sullivan met his now husband, which was "at 3 a.m. at the Black Party in New York," a sex-and-drug-filled circuit party.... I rarely mention that I met my own partner expressly for sex, on the assumption we'd have sex once and it would be over.
If I had a nickel for every one of my straight married friends who met at sex-and-drug-filled parties or had one-night stands end up in marriage (especially counting high school), I'd have a shitload of nickels.

And yeah, "monogamish" is a thing. It's a pretty common one. So much so that I'd think this "horrible secret" of open gay marriages isn't going to freak out anyone who isn't already freaked out by any form of gay marriage.
posted by Etrigan at 10:32 AM on June 20, 2013 [15 favorites]


Ugh, I'd gotten that 70% from a FoxNews link. Yuck. Anyway, Washington Post says: Estimates today find married men cheating at rates between 25 percent and 72 percent.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:34 AM on June 20, 2013


And would straight support have helped gays get the marriage rights they now have if the truly complex nature of sexual boundaries for gay couples were more openly talked about?

Probably not, but we also don't discuss the truly complex nature of sexual boundaries for straight couples (or more-than-couples, or singles, or whatever). There's the cliched popular socially constructed fiction of what a "marriage" is, and then there's people's real ongoing relationships, in which everything (not merely sex) is way more varied and open to negotiation especially over the long haul than anyone ever talks about in public.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:40 AM on June 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


rates between 25 percent and 72 percent

lolestimates
posted by DU at 10:45 AM on June 20, 2013 [30 favorites]


Ugh, I'd gotten that 70% from a FoxNews link. Yuck. Anyway, Washington Post says: Estimates today find married men cheating at rates between 25 percent and 72 percent.

That ~70% statistic is so much bigger than literally every other number I could find that I wanted to find out how it was gathered. It's from a "send out a million surveys, ignore the ones you don't get back" study. This methodology has some problems. In this case, "98% [of married women] reported dissatisfaction, and 75% reported having had extra-marital affairs, but only 4% of women given the survey responded". That study was actually used by Philip Zimbardo as an example of bias in sampling methods, apparently.

All this from the Wikipedia article on Shere Hite, the researcher responsible for that statistic.
posted by a birds at 10:45 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


On heterosexual monogamy, the fine article everyone read says
The statistics are all over the place when it comes to how many straight people cheat, but it’s never an insignificant sum. An oft-cited 2002 study published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy says about half of all wives and two-thirds of husbands have an affair at some point in their marriage.
One great thing about being homosexual is that it frees you somewhat from fitting into a specific model of how relationships should be. It's also exhausting having to constantly figure things out, and it's annoying to have to explain whatever it is you're doing with your partner/husbear/lover/roommate. But I don't know many out gay men who feel constrained in their relationships, "stuck" somehow, and I know a lot of married straight guys who feel that way (some of whom aren't quite so exclusively heterosexual...)
posted by Nelson at 10:48 AM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good article: honest, questioning. Thanks for posting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:54 AM on June 20, 2013


Pure sexual monogamy has never been a part of traditional marriage, at least, not for men. Why should gay men be held to a standard that has never been enforced on straight men?

That's not to say that women aren't non-monogamous; I met a lovely non-monogamous lesbian couple the other evening. But we have had our monogamy policed in the past, and it continues to be policed in many places in the world.

Anyways, I think the best point is that no one says that non-monogamous straight couples can't marry, so it's a crap double standard to enforce it on same-sex couples. Equality is all anyone is asking for: the right to sign a piece of paper that says this person is now your next-of-kin, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. Everything else is up to the couple to negotiate.
posted by jb at 10:58 AM on June 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


He certainly doesn’t believe marriage equals monogamy. "I think that men who marry men have to expect a different type of union that does not, and never will, mimic the way men and women marry,” Adams says. “There will be some similarities, and some significant differences."

Or another takeaway could be, if the "gay" approach works so well for some people's mindsets, maybe it should be more seriously considered among straight couples as well. After all the author acknowledges later in the article that some gay couples are very monogamous and others aren't.

A long time ago a gay friend of mine was introducing me (a naive, straight boy from the rural midwest) to his relationship(s); his perspective was that, at least among gay people who grew up and reached puberty before gay rights started catching on (so... mid-90s and earlier?), you gradually realize that there's something "off" about your sexuality and ultimately that you will never be a conventional, masculine man who gets all the ladies, etc. And once you have that realization, that you will never exactly fulfill the conventional sexual role, it relieves the pressure to conform in other ways as well. So, why NOT have open relationships? Up until very recently, barely anyone was willing to recognize your long-term relationship commitments anyway, so why conform to people's expectations for those relationships?

