Open Relationships

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 3:10 AM GMT
    I am working on a documentary on how we as gay people construct and then pursue our notions of happiness in love/romance/intimacy, etc.

    What comes up at times in this work is the topic of open relationships. My documentary is constructed in such a way that it has not been a theme of the piece. But I have the following question anyway, and thought to put it to a forum.

    Can you state, even if you are not so inclined, why an open relationship might be helpful, or in what ways it is wise?

    I'm trying to collect a helpful series of thoughts on the topic so as to have a more constructive discussion.

    To give an example, one guy told me that he is not about limiting the happiness of his bf. I don't think this is a solid reason stated as such cause then he should be fine with his bf doing other things that improve his happiness, like falling in love with someone else, or leaving, or doing other things that might tank the relationship but serve his "happiness." It seemed an unthoughtful reason, so I'm looking for better ones.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 6:02 AM GMT
    I have been in an open relationship before, one which didn't work for very long, in fact. The reason I agreed to it in the first place was because I know monogamy isn't everyone's cup of tea, and I was very much in love with the guy and was determined to have some kind of relationship with him. I talked myself into doing it and gave it my best attempt.

    The reason it didn't work for very long was because monogamy isn't everyone's cup of tea... certainly not his... but I'm a very monogamous person. It actually took having that relationship for me to realise just how monogamous I am. In that situation, the agreements we made about keeping the relationship open, and his never failing to take full advantage of that when a hot guy showed interest, were highly toxic to my need for monogamy.

    I've known a few couples along the way that were in such relationships and at least appeared to be happy with it. I have yet to hear a good reason to have an open relationship, however... so I'm curious to hear what others have to say...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 6:11 AM GMT
    In some ways I think being open in your relationship can be embracing fear and insecurity. I think many people fear "losing" the security of a relationship. One way of knowing if someone is dedicated to you is to give them the freedom to leave you. Where there is no fear or compulsion, there you will find love.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 6:15 AM GMT
    Well said, Active....

    Apollo, you posted a question asking people to share their thoughts about open relationships and how they might work or be wise. But when someone gave you an answer from their experience, you decided that it's not a good enough reason, and rejected it.

    That's not being documentary in nature - that's editorializing. I believe it is a mistake to reject an answer because you either do not understand it or it makes you uncomfortable.

    I am in an open relationship, and I understand the comment completely. I believe that part of what your respondent was saying is that a relationship lasts only so long as both partners want it to - couples who are not "open" fall in and out of love just as others do.

    I love my partner - and I don't want the relationship to end. But I cannot stop him from being attracted to someone else, nor could he stop me. We are together because we DO love each other - not because we are incapable of falling in love elsewhere.

    Open or not, feelings can change. Not all heterosexual marriages end because of marital infidelity - feelings change. Not all unfaithful marriage partners end up divorcing their spouses, either.

    If you are truly working on a documentary, I hope you will appreciate the many reasons people have for structuring relationships as they do. That doesn't mean you have to like or share their opinions - but please don't censure your own work. That isn't a documentary at all.
  • HillcrestPuma

    Posts: 5

    Oct 30, 2007 7:00 AM GMT
    I'd like to offer that perhaps there's no such thing as "a good reason to be in an open relationship." If one doesn't wish to be in an open relationship, then don't. I don't think you're missing anything, necessarily. I hope no one is out there advocating open relationships to the point that he is pushing open relationships on anyone. I hope no one is out there advocating open relationships to the point that he is implying that open relationships are better, or people in open relationships are more secure about love (love in the sense that is separate from sex), or that people in open relationships are more emotionally evolved than anyone else. I would be disappointed to hear someone say such things (but curious to listen to them defend such views).

    I say all this, and I am quite content to be currently in an open relationship. That's just me right now. That's all. Someone else doesn't want an open relationship for himself? Fine, what's the big deal, how could that be wrong?

    Next I'd like to share my observation that often when I am questioned about my comfort with being in an open relationship, I am questioned with varying degrees of hostility, fear, or need to dismiss my open relationship as some sort of "f*ck buddy" arrangement. Okay, whatever works for you. I've still got a loving relationship.

    All right, I'm wrapping up now. This is the most I have ever written on this topic, which means I don't have my views all that well rehearsed. I wish to ask what force or principle binds love and sex by necessity into the same compact?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 12:28 PM GMT
    Joey:
    "Apollo, you posted a question asking people to share their thoughts about open relationships and how they might work or be wise. But when someone gave you an answer from their experience, you decided that it's not a good enough reason, and rejected it...That's not being documentary in nature - that's editorializing. I believe it is a mistake to reject an answer because you either do not understand it or it makes you uncomfortable."


    Ditto to that (and to everything else Joey said).

