New study: open relationships in the gay community

Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties
Young people seem to like gay marriage more than they like individual liberties

Story from the San Francisco Chronicle.


A new study released this week by the Center for Research on Gender & Sexuality at San Francisco State University put statistics around what gay men already know: Many Bay Area boyfriends negotiate open relationships that allow for sex with outsiders.

[…]”I think it’s quite natural for men to want to continue to have an active and varied sex life,” said 50-year-old technology consultant Dean Allemang from Oakland, who just ended a 13-year-open relationship and has begun another with a new boyfriend.

“I don’t own my lover, and I don’t own his body,” he said. “I think it’s weird to ask someone you love to give up that part of their life. I would never do it.”

Hoff, who just received a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to continue the study for five more years, initially started her research based on findings that HIV infection is on the rise among male couples.

“So much of the HIV prevention effort is aimed at a different set – men in dance clubs or bathhouses having anonymous sex,” she said. “HIV prevention might want to expand its message to address relationships; we have to look at risk in a greater context.”

In her study of gay couples, 47 percent reported open relationships. Forty-five percent were monogamous, and the remaining 8 percent disagreed about what they were.

Another researcher quoted in the story explains how same-sex marriage is compatible with an “open relationship”, and that this interpretation of marriage would be a redefinition of traditional marriage.

Related to that, there is this radio interview with a gay activist.


“It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. …(F)ighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.

The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago.

I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally… I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three… And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.”

To me, making a relationship “open” puts an emphasis on each person feeling good, rather than each person committing to love the other self-sacrificially. I wonder if young people understand that. What would be interesting, I think, would be to ask all the young people – especially young women – how they would feel if their partner’s idea of marriage involved having an open relationship. How do they feel about non-exclusivity incorporated into the new definition of the word “marriage”.

It seems to me that it’s one thing to say that marriage is a man and a woman committing to love each other through to old age, regardless of changing feelings and unmet desires. A relationship based on the natural definition of marriage is focused on commitment, and not fulfillment of desires. And that works well for children, who need stability, even if the desires of adults are not met. If marriage is about people abandoning exclusivity and permanence in order to get what they need to be happy “in the moment”, then neither person will be able to depend on the other when they are old, ugly and sickly.

Here’s a video that explains the basics of why people like me support natural marriage:

The word marriage means, one man, one woman, for life. And both parents sacrifice to raise the children they create. And no frivolous divorce, either. And if you ask me, it should also mean no sex before marriage, formal courtship, approval of both sets of parents, and the wife stays home when the children under five.

2 thoughts on “New study: open relationships in the gay community”

  1. I noticed that, in the person discussing the absolute mess with the 3 children, it wasn’t about what those children need or deserve, which is the moderating influence of a FATHER and a MOTHER, to whom they are biologically connected, but on the selfish and childish desires of the “adults”.

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