Gay Men Are Promiscuous. Why Don’t Right-Wingers Care?

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.


Filed under America, Berlin, Denmark, Gay, Personal

6 responses to “Gay Men Are Promiscuous. Why Don’t Right-Wingers Care?

  1. elephantwoman

    It’s a good question, I’ve wondered this myself. You’re right that right-wingers don’t raise what there is abundant evidence about. It took me a while to work out what the reality is of gay relationships – though knowing all this doesn’t change my support of gay marriage, for various reasons.

    Actually, we went to the BEST talk earlier this year about gay marriage – four writers on stage including Jeanette Winterson – all gay – representing different viewpoints. I’ve just found the link to the podcast, have a listen:

    Hopefully they’ve kept all the best bits in and didn’t edit out too much. I was going to say more in this reply but that podcast basically contains a lot of the points I was going to make. It’s a new world with new rules.

    One of the speakers, Dennis Altman, basically said that monogamous gay relationships are a total myth. A man in his twenties got up to the mic during the Q&A and suggested that that wasn’t true, that there *were* gay men in monogamous relationships – and “not just to ape heterosexual relationships”. This has to be true, and it seems ridiculous to claim that there aren’t any gay men in monogamous relationships.

    I tend to think of social movements being like a pendulum swing…moving to extremes at different phases, then settling in the middle at other times. I think monogamy might happen a bit more for gay men at some point, once gay culture is more mainstream. Marriage might be a bit of a game-changer for some, like lesbians (who generally screw around far less).

  2. Nanani

    Hi, long-term lurker here with a thought to share.
    I think the reason right-wingers don’t use this “gays are skanky” line is because it’s really NOT about “teh gay”, it’s about controlling *women*. They’re misogynists, and homophobia is more of a side-effect of that in my view.
    Gay men being non-monogamous is just MEN being non-monogamous. In the right-wing world that is natural, it’s only female sexuality that needs to be controlled and coerced and all that.

    Just two cents,

  3. Not until I read your post did I realize that most gay relationships are just guys hanging out and benefiting from being able to have sex with one another…living in the Bible Belt of the US I see lots of groups of guys that try to make up reasons why they need to screw another girl and bash more gays, when if they would just give in on the bashing and give up chasing girls they could be quite happy just getting what they wanted without leaving the house…a hole to screw. The majority of people raised in our culture are all about pleasure seeking anyways, right? Unabated pleasure seeking in the quickest and most convenient way.

    I’m very confused on the whole thing…I think it is all taking the easy road and getting everything you want, which isn’t all that bad as long as you don’t mind living a few more lifetimes to work things out.

    We are all here to live our own life and not the life of others.

    Live on!

  4. John...

    Something you all may not realize is that a lot of straight and gay people get their education on what gays are all about from TV, movies and other mainstream media, who only focuses on the more flamboyant and outlandish type of gay people, because it gets them much more reaction and ratings.

    The mainstream media nor the mainstream gay community do not care about or acknowledge that just as many gay people choose to live a lower key lifestyles that are not all wrapped up in their sexual orientation.

    These low key lifestyle gays rarely (some not at all) immerse themselves in or take part in any of the mainstream gay community. They do not hang out at gay bars, do not march in gay pride parades, do not go out and have random sex in bath houses, do not have accounts on any gay dating\hookup websites, are not flamboyant, do not use the generic gay slang, do not have open relationships, do not all live in big cities where it’s fashionable to be gay etc., etc., etc.

    The only thing gay about them is their sexual preference while the rest of their lives have little or nothing to do with their being gay. These gay people tend to be more successful at having long lasting, monogamous relationships. They meet their partners in (non sexual orientated places) like straight people do, not in gay bars etc.

    Studies like the one mentioned in this article are all flawed because like the mainstream media; those who do the studies head straight for the mainstream gay community to gather their data. So of course They are going to get results like that in San Francisco where a large number of mainstream gays live and hang out. I can’t say whether or not those doing the studies realise that there is this other segment to the gay population. They could just be ignoring them simply because they are not as easily accessible as a lot of mainstream gays are at once.

    Anyway; I just meant to point out that there is a lot about gay people that others aren’t aware of because they aren’t aware of any other kind of gay people than those they see on TV, movies, the mainstream media and the more obvious mainstream gay community.

  5. Prash

    I only think gays are dirty because they put their dicks in dirty places!

  6. John...

    Not all gay guys have sex the way you think they do either. Again; you’re only going by what you’ve heard.

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