If you have ever been on any of the gay hookup apps such as Grindr or Scruff, you know there are profiles of some of the most gorgeous men ever. When guys are on these apps, they are usually “Looking,” and a sexual connection is the end game. It’s a pretty cut and dry construct, by which men log on, meet up, and get off. The selection process is a bit like grocery shopping, as thousands of guys peruse through countless, headless, ripped torsos and bulging crotch shots.
However, in recent years one of the most peculiar things has seemingly become the norm on gay hook up apps, and that is the growing number of men on the site looking for sex while at the same time, their current partnership status is openly listed as either married, in a relationship, or an open relationship. In many cases, the profiles are of couples, openly looking to have sex with a willing third, another couple, or more. They just put it out there frankly with no shame in heir game, though some couples will stress a disclaimer such as “we only play together.”
On the one hand, this might seem like a phenomenon of deviance just among gays. Though people should be reminded that many heterosexual couples also invite others into their bedrooms, and there is a thriving “swingers” scene all over the world for straight married couples. I mean, ask Beckie and Jerry Falwell Junior – allegedly.
Just as there seems to be an affinity for couples or committed people looking for sex from others outside the home, there are also gay men who are really against the idea. Their profiles will say, “No Couples please” or “No partnered guys,” “Monogamous only.” Sometimes, too, these guys are judgmental of couples as they oversimplify it as “cheating” without applying the more critical thought that relationships are defined by the people in them, not the queen clutching her pearls on the sidelines.
A recent article by the Washington Blade does apply critical thought to the situation and examines the many interconnected reasons why “gay men lean toward non-monogamy.”
In one theory, they propose the following,
Men (stereotype acknowledged) often enjoy pursuing and having no-strings sex, so gay men readily find willing partners. Open relationships, seemingly fun and unconstrained, offering a stream of new partners to reduce the monotony of an ongoing relationship, can be intrinsically alluring.
LGBTQ history overall also plays a role as the article brings attention to how gay men’s sexual connections have had to exist in a bit of subculture. Bathhouses, saunas, porn shops, cruising parks, backrooms, and sex clubs emerged because we could not claim our true sexual identity without public scorn. We couldn’t hold hands or kiss our partners in a restaurant or stroll with our arms around each other; no forms of PDA. The result was the abandonment of societal rules altogether, whereby “we’ve been able to do pretty much whatever we want, as long as we’ve flown way under the radar.”
This theory suggests that gay men created their own constructs of love and sexual relationships through their need for sexual expression and acceptance. Thus a community was born where love and the mere act of sex are not synonymous and can co-exist as their own separate things within a relationship.
The Washington Blade article is a great read that delves even deeper into the topic with historical references dating back to ancient Europe and up into WW2. This is a well-intended examination that removes stigma and approaches the situation more through the lens of human physiology.
No matter where you are in the debate of monogamy versus open relationships, there is one take-away as I see it. We should not condemn what other people do in their relationships because it’s not our place. It reminds me of what I told straight people against marriage equality, “If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get gay-married.”
The same rule applies if a gay couple or someone in a relationship hits you up on a gay app. If you’re not interested, just say no, thank you and move on – without the drama, pearl clutch and ridicule.
Read the full story at The Washington Blade