When the Supreme Court was considering same-sex “marriage,” anytime conservatives pointed out that the vast majority of homosexuals (especially male ones) had a vastly different expectation of the institution than heterosexual couples they would be mocked as bigots. No attention was paid to their claims.
But now that same-sex “marriage” is a civil right (in the Supreme Court’s imagination), homosexuals are admitting it is all true. In fact, they’re virtually campaigning for it. Thus, a homosexual gets space for an editorial at the Daily Beast: “Gay Open Marriages Need To Come Out of the Closet.”
Over the past decade and a half, studies from San Francisco State University andAlliant International University have found that around half of gay relationships are open. This rate is considerably higher than for heterosexual and lesbian couples, but it’s difficult to say by how much exactly, due to the widespread lack of substantive research on the subject. (After all, SFSU’s Gay Couples Study was back in 2010.)
Conservative estimates suggest that less than 1 percent of all married couples are in an open relationship, but other approximations are much higher. Back in 1983, the authors of American Couples, Phillip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz, found that around 15 percent of committed partners—whether homo or heterosexual—had agreements that allowed for some degree of flexibility.
Writer and sex columnist Dan Savage famously described these arrangements as “monogamish”—“mostly monogamous, not swingers, not actively looking.” And even more couples are in them than you think. I’d say that the Alliant and SFU figures are a tad low, at least for gays. I can’t speak for lesbian couples, but few queer men I know—including myself—are in relationships that are exclusively, 100-percent monogamous. Some couples occasionally invite a third into the bedroom for a night of play, while others independently arrange their own casual hookups. Some men might even have long-term partners outside their primary relationship.
In a 2013 column for Slate, Hanna Rosin called non-monogamy the gay community’s “dirty little secret,” citing a study from the ’80s, which showed that up to 82 percent of gay couples had sex with other people. That number sounds about right to me, but here’s the thing: It’s not dirty and it’s hardly a secret, at least if you know where to look.
No it wasn’t a secret for anyone who would look. But the mainstream media wouldn’t talk about it. And all those domesticated homosexual couples paraded through our TV shows and movies seemed like they practiced and expected fidelity. Only secretly homosexual males married to a woman are shown sneaking off to restrooms for an anonymous quickie.
So far from wanting access to the institution–as an exclusive relationship between two persons of no specific sex–the agenda was to reshape it. If “open” marriages become acceptable the next possible step will be to legalize polyamory.
Monogamish couples are a constant presence on apps like Grindr and Scruff, which allow gay men to connect with other men to chat or hook up. Users commonly describe themselves as “dating,” “in an open relationship,” “partnered,” or “married,” while others set up an account with their partner if they’re looking to play together.
I spoke to one couple that hasn’t let marriage get in the way of their Scruff account. Eric, 34, and Martin, 33, walked down the aisle last October after dating for five years. Like many gay couples, they were initially monogamous, although with “infrequent and informal” exceptions. “Think post-bar bathhouse outings,” Eric explained. But after creating a profile together on Scruff a few years ago, the couple agreed on a set of boundaries. “We only sleep with people together, we have to both communicate with the person to some extent before we meet up, and the guy has to very clearly be attracted to both of us,” Eric said.
What kind of society is going to last if this truly becomes normal?