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Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret
January 29, 2010 7:58 AM   Subscribe

New York Times: "A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many. Some gay men and lesbians argue that, as a result, they have stronger, longer-lasting and more honest relationships. And while that may sound counterintuitive, some experts say boundary-challenging gay relationships represent an evolution in marriage — one that might point the way for the survival of the institution."
posted by andoatnp (143 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Open relationships are not exclusively a gay domain, of course.

Am not a fan of the dissimilar treatment of the homo and hetero portions of this article.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:02 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many.

Define "many."

Also, why does the study focus exclusively on gay relationships if it's really about monogamy vs. open relationships? That is weird and creepy and I don't like that they did that.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:06 AM on January 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


erm... I'm not comfortable with this.

A big part of it is the "rare glimpse" angle, like gay people are some sort of exotic animal. Really, is it that hard to find a gay person talking about their relationship?

Secondly, isn't it a little bit late in the game to be trying to milk the "those kinky promiscuous gays" sexploitation angle?

And finally, this is just empty conjecture and bad relationship advice. Yes, open relationships work great for some people (gay and straight), but that hardly means it's the future of marriage. Thanks "some experts."
posted by 256 at 8:07 AM on January 29, 2010 [28 favorites]


Define "many."

Judging by other salacious headline-grabbing things like this? Probably 23.
posted by odinsdream at 8:09 AM on January 29, 2010


I am completely befuddled by this new information, coming as I do from a world where 100% of heterosexual relationships are monogamous. In fact, I just now had to invent the word monogamous because it didn't even exist as a concept, like the word "water" to a fish. It's just so completely USUAL, you know?
posted by DU at 8:10 AM on January 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


Or another way to read this:

"Relationships rejected by society reject relationship model enforced by society, end up choosing one that works best for them."

There are things that are commonplace and seem obvious in my life, but I realize that they only seem that way because I wasn't able to take the path that others could.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:11 AM on January 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships

Right because I couldn't possibly be gay or in a gay relationship thanks.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm imagining this being read in the voice of a Terribly Excited British Paleontologist.
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:18 AM on January 29, 2010 [25 favorites]


I am repulsed by the promiscuity of these perverts and their depraved "lifestyle"! Even more so on my 27th re-reading of this article!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:18 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Data point:

I know a couple who has an open relationship. That couple is straight.

Perhaps this should have been a feature on "successful open marriages" period.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:19 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll also be interested to see how this study defines open. Because since this is obviously something that a lot of people don't have experience with, everybody is going to define it differently.

I've met plenty of gay couples who consider themselves in a non-open relationship, but that doesn't mean I haven't one can't go home with them if the cards fall that way.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:20 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even though straight people deny us our rights, our relationships are imparting unto them so much wisdom. Seems like a fair exchange.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:21 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many.

Well, in most states they have no economic and legal incentives to form monogamous relationships and have strong societal disincentives to do so. Furthermore, they are much less likely to be held together by children since children in a gay relationship are almost always the result of substantial forethought and are essentially never accidental.

To be a fair comparison with heterosexual relationships you'd need to have a state and society where heterosexual marriage and civil unions were illegal and any heterosexual couple that held themselves out as married would be looked down upon by a large percentage of the population. Oh and those heterosexuals would have to be total birth control zealots. My guess is a lot fewer heterosexual couples would end up in long-term monogamous relationships.

It's total apples and oranges and the variables cannot be controlled for.

Different societies produce different ideas about what relationships should look like. Unfortunately, the very people who believe that homosexual relationships are immoral are all too often the ones that believe that there is only One True Relationship Style that is appropriate for all people everywhere.
posted by jedicus at 8:22 AM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm imagining this being read in the voice of a Terribly Excited British Paleontologist.

I was going with the "Crocodile Hunter" voice, myself.

"Blimey, look at this! It's an 'Omosexual! You don't see these more than about a tenth of the time. And golly, look at the size of 'im!"
posted by mhoye at 8:23 AM on January 29, 2010 [35 favorites]


Rare glimpse? All of the people I know in open relationships, gay or straight, speak about at extraordinary length and detail, usually with a slight tone of condescension and pity: 'Oh, you poor, poor normies with no desire for four-way bukkake romps at the Hampton Inn by the airport...'

Article seemed to be in that vein: A relationship choice made by some is flaunted as evolutionary advance, despite being practiced by pretty much everyone everywhere, in all time periods.
posted by mrdaneri at 8:26 AM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


That consent is key. “With straight people, it’s called affairs or cheating,” said Colleen Hoff, the study’s principal investigator, “but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.”

Um, heterosexuals in open relationships don't call it cheating, either.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:27 AM on January 29, 2010 [12 favorites]


I am monogamous, apple.
posted by tigrefacile at 8:27 AM on January 29, 2010


Well, in most states they have no economic and legal incentives to form monogamous relationships and have strong societal disincentives to do so.

Huh? Gay couples don't have a legal incentive to have a monogamous, marriage-like relationship in states that don't have legal same-sex marriage? I don't understand. The economic incentive is obvious. If two people pool their resources and exclusively commit to each other for life, that provides a valuable safety net, especially (but not only) if they're raising children. And no, I'm not saying this is the only acceptable way to live, but I don't see how you can say there's no incentive to do it unless it's state-sanctioned.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:27 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


bet they used to pass around the National Geographic for the titties, too
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:28 AM on January 29, 2010


I'm imagining this being read in the voice of a Terribly Excited British Paleontologist.

