Navigating Gay Open Relationships

Last Updated 26.02.2023
11 min read
Taimi

When it comes to being gay there are all kinds of relationships. Some of them move away from the traditional forms of monogamy to create more satisfying and independent partnerships. These relationships allow both partners to receive the sexual satisfaction that they crave in full while also allowing themselves to love and care for one another. Open or polyamorous relationships have become rather popular in the past few years. Members of the gay community are slightly more likely to have these arrangements than others.

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    After all, it gives everyone involved a bit more freedom as well as offers more opportunities for connections. But there are a few questions that many people feel need to be answered. Here we are going to go through those questions, and use personal knowledge as well as insight from those who have the experience to answer those questions.

    With this, we hope to give you the knowledge that allows members of gay men to make an informed decision that works best for you in their r relationships.

    What Is an Open Relationship?

    An Open Relationship is defined as a relationship in which a monogamous couple will allow each other to have sexual relationships outside of their own. This essentially removes all forms of exclusivity from the relationship, even though you will still be able to say that you are a couple. This type of relationship is often suggested as a way for one or both partners to gain more sexual diversity and experience.

    Where Does This Happen?

    There is an assumption that these things only happen in places like New York or San Francisco. In truth, gay couples have these arrangements in even the smallest of country towns.

    Is There a Difference Between Open and Poly Relationships?

    There is one difference and that lies in the definition of exclusivity. An open relationship removes all of the exclusivity from your relationship and puts it on the back burner. While a Poly style relationship does allow you to have multiple partners, you are still ultimately exclusive to those partners. You may even have a primary monogamous partner. However, there have been many Poly Relationships that started because when relationships are opened up.

    Sexual Exclusivity: Is an Open Relationship Cheating?

    This can be a hard question to answer at times. But we find that the best answer lies in how things play out between you and your partners. As long as it has been communicated with your partner, and it has been agreed upon with whatever terms and boundaries need to be established and those terms are being respected, then an open relationship is not cheating.

    If there is a sudden change of wants and needs, or if either of you starts feeling uncomfortable during the relationship for any reason, then it is best that you extend your communication even further in order to create the healthiest dynamic for you.

    That said, you can't change how anybody views your relationship. For example, some people believe that anything outside of one monogamous partner is cheating. If you feel differently, just do your own thing. You can't force another person to have positive regard for a relationship. You know how deeply committed you are.

    However, while we sing the praises of these nontraditional pairings, it's important to engage in honest talk. Sometimes opening things up does lead to cheating or causing a breakup. That is something to talk about as you both acknowledge you are seriously changing the dynamic of things between you.

    Why Does Society Reject These Relationships?

    So many people are raised to believe that you should only have one mate at a time. Otherwise, you are cheating. To them, couples in open relationships are unfaithful or just weird. If you live somewhere like San Francisco where things are a bit more progressive, you may not encounter that as much. Your friends likely understand you can have a commitment and see other men.

    There are also those who can't conceive of this working. Surely these situations are full of jealousy and betrayal! They don't understand how communication is key to a strong union.

    Most people won't judge, but others will criticize you because they perceive you aren't following the rules of dating. Just remember that being honest is important, but some people need to be put on an informed diet. You don't need to talk to other people about your life.

    How Do You Know If A Poly Relationship is Right For You?

    30% of gay men say they are in an open relationship. This works for many gays, but is it right for you? First, you have to determine how much emotional and intimate exclusivity means to you. More importantly, how much do you and your lover attach an emotional connection to having a partnership based on monogamy? Can both of you feel intimacy without abiding by the strict rules of monogamy?

    For example, would you feel as if your emotional bond with your partner would be diminished if they had other sex partners? Do you think there would be a risk of one of you falling in Love or forming a primary connection with somebody you have sex with outside of your relationship?

    Conversely, you should also consider things that an open or poly relationship might improve for you. Imagine that you have some kinks that your partner isn't interested in pursuing with you. It's possible that you could engage in sexual behavior and I'm usually agreed-upon open relationship without asking them to do things they don't want to do. Some people engage in open partnerships when they and their partner have very different sex drives.

    None of these things mean you should open a monogamous relationship. They also don't mean you shouldn't. These are just things to consider. Some people don't mind if their significant other forms emotional attachments with other people they have sex with. At the other end of the spectrum are people who are only okay with opening up a relationship if there are no feelings or attachments involved outside of the primary gay relationship.

