Gay cuisine - is it tops?
January 24, 2008 4:24 AM   Subscribe

GayHappinessFilter: Early studies on the subject concluded that "heterosexual relationships may have a great deal to learn from homosexual relationships." (pdf) But even so, do gay relationships tend to end sooner? Perhaps, but according to recent research, gay and lesbian couples are just as committed in their relationships as heterosexuals. (pdf) In fact, same-sex couples are actually more satisfied with their relationships, (pdf) and reported more positive feelings toward their partners and less conflict than heterosexual married couples. (Probably just as well, since just because you can be a gay newlywed doesn’t necessarily mean you can be a gay divorcee.) So what’s the secret to gay happiness? Most likely not ”the most satisfying orgasm you can get ... pure sexuality ... almost like pure heroin,” although that’s a heck of an endorsement from a “researcher” who claims to be against it.
posted by kyrademon (35 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's not gay if you're doing it for research, right?
posted by oh pollo! at 4:39 AM on January 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm gonna guess there are fewer gays than straights in relationships that they really don't want to be in but feel pressure to stay with for the long haul. A good example: a man who stays in a non-miserable marriage for 30 years because he can't admit that he's gay.
posted by bluejayk at 4:52 AM on January 24, 2008


I've just been reading Stephen Leather's novel, Private Dancer, which looks largely at sex between expats working in Thailand, and the bar girl/go-go scene.

If Leather's characters are to be believed, there are a significant proportion of heterosexual men who quickly transfer their custom away from the female prostitutes, and over to the katoey or ladyboys, on the grounds that they are:

a.) better lookingb.) cheaper
c.) you're less inclined to fall in love with one, and thus be ruined financially or turn monogamous, and
d.) the orgasms are better

Leather offers up several reasons for d. These include:

i.) Thai bargirls will rarely do anal
ii) A man knows better what a man wants/likes.
iii.) They're genuinely enthusiastic about sucking cock -- unlike the women.

To quote Big Ron on the subject:

"In fact, the longer a guy stays here, the more he's likely to go with katoeys, because you know where you are with a katoey. A katoey's a transsexual. But don't get me wrong, it's not like going with a guy in a dress. They're fucking lovely here. Drop dead gorgeous some of them. They take hormones to grow breasts, or have implants, and then they have their dicks cut off. Sex with them is something else, I can tell you. For a start, they give the best blow jobs. That's a fact. You've never had a blow job until you've had a katoey go down on you. You see, a guy knows what a guy likes. You don't have to fuck them, though Jimmy and Rick do it all the time, whether or not the geezer's got a dick. I don't screw them much, what with me being thirty stone and all, but I always fuck one up the arse on World Aids Day. Point of principle."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:01 AM on January 24, 2008


Gay couples tend to have very similar experiences growing up, and until very recently, living in only a few high population geographical areas (well the out ones at least). So yes, I would expect people who have gone through similar, albeit traumatic at times, experiences and then living in very cosmopolitan areas to do better than just a random couple. I bet if you did this on any paticular group of people who have a strong, common experience and who live and work in the same culture, you'll find similar results.
posted by geoff. at 5:19 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the 7th link, discussion section:

Another possible explanation is a selection bias in our study sample. Although we drew our sample from the entire population of couples in civil unions, it is likely any same-sex couple willing to be a pioneer at the forefront of the same-sex marriage movement, particularly when doing so involves an out-of-state ceremony, was happier and more stable than the average same-sex couple. Along these lines, even the same-sex couples without civil unions who participated were friends of the civil union couples and thus may also have been more satisfied and well-adjusted than most. Finally, it must be considered that these results may have been due to a response bias on the part of the same-sex couples in the study, who were well aware that their relationships were being compared with their heterosexual siblings’ relationships. Given the current political context, these couples may have been inclined to present their relationships in the best possible light to avoid perpetuating homophobic stereotypes about same-sex couples.
posted by kisch mokusch at 5:31 AM on January 24, 2008


But even so, do gay relationships tend to end sooner?

I think that since the general population has not recognized gay marriage in any form whatsoever until very recently, and has in fact largely villified the gay community, it has resulted a subculture where lasting relationships are not the expected norm. Whereas family and friends can provide sympathetic resources to help hetero couples work through problems, I'm guessing a much higher percentage of gay couples have little family support for their relationships (and may even have family that is against their relationships). In short, I think there are more external pressures that work to keep hetero couples together while working to separate gay couples.

Caveat: I'm a hetero guy, so what do I know?
posted by Doohickie at 5:50 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm one of the only gay men I know who doesn't necessarily want or expect to eventually be in a committed long term relationship.

