Are you gay and monogamous? We talk a lot about open relationships on the blog, but they are not right for everyone. You might feel like there are no gay folks who are monogamous, but that’s not the case. Monogamy is still an extremely common gay relationship structure. In this video, Adam Blum, founder and director of the Gay Therapy Center, shares 5 ways to improve your gay monogamous relationship.
Running time: 5 minutes.
Gay Men + Monogamy: It’s More Common Than You May Think
Myths About Gay Men + Monogamy
There is a widespread myth that gay men don’t want or can’t have monogamous long term relationships. The truth about half of us do want them. And in our own research, about 70% of couples are in long term, monogamous relationships. I think on the coasts and in big cities, there’s this belief that somehow there’s something wrong with you if you want a monogamous relationship. But the truth is, they’re very common.
Tips for Monogamous LGBTQ Folks
Let me give you some tips, if you want a monogamous relationship, of how you might be able to do that a little more easefully.
The first tip is you do have to get good about talking about sex. And that’s hard for most people. We get raised with so much shame around sexuality. So it does take some practice. To make it a little easier, you might want to talk about it with your clothes on, when you’re feeling more protected. You want to always do it with the spirit of fun, never criticism.
The way to start is simply talking about what you like. In the movies, sex just happens. And certainly that happens in porn, people just immediately get into sex. But in reality, it’s a little more complicated. It does take conversation. So that’s something to practice and get really good at.
What Happens When Sex Gets Boring in a Monogamous Relationship?
Sex will get boring in the context of a long term, monogamous relationship, no doubt about it. Expect that, that’s okay. That’s extremely normal. The truth is, humans get bored of everything we do if we do it the same way over and over. So the trick here is to spice it up, try new things.
And ultimately, it may mean looking at the role of fantasy. Pretending that your partner is someone else is an okay thing to do. That’s the basis of fantasy. Fantasy makes what’s old and tired, something new and exciting and different again.
Now, you may think, oh, that’s kind of distancing, I’m gonna think about something else, when I’m actually with the man I love. Well, it becomes less distancing if you and your partner talk about the fact that you’re going to do that. If you jointly say, hey, let’s bring this element of fantasy, I’m going to pretend that you’re x, and you can pretend I’m y. Then it’s quite intimate, it’s actually a little vulnerable. It heightens the communication between you. So it’s not a bad thing to do. It’s, I think, something really important if you’re going to keep things pretty exciting over years and years and years and years.
Monogamous Relationships + Resentment
One reason I think many couples stop having sex after several years is this buildup of resentments. They haven’t learned how to process through the small or large resentments that build up in any relationship over time. So learning that skill, which may take some reading, or some couples counseling to learn how to do that is key.
Another piece is that when you find yourself really, really hungry for sex outside of your relationship, and you want to maintain monogamy, it’s good idea to learn more about what does that mean for you. Sometimes we think, oh, we’re just horny, and we want to experience something new.
It can be that. But quite often, it’s more than that.
Sex + Validation for Monogamous LGBTQ People
Quite often it is, “I’m hungry for validation.” Gay men report to me that really the funnest part of sex with other people isn’t the actual sex act, but is that feeling wanted, the chase. That’s what’s fun.
So if you’re looking for more validation in your life, one way to have it is with sex with others. But another way to have it if you don’t want to do that, is to build other sources of validation.
Are you and your partner really good at validating each other? Such an important skill to have. How can you guys get better at giving each other compliments regularly every week? Sharing positive feelings about each other is really important.
And even more important – how good are you, how good are you at self validation? That’s so key for every part of our lives. I’m always talking about that. That’s where the pedal meets the metal. The most important thing you can do for your mental health is get better at validating yourself, learning that self-talk to support yourself, essentially, to love yourself.
All gay men are looking for validation. All human beings are looking for validation. However, gay folks may be looking for it a bit more because we spend growing up not getting validated as sexual beings, quite the opposite. So we can be really hungry for messages that we are sexually desirable, since our sexuality was considered kind of yucky, or awful when we were little kids.
Good monogamous relationships start with you, i.e. your relationship you have with yourself. When you get good at looking at that inner critic and responding to it in a more positive way. You will find that your long term relationships get better and better.