To do that right, you'll need to replace all instances of "gay" or "gay and lesbian" (and related terms) with the Standard Terribly Excited And Over-Enunciated British Term: HAH-moe-SECKS-yoo-ull. If you do it right, the SECKS will take about 1.5 syllables and the CK will sound like a gunshot.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:28 AM on January 29, 2010


If the study was done well, I certainly think it's notable that 50% of the gay relationships studied were non-monogamous by mutual consent. That is a marked difference from heterosexual relationships, which largely seek a monogamous ideal, even if they fall short of it. It's really okay to do the research and consider the possibility that gay relationships are not, after all, exactly like straight ones.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:30 AM on January 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


Yeah, well, my brother's gay, so . . . I know.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:31 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are we sure this article isn't from the Roaring Twenties?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:31 AM on January 29, 2010


I am a homosexual. I will be available for interviews between 11-12am, CST. I will tell you everything you need to know.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:33 AM on January 29, 2010 [16 favorites]


some experts say boundary-challenging gay relationships represent an evolution in marriage

Evolution AND Gay Marriage? They should've thrown abortion into the mix somehow and gotten a Republican hat trick.
posted by graventy at 8:34 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


But Jaltcoh, I think the fact is that these relationships prove that's a false distinction. There is no economic incentive one way or another when you can enter into a consensual nonmonogamous relationship AND have all those economic benefits that a monogamous relationship might confer.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:35 AM on January 29, 2010


monogamy is not a central feature for many

Breaking story, news at 11:00? Come (sic) on.
posted by cogneuro at 8:36 AM on January 29, 2010


It's really okay to do the research and consider the possibility that gay relationships are not, after all, exactly like straight ones.

That may be, but as I argued above I think it's difficult for a study like this to have any explanatory power. It's quite possible that the differences are mostly the product of the legal and social environment in which the relationships formed. Some of it may be intrinsic (e.g., since gay relationships less often involve children a stable pairbond is less likely to be important), but I don't think this study can prove much one way or the other.

And because all the study can do is make the observation without explaining it, the study is likely to be twisted into saying something that it isn't by those with an agenda of demonstrating that homosexual relationships are inferior.
posted by jedicus at 8:39 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: Also, why does the study focus exclusively on gay relationships if it's really about monogamy vs. open relationships? That is weird and creepy and I don't like that they did that.

The study is called the Gay Couples Study. Just because they've discussed monogamy/non-monogamy amongst gay couples doesn't mean that it's "really about monogamy vs. open relationships" and isn't weird or creepy at all.
posted by Adam_S at 8:42 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's really okay to do the research and consider the possibility that gay relationships are not, after all, exactly like straight ones.

As important as it is for gay relationships to be treated with the same respect as hetero ones, I think it's counterproductive to try and convince the world that they are the same. I don't understand why these ideas have to be mutually exclusive.
posted by hermitosis at 8:45 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


That may be, but as I argued above I think it's difficult for a study like this to have any explanatory power.
What have we discovered so far?
Initial findings revealed during the Qualitative Phase include some of the motivations for developing and maintaining sexual agreements, such as to support stronger, healthier, and more satisfying relationships and non-heteronormative identities; to emphasize trust, safety, love, and commitment; and, to a lesser extent, to avoid HIV and STD infection.

Agreements about whether or not to allow sex with outside partners covered a wide range of types, including “traditional” monogamous arrangements as well as those that permitted sex with outside partners. For those couples who allowed sex with outside partners, most placed rules or conditions limiting when, where, how often, and with whom outside sex was permitted. How couples handled breaks in their agreements varied, depending on what condition was broken, whether it was disclosed, and the partner’s reaction. In general, disclosure benefited the relationship by giving couples the opportunity to discuss their needs and expectations and by allowing an opportunity for increased communication about and renegotiation of the agreement, if necessary.
posted by andoatnp at 8:46 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, in most states they have no economic and legal incentives to form monogamous relationships and have strong societal disincentives to do so.

I dunno. Married heterosexual couples have legal and economic incentives to be married, but what with no-fault divorce, I can't see how "monogamous" and "married" have to mean the same thing. A truckload of heterosexually married couples are also non-monogamous, but (based on anonymous askmes, anyway) it seems like the non-monogamy is done by cheating.
posted by rtha at 8:46 AM on January 29, 2010


But Jaltcoh, I think the fact is that these relationships prove that's a false distinction. There is no economic incentive one way or another when you can enter into a consensual nonmonogamous relationship AND have all those economic benefits that a monogamous relationship might confer.

I'm still not convinced that no economic benefits are lost when a relationship is nonmonogamous. In fact, I think there's a pretty straightforward correlation between someone having multiple partners and not devoting as many resources to any one partner.

Also, emotions are often interconnected with economics, especially when we're talking about love, sex, relationships, and marriage. People might feel more economically secure if they believe they have a commitment with their partner to be exclusive. Life isn't always as logical as we can make it sound like in our comments on a website.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:49 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Write proposal for dubious, but controversial (!) study => GRANTS! GRANTS! GRANTS!
2. Perform study, publish limited observations.
3. Call "science" section, because science must be heard
4. Study is likely to be twisted into saying something that it isn't by those with an agenda of demonstrating that homosexual relationships are inferior
5. Return to step one , refer to previous ground-breaking research
posted by Think_Long at 8:49 AM on January 29, 2010


But as its been pointed out, this decision is usually made in order to STRENGTHEN the relationship. Therefore, it is an economic DISincentive to remain monogamous when that will actually weaken the relationship as that would ultimately undermine all the other investment in the relationship.
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:52 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would also point out that it's a study of gay couples who live in SAN FRANCISCO. I would submit that gays and lesbians who choose to live in the world gay capital might not represent a full demographic of all gays and lesbians. (In other words, even some GLBT people think that SF is full of nuts and flakes.)
posted by pomegranate at 8:52 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


the Standard Terribly Excited And Over-Enunciated British Term: HAH-moe-SECKS-yoo-ull.