I do wonder whether this will change (or, whether at least a part of the community will try to make it change) as gay relationships become more and more accepted. If a gay guy is "just like a straight guy, but likes dudes" right from the moment he realizes he has a sexuality, will there still be room to let the other expectations slide?
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:00 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Calculated or no, I think that in the final reckoning any differences don't matter as much as the similarities.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:00 AM on June 20, 2013


Also, I was really struck by this sentence in the article: "A study out of UCLA found that two-thirds of formally legalized same-sex couples are made up of women; yet, nearly all the studies about sex and monogamy in same-sex couples focus exclusively on men." Maybe that research should get a bit well balanced.
posted by jb at 11:05 AM on June 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


Two thirds of men have affairs? Am I that weird?
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:06 AM on June 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


Pure sexual monogamy has never been a part of traditional marriage, at least, not for men.

Sure it has. Not for ALL men, but as far as I can tell it is reasonable to say for 50%+ of married men. I kind of think the decisive "ALL MEN ARE NOT MONOGAMOUS" is just as full of crap as any random, all X are Y as you can get. How much shit would fall from "gay people can not practice monogamy"?

Look different strokes for different folks. Consensual multi-partner is as valid as single partner, we don't need to start bullshit statistic wars to bolster our worth or our firmly held beliefs that one is better than the other.
posted by edgeways at 11:09 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


But not all gay unions are built on the straight model

I'm pretty sure the monogamy model (which has to do with the amount of romantic partners one has at a time) is completely different from the straight model (which has to do with the sex of your romantic partners).
posted by SollosQ at 11:13 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know. I'm all for consensual polygamy, but this reminds me a lot of those small, political radical-left LGBTQ groups that try to reject everything that is considered "normative" for whatever psychological reasons: monogamy, marriage itself, capitalism, etc.

Which is of course fine, but they have always struck me as rather insular and non-representative. That's just the tone I picked up from the way in which this piece was written.
posted by SollosQ at 11:18 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Two thirds of men have affairs? Am I that weird?

Yeah, but mostly because of that other thing.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:20 AM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I think that men who marry men have to expect a different type of union that does not, and never will, mimic the way men and women marry,”

Wow… that just sounds so naive, as if infidelity is unheard of in straight marriage. In many European countries, it's practically the norm.

Frankly, this piece sounds a bit nostalgic. It's clear that homosexuality will eventually become accepted as normal and lose its position as transgressing mainstream social norms, and that might be a little bit disappointing to some people like Trasher, so he wants to make non-monogamy the essence of gay relationships because at least for now, that continues to be moderately transgressive.

OK, but what happens when you've won the struggle for the rights of non-monogamous people? What happens when there's nothing left to transgress?
posted by AlsoMike at 11:28 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


also fwiw, one of the longest together monogamous couples I know are a couple of gay fellows.

Just a small data point. doesn't prove or disprove anything.
posted by edgeways at 11:31 AM on June 20, 2013



Two thirds of men have affairs? Am I that weird?


I always ask myself "who with?" since the statistics seem to come back that far more men have affairs than women. Are these mostly bisexual guys? Are women lying? Are men lying? Perhaps the cheating women are all having multiple affairs and evening things up that way, but I find myself doubting it purely from a logistics standpoint. I mean, I am in an open relationship and I can't get my act together enough to go on a goddamn entirely legitimate socially-approved date because I don't have the spare time. Anyone who can conduct multiple affairs (rather than just, like, multiple grindr hookups, which seem pretty simple and thus Won't Count) and manage a primary relationship while still working and having some form of social and political/volunteer/education/community life - well, my hat is off to that person.

That said, pretty much everyone I know under the age of 28 is in an open relationship. Ah, to have the youth, the energy, and the sense that the world is full of interesting people instead of problems waiting to happen....
posted by Frowner at 11:31 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's the old bait-and-switch! They ARE going to destroy the Sanctity Of Marriage! I knew it. (Edit: kidding.)
posted by Sing Or Swim at 11:33 AM on June 20, 2013


I always ask myself "who with?" since the statistics seem to come back that far more men have affairs than women. Are these mostly bisexual guys? Are women lying? Are men lying? Perhaps the cheating women are all having multiple affairs and evening things up that way

Well, theoretically the men could be sleeping with unpartnered women...
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:35 AM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know. I sympathize with quite a bit of the reasoning that the dominant values regarding marriage are problematic, and that there are other concerns such as violence, community-building, mental and physical health outcomes, employment and housing discrimination, better treatment in mass media, etc. that need work.