  • Oct 30, 2007 1:29 PM GMT
    In my opinion which however you may take it is a opinion so I don't need anyones comments back to me, well open relationships would be an insecurity of one. I think open relationships are doomed to fail a relationship because their must be jealousy at one point and not to mention feelings from one might turn to another.
    I guess most guys would think oh thats hot and man I would love to do that with my man. Well that might be cool at the moment but did you ever think what if I am not interested in my lover anymore, or why is my lover not enough for me? That works both ways because I feel if your truly in love why would you need someone else involved?
    I recently had a crazy older couple who were older than myself greatly, they welcomed me into their home as a friend and we all became great friends. I had hacked into their computer and found that they actally took way younger guys home and got them drunk and took advantage, that would basically be the basis of why I never trusted them. Many times I found them trying to get me drunk and I wouldn't fall for anything. Well in the end of 6 months, they had became really jealous of other people and still try to mess my frienships with others up. I have cut them out but they still try in different ways to get me back, a creepy comment was that they really miss me and want me around.
    I had explained about insecurities and how open relationships are actually sad and pathetic. Well it didn't work. So I would just warn anyone who even befriends a couple like this, the one's that do accept it are basically crazy.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 1:35 PM GMT
    My views on this subject have flip-flopped like a fish on the deck of a boat!icon_biggrin.gif

    My current feelings on the subject aren’t likely to change anytime soon. With age breeds maturity, I heard that a lot growing up…I digress.

    For those who are currently in an open relationship and if being in an open relationship completes you on a mental, physical and most of on a spiritual level.

    I personally have to say I am happy for you. I you have found what works for you. YAY!

    When I hear statements like, being in an open relationship gives one the freedom to sleep around with anyone that they choose, well don’t a lot men do that any way gay or straight?

    Moreover, statements such as: Well you don’t know what you are missing or that it’s just sex and not love.

    I find both the aforementioned statements to be very troubling . Mainly because it trivializes each relationship and that in and of it self is just strange to me.

    A close friend of mine made the comment that I was thinking too much like mainstream married folk, because I could never see myself in an open relationship. His delivery of the statement was quite rude and flippant.

    This statement I found the laughable because: he and his love own two homes have joint bank account wills and rings. If that is not living the life of a conventional married couple, I don’t know what is.

    I'm all for it and hope to have it one day.

    If an open relationship works for someone you, hey great more power to you bro! Until I walk a mile in your shoes and live your life and you and mine who are I to say what’s right or wrong.

    There are successful relationships and unsuccessful relationships, open and closed. What it comes down to is human nature and how we treat each other. Let’s face it, as humans and the way we treat each other sometimes, can make the most ruthless predator(s) stand up and take notice and notes. The bottom line is that we all want to be happy and feel love your route may not work for me and my route my not work for but do not judge me because we are on two completely

    That's my point and I apologize for taking the scenic route.icon_smile.gif

    Phoenix
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 3:52 PM GMT
    For someone in my generation, it gives me a bad impression of gay men who're in open relationships.

    I've read somewhere about this 19 year old who wrote about this issue and how he looked up to an older brother figure but later found out that he had been in an open relationship the whole time with his partner after writing series of amazing traits he had found in this older brother figure and how he would like to find the same in a boyfriend/partner in the future, of course he was heartbroken because this open relationship didn't make any sense to him whatsoever.

    In a way, I'm not against it at all. If it works for other men, then good for them -- it just isn't for me. I'd rather be in a loving monogamous relationship.

  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 30, 2007 4:08 PM GMT
    I have really mixed feelings about the idea of an open relationship.

    On the one hand, I feel that I am the only person responsible for my happiness, including sexual fulfillment. So I can understand not wanting to be limited.

    On the other, I don't understand how it would work emotionally and practically. I mean, if I love someone and I'm committed to them and they are a part of every other facet of my life, why wouldn't I want them involved in my sex life? I mean, I can understand playing with another guy or a couple every now and then, but as a regular thing just off on my own I don't think it would work.

    I've never been a very confident person or free with my sexuality. Maybe it's my lack of experience with anonymous sex that makes it difficult for me to understand.

    But what it comes down to in the end is whatever works for you and your guy. As long as you are honest with each other and happy, that's all that matters.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 5:16 PM GMT
    The desire for multiple sex partners is a genetic one. The more partners one has, the greater the odds of continuing the blood line. It's ingrained in man ('tho on a very primitive level) to do whatever it takes to insure the continuation of the family genes. Few species mate for life (although there are some species that do). One could take the argument that monogamy is an act contradictory to nature.

    Having said that, man has always seen himself as being at the top of the evolutionary food chain. As an evolved species, we seek out relationships with more spiritual meaning than just mindless reproduction. At least some of us do.

    I think it's really just a question of whether or not we choose to deny our baser instincts for the prospect of something more spiritually rewarding.