What? This is like some Bostonian who turns British halfway through the word, or something.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 8:53 AM on January 29, 2010


Speaking of location, pomegranate, The Advocate recently did a list of the top gay places in America (that you wouldn't imagine are actually all that gay), and I have to say, I felt really sorry for the poor Advocate rep who was sent out to be interviewed by NPR. He had to talk about one of the metrics they used - availability of cruising spots. And so help me Dog, the only thing I could think was, "I hope someone has the decency to kill me if I am every interviewed by NPR about cruising spots."
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:56 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey guys! I heard Sarah Palin vaccinated a declawed cat!
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area.

The key here is "Bay Area." It's ridiculous to extrapolate the results of a study done in the freakin' Bay Area, of all places, to "many" successful gay marriages, as this article does.

On preview, what pomegranate said.

A different study, published in 1985, concluded that open gay relationships actually lasted longer.

Yeah, a study published in 1985 -- a very different time (and who knows when the study was actually conducted?), at least in terms of sexual mores (especially in the Bay Area) than 2009 -- is enormously relevant evidence.
posted by blucevalo at 9:02 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, I'm here for the interview. Sit down, take off your things, make yourself at home.

And if you don't wish to be identified, please use the index cards in front of you to ask a question. Simply write down your question, pass the card along the row to the end, and one of the gogo dancers will deliver your question to me.

And Chuck, can I get a glass of water?
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:04 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Which one of you is the wife?"
posted by troybob at 9:05 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


greekphilosophy, what kind of salad is best?
posted by boo_radley at 9:08 AM on January 29, 2010


*passes greekphilosophy a note in seekrit Homocode*
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2010


"I would like to get gaymarried, but I find that I am just too awesome for all my potential partners and upon this realization they tend to trudge away, rending their garments, weeping and wailing (and not in a hot way). My question is: where all the monogamous himbos at?"
posted by kittyprecious at 9:12 AM on January 29, 2010


There's only one difference between gay and straight marriages. The possibility that one or the other partner might get pregnant by someone else/get someone else pregnant. Even on B/C.

Its a pretty big difference.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:13 AM on January 29, 2010


Where did you get your hat?
posted by hermitosis at 9:14 AM on January 29, 2010


WHat do you think about spoons?
posted by dirty lies at 9:14 AM on January 29, 2010


There's only one difference between gay and straight marriages.

That's the ONLY difference you can think of?
posted by hermitosis at 9:15 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


*points to spouses* I have broad tastes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2010


"how goes the flute-playin?"
posted by The Whelk at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2010


Even though straight people deny us our rights, our relationships are imparting unto them so much wisdom. Seems like a fair exchange.

Plenty of closeted lawmakers are voting to deny you your rights.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2010


What a silly article. The prissy tone made me think it came from the NYT before "gay" was allowed in articles (you know, about 2005). But then the author himself clearly understands how silly the article is: "None of this is news in the gay community".

I imagine the study itself might be interesting. An article written a month before the study's release, not so much.
posted by Nelson at 9:23 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


One thing they failed to mention in that article is how in gay marriages we're required to sacrifice cats every full moon.
posted by serazin at 9:25 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Married heterosexual couples have legal and economic incentives to be married, but what with no-fault divorce, I can't see how "monogamous" and "married" have to mean the same thing.

They don't have to mean the same thing, but in our society they tend to be tightly correlated in long-term heterosexual relationships. Long-term, monogamous, unmarried heterosexual relationships are pretty rare. Most people in that situation tend to get married eventually.

I guess my point is that I'd bet that as our society becomes more accepting of homosexual relationships and gay marriage is legalized, homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships will converge towards each other in terms of monogamy and marriage rates. Whether those rates will be high or low will depend on other factors, but I think eventually they'll be much closer than they are now.

There's only one difference between gay and straight marriages.

That's the ONLY difference you can think of?


I think he means that's the only inherent, intrinsic difference. But I agree with you that it's probably not accurate. For example, all things being equal a heterosexual couple is more likely to have one partner (i.e., the woman) outlive the other (i.e., the man) by a substantial time than a homosexual couple. Being less likely to be a lonely widow/widower seems like a plus for homosexual relationships.
posted by jedicus at 9:25 AM on January 29, 2010


But as its been pointed out, this decision is usually made in order to STRENGTHEN the relationship. Therefore, it is an economic DISincentive to remain monogamous when that will actually weaken the relationship as that would ultimately undermine all the other investment in the relationship.

OK, so there are also economic incentives for polyamory. That doesn't contradict the point that there are economic incentives for monogamy.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:36 AM on January 29, 2010


(I note that the "gay couples" study is really the "gay male couples" study, even though the example leading the article is a marriage between two women)
posted by muddgirl at 9:37 AM on January 29, 2010


It's "relationships" that have caused the whole frigging problem here. Since we've evolved from randomly copulating pre-hominids on the savannas of Africa, it's all gone to hell, regardless of the gender combinations of the "relators."

I move that we get VERY fundamentalist here, and go back to our roots. . .random copulation (or not) and forget the rest of it all.
posted by Danf at 9:39 AM on January 29, 2010


The study is called the Gay Couples Study. Just because they've discussed monogamy/non-monogamy amongst gay couples doesn't mean that it's "really about monogamy vs. open relationships" and isn't weird or creepy at all.

1. What difference does it make what it's called?
2. How is a study aiming to figure out how They differ from Us not weird and creepy? It's utterly disgusting, and I am really quite surprised the NYT reported on it. Maybe the Post, maybe in 1968, but seriously, what the fuck?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:45 AM on January 29, 2010


"Which one of you is the wife?"

Yes.

greekphilosophy, what kind of salad is best?

Tossed.

*passes greekphilosophy a note in seekrit Homocode*

*seekrit Homocode response to Whelk*

My question is: where all the monogamous himbos at?

The bible belt. So seriously.

Where did you get your hat?

H&M. Do you like my hat?

WHat do you think about spoons?

I don't tend to think too much about spoons. But I'll gladly be the big OR the little.

"how goes the flute-playin?"

