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Monogamish
January 16, 2014 4:26 PM   Subscribe

The New Monogamists. A new generation of gay couples is building a white picket fence around their sex lives. Are they depriving themselves of a perk of being gay? And, in response... Why OUT's "The New Monogamists" misses the boat.
posted by crossoverman (62 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why should this be a controversy? I thought that the gay rights movement has in large part been about the rights of adult humans to express their sexual and romantic preferences in whatever way they wish, so long as they're not harming anyone in the process. If someone wants to be as promiscuous as possible then that's fine, as long as they do it in a responsible way. Ditto if they want to enact a simulacrum of 1950s domestic monogamy, or anything in between. People are gonna set up their sex and relationships however feels best to them, and that's an inalienable human right as far as I'm concerned. Why should there be a fuss about this?
posted by Scientist at 4:33 PM on January 16 [30 favorites]


I really wish that Out Magazine hadn't referred to non-monogamy (or what those still uncomfortable with The Gays would call promiscuity) a "perk." That really doesn't help the cause a whole hell of a lot. It's not accurate, it's not a universal truth in gay relationships, and it's sure as hell going to turn into ammo for the other side.

Yuck.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:42 PM on January 16 [14 favorites]


(Being able to wear my partner's clothes to work when all mine are dirty is kind of a "perk," though. That I'll admit.)
posted by mudpuppie at 4:43 PM on January 16 [32 favorites]


You see, being gay is about being edgy and countercultural and jesus christ is it 2014 or 1980?
posted by dilaudid at 4:45 PM on January 16 [22 favorites]


Ditto if they want to enact a simulacrum of 1950s domestic monogamy

Yep.

The backlash against this as being "non progressive" strikes me as ye-olde backlash against being a feminine feminist woman, or something; it kinda misses the point that choice to do whatever the fuck you want was a huge tenet of the entire movement. And people responding to those who say "actually, i like doing it this way" with "but are you SURE, are you sure you aren't just brainwashed in to wanting that?" kind of stuff or even worse snark/criticism are kinda just asshats.
posted by emptythought at 4:46 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


Yeah, they lost me a bit at the bullshit evolutionary psych "biology intends for men to spread their seed as far as they can" thing. Did you ask biology what biology intends? Because last time I checked, biology didn't have consciousness and thus was incapable of intention. And isn't that the same evolutionary psych bullshit that people use to say that being gay is unnatural, because biology intends for men to spread their seed by, you know, impregnating women?

I get that "do what works for you" sounds egregiously touchy-feely to a lot of people, but it seems like a pretty good principal to go by when discussing other people's relationships.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:47 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


I dunno; I think there is a certain amount of nervousness that, once landmarks like marriage equality are achieved, there is a segment of the gay population that will lose interest in politics and abandon "the movement," having gotten what they came for. That those who can assimilate, will, leaving the people who can't (even if they wanted to) to fend for themselves. I suppose there's also the worry that, if you want random hook-ups, having the "dating pool drained by monogamy" is an unappealing prospect.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:54 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


Soon it will become difficult, or even impossible, to sleep around like it currently is for the heterosexual population.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:57 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


(Being able to wear my partner's clothes to work when all mine are dirty is kind of a "perk," though. That I'll admit.)

Except except except when you find out your partner has left the house with the tie you planned to wear and now this blue blazer/dark plum sweater combo isn't working AT ALL.
posted by The Whelk at 4:58 PM on January 16 [20 favorites]


Am I showing my age or my assholishness when I see this argument and counter-argument and think, "this again?"

Just like every generation's kids think they invented sex, every generation's gays think they invented fighting over monogamy choices. It was a plot point in The Boys in the Band 45 fucking years ago.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:01 PM on January 16 [36 favorites]


We are doomed to have the same conversations until the One True Gay appears.
posted by The Whelk at 5:02 PM on January 16 [29 favorites]


I suppose it's like seeing the Huxtables on television. They may be a black family, but they conform to traditionally white values. So is the point assimilation, or is the point to allow other points of view (in this case non-monogamy) into the mainstream?