    Having been on both sides of the argument, I can honestly say that whether or not your relationship is an "open" one is really circumstantial. Does anyone go through life with a dedication to having only open relationships? Or might the situation change if the person you find yourself loving is strictly monogomous?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 6:39 PM GMT
    Alright here's the thing with my guy. He is too busy with work and other obligations to commit to a successful relationship. He is the vice president of a large company (which I used to work for), so he is very busy. He is also divorced with 2 kids. So he wants to be a good father and spend as much time with them as he can, before they are all grown up. Although he has feelings for me and I for him, we just cant have a "normal" relationship. On top of that I'm only out to a couple of friends of mine and dont want to risk everyone finding out. So you see where this open relationship is the only way we can have one. Neither of us sleep with anyone esle, but we also havent said that the other should'nt. It works for now, at least.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 30, 2007 7:31 PM GMT
    MadApollo wrote: "Can you state, even if you are not so inclined, why an open relationship might be helpful, or in what ways it is wise? "

    We are guys. We think about sex every 7 seconds. Sex is like a cookie. We're not always hungry, but it's never a bad time for a snack.

    I am not an advocate of totally open relationships where the partners feel free to go off and screw anybody they happen to be with at the moment.

    But I also believe Trust and Communication are more important than monogamy.

    People grow up with this fictional, fairy-tale ideal of what romantic relationships are supposed to be like. We're guys. We get into relationships for one thing: sex. We can't help that; it's the way we're built, the way we are hard wired, and any guy who says otherwise is lying. However, we stay in relationships for the love (not to mention the sex). We build relationships with hard work because we see something better, something more than just the sex.

    When my partner and I exchanged rings and took our vows, one of the vows we did not take was to "forsake all others", rather we committed to work hard and to "stand with you; come illness, trouble, or poverty...".

    I think the most mature thing I ever saw on this discussion was on an episode of QAF several years ago. One character said something to his partner to the effect of 'We are human, we make mistakes, all we can do is be realistic about it, it doesn't mean that we don't love each other'.

    The day I know my relationship will be over won't be when or if he, or I, has sex with someone else; it will be the day that we can't talk about it, the day we both realise that we can't see building our future together into something more important.

    R

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 31, 2007 1:17 AM GMT
    I think my question was slightly misunderstood.

    Please don't assume that because I problematized something that I am against it which I am not. Also I said this was not for the documentary, it came up because of it.

    That being said joey said some great things in answer to he question as well as others of you.

    Again, my point is that what I am trying to do is collect thoughtful answers that promote understanding of certain gay practices, like open relationships. I need other's peoples in depth perspective, this is the reason for the question.

    I am working with a team of reporters from the country of Georgia on a report to be aired on a news channel there that is an attempt to start a conversation in the country about what it is to be gay. These kinds of things come up and I want more than my limited thinking on it.

    I know its not for everyone, but I like to question a great deal about certain things like identity and what it is to be gay so that I an create bridges to those outside the community. I think that also the process of problematizing something, asking difficult questions serves to help us understand what we are about better and become more adept at doing it well, like being happy in love.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 31, 2007 2:03 AM GMT
    Do you think men are more sexually focused due to biology or due to societal conditioning?
  • cacti

    Posts: 273

    Oct 31, 2007 2:04 AM GMT
    If that's the case then I think a good point to get across would be that these 'issues' often brought up are not necessarily inherent gay issues. Whether or not you believe an open relationship is moral or not has nothing to do with being gay.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 31, 2007 6:27 AM GMT
    timberooDo you think men are more sexually focused due to biology or due to societal conditioning?


    I think it's society. Everyone's wired to be horny, but to what extent we express that is determined by what we feel is acceptable: i.e. nuns don't have sex because they're told they shouldn't be having sex, whereas guys at the gym f*ck in the showers because some jackass decided to one night ...and then some dork followed suit and so one down the line.

    (THANK YOU, Jackass)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 31, 2007 7:37 AM GMT
    I disagree, the fact is that nuns, and monks, do and have had sex since the beginning of time against all taboos.

    The one thing we know from the study of almost all cultures is that people find very creative ways to get around taboos and have sex no matter what.

    It may be the second constant of the universe.

    I think that the traditional eastern view is correct: People who don't have sex on a regular basis become fundamentally unhealthy.

    The sex drive is a primary need like that for food, water, sleep, air to breathe, or excretion.

    The human species is an incredible collection of wants and needs; primary among them are the needs for both interpersonal connection and physical sexual release.

    Deny those needs and the very psyche changes, twists sideways; and the body itself physically rebels in small ways.

    Sexual behavior in China and Japan was regarded as an indispensable activity done in order to reach harmony with the universe through the unity of the two opposing forces: yin and yang (Dikotter, 1995). Yin was thought of as the female, the cold, the negative aspect of nature, while yang was conceived of as the male, the hot, and the positive component. An imbalance of yin and yang led to illnesses (Bhugra & de Silva, 1995; Ruan, 1991; Tan, 1980). Regulation of sex life was one of the major ways to promote health.


