What is up with open relationships? Do you argee or what?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 25, 2007 10:29 PM GMT
    I still can not understand them. It sounds more like a roomie thing, you suck who you want and I suck who I want.

    Maybe I am wrong?

    Is there any love in these relationships?

    How long do they last?

    Anyone affraid of the consequences if any?

    How do they work?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 25, 2007 10:48 PM GMT
    Is there any love in these relationships?

    Why in the world would you think having sex with other men (with permission) would empty your primary relationship of love?

    How long do they last?

    Longer than most relationships, according to at least one study, "Man to Man." That study, conducted before AIDS (so it may have changed), found that the only thing that longterm gay relationships have in common is a willingness to tolerate outside sex.

    Mine has lasted 14 years so far. I ended earlier relationships when the sex got boring.

    Anyone afraid of the consequences if any?

    It's undoubtedly true that there is a sense of sacrificing your romantic ideal when you take the step to open a relationship. It's only something you can do successfully, in my opinion, if other things have become more important than sex.

    How do they work?

    Depends on the couple.


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    Mar 25, 2007 11:12 PM GMT
    Just curious about thi study..., what was the sample size of that study? Random? Was there any other commonalities between the couples and individuals of the couples themselves such as age, physical appearance, cultural and educational background, etc... How is the "functionality" of these relationships defiend, tested, and measured? In other words, are they happy or just old activity buds and sex is just another activity they share without much emotional involvement like a trick? Tested and measured with interveiws only, or were there other means considered such as work place productivity, needs for medication or anti depressants, overall physical health, etc, etc. Was there other groups compared in the study. Was this ONE research...?

    Just curious, I have been involved in some research in my field, and having a younger sister, a Phd in nanochem who was at one time a researcher and assitant professor at Harvard (now she is with a company as a senior scientist working with mathmaticians and physicists near Stanford.) I am quite aware how so many, many, many resarch studies can be extremely misleading...

    Just curious about the validity of this study...

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    Mar 26, 2007 12:01 AM GMT
    Wanted to add that I do not pretend to know what it is like to be in a relationship over a decade, therefore I have no idea as this is a very individual and complex issue.

    Agree with OBscenewish's other posts elsewhere, that I do think a couple falls in and out of love and sometimes back in love again.. I could see that with my parents through the years, no matter how dysfunctional thier relationship is to my eyes, they are still together...

    But I am not sure if I would call them "happy..." They are not me, I am not them I personally would not be in a relationship like my parents...

    Also I know my mom would NOT agree to a sexually open relationship. She said that she would divorce my Dad so many times through our lives that if he even cheats on her even once, that would be a deal breaker.
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    Mar 26, 2007 4:42 AM GMT
    I'm curious about this too, as well as other non-traditional relationships, such as threesomes and tribes. I can imagine clear differences between "inside" and "outside" sex, but have no real experience.

    From the outside, I have played with a few couples who wanted a threesome. Although this is one of my primary fantasies, none of those experiences has been very comfortable, so far. One of them got downright weird, and I think that the only reason that they finally stopped dropping in unanounced was that they somewhat rapidly split up.

    I'm not giving up on the fantasy, though.
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    Mar 26, 2007 5:01 AM GMT
    NYC: You can look up the study, Man to Man, published in the '80s. I know nada of the methdology, although I recall that, as you suggest, it was questioned, as the methodology leading to unpopular conclusions always is. (My partner is a Harvard-educated epidemiologist and I daily sit through rants on this subject. In fact I just heard one. New data shows that people who ask their sexual partners' HIV status end up positive more often than those who don't. Yep.)

    I do find your own questions a bit biased in their language: "Just old activity buds," etc. If people self-report being happy with one another, I'm not sure what the value of diagnosing their relationship in some pathological respect is. "You are not sufficiently emotionally involved in your sex to be considered happy."

    I do remember being surprised when Man to Man described, as I recall, a LTR as five years or more. That seems absurdly short to me. I didn't even begin living with my partner for five years.
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    Mar 26, 2007 5:14 AM GMT
    Then again, I already stated that I do not know what it is like to be in a relationship over a decade long.

