Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dan SavageConversations On Monogamy

A good friend sent me a video this morning that I would like to share with you all as today's topic of discussion...and being as how my last few posts have been kind of heavy I thought it would be good to take on something different and something that likely we will all have very different points of view on. The video  titled "Why Monogamy Is Ridiculous", a part of the Big Think series, and features Dan Savage offering his views on the need to rethink love and commitment away from an all or nothing stance to something more flexible and equal to both sexes. No stranger to controversy, Dan Savage says what he thinks and even though this video clip is only two minutes and forty seconds long, it is packed with enough Dan Savage goodness to light the comment section on fire....just like it has already done on YouTube.

Now, you may think you know where I am on this issue...but you may be surprised. The issue of monogamy is much more complex than it appears on the surface and touch's on issues of gender and sexual equality in addition to fidelity and so much more. So watch the video after the jump and fire up the keyboards...because I'm sure we are all going to have a lot to say.

Ok...Savages major points, as I understand them, seem to be these:

1)...Marriage and commitment have been altered in both meaning and intent throughout history starting from being an economic/political transaction to one based on the relationship of the participants.

2)...The last big shift having occurred only forty years ago placing the same restrictions on men that had previously only been held for women.

3)...Human beings are not biologically inclined to monogamy and in Savages opinion, many of the relationship breakdowns that happen are because people are not naturally wired for monogamy.

4) a result of all of the above, we need to not only rethink our ideas about monogamy but communicate a more realistic idea of the consequences of being monogamous to our kids so that can make a clear eyed choice on their own and thus avoid many disillusioned heart aches.

5)...that instead of a looking at monogamy as an all or nothing concept, it can be seen as something more like sobriety in which you can make mistakes and work to correct those with out being the final end of the relationship.

So the issue is a deeper one than it appears on the surface. In a two minute video about our expectations of monogamy we have also touched on how marriage and fidelity have changed through history, sexism and gender equality, as well as sex and relationship education. And those were just topics covered by the video...what wasn't discussed was safe sex and trust. Where do you begin to pick that apart and attempt to have a reasonable conversation about it that doesn't devolve into emotional arguments? Monogamy is such a monolithic cornerstone concept to our  modern view of love and relationships that many people will instantly reject the idea that monogamy should be rethought at all. It feels like questioning love itself. After all, there is a reason we include "forsaking all others until death do us part" in our modern marriage vows.  Additionally, there are many who look at being monogamous as synonymous with being a good person and who think thinks that anyone raising the question is simply looking for a license to do whatever they want.  But I don't think that's really what's being asked here...

For myself, as a person who grew up with a lot of religious prohibitions on sex and relationships....oh hell, lets call it like it is.....

I was taught there was only one form of acceptable sex, and that was between a married man and woman...that's it. Coming from that background and realizing that I was gay I have had to question sex and why we think some things are right and others aren't in order to come to terms with myself. The question I always seem to come down to is...what exactly is sex to us that it should absorb so much of our energy and attention both in pursuit of it and in fear and restriction of it. Why is it so scary and threatening that we treat it like fire?...too close and we get burned. To be honest, I have never suitably answered that question to my own satisfaction. The act of sex itself is just too complex to be boiled down into easily simplified terms. In it's positives, it can be innately pleasurable, create new life, and create emotional bonds. Yet on the flip side, it carries with it potential  health risks and the possibility for the terrible exploitation of other human beings. We believe that sex helps create and support emotional bonds between couples and at the same time believe that sex can just be sex and nothing more. As a person for whom the type of sex I had was being labeled as "bad", it seemed the whole subject was much more complex than I had ever been taught to believe and our attitudes to such a ubiquitous behavior puzzling.

