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What's Monogamy Got to Do With Marriage?

Study Notes and Anecdotes From LGBT People in Committed, Non-Monogamous Partnerships

June 25, 2013


Lanz Lowen and Blake Spears

Lanz Lowen and Blake Spears, Longtime Partners and Co-Authors, The Couples Study; San Francisco, Calif.

How did you decide, early on in your decades-long relationship, that you both wanted a committed partnership that was non-monogamous?

At the time, in the mid-'70s, gay sex was considered a political act and there was almost a norm around the more sex, the more liberated you were. Being a couple during that time was unusual, if not actually frowned upon. We wanted to be in a primary relationship, but we were influenced by the ethos of the time. Also, neither of us had been "out" for more than six months; we were in our early 20s, and we felt very inexperienced. It seemed natural, that after about six months together, we began talking about how we might continue to explore our sexuality with others.

Our study wasn't proselytizing non-monogamy, but we do advocate the discussion of how same-sex relationships may be similar and different from heterosexual relationships. Historically, gay couples have had to "invent" their relationships -- to figure out their own road maps. Perhaps for this reason, there is greater diversity in what our relationships look like.

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