    What I know is limited to my personal experience, and it is not gay, its my parents.

    What I have seen with friends, of course, you never know what is really going on beyond what they present on the outside.

    Activity pals? Sure, I certainly hope if I was not single my partner would be a good activity pal... As far as sex, I do not know because I have not been there with someone 14 years...

    What I know is possibly a simplistic and inaccurae interpretation of what I see. I see many gay couples who are in openly sexual relationship very happy and love eachother, but I am not sure if SOME of them are more like best platonic friends. But who knows, mabye that is what becomes a LTR after many many years. I certainly do not know the details of my parents sexual lives.

    After saying that, then what is the difference, let me make an example, that IF I live with one of my ex that I am very, very close to, we would still live like a couple, activities, financially sharing, affections and all, but each lead seperate sexual lives. Is this the same as some of the LTR couples in open relationships that I see?

    I certainly would not call my ex my partner even if that is the case... Just me.

    Or shuld I?
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    Mar 26, 2007 5:22 AM GMT
    And to add to the scenario from the above post..

    What if these 2 men in LTR started to have much more satisfying sex with guys outside the relationship than with eachother...?

    LTR is obviously more than just sex... But, humm... this is confusing...

    "Will & Grace"

    Are you sure they are not a couple like some LTR gay ones that I see?
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    Mar 26, 2007 7:12 AM GMT
    Speaking from the perspective of someone who has had an 8 year 'closed' relationship and is now in an 'open' one which is 7 years and counting....

    Our first choice is to bring in a third - someone who interests both of us, and to whom we are both interesting. It adds a bit of sexual fun into things.

    But if it becomes clear that one pairing is working a lot better than the other, the odd man out tends to withdraw - either watches rather than participates, or goes to another part of the house....

    While I can't speak for my partner, my thought process is: I love him, I want him to enjoy himself, and if this guy is ringing his chimes sexually, that's a good thing. I know that I do - that's not an issue, and I'm not insecure about it. So why shouldn't he have a damn good time?

    We definitely separate sexual play from love. We definitely love each other and are a couple - one of the first 100 domestic partnerships in California, for that matter.

    We've modified our agreement with regard to outside sex a couple of times - it changes as we change. I don't think the details of the agreement as it stands now are worth elaborating - but it is very much worth mentioning that we continue to communicate our needs, our desires, our concerns as freely as possible. One day those things may lead us into monogamy - although I think that's unlikely. But if they do, it's because we've decided that it meets our needs. Not because of fears or the embracing of a heterosexual model for relationships.

    As usual, ObsceneWish, you have such a clear way of putting things... thanks!

    Joey
  • christomax

    Posts: 30

    Mar 26, 2007 1:32 PM GMT
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/r35q3k3h42732413/

    The results of this study found that there was no significant difference found in the quality of open versus closed relationships.

    IMHO, the physical action of fucking someone else is something that will ruin trust and completely alter the dynamic of a relationship (regardless if it's open.) You can't take back an action.. can't alter the past. I've never gotten the idea behind an open relationship. In my case, if someone I loved fucked someone else, it would be a clear sign that I'm less important than a casual fuck. If other people don't feel this way, then fine. I won't date them. The whole open/closed relationship is really going to be dependant on the situation, obviously, but it's really not for me.
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    Mar 26, 2007 2:34 PM GMT
    Good topic!

    I believe open relationship work for some people. But call it what it is! You're roommates, or best friends, or companions. Sure, those in open relationship love each other very much. But it’s like a person telling you that he is a vegetarian for 14 years as he orders steak. Or a marathon runner who claims he places in the top 10 perscentile every race but rides a bike to do so. I wear my 22-years-of-monogamy badge with pride. I NEVER judge others, but I like to call a duck a duck!
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    Mar 26, 2007 3:34 PM GMT
    I'm not sure how you exempt yourself from "judging" when you try to tell other people what they should call their relationships.

    There is already a term. It's "open relationship." Or "polyamorous." My partner and I are not roommates or companions. We have built a life together, own homes together and support one another in times of difficulty in a way that "companions" do not typically.