On the other hand, having a dominant voice within a subculture (in this case, "non-monogamists") telling you that your picket-fence lifestyle is not politically correct must surely feel oppressive.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:04 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


(Please note, my frustration isn't with the post at all but the inability for anybody to be secure enough in their own choices that they can't deal with someone making a different one.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:06 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I read something today on Buzzfeed about how "Looking" is going to be such a breath of fresh air because it shows a wider swath of the gay community... and apparently it manages to cover cruising and that leathery Folsom sex festival thing all within the first five episodes. Yep. Wide swath. Right.

Get back to me when you can do a compelling show about a couple who move into a transitional neighborhood in Indianapolis and get very involved in community gardening and urban chicken farming.
posted by jph at 5:14 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


> Why should this be a controversy? I thought that the gay rights movement has in large part been about the rights of adult humans to express their sexual and romantic preferences in whatever way they wish, so long as they're not harming anyone in the process. If someone wants to be as promiscuous as possible then that's fine, as long as they do it in a responsible way. Ditto if they want to enact a simulacrum of 1950s domestic monogamy, or anything in between. People are gonna set up their sex and relationships however feels best to them, and that's an inalienable human right as far as I'm concerned. Why should there be a fuss about this?

------------------------

> I really wish that Out Magazine hadn't referred to non-monogamy (or what those still uncomfortable with The Gays would call promiscuity) a "perk." That really doesn't help the cause a whole hell of a lot. It's not accurate, it's not a universal truth in gay relationships, and it's sure as hell going to turn into ammo for the other side.

These were amusing to read back-to-back.
posted by officer_fred at 5:18 PM on January 16


The funny thing is I was just having a conversation about someone considering a separation from thier quasi-public figure same-sex partner and worrying if that would be seen as " good for the gays" or ammo for the other side.
posted by The Whelk at 5:23 PM on January 16


On the other hand, having a dominant voice within a subculture (in this case, "non-monogamists") telling you that your picket-fence lifestyle is not politically correct must surely feel oppressive.


The thing is that two men getting married AND having a monogamous relationship is beyond PC. It's absolutely transgressive.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:37 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Except except except when you find out your partner has left the house with the tie you planned to wear and now this blue blazer/dark plum sweater combo isn't working AT ALL.

My frustration is more along the lines of "Seriously? Every freaking one of your sweaters has a hole in the right armpit? How the hell does that happen??"

posted by mudpuppie at 5:43 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Every freaking one of your sweaters has a hole in the right armpit? How the hell does that happen??"

they always open beers with the same armpit
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:46 PM on January 16 [21 favorites]


> "Just like every generation's kids think they invented sex, every generation's gays think they invented fighting over monogamy choices. It was a plot point in The Boys in the Band 45 fucking years ago."

Yep. And a decade before THAT, the Mattachine society was arguing about it. (Including an article in ONE where the author mentioned that same-sex monogamy probably wasn't exactly a new thing given that he had been together monogamously with his partner since 1948, and personally knew couples that had been together monogamously since at least 1918. It's only "a new generation of gay couples" doing this? Suuuuure it is.)
posted by kyrademon at 5:47 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


I wish we could argue about what really matters, like if it's still okay to mix metals outside of New Englandly WASP circles and if we need to change up the Standard Middle Aged Gay Haircut for the next decade.
posted by The Whelk at 5:50 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


In a world that is constantly changing, it's good to know that the world will still be arguing about stuff like this long after we're all dead. It's a fixed point in the universe.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:52 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


By "new" they mean "old", right?

Because there is no real trend here, only notice for the purpose of writing an article. People have been fucking and marrying for a long time now.

There may be some sort of fashion, but it never lasts. Not as long as fucking and marrying.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:55 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Being able to wear my partner's clothes to work when all mine are dirty is kind of a "perk," though. That I'll admit

I have had boyfriends who were the same size as me and that was awesome.

Unfortunately I am 5'7 and he's 5'11 and I've got at least 40lbs on him so that sucks for me.

He does like wearing my shirts though.

But to the article: we're monogamish. We have rules about what's allowed in extracurricular activity and it works for us. Isn't that the whole fucking point? That two (or three or four or Borg) people in a relationship can negotiate what's good for them?