    R
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 31, 2007 10:14 AM GMT
    it's peculiar how whenever this subject is discussed it causes such consternation. there are other threads.

    ryanmicheals talks of an older couple he met who, 'welcomed me into their home as a friend....I had hacked into their computer and found that they actally took way younger guys home and got them drunk and took advantage (of them)... that would basically be the basis of why I never trusted them.'

    so you 'hacked' into their computer but you didn't trust them!icon_lol.gif

    rambler says, 'I think it's really just a question of whether or not we choose to deny our baser instincts for the prospect of something more spiritually rewarding.'

    it's curious that people think it's an 'either or' situation. is it not possible to have an open relationship and it be spiritually rewarding?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 31, 2007 6:37 PM GMT
    I have two friends (a couple) who are in a totally open relationship. I was troubled about it, so I talked with them both (I'm just coming out of a marriage of 27 years, and am new to all of this openness).

    What I learned is that they both view sexuality much differently than I. It all makes sense to me, now, and I tend to agree with them.

    Women equate sex with love. Men equate providing a home, security, etc. with love. Men disassociate sex and love. Sex is more of recreation, entertainment, play, and physical relief. (That's why men roll over and go to sleep after having sex, instead of talking, like women want to).

    So, at the end of the day, they go back to each other, talk about their sexual exploits, and love each other.

    I mean to tell you that their relationship is rock solid.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 18, 2007 3:49 AM GMT
    It's great to see that, with few exceptions ("We can't help that; it's the way we're built, the way we are hard wired, and any guy who says otherwise is lying."), even those expressing pretty strong opinions, are respectful and open-minded.

    I'm monogamous. That's the way I'm wired. I've had my share of meaningless sex and temptations to cheat on a boyfriend, but in the end it only provided me with the proof of what I've always thought about myself - that my heart and dick are inextricably linked.

    It's interesting to cite the genetic need to reproduce as an explanation and/or argument against monogamy in homosexual relationships. I often consider our sometimes well-suppressed basic instincts / genetics as explanation for some of our (people in general, not just homos) more puzzling behavior, but unless one makes this argument with the belief that homosexuality is a choice, not a genetic disposition, the reasoning seems to me to be flawed, since reproduction cannot be achieved by two men. I'm no geneticist, but it seems that if we're genetically gay, the constant desire to screw other men would have less to do with procreation, and more about pleasure seeking.

    Personally, I think it's simply a choice each of us has to make for himself and not a matter of right or wrong. If you think open relationships are somehow immoral or shallow, be monogamous. If you think monogamous relationships are boring or somehow less-evolved, be open. Because it involves sex and relationships, the subject brings out strong emotions and opinions in everyone. Like most such issues, we should each decide what's right for us and resist the temptation to judge others when they don't agree. As gay men I'm sure we've each had enough judgment in our lives.
  • ScotXY

    Posts: 117

    Nov 18, 2007 3:56 AM GMT
    I for one not a fan of open relationships.

    If i am dating i am monogomus with that person.

    Does not mean I cant find someone attractive and all. But I would not flirt not really anything but friends.

    I think its really simple.

    I do know there are guys out there that are in open relationships. They both do their things with other guys but they go back to each other in thier home and sleep in same bed.

    A lot of them have had rules never sleep with anyone but once or stuff thats wierd.

    But if it makes them happy cool.

    Most I have know that were in Open relationships usually break up or they go back to monogomy.

    But.. Never really seen any good open relationships that lasted any legnth of time.
  • sblade

    Posts: 4

    Nov 18, 2007 4:32 AM GMT
    Do you think men are more sexually focused due to biology or due to societal conditioning?

    It is genetic. Woman are the nurturers, they have the babies grow in them for 9 months. Men plant their seeds in as many as they can.

    There is some psychological reports i have read on it, can't remember it all word for word, but thats the basic idea of it anyway.

    As for the original question, if i understand it correctly. As others have said, open relationships are not for everyone.
    I see it as being able to distinguish between "love" and "sex". love being an intense feeling for another person, sex being the act. If you can disasociate the two, then there is no reason you can't "spread your seed" with as many people as possable, as you will always return to who you love. The problem i think most couples have is falling in love with those they fuck.


    I think that it is good to have an open relationship if you are able, as it opens up the door for more experiences, and can reduce the chance of getting bored within the relationship...

    I know a straight couple who had an open relationship, they have been together for over 5 years. They had 1 incident when she started a casual relationship and fell in love with him as well. However, she eventually realised it was just the sex she loved, and ended it.

    Of course, it was a little more complicated than that, but to save from boredom, i shortened it icon_biggrin.gif

    I can ramble on more, but think that will do for now.