The flute playing wanes in preparation for the bar exam. The skin flute playing moreso.

Any final questions? I'm a very busy homosexual and I must get back to destroying traditional marriage.

And Chuck, can you top off my water there? Thanks. You're a peach.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:47 AM on January 29, 2010 [11 favorites]


Can I substitute ground ginger for crystallized ginger? If so, are the amounts the same, or do I need to use more or less?
posted by yhbc at 9:55 AM on January 29, 2010


Crystallized ginger is much sweet, so it depends on what you're trying to flavor.
posted by The Whelk at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2010


Why would you ever deprive someone of crystallized ginger? No. In the name of all that is tasty, I have to insist that you not make such a substitution.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:59 AM on January 29, 2010


They question him here
he answers him there

his hats are cheap but chosen with care.
Law will make or break him

so he's got to pass the test

'cos he's a busy homosexualist, after a fashion.
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


greekphilosophy, are you sassy n' wacky like the homosexualists on the sitcoms?
posted by jason's_planet at 10:02 AM on January 29, 2010


shit, I missed question hour.
posted by desjardins at 10:04 AM on January 29, 2010


New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area. The Gay Couples Study has followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.

Unfortunately, this is all we get about study methodology from the article. However, even this has some apparent holes. First, your sample consists only of (male!) couples willing to come out to researchers in 2006. By definition, couples willing to participate in a study which identifies them as gay, particularly in a political climate that doesn't reward that sort of thing, are more open on average than gay couples generally. Second, the survey looks at only Bay Area couples - which strikes me as about as fair a representation as surveying non-monogamy among straight couples in Manhattan. For better or worse, opinions on monogamy may well tend to change in urban / rural areas regardless of sexual orientation. Most obviously, surveys show non-monogamy in straight couples in the US runs around 10-15% for women and 20-25% for men.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:05 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Homosexualist's Questions is officially over. You may now continue to debate the merits of this study, the journalistic rigor with which the article was written, and the potential economic harms and benefits of monogamy.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2010


Rare glimpse? All of the people I know in open relationships, gay or straight, speak about at extraordinary length and detail, usually with a slight tone of condescension and pity: 'Oh, you poor, poor normies with no desire for four-way bukkake romps at the Hampton Inn by the airport...'

Wrong on the Internet. The people you know in open relationships who keep their mouths shut about it either (a) don't want to be lumped in with the loudmouth four-way bukkake rompers, and frankly also wish they would shut up, or (b) have bosses, families, or friends who they'd rather not gross out, or be judged or career-torpedoed by, thx.
posted by clavicle at 10:09 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


greekphilosophy, are you sassy n' wacky like the homosexualists on the sitcoms?

That depends. Do you think that Niles Crane was sassy and wacky on "Fraiser?" Cause that's pretty much me.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:10 AM on January 29, 2010


Well, there is the issue of being "outed" as having a non-traditional marriage/relationship/etc. What's totally normal in one social circle is completely taboo in another. "We have an ....agreement" hits the hear pretty skeezy no matter how noble or functional the intent or reality is.
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 AM on January 29, 2010


New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area. The Gay Couples Study has followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.

You have got to be kidding me. They used a sample pool of gay males in the Bay Area?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:12 AM on January 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


(...but, bukkake strawmen or no, the point stands: STFU NYT.)
posted by clavicle at 10:14 AM on January 29, 2010


That depends. Do you think that Niles Crane was sassy and wacky on "Fraiser?" Cause that's pretty much me.

I always thought it was funny that David Hyde Pierce, a Gay, played a fussy hetro while Dan Bulter, also a Gay, was playing a raging masculine mook.
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 AM on January 29, 2010


...guess that's why it's called acting
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 AM on January 29, 2010


How I wish the study had not been released during the Proposition 8 trial.
posted by Carol Anne at 10:24 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a gay man in an "open relationship", it's strange to see people who clearly don't understand the concept and even more clearly have no experience with how such a thing is handled day by day discussing it.

1) It's possible to differentiate between emotional fidelity and sexual fidelity, and I think it's kinda obvious that the majority of benefits from relationships and marriage are driven by the former.

2) There are different forms of sexual expression, and different people have different needs wrt them. "Sex" includes both a quick BJ and an hours-long, intimate physical experience that is fundamentally different. This is a clue to interpreting the "couples have rules" statements.

3) You can have sex with someone other than your partner and not fall in love with them, or have it be threatening to your emotional bond with your partner.

4) People in open relationships almost always also have friends and family and jobs and commutes and sometimes children which makes finding the time for these outside couplings difficult. So even though some peoples' minds go immediately to days filled with rutting strangers, it rarely works out that way - even in San Francisco. Most of the time you're just too tired, or have other things that need doing.

5) The assumption that there is a economic basis for preferring monogamy in relationships is not supportable by anything other than a lack of understanding and insight. Having multiple partners does not mean that one's relationship with all those partners, and the primary one, are the same, so the argument the resources are diluted is not supportable. Unless you're talking about precious bodily fluids. And people feel more secure in predictable, secure relationships. Since most people end up fucking around anyway, isn't it better to honest about it and have it be something that's understood and discussed?
posted by gregography at 10:25 AM on January 29, 2010 [10 favorites]


Wait–so there's dudes who, like, sleep with, other dudes?
posted by Mister_A at 10:37 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


And swinging Mormons, apparently.
posted by electroboy at 10:43 AM on January 29, 2010


What do they swing from?
posted by The Whelk at 10:45 AM on January 29, 2010


Any convenient timber, if I had my way. Blasted Mormons!
posted by Mister_A at 10:47 AM on January 29, 2010


I am a homosexual. I will be available for interviews between 11-12am, CST. I will tell you everything you need to know.

I know I'm late for interviews, but do you have an agenda? If so, can you tell me about your appointment scheduling scheme? I use iCal and it works ok, but I'm only bisexual, so I'm sure there are advances in the homosexual agenda that haven't been released to me yet.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:47 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


What do they swing from?

