Study suggests that gay couples in open relationships are likely to be closer

Study suggests that gay couples in open relationships are likely to be closer

A study has found that gay couples who are in open relationships can form closer bonds than those who are exclusive. It notes that same-sex couples are more likely to be in open relationships than their opposite-sex counterparts, but still face some stigma.

The study was conducted by Christopher Stults at the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies at New York University. It looked at 10 gay couples in open relationships, and consisted of 45-minute interviews with each individual man.

“We wanted to see how these relationships form and evolve over time, and examine the perceived relationship quality, relationship satisfaction, and potential risk for HIV/STI infection,” says Stults.

The interviews with the men, aged 19 to 43, finished this week, and Stults says the initial results of the study suggested that gay couples in open relationships appeared “happier”, and that their relationships were “more fulfilling”.

Stults says: “My impression so far is that they don’t seem less satisfied, and it may even be that their communication is better than among monogamous couples because they’ve had to negotiate specific details.”

He also noted that the gay couples in open relationships did not seem at a disproportionate risk of HIV or STD transmission.

“To my knowledge, no one contracted HIV and only one couple contracted an STD,” he says.

But one gay man in an open relationship told the Guardian that he and his partner had experienced stigma for being in such a relationship. Huch McIntyre told the paper: “We’ve run into gay and straight people who have assumed our relationship is ‘lesser than’ because we’re not monogamous. I think that’s offensive and ridiculous.”

A set of rules was key for those in open relationships, the study’s participants said.

But one psychotherapist, Brian Norton at Columbia University, doubted whether open relationships can be as effective as monogamous ones.

“Sex is an emotional experience. There is emotion at play, and even in the most transactional experience, someone can get attached,” Norton said.


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  1. Francis
    July 26, 05:52 Reply

    The last paragraph says it all for me.

  2. Mandy
    July 26, 06:19 Reply

    10 gay couples? The study is too small to be recorded as fact abeg.

    • ambivalentone
      July 26, 06:52 Reply

      Loool. Now u sound like my professor-“We deal in large numbers”

  3. bruno
    July 26, 06:28 Reply

    i think it shows your own insecurity when you try and invalidate relationships that are not like yours. that said, monogamy works better for me.

  4. ambivalentone
    July 26, 06:54 Reply

    Well, I wud still envy exclusive relationships. Nothing like “This dick is mine and mine alone”

    • Sam La'Smithereens
      July 26, 10:41 Reply

      And this is the thing that kills me. To think there is a dick out there that you’re probably never going to taste because said dick has pledged allegiance to one ass. Shudders.

      • bruno
        July 26, 13:00 Reply

        you are not going to taste every dick. get over it…

        why am i even responding to this? ?

  5. DI-NAVY
    July 26, 07:06 Reply

    Biko why will I say I’m in love with you and still have eyes for another ? People who indulge in this open relationship are those whose chains of their chemistry’s weakened . And people often catch feelings after sex because there’s always that person who’s better than your bf sexually so its kind of risky to indulge . If u wanna indulge in open relationship,why not kukuma go ur way and be giving each other markets . The day I talked about open relationship,my partner almost slapped me through the phone. Monogamy is hard, but I assure you, its the best and for the best . That why you have to date someone who ticks all ur boxes sexually and always tickle ur fancy every single time . Cheating alone drains me let alone when u mention open relationship . Its boy bye!

    • Pink Panther
      July 26, 08:09 Reply

      Uh, to clarify the first line of your comment. Open relationship is not about being in love and having eyes for another.
      And cheating can hardly be compared to open relationship.

      • DI-NAVY
        July 26, 08:13 Reply

        My point is, slipping off often can literally drain my feelings for someone i love because it doesn’t motivate me to stay committed anymore so if you claim you love someone and want him for keeps, why now a third,fourth,fifth party? School me more please PP.

