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Gay Men in Monogamous Relationships: What Works?

There’s a widespread myth that gay men can’t, won’t, or don’t maintain long term monogamous LGBTQ relationships. The reality, according to good research, is that hundreds of thousands of gay men in long term relationships are enjoying sexually satisfying monogamous relationships.

If you are interested in maintaining a long term monogamous relationship, here are four tips to help you along the way:

Talk About Sex

Perhaps we learn from the movies that good sex should just happen immediately and automatically, with lots of passionate bumping into tables and knocking pictures off walls. In reality, like all aspects of a relationship, it gets much better if we talk about it.

For some couples this is difficult. Sex for gay men – as well as for everyone else – can be doused with a heavy serving of shame which can make it embarrassing to discuss. It takes practice and courage. For many couples it is safer to talk about sex with your clothes on. For best results give the conversation a spirit of playfulness and flirtation rather than criticism.

After all, the whole purpose of sex is to have fun.

The best topic for conversation? Simply tell each other what you like.

Unleash Creativity

Over time, sex with your partner can become boring. Doing something the same way over and over again can make anything dull.

To add variety to your sex life together, consider accessing your creativity or your bravery and start exploring some of your private sexual fantasies together. You and your partner can create the experience of something new by pretending that your partner is someone else.

It’s no secret that newness is a turn-on for most people, so why deny it? Fantasy takes the familiar and makes it fresh and exciting again.

Perhaps you may be thinking that it is distancing or unromantic to think about someone else when you are having sex with the man you love. Consider this: it can actually be very intimate to share your fantasies with your mate. It becomes intimate when your partner knows that you are engaging in a fantasy together.

For more inspiration you might consider taking a couples workshop at the Body Electric School ( It is a respected organization that offers powerful erotic education workshops.

Resolving Resentments

I believe the number one reason couples stop having sex is due to resentments that have built up over the years that have not been worked through. Nothing kills a sex life faster than feeling annoyed or angry with your partner.

If on the surface you and your partner get along well but have stopped having sex, then it may be time to look deeper to discover what is blocking this important expression of intimacy. Ignoring your sex life for years often leads to trouble and crisis in a relationship.

The art of resolving conflict is an essential relationship skill. You can read more about it in my June 2012 article entitled “How to Talk About the Tough Issues“.

Know What You Are Yearning For

If you find yourself secretly looking for sex outside of your monogamous relationship it is important for you to understand why.

We may tell ourselves that we are looking for hot sex but more commonly we are looking for validation. In fact, most people I work with report that sex with that cute stranger is ultimately disappointing but the chase and knowing that he finds you attractive is delicious.

When it comes to sex with strangers, the truth is our fantasies are often more exciting than reality.

If you are looking for validation (who isn’t?) then you might want to take some time to explore what is missing in that sphere. Do you and your partner validate each other regularly? If not, why not?

Many gay men have an unmet need to be validated as sexual beings. Most of us spent puberty and beyond feeling that something was wrong with our LGBTQ sexuality. So we can be especially hungry for messages that remind us that we are sexually desirable.

How do you merge your need for validation and your desire for monogamy? You create relationships with your partner and friends that are abundant with mutual validation. You develop your talents and skills at work and in hobbies. You confront and soften your inner critic (see my September 2011 “Secrets of the Inner Critic” article) so that you get a steady stream of self-validation.

And perhaps, after discussing it with your partner, you engage in eye contact and light flirtation with other men. This allows you get much of the benefit of an open relationship (validation) without the drawbacks (hurt feelings, disappointing sex, and the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases) that can accompany hook ups. It also brings “out of the closet” a universal truth: we all appreciate looking at beauty in its many forms.

While you won’t find much talk about it on Grindr or Manhunt or at most gay bars, many gay men prefer monogamy. If you haven’t found a man willing to join you in your desire for monogamy then you may be looking in the wrong places. You’ll find them volunteering at gay community organizations, finding inspiration at gay cultural events, or building their skills at gay recreational or educational clubs.

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Stephan Langella
Stephan Langella
06/10/2021 5:45 AM

Hi, I’ve reposted this in my social club’s facebook page and I’m a bit staggered at the response. The majority, very negative, comments, I;ve tried to see the angle that the objectors are taking. I really don’t see it unless I was projecting a prejudiced against monogamy..Because some of it starts to resemble trolling, I’ve hdden their comments.

Reply to  Adam Blum
15/02/2023 2:41 PM

Is being gay really only about sexual gratification for some? Group sex, multiple partners etc. And any attempt to disagree with that for yourself is met by harsh ridicule. Some gay men are obsessed with appearance, superficial standards etc. Don’t we risk replicating the oppression of society and its value stratification & oppression on members WITHIN our community. It cuts so much deeper being judged by people you would assume should ashew judgement, and a rude awakening to find what you hoped would be a support system, be seen only as a meet maker that values you based on skin deep criteria

Reply to  Stephan Langella
15/02/2023 2:36 PM

I feel that a lot of gay guys I’ve known are really mean when it comes to my preference of monogamy. They throw skepticism, criticism, ridicule my way. They deny gay men can even be monogamous. This is painful because it feeds into the negative conditioning I’ve received growing up from the larger society around me. I’m fighting a battle on two fronts, both against the parts of the larger society as well as parts of the gay community itself

17/02/2023 2:42 AM

Being Native American, I prefer the term Two Spirit. It describes me pretty well at times. Two Spirit is different from culture to culture. Two Spirit people are not necessarily homosexual but some are. In my culture I can say, “My one who loves me my man” and other people would respect the statement. They would not try to break up this sort of relationship. It is seen as normal. The relationship would only be beneficial to my people. I have had such a relationship in the past and I might have another one soon, although it is in the beginning stages at this point. Hope this helps people understand how intimate relationships are seen by my people. Like I said, it differs from culture to culture.

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