Please ask, please tell

Monogamy--It's traditional, yet learned. It's conservative, yet controversial. Take a look inside as Matt Lewis discusses just how open an open relationship can get.
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A guy asked me earlier this week if it would be appropriate to have sex with his best friend who just broke up with her boyfriend. I asked him why he wants to have sex with her, and he simply said, “she’s hot, and I’ve always thought about it.”

I responded and said something like if you’re both all right with the hook up, and you’re prepared for any kind of consequence, go for it—just be safe.

He then began to talk about how he could hide this from his current girlfriend…

“Whoa!” I replied. “What do you mean your current girlfriend?”

He explained that he doesn’t see cheating as cheating but sees it as an opportunity to have fun and live life.

I asked him if his girlfriend knew he felt this way about sex, and he replied with a “hell no, man.”

Big shocker there.

“Well, why not? Wouldn’t you be mad if you knew she was sleeping around with other guys?” I asked.

“Yeah that’s why she doesn’t know. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. And what I don’t know won’t hurt me.”

So folks, it’s looks like we’re dealing with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” relationship policy.

We see this kind of scenario unfold time and time again with all kinds of relationships, gay or straight. One person is getting sexually bored with their partner, so they want to start exploring different options. Secretly.

A friend of mine explained it like this: You like steak, and you’ve been eating it for 10 years. It’s just as great each night as it was the night before, but you’re soon going to want another entrée. You’ll start experimenting with pork chops and ribs, and while you still love steak, you love the variety even more.

I agree that variety is the spice of life, but what happens when we get a little too curious and suddenly the variety we so desperately wanted has come to stab us in the back?

Let’s say you sleep around without telling your partner, and you’ve suddenly contracted an STD? Or what if the person you slept with becomes infuriated with the fact that you only wanted them as a hook up, and tells your current partner? This lie spreads like butter to physical and emotional harm, and the risk you were willing to take to have a little fun has slapped you in the face and ruined any chance you had of having a loving relationship.

It’s easier said than done, though. Monogamy is one of the biggest struggles faced by long-term partners. It’s best to talk about it. You don’t want to take a risk, and have it bite you in the ass later on. If you’re thinking about opening the relationship, communicate that with your partner. Monogamy certainly isn’t dead, but these days it’s also not the only way for two people to have a long and happy relationship. The key is open communication.

If you’re gay you know that non-monogamy is something our community jumps on way too quickly as a long-term relationship sexual fixer-upper, so take the idea with caution. Sometimes a little foreplay and mixing it up in the bedroom (or kitchen, or bathroom, or den—get creative) can be very helpful! I’m no therapist, but I know that jealousy and emotional heartache isn’t worth the hassle.

For a deeper look at monogamy and gay relationships, check out this study done by Therapist Michael Shernoff, MSW.


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