Vines, duh. Everybody knows Tarzan was a gay Mormon.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:48 AM on January 29, 2010


Forget the agenda, let me show you the homosexual spreadsheets.
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 AM on January 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hey, I gotta tell you, I think this whole Gay 2.0 thing is mostly just hype. It's not like it's any more gay in any meaningful way.
posted by Mister_A at 10:52 AM on January 29, 2010


but it's so shiny and semi-transparent!
posted by The Whelk at 10:56 AM on January 29, 2010


Actually, the only time I've seriously used Google Wave was to plan the homosexual agenda. So not kidding. MeMail me for an invite to the Wave...
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:02 AM on January 29, 2010


I've seen The Wave. I know what you're up to.
posted by electroboy at 11:19 AM on January 29, 2010


Our uniforms are so cute.
posted by The Whelk at 11:22 AM on January 29, 2010


“In 1900, the average life span for a U.S. citizen was 47,” Mr. Quirk said. “Now we’re living so much longer, ‘until death do us part’ is twice as challenging.”

Especially with Viagra.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 11:23 AM on January 29, 2010


“In 1900, the average life span for a U.S. citizen was 47,” Mr. Quirk said. “Now we’re living so much longer, ‘until death do us part’ is twice as challenging.”

Eh. The life expectancy was low because a lot of people tended die before ever getting married (i.e. in childhood). With divorce rates the way they are these days, I'd bet the average marriage lasted longer (by a long shot) in 1900.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:31 AM on January 29, 2010


On Wednesdays we wear pink. And if you break any of these rules, you can't sit with us.
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:31 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear greekphilosophy,

Why does this keep happening to me?

Sincerely,
Lipstick Thespian,
Still in the Showroom,
Trying Out New Neutral Tones, NH
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:04 PM on January 29, 2010


I think it’s dishonest and angering for people in this thread to even suggest straight couples have open relationships in anything vaguely resembling the proportion gay-male couples do. It’s a rarity with straight couples and you know it.
posted by joeclark at 12:10 PM on January 29, 2010


I think it’s dishonest and angering for people in this thread to even suggest straight couples have open relationships in anything vaguely resembling the proportion gay-male couples do. It’s a rarity with straight couples and you know it.

Assume, yes. Know, not so much.

Of course, straight couples get to, you know, get married for realsies, whereas most gay couples in the US aren't allowed the sort of official exclusivity where "open relationship" bears the risk of sliding towards "okay, you know what, this is getting to be more like plain old adultery, so I think I'll take the house and kids and half your paycheck for the rest of your life, mkay bye."
posted by Sys Rq at 12:19 PM on January 29, 2010


I think it’s dishonest and angering for people in this thread to even suggest straight couples have open relationships in anything vaguely resembling the proportion gay-male couples do. It’s a rarity with straight couples and you know it.

Gay-male couples are just more honest about it.

Interestingly, the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy parallels the concept that many straight people and couples seem to prefer lies, deception, and illusion to reality.
posted by troybob at 12:27 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: 1. What difference does it make what it's called?
2. How is a study aiming to figure out how They differ from Us not weird and creepy? It's utterly disgusting, and I am really quite surprised the NYT reported on it. Maybe the Post, maybe in 1968, but seriously, what the fuck?


You asked why the study focused exclusively on gay relationships. I countered that it did so because it's called the "Gay Couples Study" and set out to:

"to identify and examine relationship dynamics in gay and bisexual male couples and explore how those dynamics may affect sexual risk behaviors with both primary and non-primary partners " (Link)

How on earth is this "utterly disgusting"? Methinks your anger is extraordinarily misplaced.
posted by Adam_S at 12:28 PM on January 29, 2010


joeclark: "It’s a rarity with straight couples and you know it"

I have never had a relationship that was not heterosexual and symmetrically open, long or short term. Most often her parents did not know it was open. Sometimes her friends did not even know. Usually nobody at either of our workplaces knew.

When your relationship itself is a bigger taboo, then there is very little incentive to keep something taboo like having an open relationship any more secret.

For heterosexual couples, whether we like it or not, our relationships are publicly regarded as status symbols, so there are negative social consequences to being perceived as having a nontraditional relationship. Not to say this compares to the stigma that homosexuality has carried - a dude doesn't get lynched, or even fired, for not caring when his wife has a boy on the side, though there is a risk for a heterosexual woman that she becomes slut shamed or sexually harassed if people find out she has multiple partners. It is enough of a stigma that there is much more of a vested interest for a heterosexual to stay secretive about their relationship being open.

For a gay couple, the people who would judge them for having an open relationship already judged them for being gay 10x that, so they have little incentive to keep that extra detail secret.

Also, a vast majority of heterosexual relationships are de-facto open at least at some point, whether one or both partners is lying and calling it monogamous or not.
posted by idiopath at 12:29 PM on January 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I mean, 'don't ask, don't tell' is literally a demand by straight people to have gay people lie to them to protect their delicate sensibilities. That it is apparently considered by the military to be a 'successful' makes me question in how many other ways the military values and encourages deception even as they claim to have cornered the market on honor.
posted by troybob at 12:32 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good points, idiopath, but I wouldn't say a vast majority of hetero relationships are "open". I would not be surprised to hear that 50% are, if we include "cheating" in the "open" pool.
posted by Mister_A at 12:32 PM on January 29, 2010


But a vast majority of same-sex relationships haven't been shown to be "open", either. "50% of gay male partnerships located in San Francisco", as we have mentioned over and over and over again, is not a very universal sample set.
posted by muddgirl at 12:37 PM on January 29, 2010


Right, 50% is not a vast majority, and SF does not represent the rest of the country/world etc.
posted by Mister_A at 12:40 PM on January 29, 2010


"to identify and examine relationship dynamics in gay and bisexual male couples and explore how those dynamics may affect sexual risk behaviors with both primary and non-primary partners " (Link)

How on earth is this "utterly disgusting"? Methinks your anger is extraordinarily misplaced.