But, the "marriage" fight was started by conservatives in response to piecemeal gay rights in states where same-sex marriage wasn't even on the horizon. The reason they did this was to create a legal standard in which traditional family relationships automatically trump any consensual legal arrangement between partners. In the early days of these amendments, they were also used to block municipal non-discrimination laws, custody arrangements, and insurance benefits for domestic partners.

The "marriage" fight wasn't ever just about "marriage." It was also about having a constitutional justification for discrimination embedded directly into the state constitution. So not surprisingly, you end up with cases like the poor woman in Florida who was turned away from her wife's hospital bed, in spite of having clearly documented powers of legal and medical attorney.

Because receiving human fucking compassion and the ability to fill your legally appointed role in making health care decisions were rights strictly reserved by state statute and constitution for heterosexuals, and you just can't extend them to others.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:38 AM on June 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


Well, theoretically the men could be sleeping with unpartnered women...

Technically, but then either those women are dating (but not married to and thus not formally counted as "partnered") one guy plus having the affair, or they are dating no one except the married dude, which is too depressing to contemplate (since in my social circle at least that tends to boil down to years of 'and when he leaves his wife...' followed by nothing.). And then of course that suggests that the unmarried men are either being cheated upon by their girlfriends or else they are simply having no sex at all.

I suppose the explanation is that married dudes have a girl on the side, the girls on the side don't have real boyfriends who are committed to them and the single dudes are SOL. We could even things up by having the single dudes be boys on the side for the married women, maybe.

Nonmonogamy is fine, but lord, even contemplating the fact of cheating gets me down.
posted by Frowner at 11:45 AM on June 20, 2013


sonic meat machine: "Two thirds of men have affairs? Am I that weird?"

I guess that I'm weird too. Along with all of my friends. I'm thinking hard and I can't think of a male friend that's had an affair or a female friend who's husband has. Maybe I'm just out of the loop and no one tells me about these things.
posted by octothorpe at 11:46 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


sonic meat machine: "Two thirds of men have affairs? Am I that weird?"

Well, the link led here which stated 65%, so they rounded up a bit. Can anybody find what paper that is? It seems a bit higher than the other studies I've seen and I'm curious what their methodology was.

Anyway, if you average all the numbers that are floating around out there it always seems like it's closer to 50-60%% for men and 40-50% for women.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:52 AM on June 20, 2013


I'm thinking hard and I can't think of a male friend that's had an affair or a female friend who's husband has. Maybe I'm just out of the loop and no one tells me about these things.

Unsurprisingly, it's not a thing that gets brought up that often. I was the best man at the wedding of two friends who later decided to have an open relationship and didn't tell their friends -- me included -- about it for two years, and that was consensual. A lot of people just aren't ready to drop the bomb of "So, I was sleeping with this girl on the side last year..." into a conversation.
posted by Etrigan at 11:53 AM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sexuality, gender and intimate relationships are far, far more wibbledy wobbledy than most people ever consider. The fact that, as adults, we consider marriage or gender or sexuality as black and white at all is astonishing to me.

I, for one, am asexual, I was in exclusively lesbian sexual relationships for my entire adolescence and young adulthood - I am mostly a cisgender female, if I have to be gendered...

I am married to a gay man. He is highly sexual. He has sex with a lot of men. More. No, more than that.

We have been happily married for almost 14 years and together (whatever that means) more than 22 years.

It works for us. Our friends and family know most of this. We aren't keeping any secrets, but we also live in a little suburban bubble with our chickens and puppy.

That's just our little bubble. I know the bubbles next door are living their own wibbledy wobbledy way too.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:09 PM on June 20, 2013 [11 favorites]


And people think I'm nuts when I tell them I am opposed to marriage and that all this time we should have been working to eliminate marriage, not force it on even more people.

Monogamy has never been part of marriage for men. Marriage was about men controlling the sexuality and reproductive rights of women and keeping them impoverished so they could never leave.

I don't really understand how people can celebrate it, like it is suddenly a beautiful expression of love. Even if your chains are gold they are still chains.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:24 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that was some kind of Faze moment there. Next I will be ranting about corpsegrinders.