    How to Know When an Open Relationship is a Bad Idea For Gay Couples

    Some monogamous couples should just stay that way. One partner is simply the way to go for many people who would never be happy otherwise. An open relationship is not a cure for a partner who cheats. It should never be undertaken when one-half of the couple is unsure. It is also problematic when one person is allowed to pursue multiple sex partners while the other must maintain monogamous relationships. Even if one doesn't choose to explore sexually, that restriction could lead to resentment.

    How To Discuss an Open Relationship With Your Partner

    You think you want an open relationship. How do you make that happen? More importantly, how do you have this discussion with your partner without tanking your primary relationship? The problem with discussions on open relationships is that they are often interpreted as a desire to cheat but not be held accountable. Tread carefully.

    First, know why you want an open relationship. Seriously, check your motives. Is this a way for you to avoid a difficult breakup? Will you be okay with your partner also having relations with other gay men? What benefit do you think your partner will get from all of this if they agree with you?

    If you want to get some better insights into your partner's feelings about open relationships in general, bring the topic up as a part of casual conversation. It may be helpful to know if they think this is just a horrible idea then you can determine whether you want to approach them or not.

    When it's time to have the actual conversation, start slowly. Make it clear that relationship decisions or something you will both make together, and that this is true for a possible open relationship too. Focus on ways this might fulfill their needs for sexual fulfillment. Don't make it all about your desires.

    If they say no or want to think about it, don't pressure them. This is something that should be agreed upon enthusiastically or not at all. Many gay men in open relationships break up. This is often because one person felt pressured to conform, or agreed to an open relationship only because they thought their partner would leave them otherwise.

    Also, keep in mind that this could expose some really vulnerable feelings. Your partner may wonder if you are losing sexual desire for them. They might also question if you are already seeing other gay men.

    What happens if they say yes?

    Now you have to work together to create some rules and boundaries to ensure that you don't fall victim to some of the common pitfalls of open relationships. You may want to do some research together to gain a deeper understanding of the nuances of open gay relationships.

    If you know any gay men with experience navigating open relationships, touch base with them. Get their insights and possibly learn from their mistakes.

    It's so important that both of you have input into this process.. it makes it so much more likely that both of you will enjoy a fulfilling relationship.

    Here are some examples of common rules that gay men have about relationships.

    1. Discuss all sexual encounters beforehand

    2. No choosing sexual partners from the current friend group

    3. Only having sex while the other partner is present

    4. No sex with another gay man (common when one partner is bisexual)

    5. Safer sex with gay men who have been tested only

    6. Always engage in complete transparency

    7. Both men must be able to meet or chat with prospective sexual partners

    The Pros and Cons of Open Relationships

    Of course, as we've talked about the reasons why you may look at the option of an open relationship we have yet to actually talk about the pros and cons of such a relationship. Of course, these should not be seen as reasons as to why you should or shouldn't pursue this type of relationship, but instead, be used as a tool with the rest of the information that is given in order to help you make the decision that is best for you.

    Pros

    If you open up your gay relationship to new sexual experiences, you may notice these benefits.

    1. More honest communication about your sex life

    2. Less pressure for the lower-sex drive partner

    3. Increased satisfaction for higher libido partners

    4. Opportunity to explore adventurous sexual experiences

    5. Give your relationship an erotic charge

    6. Give mixed sexual orientation couples the ability to explore sexual activities

    There's a reason that so many gay male couples at least try open relationships. If these benefits align with your own feelings, consider this when you make a decision to try mutual non-monogamy.

    Cons

    Not all men in open relationships are happy they made that choice. There is always a risk that your long-term partner could fall in love with another man. Here are some other potential issues:

    1. Increased jealousy

    2. Resentment from a partner who may have felt pressured to agree

    3. Dissatisfaction with the drama that often accompanies open relationships

    4. Partners failing to abide by boundaries and agreed on guidelines

    5. Some guys feel it reflects poorly on their masculinity

    6. Lack of enjoyment of sex with other people

    7. It doesn't address the underlying causes of mismatched libidos

    8. Couples are unable to talk through boundaries and rules

    Some of these negatives are certainly fixable. You may be able to maintain a healthy open relationship by revisiting things and setting clear boundaries or communicating to solve problems. In other cases, gay men in open relationships can simply decide to return to monogamy. However, it is also important to acknowledge that at times there is damage done that simply can't be fixed between you and your long-term partner.

    Open Relationships For Gay Men: Not For Everybody But a Valid Choice

    Only you and your partner can decide whether opening your relationship will have a positive impact or not. Most couples ultimately decide that monogamy is best. However, it is possible to have a deeply committed relationship while having multiple sexual partners at the same time. Hopefully, some of the insights in this article will help you determine what will work best for your relationship. At least it will help you talk about intimacy between you.


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