Interesting piece by Scott James in today’s New York Times:
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.
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.”
The study also found open gay couples just as happy in their relationships as pairs in sexually exclusive unions, Dr. Hoff said. A different study, published in 1985, concluded that open gay relationships actually lasted longer.
However the reporter discovered a wall of silence surrounding the subject:
None of this is news in the gay community, but few will speak publicly about it. Of the dozen people in open relationships contacted for this column, no one would agree to use his or her full name, citing privacy concerns. They also worried that discussing the subject could undermine the legal fight for same-sex marriage.
Or perhaps they worry they might be shouted down and called ‘sluts’ by the gay blogs.
Given the very real fear of being osctracised and shamed for talking in front of the goyim about how gay relationships actually are, instead of the Disney-esque way that gay marriage zealots would like to portray them, it seems a reasonable assumption that the 50% figure is an underreporting. Probably most gay male relationships in the Bay Area are open. As I’ve said before, in public, in front of the goyim, in my experience probably most gay male relationships are open. (I’ll admit I was surprised by the article’s claims about lesbian relationships — but then, I have rather less experience of them…).
Of course, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s half or most, or even a large minority, the point, as Scott James acknowledges, is that this is definitely not an attribute of the vast majority of hetero relationships. Many may have their ‘infidelities’, but very, very few have open relationships. For most the concept is a contradiction in terms. Especially if married. The author makes much of how the openness of gay relationships can help reform the failing institution of marriage, but personally I suspect he fails to understand what marriage actually is, and the proprietary, exclusive nature of it. In reality, gay marriage may just succeed in making gay relationships less open and more hypocritical.
Too often the movement for gay marriage is censorious and shame-based, about presenting homosexuality as a neutered heterosexuality, about claiming over and over again that gay relationships are ‘just like’ straight ones and anyone who says different is a bigot and ‘homophobe’ — externalised or internalised.
There’s also another dimension to the reluctance of gay couples to talk about their open relationships… openly, one that has less to do with worrying about what the gays will say, and more to do with what the world will think: It may cost them their new-found respectability. This after all is the point of ‘gay marriage’ for some, particularly those of the Sullivanite tendency: to prove to the world they’re not like those promiscuous, hedonistic, slut gays. Even and especially if they are still getting rogered by them regularly via Manhunt.
Then again, open relationships can be hard work. And discussing them in public allows people like me to pass unhelpful comment. Here’s ‘Chris’ and ‘James” rules for their open relationship:
complete disclosure, honesty about all encounters, advance approval of partners, and no sex with strangers — they must both know the other men first. “We check in with each other on this an awful lot,” said James, 37.
Obviously how they conduct their relationship is their business – and good luck to them. But I can’t help wondering if in this instance monogamy wouldn’t be much less trouble.