Bottom line: when I was single, it was nobody's business what I did with my penis except the people who were involved with my penis. Now that I'm (surprisingly) not-single, however, it's still nobody's fucking business what I do with my penis except for the people I'm doing it with.

Can we, as a society, pretty please just accept that not everybody subscribes to this lifelong monogamy thing? Me wanting to fuck someone other than my boyfriend affects you not at all unless you're the person I want to fuck. Other than that, it is not your goddamn business in any way. If I choose to hang out at the baths every weekend, or if I choose to never touch another human being sexually, it makes no matter: it is not your business.

Same goes for your business. If you're not harming anyone, it's fair game.

ok I'll stop now or ranting will occur

HUGS AND KISSES
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:55 PM on January 16 [11 favorites]


Get back to me when you can do a compelling show about a couple who move into a transitional neighborhood in Indianapolis and get very involved in community gardening and urban chicken farming.

No show can be all things to everyone - and no show should try to be. I am interested in seeing how it compares to Queer as Folk, because just like Girls being compared to Sex and the City, Looking will be compared to QAF because women and gay men only have two data points of comparison. (Unless you think SATC was about gay men. ;)

I'm not even sure what kind of show Looking is trying to be, so I don't know whether it will cover a wide swathe of queer culture or if it'll just be twinks and the men who want to fuck them. But writing off a show (that we haven't seen yet) because it's not about our kind of gays or the kind of gays we want to see, is pretty reductive.

What I mean to say is, I hope you get your community gardening and urban chicken farming show. But I don't think that's in HBO's wheelhouse.
posted by crossoverman at 5:58 PM on January 16


My understanding so far about Looking is that it's The L Word with penises.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:00 PM on January 16


Wait a minute. Weren’t gay men the ones who were supposed to be reinventing the rules of matrimony and long-term relationships, showing the straights (and perhaps even a few U-Haul-to-the-second-date lesbian couples) how to loosen up and not feel compelled to tie love and commitment to sexual monogamy?

Well, no. They were supposed to be having whatever kind of relationships they personally wanted to have.

But thanks for reinforcing the stereotype of gay men as the pied-pipers of sexual licentiousness. Or, alternately, the gay best friend/magical queer, preaching the gospel of sexy self-confidence and you-go-girlism to the ladies.
posted by desuetude at 6:07 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


But thanks for reinforcing the stereotype of gay men as the pied-pipers of sexual licentiousness. Or, alternately, the gay best friend/magical queer, preaching the gospel of sexy self-confidence and you-go-girlism to the ladies.

I don't think anyone was doing that.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:15 PM on January 16


desuetude, speaking as a queer dude (okay gay might be more convenient), it's actually kinda true that we have been pushing those boundaries. In my city right now there are three 'swingers' clubs that really? Are bathhouses. Which wouldn't exist if us gayfaghomoqueers hadn't gone there first.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:16 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Get back to me when you can do a compelling show about a couple who move into a transitional neighborhood in Indianapolis and get very involved in community gardening and urban chicken farming

The monogamous gay couple that lives across the cul de sac from my father on the north side of Indianapolis got married a while back. Another neighbor has not only chickens but a couple of goats in the yard; not sure of their genders or orientation, as they are strangers. An old friend of mine who is a TV producer and director lives 5 minutes north of all this. Which is my way of saying, your dream could come true.

(A more salient and, to me, interesting observation is my 89-year old, gold-star Republican-voting father's casual acceptance of his gay, married neighbors; he especially likes when they shovel the snow off his drive for him.)
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:25 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Promiscuity is not a "perk".
posted by koavf at 6:41 PM on January 16


It is if you think it is.

It isn't if you think it isn't.

There's no 1/0 thing here. It's a spectrum based on who wants what and how that agrees with what the other person/people want,
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:44 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


Well sure, but that's as true of straights as anyone else. It's nothing to do with being gay.
posted by kavasa at 7:00 PM on January 16


I'm not disagreeing on there being a greater acceptance of casual non-monogamy among gay men. I just don't like the way it was framed in this article at all. Setting it up as a universally essential element of gay identity in order to be shocked, shocked that any (young, attractive) gay couples might personally decide to opt out.

