Tag Archive: gay dating

Gay guys and monogamy?? Does it exist?

Gay guys and monogamy is rare and complex. I use to be a Psychologist at a sexually transmitted disease clinic. Many gay guys would tell me “My boyfriend thinks he is in a monogamous relationship.”

I do believe that monogamous relationships do exist for gay couples but I think they are much rarer than we know. A person once told me he was at a dinner with 6 gay couples and they all said they were in a monogamous relationship while the host said he had sex with all of them while in their monogamous relationship.

First problem with gay monogamy is that it is rarely defined what is monogamous. For many gay couples chatting with guys on sex sites is fine, maybe even masturbating while chatting is fine. And maybe even masturbating on line with live video is fine. How about masturbating with a guy when you do not touch each other is that ok? How far does this go, does saying “we didn’t kiss.”,” He only masturbated me”, “We slept together but did not have sex”, “I was lonely we only cuddled and kissed a little, we never had sex.” This list could go on for ever but it is seldom talked about what is meant when a person talks about monogamy. It is important to get it clear what is meant by monogamy.

The first part in a relationship when talking about monogamy is to define what is meant by monogamy for each person. It is also helpful to explain why you have the feelings you do have about monogamy. But knowing and discussing why the concept of monogamy is important for the partner(s). The important part is to understand why a partner needs rules to feel secure. It is important to understand what he is concerned about. Is it concern of a threat to the relationship? Or is it around social insecurity (what will people think. Is it jealously? Are there fears about STIs? Etc.

At the beginning of relationships monogamy may come easy but after a few weeks, months, or years, monogamy may become more difficult. It is important the partners continue to explore how the concept of monogamy fits into the evolving relationship.

Gay guys come up with elaborate rule around sex outside the relationship. There are such things “not in our hometown”, “not with mutual friends”, “not more than once/twice etc. not with the same guy”, “no fucking”, “he can’t fuck you”, “you can’t fuck him”, “only safe sex”, “ only have sex with other guys together”. This list can go on for pages.

All relationships will grow and evolve in many ways. This also applies to how monogamy fits into a relationship. People grow, people change in relationships the role of sex in a relationship can also change, love can continue through all these changes.

Too often in relationships partners will agree to monogamy to “please” the partner. At the beginning of a relationship it is easy to agree to monogamy but as time goes on monogamy may feel restrictive. It is important to talk about these concerns early in a relationship. It can feel threating to a partner when he is told by the guy he loves wants sex with other guys. Often this is a hard discussion to have, in fact it is so difficult that many guys will not bring up the discussion and just “cheat”.

There is a strong tendency for a guy who violates the rules about sex with others to not discuss the violation of the “rules” of the relationship. This often leads to guilt, shame, resentment, and distance in the relationship. While talking about the “mistake” may be difficult and cause hurt in the long run a stronger relationship is formed by honesty and working out problems.

It is important to understand that feelings about monogamy often will change over time, that is, there may be no one else but him/me at first but after a while (months, or years) other sexual experiences become exciting. It is important to talk about these feelings. Often guys will say “We are guys, we know sex is just sex, it does not mean anything personal”. Discussion around this topic is important in an open relationship.

There are a smaller number of gay guys who prefer to have an emotional connection when they are having sex. This can be problematic in an open relationship. This guy can have an emotional connection with someone without it being a threat to the primary relationship. In the same way close friendships do not have to be a threat to the primary relationship. We all feel emotional connections to many people at one time. For the guy who wishes to have an emotional and sexual connection it can be more complicated but open communication between the primary partners can address any concerns as they arise.

If only there were courses on being gay

If only there were courses on being gay

OPEN WIDE / How to make friends and connect with others

Bill Coleman / Vancouver / Thursday, July 28, 2011



If you ask me, the most common problem for gay men in Vancouveris a feeling of being lonely and disconnected.

I’m not talking about whether or not you currently have a boyfriend. I’m talking about not feeling close to anyone.

I believe that feeling of aloneness, of disconnection, alone/not connected, is the single biggest cause of guys becoming HIV-positive.

Vancouver may be full of friendly people, but there’s a common perception that it’s hard to make friends in this community. For most of us, making friends is an extremely important part of living a happy life. Feeling alone leads to social withdrawal for many guys. To build a strong community, we need to nurture confident, happy guys. We need to build a healthy community ourselves.

The beginnings of this strong community lie in supporting and respecting each other. As a therapist, I see many isolated gay guys who feel they cannot connect to anyone anywhere.

I have taken many courses in my life, most of them full of facts I did not want or need to know. But the two courses I’ve always wanted to take but could never find are Being Gay: How to Thrive in Gay Culture and Gay Sexuality: From Cruising to Kink and Everything in Between.

These are some of the most important skills for a successful, happy life, but they’re hard to learn with little or no guidance. I wonder why these courses don’t exist?

For more than 20 years, I have asked different groups in a number of cities to consider offering such courses, but no one has ever taken me up on the idea.  Maybe they’re right: maybe no one (except me) would sign up.

I’d offer the courses myself, but I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. I need them as much as — or more  than — the next guy.

I think bathhouses should offer monthly courses for new and old patrons alike. Imagine how much more enjoyable the bathhouse experience would be with a little instruction. (I’d sign up — I am a total failure in a bathhouse!)

And how about a course from online dating companies on Effective Bios and Effective Messaging: How to Find What You Want Online? They could even offer it online so people could remain anonymous.

I bet a lot of gay bar staff, who have observed years of bar behaviour, could give a course on How to Successfully Connect with a Guy in the Bar.

While we wait for gay school to start, there are some concrete things we, as individuals, can do.

We can smile more, make an effort to be more approachable and stop being so reluctant to say hi to strangers.

We can strike up a conversation first and not wait for the other person to find the courage to reach out to us.

We can stop expecting everyone to like us — and stop taking it so personally if they don’t. (Less than half the people you meet will be interested in developing a friendship with you, or with anyone else for that matter.)

We can be truly interested in the people we’re talking to, in discovering who they are and what they might share with us.

Remember: sitting at home knitting will not help you build friendships and connections.

You may wonder where I got my list of suggestions: it’s all the stuff I don’t do but think I should. I’ll try if you will. Together, maybe we can make a difference in our community and in our own lives.