Are Gay Men in Open Relationships Closer? (Study)

gay open relationship

Gay open relationships

By: Conrad Braxton

Recently, news has come out about a “research study” that suggests that gay men in open relationships are more likely to be closer.

The study was conducted by Christopher Stults at the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies at New York University.

Replete with photographs of three men hooking up with one another as part of the headline, the story is making the rounds on the potential benefits of open situations.

Related: Should we have a gay threesome?

Deemphasized in the equation is the fact that the study only included 10 (yes 10) participants in a 45-minute conversation.

Folks that’s not research – that’s a group quickie!

We’ve written extensively about gay open relationships in the past. In one piece in particular, we put forward five thought provoking questions to those who are quick to criticize open dynamics.

But for all of the buzz that seems to be happening on this topic, it may be helpful to take a step back and recognize that making the decision to have an open relationship should not be made lightly.

What’s more, it is still unclear if “opening things up” makes a couple closer. When two people are transparent about their sexual activities in an agreed upon, non-monogamous relationship, the end result may instead mean greater honesty.

Does that they are closer? That’s up to you to decide.

There is also the not so small issue of defining what an open relationship means.

For example, if a couple that’s been together 10-years decides to hook up with a guy while vacationing in Hawaii, does that mean they are suddenly “open”?

Here’s another scenario: A couple that has been together 5 years decides that each partner can have their own “play night” once a month, provided there are certain ground rules. Should we consider them open?

gay open relationships
Photo Credit: WeHoville

As you can see, applying definitional constructs to these types of arrangements isn’t always easy.

Here is what is easy to digest – real research.

According to a survey conducted earlier this year by FS Magazine using 1006 participants, here’s what some gay men thought about openness.

“Men, who believe themselves to be in a monogamous relationship/marriage/civil partnership, with SOME experience of open relationships:

  • 50% of these men think open relationships can be a good thing.
  • 12% said they can be bad for relationships.
  • 38% said they weren’t sure.
  • 18% believe that ‘open relationships are not real relationships’.
  • 20% said they’d rather be single than in an open relationship.
  • 15% believe relationships end up open because gay men can’t be monogamous.”

In the final analysis, it’s up to you and your man to decide if being in an open relationship is right for your situation.

There’s an insightful article on Huff Post by DC Psychologist Michael Radowsky who provides several of the common typologies associated with non-monogamous situations.

Perhaps the sagest advice Dr. Radowsky gives is the following:

“This is why I tell couples who are considering opening things up: If you value your relationship, proceed with caution.”


Photo Credit: MWZ and WeHoville. H/T: Pink News

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