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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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Reader Comments:

Comment by: craig larue (arkansas) Tue., Aug. 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm UTC
It is typical of publications that generate a large percentage of their income from pharmaceutical companies that sell HIV drugs that Olivia Ford is ambivilant about avoiding HIV. The concept of homosexuals avoiding HIV means less advertizing dollars for theBody and less money for articles normalizing HIV as a part of Gay life that should not be avoided or prevented unless one feels an unfashionable need to avoid HIV because of internalized homphobia.
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Comment by: ryan h. (dearborn mi 48124) Wed., Jun. 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm UTC
do not agree. all but a few on these type relationship i know have not worked. for awhile maybe but not long term. adult form committed partnerships. young boys feel the need for multiple guys. i dont know straight couples that this has worked for either.i certainly don't claim to be an expert just saying what i know to be true. i was lucky to has a committed 15 year relationship with a man who unfortunately passed away. ten years later i happily found another
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