    It is mystifying to me why this is such a big deal to other people. It reminds me of the way some heterosexuals get bent out of shape over the definition of marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Historically that's true, so should we not make room for gay marriage? If the state sanctions it, is that adequate? Polyamory is not outlawed by most states. Should we make a law against people having open relationships while we make laws extending marriage to unconventional couples?

    If you don't want an open relationship, don't have one. If you want to make monogamy the main measure of your commitment to one another, do it. I didn't expect to be in an open relationship myself and I doubt that I'd be capable of starting out in one, before I built trust with the other person. Other people do just fine at the outset. Some people are monogamous forever. Many cheat and claim to be loyal. Some have bizarre rules like: "You can have sex with other men, as long as it's on another continent."

    None of those other relationship styles threaten my own any more than gay marriage threatens heterosexual marriage. What is the big deal?







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    Mar 26, 2007 4:06 PM GMT
    Different strokes for different folks I guess. I think there has to be a good deal of communication, trust and understanding for an open relationship to work. Most guys take the mentality of "One is not the number of people I want to be able to have sex with, but the number my partner should be able to have sex with." Jealousy is human nature.

    I personally am not into them but if makes other people happy then why not.
  • Laurence

    Posts: 942

    Mar 26, 2007 4:19 PM GMT
    I'm agreeing with a couple of others on this subject.

    Open relationships ok for some people and not for others. However as obscenewish says, we really shouldn't be judging other people for their choices if no-one is getting hurt.

    Just becuase you wouldn't do it doesn't make it wrong.

    The straight world has condemned us our lifestyle for too long, lets not condemn each other for our differences.

    Loz
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    Mar 26, 2007 6:39 PM GMT
    I have zero qualifications for this one - I've never been in an open relationship, and by the definitions of the study that was quoted, I haven't even been in a long-term relationship (the longest one being my marriage to a woman which lasted only 4 years). However, I still believe, as I always have, that I would rather be in an open, HONEST relationship than one in which my partner would feel the need to lie if he found someone attractive or in a moment of spontaneity wanted to bring someone home. Now that I've given my opinion, I want to re-state that it's also my belief that each person is different and what works for one, may absolutely not for another.
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    Mar 26, 2007 9:49 PM GMT
    Some guys here seem to suggest that an open relationship is less 'serious' than a monagamous arrangement.

    I believe it is a sign of a MORE committed partnership! It has always been my observation that men who are confident enough to responsibly open up their sex lives in context of a committed relationship are the ones who are MORE loving, MORE honest, MORE communicative, MORE realistic and MORE involved in actually helping their partner to grow.

    In other words, by venturing outside conventional (artificial) bounds of "marriage" they often put MORE thought and effort into their daily lives together than their conventional monogamous peers.

    I find it quite strange that gay men in LTRs try SO DAMN HARD to ape the traditional marriage model. Fact is, few of us will ever actually raise children...

    What would society look like if we as gay men commit the required time, thought and creative energy to designing more highly satisfying primary relationships as we do our competition-class gym workouts, euro kitchens, and sustainable native plant gardens?

  • christomax

    Posts: 30

    Mar 26, 2007 10:11 PM GMT
    That's a bunch of bullshit. MORE commited? I'm sorry, but sleeping with other people is the definition of non-commital. If you think that being in an open relationship is what you need..fine. Go for it. Don't pretend your situation isn't anything more than an excuse to fuck other people. It's a testament to how much emphasis gay men place on sex. Yes, sex is important. However, bringing in sex partners to somehow liven up your situation says something about the situation itself. Seriously.
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    Mar 26, 2007 10:51 PM GMT
    interesting thread.
    i'm in a monogomous relationship and happy about that. i can't imagine my bf having sex with anyone else -- that would be totally unacceptable! but i can see how it would work for someone else. i sometimes wonder why i'm so conservative about this. my parents had a happy and very traditional marriage, so i guess that's my primary role model. all my brothers and sisters have traditional and largely unhappy marriages, so i know this is a flawed theory...still, i have to admit an "open relationship" seems kinda fake.
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    Mar 26, 2007 10:52 PM GMT
    Response to Max617,

    Speaking of BS: your definition of 'non-committal' needs work!

