Wednesday, April 08, 2009

On monogamy and sluttery

Steve from the view on superior is one of my favorite bloggers. I have really come to enjoy his thoughtful posts on many subjects (plus he posts some super hot pics of guys). Today he posted about his thoughts on monogamy and open relationships. Here's a quote.
I think most “good quality gay couples” accept monogamy by default and I happen to think that is the very best kind of relationship to have. In our society, monogamy is so pervasive that there’s really no acceptable alternative. I would think, and simply assume - that most gay male couples are content to follow the trend - and live under the concept of monogamy.
One of the things I have always found intriguing about being gay was it allowed you to pull yourself out of a hetero-normative world view and really question the validity of the social structures that surround us. I think questioning and exploring alternatives to the status quo is probably one of the most valuable habits a person can pick up.

So i thought to myself are most of the "good quality gay couples" i know willing to live under the concept of monogamy? The answer is most definitely no. All of my closest friends who also happen to be in long term relationships right now engage in at least some level of non-monogamous activity. This isn't even a generational divide it seems as they range in age from late 40's to early 20's. Some are legally married and have been together for over 10 years and others are at the beginning of something and others are straight couples that are exploring. It has been a running joke for a while now that we only make friends with sluts (because sluts are more fun :P) but i think that really white washes things.

These are people in happy committed relationships that have decided as a couple to explore alternatives to monogamy either as a couple or separately. I don't think this lessens the value or strength in the relationship however i am sure it has killed some relationships in the past but then so has monogamy.

I have always thought that following trends was not my thing (though to a certain extent it is unavoidable) however monogamy is not an institution that I am married to. I really do believe that it is far more valuable for couples to have open honest discussions about what they really want and don't want in a relationship rather than hope that this commitment to the institution of monogamy will get them through.

This world and life is such a vast adventure and I can't understand why we would artificially limit ourselves especially when you have a stable loving partner to explore with you.

So are you monogamous or open?


Braden said...

I'd say I'm 60% monogamous, 40% open, if it makes any sort of sense to quantify such a concept.

I think our entire cultural focus on monogamy stems largely from Western Civilization's roots in dogmatic patriarchy and patrilineage. All familial wealth was passed on through from father to first-born son. As such paternity became a very important (often life or death) idea. In a heterosexual couple, introducing multiple partners threatened the certainty of paternity. In order to keep an entire economy and cultural system in balance, monogamy had to be emphasized. And being the creative monkeys we are, we also developed secondary ideas that promoted monogamy: Ideas of fidelity, the concept of loving only one (and that involving another would lead to conflict); It's all part of the legacy left to us by the romantics in the 18 and 19th centuries.

As our culture develops, we are slowly moving away from behaviors and mores rooted in patriarchy. With no need to concern ourselves with questions of inheritance (usually) or religion, we're free to explore non-traditional relational structures.

Braden said...

But here's a follow up question:
With enforced ideas of heterosexual behaviour still prevalent, and many men 'trapped' in unfulfilling relationships, is it acceptable (or even permissible) for said men to explore extra-marrital activity?

And further more, is it okay for us ,as gay men, to enable them to do such?

Ian said...

right now the bf and I are technically monogamous, but we've talked about having fun with outside people pretty much since the beginning, and Justin has even said that for a relationship to work that the option to bring in outside people has to be there (which I wholeheartedly agree) right now it's just been a matter of scheduling for us I think

Eddie said...

I think it really depends on what you agree on as a couple. If you want to stay completely monogamous or not that's up to you.

My boyfriend's last relationship was a fully open one. I didn't want that for us though. We agree to only hook up with other guys together as a couple and have our ground rules for things as well.

Unfortunately we haven't been able to do that yet, but hopefully soon. ;)

Allan S. said...

Marcos and I been sharing our lives together for 18 years. In that time we have had long-term monogamy, and periods of opening the relationship.

To keep it short and sweet, the open thing is cool if the relationship is stable and you both have a commitment to an emotional fidelity.

But be warned if things are rocky, having some slide off action can take you away from doing the work to get the relationship in a better place.

You're playing with fire by opening the relationship, which is exciting, but one can get burned. So be honest, maintain respect, have limits, and most of all don't loose that soul stirring intimacy with your main man.

Also, I think most gay men are slutish, myself included, to go the rest of my life and not partaking of new adventures would be false for me.

BTW, the word verification given to me for this post is POORN. How fucking hilarious. I kid you not.