Now, I do believe that sex both creates and helps maintain bonds between couples. I've been married long enough to know that my husband and I argue more and have more issues with each other when we are not making a physical connection. Taking the time to be together helps us feel more secure together and brings with it a sense of togetherness and play that helps us feel closer. But that's not to say that it works every time. It is also possible for two married people to have sex just for sex just for the sake of the sex itself, just like anyone else. There are the times you stay and hold each other and enjoy that way it feels just to be together....and then there are times when it's just working out a biological need and not  necessarily making a spiritual connection. At Neither time was time was sex bad even though their emotional tone may have been totally different...and both times were just between us. Sometimes we just need to have sex because our bodies tell us it's time. We humans have sex for lots of different reasons and not all of them include making new life or spiritual connections.

So...while my understanding of sex has changed over time, I have still not answered the question of what sex is to us that it should be so offensive...and so threatening when it's done with someone else. To me it seems to only have the meaning we imbue it with. And yes I know that idea is not going to sit well with many but all that I can say in response is that after a lifetime of being told the type of sex I have is wrong, I have learned that you have to look deeper before you can judge.

But we can't talk about Sex and monogamy without also talking about infidelity. I have been cheated on....many times in fact. by different partners over my life. I have also cheated. I know what it's like to be on both sides of the table. To sit in shock, with broken trust and a heart full of questions and also the guy with his hat in his hand trying to repair that trust. Most of those times are never as simple as saying, "I'm sorry."  I have known people for whom one lie told or one foray into infidelity is enough for them to cut a person out of their lives forever with no chance of forgiveness ...I am just not built that way. I have made too many of my own mistakes not to know what it feels like and to hope desperately the person sitting across the table from you wont stop loving you. To me, the terrible part is not that it happened, but why it happened and what it says about our relationship...and Jay and I have been there.

It makes people feel uncomfortable to talk about it...and our video on monogamy made a lot of people squirm uncomfortably, but it's a fact...and it happened..and we had to deal with it. So there we were at a restaurant, having what I thought was going to be a nice dinner when he told me. The very first thing that went through my head was a ton of questions...."What did that guy have that I don't?"...."Why did you feel the need not to admit to me that you wanted that kind of experience?"..."did you think I wouldn't understand?"..."Does this mean you have fallen out of love with me?"...."Am I an idiot if I forgive him?"...."WHAT THE HELL DO I DO?!"

It takes a lot of soul searching. And ultimately, everyone is going to have a different answer to those questions. But if I viewed our relationship through the eyes of  a rigid monogamous interpretation...we would have been done right then and there. Instead, I had to admit that I loved him, and that love was more important to me than any sexual experience he may have reached out for...and that's what I was satisfied it was...just sex. What troubled me more was that he lied about it. Being a guy myself I know we tend to think with our lower brains before we think about the consequences. I also knew that, I had the same capacity within me to screw up monumentally given the right circumstances...

For instance, a time with my first boyfriend in which we hooked up with someone else....and then I didn't let it go at that and continued the encounters afterward. I was young, hadn't had a lot of experiences and I was totally intoxicated by the experience. It hurt feelings and broke trust and I learned just what things I was capable of, that I never...ever thought I would do. My belief about who I was took a big hit then....but because that happened I learned a lot about myself and trust in a relationship and what it feels like to be the guy who screwed up.

so what to do? What would I want done to me if the tables were turned? So I forgave...and we both had some very deep and serious talks about why it happened...and how we could make sure that we were both being open and honest with each other so that nothing like that ever happened again. But.....had their been any kind of emotional connection or repeated visits with the guy, it would have been a completely different story and our relationship may not have survived. Ultimately, if he didn't love me, nor I him, we both knew were the door was....but neither of us took it.

 These are the kinds of issues you have to navigate when you are with someone for a long time and only you can decide what is going to be your deal breaker. My parents relationship imploded on the discovery of one stray red hair(none of us have red hair)....and my Grandmother has stayed with her husband even though he had been very verbally abusive, and even left her at one point. She forgave him for her own reasons...but also because she came from the day when you just didn't divorce....and she has endured a lot to live up to her vows. Those are two very opposite views of what it takes to end a marriage and both examples from my family became a part of  how I understood marriage and commitment. That understanding never stops growing or changing, not even now.