    Thanks for feedback. PM8

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    Mar 26, 2007 11:19 PM GMT
    if it makes you happy ,it cant be that bad.(i wonder if thats a song....)mmmm ,i think one should look at this subject, from a phycological point of view;we,are all different and at different stages ,both emotionaly and mentally, not to mention , as to how many angles ,we can grasp at once,so,if one feels emotionaly secure on either relation (open)or (close)and feels for real ,that its what they want. so i,said, go for it, you see guys, is a short life,its a short ride,lets make mistakes,lets laugh at ourselfs and learn,and grow ,and when the times comes,,lets look back and fully think with a big smile ,,,,NO REGRETS
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    Mar 26, 2007 11:37 PM GMT
    Max: If gay men place too much emphasis on sex, why are you making a certain sexual behavior the very foundation of commitment? That is giving a huge amount of importance to sex, isn't it?

    I suspect what you really mean is that your way of making it important is better than other people's way of making it important.

    In any case, monogamy is not the only vow people take on marrying. And people are also in complete freedom to write their vows as they choose, as many do.

    If you are going to adhere so closely to traditional wedding vows, I wonder if you choose to marry, whether you will play the part of the bride or the groom? Surely you will not change the vows.

    We should be grateful things aren't written in stone.





  • christomax

    Posts: 30

    Mar 27, 2007 12:26 AM GMT
    PHLmuscle8:

    non-committal (adj.)

    1829, "characterized by refusal to commit oneself," from non- committal.

    Thanks for nitpicking though.

    obscenewish:

    I never said it was the very foundation of a relationship, but it is an important one (which I've never disagreed with.) Gay men just seem to make it a central aspect of their relationship, which is quite clear from the posts I'm reading. That's all fine and dandy if that's your choice. I've never made the argument that people shouldn't be able to choose that. However, I think it's unfair to make it sound like it's somehow superior to a monogomous relationship just because you have the leisure of having sex with other people.
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    Mar 27, 2007 2:16 AM GMT
    Oh, I guess I misread this:

    "I'm sorry, but sleeping with other people is the definition of non-commital."
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    Mar 27, 2007 2:26 AM GMT
    Wow, this topic has gotten some pretty heated responses. It just goes to show that people view the foundations of a life long committed partnership differently due to social influences and upbringing. But who really cares as long as the people involved are happy?? If that's what it takes to find another person willing to be there until the end so be it. If both of you are secure enough with your relationship and commitment to one another it shouldn't result in jealousy and distrust. And since when did the term "commited" have to refer to just the act of having sex? Wouldn't you rather get a commitment of life long companionship instead of a life sentence of one person sex???

    With that being said let me share my monkey theory..LOL. Religious folk, I don't mean to offend you...
    But I'm a believer in evolution. From that comes the belief that we evolved from monkey, ape, or whatever ancestory. With the monkey species comes the desire for the dominant male to serve one purpose in life which is to spread his seed. This is why it is so difficult for a great deal of men (sorry, I don't have time to research publications and statistics right now) to be with a single person sexually for the rest of his life. Why do so many men cheat??

    However, society has already begun to shift this evolutionary trend after the introduction of the Bible and it's idea of "marriage." From this came the idea of monogamy. Society has adopted this idea as the way of life, which is why there are many people out there breaking from this trend and actually happy. A lot of straight men simply get trapped in a binding marriage announced before their entire family, friends, and God Himself along with kids that no one wants to see part of a broken home. Yet, they still have the tendency to be with someone else, and many do. That is why it would be so difficult for two men to be solely together sexually for a life time. It isn't our nature....

    I don't care if you agree or not on this one. It's just a theory.....
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    Mar 27, 2007 2:40 AM GMT
    I believe that the only fitting term for ANY relationship with max617 would be 'hard time'. May 1st will be 13 years in my pitiable sham (in maxs' view) of a relationship, and every year an open one. I still sometimes feel almost overwhelmed by the love I feel for my partner and I beg the Gods to allow me to be with him until the day I die. I'm glad, too, because I don't think I'm smart enough to argue with Obscene.