It's disgusting because gay men are being singled out for no particular reason. Therefore, the results, such that they are, can only serve to feed headlines such as "OMG teh mysterious gays r sluts amirite," with the implied message, "even if they could get married, they wouldn't really be married."

I'd really like to know who funded this study. Anyone?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:49 PM on January 29, 2010


I'd really like to know who funded this study. Anyone?

It's run out of San Francisco State University's Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality and is funded by the National Institute for Mental Health. (Link) I.e, funding from a public agency for research conducted at a public university.

I feel like you're assuming some nefarious motive that likely does not exist. Simply because both social scientists and homophobic family-values organizations may be interested in examining gay male sexuality does not mean you can automatically conflate the two.
posted by Adam_S at 12:58 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd be curious to see a study that doesn't classify relationships in an open/monogamous binary, but instead looks at agreement (and whether there is a sense of fairness or feelings of being coerced) between the two partners over the type of relationship to have and the consequent success rate. Factor in things that might contribute to the dynamics that can arise in a partnership such as education, income, # of kids, primary caregiver, religion, ability to legally marry, etc. The idea that one sort of relationship is quantifiably (or qualitatively) better (lasts longer, yields more happiness, whatevs) simply as a result of its non/monogamousness seems to miss the point to me.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:12 PM on January 29, 2010


Interestingly, the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy parallels the concept that many straight people and couples seem to prefer lies, deception, and illusion to reality.

It's so true. We love that shit.
posted by electroboy at 1:33 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd really like to know who funded this study. Anyone?

How about waiting for the actual study to be published before brandishing the pitchforks?
posted by Nelson at 1:46 PM on January 29, 2010


"Finally", I say...

New York has discovered homosexuality!
posted by markkraft at 2:27 PM on January 29, 2010


I feel like you're assuming some nefarious motive that likely does not exist.

Suggesting that motive might be something worth investigating is not the same as assuming that it is so. Cautious skepticism and calls for pertinent information do not equal paranoia.

Simply because both social scientists and homophobic family-values organizations may be interested in examining gay male sexuality does not mean you can automatically conflate the two.

No such conflation has occurred, and most certainly not "automatically." I'm sure social scientists have the capacity to be dicks all by themselves. Still, I expect a lot of told-you-sos from said family-values orgs.

It's run out of San Francisco State University's Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality and is funded by the National Institute for Mental Health. I.e, funding from a public agency for research conducted at a public university.


I know that's supposed to ease my mind, but according to their website, "The mission of NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure." Sigh. Now I really am paranoid. And considering when the study was first given funding, the 'public agency' angle doesn't help much, either.

How about waiting for the actual study to be published before brandishing the pitchforks?

Or publishing an article in the New York Times? Or posting it to MetaFilter? Fair enough.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:36 PM on January 29, 2010


New Section in the NYTime: - Alternative Lifestyles

Future Columns:

"Some Girls REALLY DO ASK FOR IT!"

"VOODOO Revealed to Be Source of Miscegenation in America"

"Fraternities Study Shows Girl-on-Girl Action To Be Threatening, But HAWT!"
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 2:36 PM on January 29, 2010


This article was fucking stupid.
posted by desuetude at 2:48 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh, I assumed it was a NYT Style section trend article. Which are notoriously stupid.
posted by electroboy at 2:55 PM on January 29, 2010


Sys Rq: It's disgusting because gay men are being singled out for no particular reason.

Everyone gets singled out at some time, and in this case it's to investigate sexual risk factors among gay and bisexual men. That's why it's being funded by the NIMH. Do you not support research in this area?
posted by psyche7 at 3:24 PM on January 29, 2010


/me puts gay people in cages with a button that drops in new and unfamiliar partners
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:28 PM on January 29, 2010


If these people think that non-monogamous marriage/marriage-esque heterosexual relationships are vanishingly rare, they need to go to more Renaissance Festivals.

Possibly people are reluctant to give their full names because their right to privacy has a tendency to be disregarded in the name of Protecting The Universe from The Gay Sex.
posted by desuetude at 3:29 PM on January 29, 2010


a button that drops in new and unfamiliar partners

You mean Grindr?
posted by Nelson at 3:31 PM on January 29, 2010


Everyone gets singled out at some time, and in this case it's to investigate sexual risk factors among gay and bisexual men. That's why it's being funded by the NIMH. Do you not support research in this area?

If it's represented this irresponsibly, no, I don't.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:43 PM on January 29, 2010


I thought this article was astonishingly stupid. Yet, as the article suggests, most homos do know that there is more acceptance for consensual non-monogamy within gay male communities than among mainstream straight people. (I agree that there are largely heterosexual subcultures where non-monogamy is also well known and accepted relative to the mainstream.)

I'd suggest that a more open, experimental attitude towards sexuality in general is a feature of queer communities (although obviously, not of every queer individual). For example, I know very few straight couples who are into fisting and most queers I know have at least tried it. I'd like to see a comparative study identifying in which subcultures and sexual orientations people tend to be the most satisfied and happy with their sexual lives.
posted by serazin at 3:51 PM on January 29, 2010


"If it's represented this irresponsibly, no, I don't."

Can you be more specific? So far, you've accused the study of "nefarious" and agenda-driven motivations. Can you say more about what you think is irresponsible? You do know it's impossible to do social-science research without "singling out" a group of identified individuals? In this case to prevent people from dying.
posted by psyche7 at 3:53 PM on January 29, 2010


I'm in agreement that research in this area needs to be handled carefully, and I don't know that there's any evidence (yet, since we haven't seen the report itself) that it hasn't been in this case. I don't like the idea that [research area] should be off-limits because the reporting of it might be done poorly. The state of science reporting is mostly not very good; the solution is not to stop doing the research, but to demand better reporting.
posted by rtha at 3:54 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


"If it's represented this irresponsibly, no, I don't."

