Over on his blog, Drew wrote a post that was also a question. Basically, since he now has personal insight into outwardly-appearing “straight” couples and how they interact, along with his intimate understanding of how homosexual couples live and interact, he wondered how the two were different from one another. Gay couples are more often open than non-gay (apparently) and gay couples are often open with one another about their sex lives. Are “straight” couples the same? How are they different? And, of course, I use “straight” in quotes since that’s how Belle and I appear from outside.
I think M/M couples are more open in both senses of the word. They’re more often open sexually and they’re more open with one another about it. My simplification of their experience would be that it’s easier for them because they’re all guys. In a mixed gender scenario, you have something like alternating currents involved. The differences in how the genders process sexuality and the associated emotions need to be negotiated and that, more than anything, is what keeps F/M couples from chatting too freely with one another about sex and relationships. Of course, some do. But many (most?) don’t. When the couples are divided and grouped into their component genders, talk of sex increases because the currents are all the same. But even then, there’s a lot of uptight straight people out there.
And, of course, guys are allowed to be slutty in a way society frowns on for women. When the sexual dynamics are all about M/M sex, there’s a lot more of it. I’m not saying men are simpler sexually than woman or that woman are too complicated or whatever, only that it’s very easy for men to have sex without consequences (and that’s multiplied by about 10 when it’s sex with another man). I think men are also socialized to more freely have no-strings-attached sex than women. If it sounds like I’m saying men are pigs, I won’t lie and say that’s not true, but I think women could just as easily be pigs if we were all raised outside our dominant “good girls don’t”/”monogamy at all costs” paradigm.
So no, Drew, “straight” couples tend not to talk about one another’s sex lives unless their participants are broken out into their gender groups in which case they might. At least, that’s my experience.
Two caveats. First, openly kinky people are probably more likely to have these conversations than the non-kinky or the closeted kinky. Second, I clearly have no idea how those in F/F relationships relate to one another. Zero.
Now, when it comes to actually being in an open relationship, I think there’s more of that going on in the “straight” community than is let on. It’s such a taboo (or has been) that even if a relationship was like mine and Belle’s, chances are quite slim that information would be volunteered, even to close friends. Therefore, I think it’s impossible to know how many couples are open in some way (whether that be swinging or “fine but don’t tell me” or a cuckolding thing or like ours or whatever — there are many available flavors).
I would encourage my readers to check out the comments to his post because there’s a lot of good stuff there. But there was also this from someone called Pat…
I really don’t understand why everyone is so casual about this. For the straight couples it’s cheating. Plain and simple. For the gay couples, I guess you could call it a form of cheating but since those marriages are soon to be voided, I suppose it won’t be.
I made a vow when I married my husband to stay with him and only him. This bow [sic] was to him but also to God. I like to keep him in chastity to make our sex life stronger, but it’s just for us.
Open and cheating are not the same thing. I can tell you that for a fact since I’m someone who has cheated and is now in an open relationship. Open is so much better. And, if you read my last post, you’ll see how open can also be perfectly casual. In fact, I have to imagine it’s at its best when it’s casual. If I was sneaking around with Drew behind Belle’s back, that would be cheating. Since I’m not, it’s not. Plain and simple.
Regarding the dismissive hatefulness of the rest of that first paragraph, all I can say is you’re on the wrong side of history. You’ll soon be relegated to the same bin we keep racists who hated interracial couples and religious fanatics who persecuted the left-handed. That makes me very happy. We’re leaving people like you behind. I don’t say that with hatred in return. It’s a simple observation of fact. You’re either on the equity bus or you’re under it.
Also, point of fact, regarding the “marriages will be voided” comment, the question being taken up by SCOTUS would not, even in its most damaging result to marriage equity, void any marriages already performed. Nor would it stop marriages in states, like mine, were the elected legislatures made it lawful.
Regarding the question of vows, I can’t imagine why we couldn’t renegotiate whatever we laid out to one another soon-to-be twenty years ago. I can’t imagine why one would let their younger, less experienced selves place them in such a rigid box like that. Funny thing is, opening our marriage has been nothing but good for our relationship. So if by doing so we’ve strengthened the marriage, how is that going against the spirit of our wedding vows?
Of course, you can choose to make promises to your imaginary sky friend, but I’d rather stay focused on Belle and me, thanks. In my estimation, promises to gods have resulted in immeasurably more suffering and pain on this planet than the opposite. They’re all too often used to shield and justify hateful, damaging, and abusive words and actions. I’ll have nothing to do with them.
Pat also went on to say…
I’ve recently started reading [Thumper’s] again now that it’s back to more he and belle and chastity versus the gay fantasies and his feelings for sex with you.
You will understand that hearing you say you’re happy to read my blog again now that you perceive it to be more about one part of me than another you find distasteful does little to endear you to me. If there was a way for me to blot out my words so you and people like you couldn’t read them or find any value from them, I would. You must take me as I am, all of me. Both my wife and my boyfriend (and his lawful husband). If you choose not to, then please stop reading me.
I chatted with Drew about Pat’s comment after she made them and how much more emotional things like that make me than him. His said something that made me profoundly sad. Of course, he’s used to comments like that. Words that degrade and dehumanize and minimize him and his feelings and his life. He’s accustomed to dealing with injustice, prejudice, and intolerance. I’m not. I have lived in my privileged “straight” lifestyle and have only recently been exposed to terrible people in such a personal way. Unlike Drew, I haven’t had the opportunity to build up a thick emotional scab.
I don’t want that scab. I never want to let words like her’s roll off my back. Whether or not she was intentionally hateful, she was and I always want to feel an urge to say, “FUCK YOU,” than not. Impolite? Oh, sure. But justice is often impolite…at first.