I would never dream of telling people they are wrong to get married if that is what they want. I'm just opposed to how the institution has been practiced throughout history.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:30 PM on June 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Monogamy has never been part of marriage for men. Marriage was about men controlling the sexuality and reproductive rights of women and keeping them impoverished so they could never leave.

I don't really understand how people can celebrate it, like it is suddenly a beautiful expression of love. Even if your chains are gold they are still chains.


Isn't this just a genetic fallacy though? My marriage isn't about those things, even if the institution was originally. Not to toot my own horn, but my marriage actually is a beautiful expression of love and so are most of the marriages I know about.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:32 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Monogamy has never been part of marriage for men.

Monogamy is definitely part of the modern marriages that most of my friends and family are in. "Was not until relatively recently" and "has never been" are not the same thing.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:38 PM on June 20, 2013


Marino-Thomas—who is married, with a daughter—says, “One of the main things people talk about in our community is that they don’t want us to assimilate and become heteronormative, and I don’t think having marriage rights does that. I think that what couples want is civil marriage rights for what they are: which is legal protection.”

There are over 1100 federal statutory provisions that inure to the benefit of straight married couples and not to gay couples that are at stake in the upcoming DOMA decision before the Supreme Court, involving everything from estate planning to taxation of imputed income and beyond.

Forget about transgression and heteronormativity, or the lack thereof. That's all academic. Me and my same-gender husband just want to be equal-status non-second-class citizens in this country for once in our damn lives.
posted by blucevalo at 12:41 PM on June 20, 2013 [15 favorites]


The amount of blame being laid on men for cheating in this thread is pretty depressing, given that every study I can find has women coming in a very close second in terms of percentage of people that do it. It's not like women don't cheat, you know.
posted by mbatch at 12:45 PM on June 20, 2013


This morning on Twitter, "Privilege means never having to wonder if your constitutional rights are about to change in the next 30 minutes."
posted by Sophie1 at 12:46 PM on June 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Two thirds of men have affairs? Am I that weird?"

Maybe you're just that young. Give it time?
posted by Nelson at 12:50 PM on June 20, 2013


I don't know. I'm all for consensual polygamy, but this reminds me a lot of those small, political radical-left LGBTQ groups that try to reject everything that is considered "normative" for whatever psychological reasons: monogamy, marriage itself

Uh, no, some gay people (and many straight people) genuinely don't want to be a monogamous couple behind a white picket fence. We are not doing it out of some impulse to be politically contrarian.

You're doing that thing of dividing minorities into the "good guys", who are polite and nice and like us and try to fit in, and the "bad guys" who are rude and different and reject your norms. The thing is, as the author points out, most gay people fit into the latter category (at least in my experience).
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:53 PM on June 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sure it has. Not for ALL men, but as far as I can tell it is reasonable to say for 50%+ of married men. I kind of think the decisive "ALL MEN ARE NOT MONOGAMOUS" is just as full of crap as any random, all X are Y as you can get. How much shit would fall from "gay people can not practice monogamy"?

Sorry, I realised that my comment could be misread. I was thinking about cultural expectations, rather than what men actually do or did -- specifically, I was thinking of the defacto toleration for most men in the 19th century and earlier to commit adultery. Sometimes the Church courts went after men having sex outside of marriage (especially in puritan communities), but for the most part it wasn't really policed by society like the fidelity of women was.
posted by jb at 12:54 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


my marriage actually is a beautiful expression of love and so are most of the marriages I know about.

My marriage is about the power of apathy, and being too lazy to break up. Also, we needed visas.

Everyone should be able to get visas via their partner.
posted by jb at 12:59 PM on June 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


I haven't read the article (yet), nor any of the comments here (yet), but I have a question or four before I do. The reason I've not read it yet is the beginning of this sentence:

"The gay rights movement has made a calculated decision..."

Where does the "gay rights movement" hold its meetings? Are there donuts? What about an agenda? Because I never get my copy, maybe I'm missing where I get a copy. Does anyone have a copy I can borrow?

Who runs the meetings for the gay rights movement? Who's the treasurer?

I live in Detroit, which has a decidedly small (and fractious) "gay community". I played a semi-active role in it for a while, and in thinking back on that experience, I'm left thinking that the only "movement" I've ever seen is so diverse in its makeup that coming to a singular decision/strategy has to be happening either at a much higher level than I've ever seen, or is happening by osmosis and natural trajectory.