I'm also one of the only gay men I know who's in one.

I think the playing field IS a little more level for same-sex couples. There is less emphasis on tradition, and a readier form of communication, due to the shared experience of being a homosexual in this culture. These are people who have had to (generally) work hard to discover or invent their sexual identity instead of just inherit one, so it's not rare to find oneself with someone who is quite familiar with one's own experience. Gay people have also generally liberated themselves from their family or birth culture's expectations and demands when it comes to sex and romance, which in itself (IMO) is a significant relief compared to heterosexual relationships which tend to bring all that to the table.
posted by hermitosis at 6:42 AM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Martial sex tends toward the boring end," he points out.

I for one had no idea that religious American think tanks were being run by British ex-Army officers.
posted by topynate at 6:44 AM on January 24, 2008


Q: What do lesbians do on a second date?
A: Rent a moving truck.


I'm one of the only gay men I know...

Huh. I always knew you were gay, hermitosis, but I always thought you were a woman. Strange, I non-sarcastically wonder why would I assume that?
posted by arcticwoman at 6:54 AM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyone who states that marital sex tends toward the boring end is DOING IT WRONG. ;)
posted by Doohickie at 6:54 AM on January 24, 2008


Wait, there's a boring end? I'm rather fond of both.

rim shot
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:09 AM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


If Cameron's marital sex is tending towards the boring end, perhaps he should turn his wife over.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:10 AM on January 24, 2008


Gays have better sex? Bummer.
posted by longbaugh at 7:14 AM on January 24, 2008 [5 favorites]


Even though I'm a woman engaged to a guy, and I've never been in a serious lesbian relationship, homosexuality has always seemed to make more sense to me, especially when me and my guy get into one of those stereotypical "You never listen to me/you're trying to smother me" arguments. There are just things about men I will never, ever understand, and I'm sure there's plenty about women my fiance just doesn't get. Lesbianism seems like such a logical choice, and if I weren't so physically attracted to men, I'd go for it.
posted by desjardins at 7:36 AM on January 24, 2008



Wait, there's a boring end? I'm rather fond of both.

rim shot
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:09 AM on January 24


I see what you did there.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:38 AM on January 24, 2008


I think the playing field IS a little more level for same-sex couples. There is less emphasis on tradition, and a readier form of communication, due to the shared experience of being a homosexual in this culture. These are people who have had to (generally) work hard to discover or invent their sexual identity instead of just inherit one, so it's not rare to find oneself with someone who is quite familiar with one's own experience.

More to the point, I think the shared experience of being homosexual gives you more reason to focus on what you and your partner have in common.

On the one hand, straight culture (well, insofar as there is such a thing) still gives a lot of weight to the idea that men and women will never understand each other — or in some cases, that they shouldn't even try, that the appeal of a MOTOS is connected to their strangeness and mystery and digging too deep is going to ruin it. Even if I'm dating a woman whose experience and outlook are pretty similar to mine, the prevailing culture tells me, "Hey, forget it. Chicks, right? Who can tell what they're thinking?"

On the other hand, queer culture seems to overemphasize the idea that homosexuals have something in common just by being homosexual. I've dated men whose experience and outlook were drastically different than my own — easily as different as your average woman's would have been — but the cultural message we got was still "Of course you guys can understand each other. You both came out, you both deal with homophobia, you're both men for crying out loud — you've got loads in common!"

The thing is, whether or not those messages are accurate, they shape people's expectations and behavior. If you're hearing that your partner is bound to be mysterious, and that the mystery is part of the appeal — that demystifying things will ruin the "magic" of the relationship or whatever — then how likely are you to really try hard to communicate? How much more likely are you to try if you're hearing that your partner is fundamentally just like you, that of course you're going to understand each other?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:46 AM on January 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


How much more likely are you to try if you're hearing that your partner is fundamentally just like you, that of course you're going to understand each other?


Of course, the funniest part is that you'd think you'd understand a same-sex partner better than an opposite-sex one. Doesn't seem to really work out that way.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:51 AM on January 24, 2008


Huh. I always knew you were gay, hermitosis, but I always thought you were a woman. Strange, I non-sarcastically wonder why would I assume that?

Huh. I don't know! I never put an unambiguous gender in my profile, and my username DOES begin with "her"...maybe it's an unconscious association. I figured adding a user photo would clear things up for the record.

