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LGBTQ Open Relationships: Our Research

by Adam D. Blum, MFT, Gay Therapy Center Founder and Director

We recently sent out a survey to our subscribers to get some data about the kinds of relationships LGBTQ+ folks are engaging in. In this two-minute video, Gay Therapy Center Founder and Director Adam Blum reveals some of the data on open relationships.
Running time: 2 minutes.

Our Research on LGBTQ Open Relationships

We recently did a survey of about 500 LGBTQ people where we asked them lots of questions about their relationships and their sex life.

About 60% of you said you were in an open relationship.

Of that 60%, about a third of you have what we call “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” relationships, which essentially means is you don’t discuss your sexual activities outside of the relationship with your partner.

As an LGBTQ couples therapist, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policies in open relationships are concerning.

Not talking about it tends to be a prescription for drifting apart in relationships. Keep in mind that when you keep a secret from your partner, you essentially are doing it by lying to your partner.

For example, your partner says, “Hey, how was your afternoon?” and you say, “It was okay.” But the truth is, you really had a hookup, which was really exciting or really awful, or really embarrassing. You’re lying to your partner.

Or they say, “Hey, you want to get together with our friends tomorrow night?” But you have a hookup scheduled, and you say, “No, I got to work late.” You are lying to your partner.

Hookups are not necessarily dangerous to relationships, but lying always is.

There is nothing more lonely than to be lied to by the person that you love the most on the planet.

Hookups are stimulating. They can bring all kinds of fun things, exciting things, sad things, scary things. You can feel great or terrible. And your plan is to avoid sharing those experiences with your partner, and not talk about it?

Not sharing our lives, and not sharing our good and bad feelings is how we end up feeling alone in our relationships.

If you’re not ready to talk about your hookups with your partner, then maybe, just maybe, you’re not ready for an open relationship.

Good open relationships require a very high level of communication skills. So you have to be really good at holding each other emotionally.

When one of you is jealous, you have to learn how to talk about that, and feel connected as you’re having that conversation. You can do this through therapy, you can learn it through books like The Ethical Slut, but I think it’s important that you do learn that skill.

You know, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” did not work for the US military. If they can learn to be honest, then so can you.

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