Can you be more specific? So far, you've accused the study of "nefarious" and agenda-driven motivations. Can you say more about what you think is irresponsible? You do know it's impossible to do social-science research without "singling out" a group of identified individuals? In this case to prevent people from dying.

Represented irresponsibly, as it was in this NYT article, which was probably sparked by a press release. To hold up a small sample of a particular type of a particular relationship in a particular city with a particular culture as representative of all gays everywhere--yes, frankly, I find that irresponsible.

I have adamantly NOT accused anyone of anything "nefarious." I've only said the study is deserving of scrutiny, as is everything. But hey, if you wanna believe everything everyone tells you, go for it.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:09 PM on January 29, 2010


PS: How does this study "prevent people from dying," exactly?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:11 PM on January 29, 2010


I'd suggest that a more open, experimental attitude towards sexuality in general is a feature of queer communities (although obviously, not of every queer individual). For example, I know very few straight couples who are into fisting and most queers I know have at least tried it.

I agree with you anecdatally about queer communities being more experimental toward sexuality. But they also tend to be more open in discussing sexuality.

A whole lot of straight folks are into a whole lot of kink, there's a lot more anal sex and fisting and latex and e-stim and such than you might expect, but it would not be admitted casually at a cocktail party as conversational banter.
posted by desuetude at 4:29 PM on January 29, 2010


My apology, that was Adam_S's interpretation. I understand you didn't like the NYT advance coverage of the study (though again, you refuse to be specific, beyond "singling out" and feeling "disgusted"). So you would not support the research (on understanding sexual risk factor in specific groups as part of AIDS epidemiology) because you didn't like the newpaper article? I'm belaboring this point because there are lives involved and you might want to look a little deeper.
posted by psyche7 at 4:34 PM on January 29, 2010


Represented irresponsibly, as it was in this NYT article, which was probably sparked by a press release. To hold up a small sample of a particular type of a particular relationship in a particular city with a particular culture as representative of all gays everywhere--yes, frankly, I find that irresponsible.

You originally blamed the study itself and suggested it may have had dubious funding sources, now you're blaming the media coverage. I'm only being a stickler because I can't follow your argument.
posted by Adam_S at 5:41 PM on January 29, 2010


Gah.

Look, the fact of the matter is, as an unstraight person, I don't feel I'm being represented all that exceptionally by either the study or the article, to the point that I feel vaguely uneasy about the situation. THAT IS MY POSITION, full stop. Anything beyond that, I'll gladly retract.

Christ almighty.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:07 PM on January 29, 2010


this NYT article, which was probably sparked by a press release

Press releases are generally public. Did you find one?

Look, the fact of the matter is, as an unstraight person, I'm delighted that people are carrying out sociological studies of my fellow gay men. I have no idea if I'm represented by the study, since I know nothing about the study except one crappy poorly written NYT article. I'm kind of willing to give researchers at SFSU the benefit of the doubt, though.
posted by Nelson at 6:48 PM on January 29, 2010


I love how the writer extrapolates this study to lesbians without anything to go on but his assumptions about non-heterosexuality.
posted by Wordwoman at 8:49 PM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


A whole lot of straight folks are into a whole lot of kink... but it would not be admitted casually at a cocktail party as conversational banter.

This is a very good point.

---

Also, I agree that the extrapolation from gay male sexuality to queer female sexuality is humorous at best. I only wish dykes were getting it on with the efficiency of our gay brothers.

/massive generalization
posted by serazin at 9:09 PM on January 29, 2010


For a book-length study on heterosexual married non-monogamy, I'd recommend The Lifestyle: A Look At The Erotric Rites of Swingers. Pretty well written, pretty thorough, and pretty healthy sample size from across the country.

Many successful het marriages share an open secret.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:27 AM on January 30, 2010


I think the Metafilter community overestimates the prevalence of polyamorous relationships in the real world. I'm always struck when I see AskMe's with people suggesting that open relationships are the answer to some relationship problem. I get that it's a viable option for some people, but I think relatively small, progressive, open minded web communities (in general, not just Metafilter) tend to exaggerate the commonality of their habits.

A lot of people have meaningful, monogamous relationships and are perfectly happy, even if that sounds square or old fashioned.
posted by mpbx at 12:13 PM on January 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


mpbx: "A lot of people have meaningful, monogamous relationships ..."

I could generously call your usage of the word meaningful in this sentence a non-sequitur, but it looks suspiciously like a pejorative. Are you meaning to imply that I have never head a meaningful relationship?

I have spoken up on occasion in AskMe to bring up the possibility that having multiple partners does not have to imply lying or "cheating". But I don't mean that is an insult toward those who choose to have only one partner.

It sounds like you are objecting to the option of polyamory - unless someone really has judgmentally expected polyamory of you, which I would find sort of surprising.

What exactly are the hermeneutics of genital to genital contact anyway?
posted by idiopath at 12:45 PM on January 30, 2010


Nope, that's not my intention. I only meant to say that a monogamous relationship can be meaningful and doesn't have to be a horrible experience ;). I don't object to the option of polyamory at all, I just think it's possible that we may be inclined to overestimate the prevalence of polyamory in the wider world because we're part of a very open-minded online community that has a sizable population of people who have engaged in such relationships.
posted by mpbx at 4:08 PM on January 30, 2010


I don't suggest it because we're all polyamorous here, I suggest it because we're not. Otherwise I wouldn't bother to suggest it! But so many people haven't even begun to consider it as a possibility.

My real-life social circle is way more open to open relationships than metafilter is.
posted by kathrineg at 4:25 PM on January 30, 2010


A lot of people have meaningful, monogamous relationships and are perfectly happy, even if that sounds square or old fashioned.