I'm reminded of the book (long out of print) called "After the Ball" - subtitled "Why the gay rights movement has failed" - and it discussed, in great detail and strident tone, that the solution to gaining societal acceptance for LGBT folk was "mainstreaming", i.e. convincing LGBT folk that progress would only be achieved by not scaring the straight folks with our non-traditional values and activities.

So, who made the calculated decision, here? Who are the decision makers? Who approves the decisions?

And now I'll get caught up on the post.
posted by disclaimer at 1:04 PM on June 20, 2013


I wonder sometimes how much my view of relationships was bent by my coming of age in the middle of The Ronald Reagan Memorial AIDS Epidemic™, when the gospel was pretty much the straight-up standard little houses made of ticky-tacky monogamous model because straying from that path meant sex would kill you. I'm a short-haired hippie at heart, full of all the sorts of turgid tale-telling of the sixties and seventies, and I want to be loose and free and not uptight almost as much as I'd like to be bi, because the chicks seem to dig me and ladies are just nicer and there's that whole mysterious world of the orgasmic plateau...but I digress, because I'm just not like that once you get away from vehicles, architecture, DIY, and secular philosophical mish-mash.

As a sort of default member of the ursine category of categorized gayness, I'm often convinced that I have somehow tripped into a parallel universe where the eighties didn't happen, 'cause man, them bears like to paw and fuck around. I try to not see it all through narrowed eyes, but when someone writes to me on the big bear website, responding to my insanely verbose personal ad (What, you think I'd be terse at long last when I'm trying to get all snuggly with other humans?), it's almost a certainty that his personal is going to say "in an open relationship with an amazing man" or "have a great guy, got married last year, play solo or together" or "already have a man, looking for a little play," and I am going to say, quite loudly from my seat in front of the computer, "AWW C'MON, FOR FUCK'S SAKE," then chit-chat listlessly before using the dog as an excuse to close the window and slouch off to look at porn on tumblr.

During my ill-starred California venture, I was incorporated into a circle I call the media bears, who are all, well, media bears. You probably even know some of them, or their work, but of this little cozy clutch of folks, pretty much every combination of fuck-aroundiness had been tried. There were lots of couples, but everyone was a freely convertible cock in the marketplace and I, as it happened, was the lone uptight guy.

I mean, how am I the uptight guy? I've MC'd slave auction-themed bukakke parties in firehouse bingo halls! I've been a regular stripper and, a hundred pounds later, a novelty stripper! I spent my youth trying to get the neighbor boys to molest me! It goes on and on, but I suspect that I'm either uptight or in the wrong universe. Of course, when my sister introduced me to her new boyfriend, his wife, and her girlfriend, I knew that I was the one mired in the conservative conception, but I am who I am, alas.

The funny thing is, of the extra-relationship encounters I've ever had, they've been negotiated long, long ahead of time and have not created problems. I had a longstanding arrangement with my longest long-term ex in which we agreed, not in a contractual way, but rather in a sort of shruggy consent over our differences in interests—either of us could fool around with previous partners with disclosure (He did once, I never did, but mainly because all my exes had gone on to straightish lives.), I could fool around with men based on a certain threshold of dimensions (I've outgrown that particular thing, so to speak.), and either of us could starfuck if our dream dude became available (Dan Marino for him, Jim Varney for me.), and that was about it.

I don't entirely grasp the much looser mindset, but the world is not about me, despite my narcissistic attempts to make it so, and it takes all kinds to make a world.

That said, the only problem I have is when those who don't like the more apparently straight-laced model think you can only liberate the human species by crashing every system, and I think that's silly. If I want to get all murried up and settle into whatever lopsided comfy chair of a security blanket of a comfortable old shoe of a happy place up in the mountains with my sort of seemingly old fashioned relationship construct, that's my thing. I worked to make it possible, in terms of politics, in terms of being a visible role model in my relationships, and in terms of evangelizing the essential truth, as I see it, that we in the world of high-fashion faggotry are pretty much as interesting or dull as the rest of the world, in mostly the same ways. If you want to expand access to legal protection to your kind of relationships, or to make it possible to be without a category, by all means make it so. Convince enough people and you'll succeed. Everyone's got to make a case for their point of view, and extraordinary points of view require extraordinary case-makin'.
posted by sonascope at 1:08 PM on June 20, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'd be interested to see a study on the rates of cheating for couples that got married young compared to those who waited longer for their first marriage. It is my wholly unsubstantiated belief that people who wait and figure their own shit out first are more likely to have happy marriages. This should be an easy study and have absolutely no confounding variables that have to be considered, I'm sure.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 1:08 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested to see a study on the rates of cheating for couples that got married young compared to those who waited longer for their first marriage. It is my wholly unsubstantiated belief that people who wait and figure their own shit out first are more likely to have happy marriages. This should be an easy study and have absolutely no confounding variables that have to be considered, I'm sure.