        • Pink Panther
          July 26, 08:31 Reply

          First of all, I’m not an advocate for open relationships, no matter what I say here. I’m also monogamous.
          Open relationships are simply about exploring, with the permission of your partner, those sexual fantasies that for some reason he cannot fulfill, while still being in love with him. For some people, that can be quite liberating, knowing that you can just go out, get your rocks off, and return home to a partner you can talk about it with. The relationship is open in more ways than just the sex; the couple can actually talk about stuff like that, sometimes even get themselves in a sexual mood based on their explorations outside.
          So you see? It’s not even on the same spectrum as cheating. There’s an agreement here, permission given. Couples who partake in it don’t come home feeling drained, they come home feeling…I dunno, alive.
          It seems like a very easy way to go as a couple, you know, having the best of both worlds – the love of a man and the freedom of exploration.
          But like the man pointed out in the post, there’s always the danger of catching feelings outside your relationship.

          • DI-NAVY
            July 26, 08:34 Reply

            i know. That sounds like fun. hehehehehehe. I get you now.

  6. Delle
    July 26, 08:45 Reply

    Of course those that are involved in open relationships tend to be closer because majority of gay men can’t stay with one partner. You meet someone who has the exact sentiments and you guys form a bond.
    I believe anyone that feels he or she can thrive in an open relationship should totally go for it. Not all are cut out for that.
    There’s this authenticity that lacks in open relationships though, no matter how close the partners are.
    Personally, an open relationship is a no-no.

  7. Canis VY Majoris
    July 26, 09:07 Reply

    I agree.

    Open relationships tend to last longer. Although the passion might not be as intense as a continued monogamous relationship, the bond formed through mutual companionship and trust is stronger, this guarantees it’s longevity. In most cases, the only thing that differentiates an open relationship from the other is just the ‘sex’ factor and to some it is just that ‘sex’. Some people are gifted in keeping the ‘feelings’ out of it (e.g. Fuckboys/girls)

    That being said, to each his own. And love doesn’t guarantee anything.

  8. #Chestnut
    July 26, 10:05 Reply

    open relationship? heart-attack go jus’ kee me.

  9. Santa Diaba
    July 26, 10:57 Reply

    Open relationship is basically just FWB 2.0. There is no point deceiving yourself. If you actually want a meaningful relationship, monogamy is the way.
    I however encourage monogamous people to experiment once in a while with threesomes. It spices up the relationship.

    • Francis
      July 26, 11:00 Reply

      Are you not contradicting ya sef?!

      • Santa Diaba
        July 26, 19:16 Reply

        Nope. In Open relationships, the two people can stray to whoever they want, whenever they want, but a threesome involves bringing someone who they both approve of into their bed. There is a difference.

        • Francis
          July 26, 19:19 Reply

          Story! Na so one of dem go do catch feelings for the third party if he pushes all the right buttons and more sef.

    • Delle
      July 26, 11:10 Reply

      This is hilarical! Are u for real, Santa? Oh church!

  10. Shuga chocolata
    July 26, 11:14 Reply

    I beg ooooo, exclusive mbok,
    I don’t have power to allow HBP kill me.
    I’m a jealous type and open relationships ain’t meant for me.

  11. peaches
    July 26, 11:45 Reply

    Open relationships has both negative n positive effects, but when your choice stirs towards the negative, where your partner gets feelings for the one out there, it can so pain. happened twice where I had mood swings n my partner at different times chose two people over me. for carefree people it might be possible, but for people like me, if I’m to catch him staring at another in a fancy way, or smiling or thinking in his innermost mind, somebody’s gon get murdered, n it won’t be me. (he’s still on punishment for the two foolish decisions he made).

  12. Truth
    July 26, 13:43 Reply


    Hoes will say anything just to champion their despicable acts of debauchery.

    There’s nothing like open relationship. A relationship where you have to look for sexual pleasure outside is no relationship.
    It’s better to be FWB with the whole of Lagos than to delude yourself into thinking you’re in an “actual” relationship called “open”.

    Go and try it out and see.

  13. Drone
    July 26, 19:20 Reply

    Stults… Slutts.. Sluts.


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