I barely know any gay people in monogamous relationships.
There’s Matt, whose boyfriend lets him screw anyone he wants as long as it’s a) in a sauna and b) not in Copenhagen, where they share a one-bedroom apartment.
There’s Hank and Kevin, one of the couples married in California in 2008 whose marriage is now in legal Mordor. They both fool around with guys they meet on the internet, and tell each other everything.
‘We have sex with other people more than we have sex with each other,’ Hank says.
There’s Michael, who hasn’t slept with his husband Harry in eight years, though they both have sex with other people. Harry prefers saunas, Michael prostitutes.
There’s Doug, who meets guys on the internet while his boyfriend is at work.
‘Does he know about this?’ I ask.
‘He must,’ Doug says.
There’s Malcolm, who has been in a monogamous relationship for eight months and is preparing the ‘let’s open it up’ talk before his next trip to Berlin.
There’s Christian and Philippe, who scout Berlin nightclubs for thirds.
‘We’re totally monogamous,’ they tell me, ‘as long as you don’t count threesomes.’
These are just anecdotes, I tell myself, not indicative of anything beyond the fact that my circle of acquaintances is basically a three-ring skank circus.
It would be easier if there were any decent numbers available on this.
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.
It’s a tiny sample, from one promiscu-city, on America’s gayest coast.
I find it genuinely interesting that, of all the arguments against gay marriage, ‘they’re all filthy skanks’ is one that rarely gets aired. Gay marriage, the Republican in my head goes, gives state support to couples that are fucking each other silly, and therefore sillifies the entire institution.
The obvious counterargument to this is that heterosexual marriages aren’t any more faithful than gay ones. Straight people are fucking one another on reception desks and pool decks and business trips, they’re just not telling their spouses about it. The only thing gays are doing more of, goes the left-winger, is disclosing.
I’d like that to be true, (I guess?), but I can’t ignore the fundamental fact that cheating on your spouse and not getting caught is really hard. If my wife doesn’t want me screwing anyone else, cheating requires meeting in sketchy motels, deleting text messages, using a separate credit card, etc. Plus the social and financial consequences of getting caught. Obviously it’s not enough of a disincentive to prevent every married man from cheating, but it’s enough for some.
If my husband doesn’t care if I sleep around, however, there’s no clumsy logistics, no stifling guilt, no horrifying confrontation. It’s such a non-disincentive for nonmonogamy it’s practically a reward.
So I guess what I’m saying is that gay people must be more infidelitous than straights. Our social norms are newer, less biblical, more awesome. We made them ourselves!
This view is oversimplified, borderline homophobic, not backed up by robust research and completely ignores lesbian relationships. In other words, it’s perfect. So why hasn’t the right wing used this as a talking point? Has seriously no one told them?
Tom is one of my only friends who’s not in an open relationship. He lives in Seattle, and he’s been cheating on his boyfriend, who lives in Chicago, for two years. He’s trying to talk his boyfriend into opening the relationship.
‘The minute I convince him to sleep with someone else,’ Tom tells me over gchat, ‘he loses the moral high ground, and I don’t feel guilty anymore.’
‘haha you’re a monster,’ I type.
‘Not if I can pull this off,’ Tom replies.
Fifty percent of the time, gay marriage is a synonym for open marriage. I don’t know what this means for us as individuals, a country, a culture. I’m just glad no one seems to have noticed.