One of those confounding variables being that "cheating" does not equal "unhappy marriage." It certainly correlates, and there's certainly a causal link in many cases, but I've known people who were very happy in their marriages who cheated (consensually and non-), and I've known even more who were miserable but would never cheat.
posted by Etrigan at 1:18 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always ask myself "who with?" since the statistics seem to come back that far more men have affairs than women. Are these mostly bisexual guys? Are women lying? Are men lying? Perhaps the cheating women are all having multiple affairs and evening things up that way, but I find myself doubting it purely from a logistics standpoint.

I'm not sure if you've noticed this, but female sex workers far outnumber male sex workers, and what male sex workers there are primarily service male clients. So if you're a man, and you're married and having sex outside your marriage, there are any number of people willing to facilitate this in exchange for cash. As a man, you can order infidelity as easily as ordering a pizza. It's just not that easy for women.

Anyway, my overall feeling on this "gay vs straight marriage" thing is: whatever. My dad and his partner: 35 years, until death. My uncle and his partner: 37 years and counting. My godmother and her partner: 25 years and counting. I don't know or care if these marriages are monogamous; I care that they are happy marriages, and make up three out of four of my role models on how to grow old together.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:28 PM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Art.Sez: Peter Zupcofska [has] dealt with premarital agreements between gay men in which they've agreed that sex with other people "would not be a reason to penalize each other."

Because the family that plays together stays together.
posted by Twang at 1:46 PM on June 20, 2013


Maybe you're just that young. Give it time?

I would certainly hope that I don't become more likely to give up a good, happy relationship for "something on the side" as I get older.
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:55 PM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


> The vast majority of men (70%) admit to cheating on their wives

Admit? More like "brag", in which case discount three-fourths to all.
posted by jfuller at 2:02 PM on June 20, 2013


But it’s a very different story than the one of, say, how Sullivan met his now husband, which was "at 3 a.m. at the Black Party in New York," a sex-and-drug-filled circuit party.... I rarely mention that I met my own partner expressly for sex, on the assumption we'd have sex once and it would be over.

Please, my brother and sister-in-law got together because they were each halves of another couple that would go around as a foursome, got to be good friends, and then when each of their other SO's broke things off my brother suggested they stay in touch "and maybe sometimes get freaky". Their 8th anniversary is this year and they have two kids.

Lots of relationships begin by "well, this could be a fun hookup but I'm not looking for anything else right n-- Oh. Huh."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:42 PM on June 20, 2013


Uh, no, some gay people (and many straight people) genuinely don't want to be a monogamous couple behind a white picket fence. We are not doing it out of some impulse to be politically contrarian.

You're doing that thing of dividing minorities into the "good guys", who are polite and nice and like us and try to fit in, and the "bad guys" who are rude and different and reject your norms. The thing is, as the author points out, most gay people fit into the latter category (at least in my experience).


If you had actually read what I wrote, I said that this,
is of course fine,
I'm not saying anyone is the "bad guy." My whole reason for mentioning it, is that in my own experiences (which contradict yours), is that most gays, just as most straights, are monogamous. I don't know who's right. I could be wrong. But he only has as evidence his own anecdotes, so I wanted to raise the specter of his point being empirically suspect, just as others here have done. This is why it makes sense for the Human Rights Campaign to be a big figurehead in this movement, and Bash Back! not to be.

OK, but what happens when you've won the struggle for the rights of non-monogamous people? What happens when there's nothing left to transgress?

I apparently forgot to come back and post in response to this. But I've always thought that consensual incest would be the next fight, after the LGBT community.
posted by SollosQ at 5:15 PM on June 20, 2013


There are a lot of truths about a lot of marriages, gay or straight. Frankly, they are none of my business, nor the business of anyone else.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:41 PM on June 20, 2013


Since heterosexual marriage is such a disaster, why on earth would anybody want to imitate it? - Gore Vidal
posted by 445supermag at 8:11 PM on June 20, 2013


I always ask myself "who with?"

Pros?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2013


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