No-one disputes that monogamy is totally a valid option. If you think monogamy sounds "square or old-fashioned," that's up to you, but very few people have seriously espoused that view on Metafilter.

As for estimating the prevalence of polyamory here on Metafilter, maybe you are assuming that those of us who openly discuss various configurations of open relationships as an option are all in such relationships? That's not the case. Likewise, a lot of people (in Metafilter and in real life) are in quietly non-monogamous relationships which fly under the radar.
posted by desuetude at 5:00 PM on January 30, 2010


No-one disputes that monogamy is totally a valid option.

I think people are getting a little defensive because it was suggested several times that monogamous straight couples are lying or deluding themselves about being monogamous.
posted by electroboy at 5:13 PM on January 30, 2010


I'm not bothered with the idea that generalizations are made about gay men. Some of them are, IMO, essentially obvious, because the involved parties are male. The idea that more gay people have open relationships (and when I say 'open', I mean it's an understanding, not cheating) is a reasonable one, because it's easier for gay men to go out and bed a stranger than it is for heterosexual people. The social norms for gay men aren't nearly as elaborate and full of game playing as for straight folks. Which isn't to say that some gay men aren't out there trying to include those same games in their dating lives.

I've been in a monogamous relationships, one which was, over time, both open and not. For a gay man, what's the big deal (other than health risks) of being open? So you can have a bit of super-hot spontaneous sex with a stranger. That doesn't need to have anything to do with your love life, at all. In the world as it was 25 years ago, such strangers were more likely than not to remain strangers, just strangers with whom one had had sex.

I'm sure that sounds odd to some young gay folks. But you youngsters grew up in a world with AIDS. I did not. I grew up in the era when straights preached "Free Love", and gay people actually got to have it. A time when a mutual attraction was a terrible thing to waste, and there was no good reason not to have sex when it happened.

Today, ha. How the hell would I know? I'm 52 years old, and that's about 80, in gay years. Some would argue I'm not "gay" anymore, just a homosexual. I don't go to gay hangouts, I don't participate in gay social activities. I'm just a man in a relationship with another man. My partner never lived the young-gay life, seeing as I recruited him then married him. I like to think of him as my reward for my years as a dedicated member of the gay recruiting command.
posted by Goofyy at 7:01 AM on January 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm kind of curious about this- do I count as practicing monogamy or not? My partner and I practice fairly strict limitations on coitus with other parties- except we have some leeway when we're both present with a third (and theoretically fourth) party and we've participated in a not strictly speaking sex but kinky activity with a third party and done these activities in public, with extra people helping.

This is pretty normal behaviour for people in the kink scene, who're as many genders as possible and usually pretty sexually open, but seldom engaged in pro-creative activity with each other. My theory is not anything about ‘Oh My Gosh, Monogamy is so out dated! Short lifespans!’ but there is a reason why many cultures heavily restrict even male/female friendships, that humans are basically slutty monogamists- we’re capable of sharing intimacy and sexual contact with many people, but romantically tend to like to match up one on one. I say this even in the face of functioning polygamy, because even in cultures where this is accepted, most marriages/bonds are two person.
posted by Phalene at 10:16 AM on January 31, 2010


Phalene, this is what I was thinking about too. There's definitely a huge gray area in the kink community. I mean, what are we counting as sex? Am I all of a sudden non-monogamous if I give another guy a few whacks with a paddle? What are we even counting as a relationship? I know Dominants and submissives who do not have sex and who are married/attached to other people, but who are seen as a couple by the BDSM community. What are they?

Homosexuality is still taboo in many areas of the country and socioeconomic strata. If you've got the courage to be out about being gay, it's not another huge leap to eschew non-traditional relationships, since you don't have much more to lose at that point. Non-monogamy is more of a taboo for straights because they're not starting out from a position of already being "other." So it's not a surprise that we think that more gay men have open relationships; as long as they're taboo in hetero society, we'll probably never know the true numbers.
posted by desjardins at 10:57 AM on January 31, 2010


Phalene: "I say this even in the face of functioning polygamy, because even in cultures where this is accepted, most marriages/bonds are two person."

The most popular way of having multiple partners is serial monogamy. Being open to threesomes as an occasional treat is probably a close second. The idea with polyamory usually isn't that the relationship is predominantly about more than two people, but rather that the option for anything else even exists without lying and betrayal being involved.
posted by idiopath at 12:13 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


My closest polyamorous friends would argue that the other distinguishing characteristic of polyamory is that it's about multiple-partner emotional relationships, not just sexual encounters. (She is fond of pointing out that there's nothing wrong with polyfuckery, but it's not what she's practicing.)
posted by desuetude at 1:51 PM on January 31, 2010


Well, I doubt anyone will see this, but my view on polyamory is a very simple one, but few people can appreciate or accept it:
"Love doesn't divide, it multiplies".

Which is a short way of saying, the more you love, the more you can love. I have an ex. He's ex, for sure, but I never stopped loving him. There are others whom I have loved for many years, and I don't mean any platonic thing. Yes, I am married, and I love him amazingly. It doesn't in anyway detract from my love of anyone else. How could it? Why should it? I am dedicated to my spouse, and have a duty and responsibility to him. That's apart from the love. Were I to love any less, all my love would be reduced.
posted by Goofyy at 4:18 AM on February 1, 2010


desuetude: "t's about multiple-partner emotional relationships, not just sexual encounters. "


Goofyy: "Love doesn't divide, it multiplies"

QFT

Definitely, beyond the more attention getting fact that it can involve more sexual partners, in my experience it also allows for more loving in non-sexual relationships (myself, I tend to be physically monogamous, but emotionally promiscuous, and my partners have usually been visa-versa).
posted by idiopath at 5:18 AM on February 1, 2010


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