That it why I don't find it threatening to consider that the way we currently view monogamy as an "all or nothing" contract might need to be rethought. I've seen it not work more times than it has. We believe our relationships are sacred but often throw them away at the slightest bump in the road. I don't want that to be me or the fate of my relationship with my husband. My marriage to him has been nothing short of an adventure with some very big highs and some very low lows...but I want to see where it goes. He is not just my husband, I also consider him my friend and that's why I am willing to take that journey with him even into unexpected places. Someday, I want to be a very old man, sitting in my rocking chair next to a very old Jay and reminiscing about the times we had together....embarrassing our kids with stories from our youth. That is one of my definitions of happiness. In pursuing that happiness I have come to understand that we, as people,  are a pairing of our biological nature and our higher selves and that we rarely understand either well enough...nor give them enough compassion.

But this is only how I have come to understand the topic. Each couple is going to have to come to their own understanding about what is and is not acceptable to them. It is when we don't have those kinds of  conversations and are not on the same page that a lot of heartbreak happens. If we can't be brave enough to say it when we aren't getting all we need...or have the chops enough to hear it when your partner thinks different then we have a time bomb, counting down days until it explodes. And to be fair...many more things will be a part of navigating your own understanding of what it will take to stand the test of time....not the least of which will be your children....what you want them to learn from you and to take into their adulthood. Will we be the example for them so that they have to tools to face these same issues some day? It's a scary and sobering least for this dad.

We can't be afraid to talk about what monogamy means to us. Jay and I had that talk when we first started dating and we have had it again many times and I know we will have it again. When someone like Dan Savage says that we need to "rethink" monogamy we get up in arms's Dan. But we don't think about how we have been rethinking it for decades already. Is it too much for anybody to even consider? Can we have a conversation like this without it becoming about accusations and blame? Can we admit to ourselves that monogamy is not as black and white as we think it is? Do couples have the right to determine the rules of monogamy for themselves? It's your turn to tell me what you think.

Until next time dear readers....


  1. Insightful commentary. I have long believed that in order to maintain a relationship for the long run, both involved need to be willing to rethink that relationship from time to time... it is a living being and needs constant care and assessment. What works in the beginning may not work ten years down the line. Society changes. People change. Relationships must also evolve. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yay, Dan Savage! - Uptonking from Wonderland Burlesque

  2. Really insightful post Bryan! "I have come to understand that we, as people, are a pairing of our biological nature and our higher selves and that we rarely understand either well enough...nor give them enough compassion." I love this bit. I haven't been in very many long term relationships, the longest being 6 months; however, I've constantly had to reevaluate my feelings on subjects such as sex and monogamy. Oh the misconceptions I had about sex...I used to believe my hormones would simply fall under control at the magic junction of age, maturity, and commitment. Yep, I was wrong. lol People should consider what needs they have and if their current interpretation of monogamy meets those needs. If they don't, then they should definitely do some soul searching, talk with their partner, and open themselves up to solutions.

  3. Bishop Gene Robinson's new book (God believes in love: straight talk about gay marriage) gave me some clarity on my perspective on this issue. Said he, " Nakedness in the presence of another has long been a symbol for vulnerability, assisted no doubt by the fact that most of us are not entirely satisfied with the way we look...Sexual intimacy is safe only when the relationship and one's partner are trustworthy. One night stands are "wrong" because they are so risky to one or both of the partners...The likelihood of getting hurt in such a situation is high."

    Therefore, he advocates for the importance of sexual intimacy in the context of marriage, or at least a long-term, committed, trustworthy relationship, saying it just makes sense. He points out the difference between having sex and making love. He says having sex may scratch your physiological and biological itch, but the level of fulfillment only goes so far.

    Making love, he continues, is more apt to be fulfilling because you are saying with your body what your heart is feeling. That integration of body and spirit is what makes intimacy great. When you love someone and you get to express it with your body, it's profound; it deepens the relationship. That oneness is a profound, and spiritual matter, unmatched by casual sex. As a religious person, I personally believe this. But I also realize that while I have these standards for myself and my partner, sometimes it's hard to live up to one's standards. Mistakes will be made, and I think one should be forgiving; Christian teaching says we should forgive just as we would want to be forgiven; you don't have to be religious to agree with that.