Meanwhile, having learned that that there are apparently non-monogamous straight couples, the article deduces that the culture of gay men must be the inspiration! Umm, no, I would say that it's definitely straight poly/open/swing couples who typically serve as the ambassadors for other straight people to consider non-monogamy. (As a data point, consider the male homophobia common within many swingers/sex clubs.)
posted by desuetude at 7:01 PM on January 16


Came for the mid-century retro fashion, stayed for the mid-century retro relationship?
posted by Dreidl at 7:02 PM on January 16


Came for the mid-century retro fashion, stayed for the mid-century retro relationship?

Wait, do I get the browline glasses without the mistress? Like can we just hang out?
posted by The Whelk at 7:06 PM on January 16


Whelkingtons, honey, you are the mistress.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:17 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


Promiscuity is not a "perk".

See there? Told you.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:26 PM on January 16


You're right, mudpuppie: no one should look at being a sexual minority as being associated with some set of cultural values. It's sheer BS. The only thing that makes (e.g.) homosexual males related is that they have sexual attraction to other males more-or-less exclusively. That's it. You don't have to like Judy Garland or vote Democrat or be swishy or twinky or beary or whatever other crap gets added onto these labels. You also don't have to make this the center of your identity and insist "this is who I am" all identity-politics style. Why on Earth someone would want to deliberately ghettoize himself more by adding all these extra rules to being a minority is beyond me. I belong to a few minority groups myself and I don't see other persons in those groups as kin, nor do I think that we all have some common interest except around those which narrowly and specifically relate to the common denominators that we have.
posted by koavf at 7:42 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


or vote Democrat

I would disagree with this. Any queer person in the USA who votes R is voting for people who actively hate us.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:02 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Gender essentialism: Not true when it's about the "natural" state of same-sex relationships any more than it's true about anything else, basically. Lesbians do not always come with Uhauls and not all men are happiest navigating multiple sexual partners at a time, because there is no "all men are X" or "all women are X" thing that is actually universal. And this sort of thing always really boils down to "all men value sex more than commitment" and "all women value commitment more than sex", which we consider silly and reactionary when conservative Christians like Justin Whackadoodle are going off about it.
posted by Sequence at 8:08 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


I wish we could argue about what really matters, like... if we need to change up the Standard Middle Aged Gay Haircut

The Young Clooney if you've got your hair, shaved bald if you're losing it. They work. Next on the docket?
posted by psoas at 8:09 PM on January 16


I like this article. It doesn't really say anything negative about different kinds of gay people. It quotes information from university professors and psychotherapists, and I can take at face value those as competent sources. I think what's going on is people like in the 2nd article feeling threatened by the information and questions that the author raises. On reading the second article carefully, the author commits some serious logical errors—that's unacceptable.
posted by polymodus at 8:12 PM on January 16


or vote Democrat

I would disagree with this. Any queer person in the USA who votes R is voting for people who actively hate us.


Because the democrats have been such awesome allies? Reagan was happy to let AIDS run unchecked, but Clinton was happy to legislate our second-class status with DADT and DOMA. Dick Cheney came out for marriage equality before Clinton or Obama did. I'm not saying Reagan is cool (he wasn't) and I'm not saying it's cool to be a gay republican (it's not) but there's a huge difference between saying the democrats are less horrible to us than the republicans versus saying the democrats are actually good to us.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:13 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


@feckless fecal fear mongering: Or vote Green or Libertarian or best of all, not vote. Divisive and tribalistic language like this is not helping anyone (except maybe Democrat power-mongers).
posted by koavf at 8:16 PM on January 16


Why should this be a controversy? I thought that the gay rights movement has in large part been about the rights of adult humans to express their sexual and romantic preferences in whatever way they wish, so long as they're not harming anyone in the process... People are gonna set up their sex and relationships however feels best to them, and that's an inalienable human right as far as I'm concerned. Why should there be a fuss about this?

What a fucking statement. This just about sums up the depth of the public health crisis in the gay community in West Hollywood, which I happen to live in and do volunteer work in. I'm almost too disoriented to comment on this any further.