Though I identify as "gay" for the convenience of others, I am more like a bisexual drag king trapped in a man's body. If that makes any sense.
posted by hermitosis at 7:53 AM on January 24, 2008


I can never remember which users are gay or straight, male or female on here, and I have a "huh, what? but I thought...." moment at least once a day.
posted by desjardins at 7:58 AM on January 24, 2008


Of course, the funniest part is that you'd think you'd understand a same-sex partner better than an opposite-sex one. Doesn't seem to really work out that way.

Oh, totally. But it's that expectation of understanding, I think, that matters — and the expectation's there, even if it doesn't match reality.

Then again, I tend to assume that everyone's basically a complete mystery to everyone else, no matter what they've got in common.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:04 AM on January 24, 2008


I'm guessing a much higher percentage of gay couples have little family support for their relationships (and may even have family that is against their relationships). In short, I think there are more external pressures that work to keep hetero couples together while working to separate gay couples. So said doohickie.

Remember too, though, that those external pressures sometimes cause a "we're in this together" thing, especially in young couples. Think Romeo and Juliet, or any couple whose parents disapprove -- sometimes this just eggs them on. Two against the world.

I also thought hermitosis was a lesbian :] Oops! Sorry.

I have so much more to add, but I'm waiting till the tea hits my brain.
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:13 AM on January 24, 2008


I feel this is just in line with all the research that says that couples who are more similar tend to make it for the long haul over the opposites attract thing. Being the same gender is just one more thing you have in common. Obviously this isn't universal at all from gay couple to couple, but it's probably enough to provide that little bump in the statistics.
posted by whoaali at 8:42 AM on January 24, 2008


Personally, I failed to pick up that hermitosis is gay at all. Or maybe I forgot. But I make a point of tracking my people around here.

Herm, I hope you don't mind that everyone thinks you're a lez. Everyone online always thinks I'm a guy.
posted by serazin at 9:25 AM on January 24, 2008


Feel free to flame me for saying this, but in my experience, and speaking in massive overgeneralizations, gay people are "better at" relationships, meaning we communicate better, ask for and get what we want better, recover better from bad times, feel closer to each other, have more, better sex, etc, but for whatever reasons, that doesn't seem to translate into staying together longer.
posted by serazin at 9:30 AM on January 24, 2008



Though I identify as "gay" for the convenience of others, I am more like a bisexual drag king trapped in a man's body. If that makes any sense.


[swoon]
posted by heeeraldo at 9:35 AM on January 24, 2008


All the most stable and long lasting relationships I know of are gay couples, but they seem to fight over the same things straights do, ie "You never listen to me/you're trying to smother me", etc.

And I always thought hermitosis was a guy.
posted by zarah at 10:18 AM on January 24, 2008


"Though I identify as "gay" for the convenience of others, I am more like a bisexual drag king trapped in a man's body. If that makes any sense."

DO NOT WANT

i don't really have any money, but i could be your aspertame mama....
posted by CitizenD at 12:16 PM on January 24, 2008


I've been in a committed relationship with my same-sex partner for 8 years next month. Of course I'm proud of that, but I don't think we've been together this long because we're "better at" anything than heterosexual couples.

We love each other, we're there for each other, but I don't have any illusions that we're better at communicating, feeling close, or anything else than any heterosexual couple that has been together as long.

What we do have, perhaps, that heterosexual couples don't have, is the determination to make what we have work -- to be there for each other through thick and thin -- because "society at large" (or the part of society that galvanizes itself to gather signatures to put initiatives on the ballot to make our relationship illegal) makes it so definitionally difficult for us to stay together.

(Adding: I don't presume to speak for anyone else other than myself, or to imply that I'm an exemplar, or anything like that.)
posted by blucevalo at 1:00 PM on January 24, 2008


Committed does not necessarily equal monogamous, a distinction that the "just as committed" study seems completely oblivious to. Otherwise, good and interesting stuff.

In my own life, I've found that having to define my sexuality and relationships on my own terms provides a wonderful freedom to decouple (or not, depending on one's temperament) such concepts. I think this "conceptual fluidity" has definitely contributed to the happiness I've found with my partner of nearly 10 years.
posted by treepour at 1:33 PM on January 24, 2008


"If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one's own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist..."

More proof that the rabidly anti-gay are self-deluded gays inexorably attracted to and barely or unable to resist gay sex. How else do you explain their insistence that homosexuals are out to seduce all hets and that the hets may not be able to resist! It would be funny were these denial-based theocrats not so destructive.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:48 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


For me as a middle-aged gay man, one of the differences I've always assumed between long-term gay and long-term straight relationships is a question of, for want of a better word, milestones. I don't know, really, when my current long-term relationship started. I know when we met. I know that we were very, very close for six or eight weeks. I know that we broke up for a couple of weeks. I know that we got back together, and about two months after that moved in together. But we don't really have an "anniversary" of any sort.