    However, I will agree with Mr Savage that we need some leeway; extra-marital relations alone should not be grounds for divorce. Each couple needs to sit down and create their own standards and rules from the start. They decide together what is acceptable, what is not, what is grounds for breakup, and what is not. Assumption is a common cause for relationships to fail. Don't assume; ask those questions about monogamy and the likes and come to a mutual understanding with each other. It may not be sexy, but it needs to be done.

    In conclusion, set rules and boundaries in your relationship built on compromise, and be willing to forgive your partner if they fall short.

  4. I cant say anything by my own experience, never being in a long relationship myself yet, but I totally agree with you Bryan. We should not be afraid of think and talk about this kind of thing. Like Bryan I grew up thinking that there was only one kind of sex and one kind of relationship that was right, and I had to unmake this concepts as I began to understand what really means to be gay. So why should I be afraid of unmake other concepts that I have?
    Recently I saw in a LGBT group on Facebook a folder inviting people to know the “Network of Free Relations.” The event was going to happen in the “Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Sociais da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro” (Institute of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro). I couldn't go cause, sadly, I live far away from Rio. But the idea puzzled me and stayed in my mind. This is the image:
    The pic speaks for itself, but what is written is interesting. The text in white says: “Its possible to love and relate with more than one person at the same time with honesty and without runaround”. The text in black says: “Each person is a complete being, not a half of another. We are not half oranges. I mature individual must be able to feel well with himself and relate with the others without the feeling of possession.”
    I have heard about the what is called “polylove”, but what I had understood was that it was when a person had a long term relationship with more than one person. But I guess that it is it too. Someone in the comments of the image said that the idea of the Network of Free Relations is not necessarily about have more than one relation at the same time. Some can have just one relation, but with liberty, without the feeling of possession.
    Like I said I don’t know what would work for me. What I believe now is that, in a relationship with someone you love a care about, honesty is more important than anything. So I don’t believe in what Dan said. The way he puts it anyone that have a monogamy relation is lying about what they really feels, once he says that monogamy is unnatural for humans. Is it really? I don’t really know, but I don’t think so.

    1. dan's comment about monogamy being unnatural was more referring to the biological imperative of attraction and sex, not a statement about the choices one makes. cultural rules play significant roles here too, for everyone, and determine what is considered monogamy and infidelity. even down to very small gestures.

    2. Drago is right here. What Dan points out as "unnatural" is the notion that you wont WANT to have sex with someone else at some point....not what we feel about that or what we chose to do with that feeling. We show our love and regard for the person we have chosen to be with by how what we chose to do with that feeling. How each of us would respond to that circumstance is different.

  5. i have been the other guy. i have not been the one cheated on because that would require a greater degree of commitment than has been given me. i have also been the between relationships guy. in fact, i recently ran into that guy and his new boyfriend who had expressed interest in me just the week before. we who are defined by our sexuality are perceived as a threat because we dont match the cookie cutter lies that we get told at the tablecloth and the pulpit.

    i have repeatedly heard women from many walks of life express the belief that if youve done it in your heart, even if not in fact, then you have still committed the sin. i think that is a very oversimplified belief because it denies fantasy as a very necessary aspect of life, research has shown more so for men in regards to sex. or at least more accurately the women i have heard expressing it are not making a distinction between what is done in fantasy and what is done in an emotionally committed way. which i find hypocritical because i have yet to hear a younger woman in a relationship not make fantasy comments/ other actions to their partner regarding their exes or some other piece of candy theyve run across. let the guy do it at all and she tends to become the green eyed monster incarnate. there are men equally as bad too so its not just a female thing.

    ultimately, it is the couple's relationship and no one else's (though you do in some sense marry the family too) so they are responsible for the rules of that relationship and should be socially free to define it as they see fit. the morals we adopt should not be used to bludgeon others into submission by making them less but should exist only to make our personal lives better by giving us the rules we need to be better persons. adopting morals that do nothing but alienate and enrage us, personally, is not good living and it is not good spiritual practice.