I mean, I can't believe how invisible this issue is. According to the CDC, from 2008 to 2010, HIV rates for men having sex with men (MSM) between the ages of 13-24 have risen 22%. The CDC is warning that we are back to epidemic levels. In 2010, the CDC published a report that MSM account for 2% of the overall population and 63% of new HIV cases. Unawareness, stigma, homophobia, lack of insurance and yes, promiscuity, are all contributing factors. I haven't even mentioned crystal meth yet, which is basically wiping out an entire generation of young kids, without conversation. People don't rebound from meth the way they do with alcohol or other drugs.

Outsiders aren't supposed to have an opinion on any of this and further unfussify this public health epidemic by talking about "inalienable human rights." OUT Magazine in passing calls it a "perk" of being gay. So much death, sickness, sorrow and denial, just swallowing up an entire generation of kids, much like it did 30 years ago. The situation is so fucked up, without a hint of national conversation. That at least explains my blowing a gasket.
posted by phaedon at 8:26 PM on January 16 [11 favorites]


How about people do whatever the hell they want (so long as no one is being hurt) and the rest of us don't judge? Can we just do that?
posted by LarryC at 8:30 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


But LarryC, if we all did that, what kind of navel-gazing identity politics complaining could lazy blog journalists do? Or what kind of snarky bickering could we have on MetaFilter?
posted by koavf at 8:35 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I feel like us heterosexuals should have warned gay people that just because we can get married doesn't mean people will stop telling us we're having sex wrong.
posted by straight at 8:39 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


I feel like us heterosexuals should have warned gay people that just because we can get married doesn't mean people will stop telling us we're having sex wrong.
posted by straight at 15:39 on January 17 [+] [!]


Eponysexual.
posted by crossoverman at 8:59 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


*Just* what I needed to hear: the expert analysis of an erotica photographer on the evolutionary and cultural history of monogamy.

Thank you, OUT.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:10 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I think one of the things about the gay community is that it's spent so many years being actively put down by heterosexuals that it's had a hard time accepting that sometimes it can learn lessons from them.

Specifically in this case, eons of heterosexual culture have taught us that there's no monogamy / promiscuity argument out there that can't be settled permanently by a decent measure of repressive self-deception and unhinged alcoholism.
posted by koeselitz at 9:59 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Isn't it a perk, though? Not that monogamy is always a drag, but one of the nicer things about being gay is the feeling that you can sidestep a lot of societal expectations around relationships (since your relationship is never gonna be acceptable to some people anyway), and also not needing to worry about an unplanned pregnancy.
posted by subdee at 11:51 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Like it really is easier to have no-strings-attached sex when you don't have to worry about kids popping up.
posted by subdee at 11:58 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Good lord. Gay or straight, could we be spared the j-school "contrary to what people think, x people aren't what the consesus says they are"
posted by Ironmouth at 12:19 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Every freaking one of your sweaters has a hole in the right armpit? How the hell does that happen??"

Friction? Same reason that right-handed people tend to stain and wear-out their right hand shirt cuffs faster.
posted by atrazine at 1:41 AM on January 17


Same as any adult relationship. Talk to your partner. Negotiate your agreements. Honor them.

Next.
posted by petrilli at 5:11 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


People who make different choices than me are adorable! Like puppies sliding on hardwood floor into walls! But still adorable.
posted by srboisvert at 9:19 AM on January 17


Funny how, gay or straight, monogamy is seen as a form of self-denial or lack of fulfillment, whereas promiscuity is not. And yet it is, too. It's just a different thing that is denied; a different possibility that is not fulfilled.
posted by Decani at 9:33 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Like it really is easier to have no-strings-attached sex when you don't have to worry about kids popping up.

Sterilization can take care of that for those of us queers* who ended up in hetero-configured, monogamish, childfree relationships. Babyproof sexytimes FTW. :)



*Genderqueer and bi here.
posted by luckynerd at 10:47 AM on January 17


I'm returning to traditional values, the establishment of official concubines to produce male heirs.
posted by The Whelk at 11:19 AM on January 17


[Voting/political parties derail deleted.]
posted by taz at 10:59 PM on January 19


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