When did our dating make the transition into couplehood? Probably when we moved in together. Now, some 8-ish years on, with his health declining, our sex life on permanent hold, and a host of other challenges, we are committed in a sense of family. I couldn't imagine us not living together.

Interestingly, with my prior partner it was even less clear when our relationship began, although it was quite obvious when it ended. When we began, he lived with his other partner during the week and stayed with me on weekends: a modified triad. But there was, again, nothing "official" that we were trying to "live up to" in any sense. The relationship was actually quite stable until one of the partners moved across country. Eventually I lived with my part-time partner, and that simply didn't work out for the long term.

I'm really curious if the academics who are studying our relationships are, in fact, taking account of the variety of our experiences and definitions in our lives.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:49 PM on January 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Been with my (same sex, natch) partner for going on 13 years here. Emigrated to Canada to be with him. Love him to death, can't imagine a life with anybody else, married (had to go to Ontario to do it, at the time) in 2003.

We don't have more or better sex than our straight friends do (and yes we've had tons of honest conversations about this with people that I trust and believe), and I'm sure that we fight more than anybody in our social circle. But what we don't have is a speck of jealousy; we're openly open (not that either of us is a complete slut), and I've never met a straight couple with an open (not swinging or "bi," but open) relationship, ever.

On the other hand, I know few gay male couples who've been together as long as we have who are not "exogamous" with respect to one another- in other words, they ONLY have sex with other people and never with each other. I'm happy that we still have an active sex life, together.

But in a weird way, sex (as in exclusive, monogamous sex) is paradoxically less important for gay men than for straights. No idea about lesbians, but after the sex dries up gay male couples don't demand sexual exclusivity, and in any event, they just have more to talk about when sex isn't an issue.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:55 PM on January 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Gottman was interviewed on This American Life a while back, and he spoke briefly on same-sex relationships (just past the 24 min. mark). It's a cool segment of a good episode.

Also, Adam Felber reads his piece against gay marriage.
posted by metabrilliant at 5:17 PM on January 24, 2008


I've been with my same-sex partner for eight and a half years. We too got married in 2003 (we're Canadian). I think that previous commenters have made good points with reference to why same-sex relationships might be so successful. Yes, we do have a shared sense of "It's us against the world, baby!" We also do understand each other's bodies a bit better because we have the same junk, and have the shared experience of homo/bisexuality.

I might be sharing a bit too much information, here, but I think that one of the things that has kept us together is our non-traditionality. I've always thought that the fact of being gay, and lucky enough to have been out since we were teenagers, has made us just more experimentative in general. We don't have to have a traditional wedding, we're already breaking the main tradition - let's break more! We don't have to keep our sex-life to just us, people don't approve of the type of sex we have anyway! We don't have an open relationship - neither of us ever does anything without the other - we are just open to the very occasional... adventure... with a third. No games, no lies. It adds some drama and excitement to the regular (excuse me) grind, and usually ends up reminding us how each other is all we really want or need. Still, it's nice to know that there are windows open, and the reassurance that the grass really isn't any greener, is wonderful for us.

But I make a point of tracking my people around here.
Aw... we have a people!
posted by arcticwoman at 6:28 PM on January 24, 2008


I think that, apart from social issues, which vary in their importance by geography and family closeness, gay relationships are just less complicated than straight ones. Caveat, I know little of straight relationships, being life-long exclusively gay.

Gay men seldom have children to raise. Surely this reduces stress. Gay men do indeed find it easier to change around between whether they are monogamous or not, and variations within that. If gay men decide to be open, casual sex is generally easy to find, and easy to keep casual.

Longevity of relationships fascinates me. I'm in my third long-term relationship. The first ended in death, after 5 years. In a twist, it ended on a considerable high note. Ouch. My second ended almost as easily as it began, after 6 years. My current has been 10 years, and going strong. Likely will end with my death, this time (he's younger ;-)

But then, I'm a poor data point. We're a rather unusual couple, I believe, in a number of ways. Not the least of which, we aren't really part of the "gay community". He was never an out-and-about gay man, our meeting was his coming out. We just happen to be extremely fortunate in lots of ways. Even though we're of different national origins, our backgrounds are amazingly similar. And we're a pair of geeks, anyway, and that's a big plus.
posted by Goofyy at 7:20 AM on January 25, 2008


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