  6. I have learned that some gay couples will say that they are not in an open relationship, and having my flings with their partner as he was out of town just tells me someone is kidding who. Your situation is such that you are dependent on Jay. Do you really think that when he goes off to see a young guy in Turkey that your viewers think he is being faithful. It seems that Jay acts like a hound dog every time you get a young gay person in the house. If you do not think your husband is not cheating on you when you are not around then you are only living in fictional world. All long term couples I have met CHEAT...they will say no but we in the real gay community know better

    1. I know its hard for people to believe that you could do something nice for a person in need...Tallat is an amazing young man that i would travel around the world a 100 times to help if he needed me. You can think what you like about me as a person and you can judge me...must be easy to do when you are a coward who hides behind the the name Anonymous but Bryan knows who I am and we are a 100% honest with each other in all aspects of life no matter what you think or believe.


    2. so much for my words elsewhere, lol. plainly the blind are speaking in ignorance(at best), especially considering your words here, jay. the illusion 'anonymous' intends to spread(in the worst) is easily seen through.

      i do think that flying around the world like you did is far beyond nice. it demonstrates a generosity of spirit and a care for others that is both enviable and awe inspiring(im not sure that i consider myself possessing of that level of generosity). that quality can be quite intimidating and a bit scary.

    3. Me getting on a plain and flying to Turkey to support a young man who I considered a good friend who I spent the last 2 years supporting and mentoring was not special. He is some one who I came to care deeply about and I made him a promise one night when he was feeling suicidal that I would be there for him when no one else would. I do a lot for people I care about it is the way that I am built. We mentor a lot of young LGBT people all around the world and after awhile they start to feel like family. I think men like "Anonymous" has a rotted heart and only sees bad in people and the world. I don't need to use out work here on you tube as a way to find young men to have sexual encounters with if that was the case I would be aiming our so called celebrity at the men I find attractive 40-50 bears not kids. I find it super offensive that people want to always see bad when you do something good. We currently have two people living in our home an 18 year old and a 24 year old and guess what anonymous neither Bryan or myself are doing them. Jay

    4. @Anonymous...just because those are your experiences does not mean that it create a rule that allows you to place a blanket judgement on others. Before you start casting your stones I think you need to make dam sure your house isn't made out of glass. I trust jay and I don't have to justify that to you or anyone

      If you can't address the topic in a respectful manner than you are invited to take your comments elsewhere.

    5. I agree with Jay. I find it absolutely insulting to assume the negatives asbout someone who does things for other folks. This is why i love Jay and Bryan, they're an awesome couple who would do what they casn to help folks. To insinuate that Jay is sneaking around behind Bryan's back is just insulting.

      So anonymous, a piece of advice, "Judge not lest ye be judged."

    6. what makes what you all do special(and why i say it was beyond nice) is the fact that you are putting your words into practice. too many times people at large say things that never get done-their words are made hollow and meaningless. i am working on getting to a place where i can do some of the words that have come out my mouth but options on that front are currently limited.

    7. ....Why so defensive Jay?

    8. You know...whoever you long as you hide behind being anonymous, whatever you post here is automatically assumed to be bullshit right? If you have something to say about my husband or myself you can say it to my face or STFU.

    9. You mad...brah?

    10. Who IS this Anonymous? Is this someone you know?

    11. Ok guys, this "anonymous" is obviously just teasing. Some people just like to make trouble. It's not up to him to decide and to care about the reasons why you, Jay and Bryan, do the things that you do. If he doesn't believe that what you guys do is from heart, its his problem, not yours. I guess that he never learned that when you help someone in need, some times the most benefited is yourself.

    12. Dave..rethink what you just worte..remmeber I'm listed as how would they know, or even have a clue who I'm am...
      #common thomas paine

    13. You are sorely mistaken my friend.

      I question what cirlces you move in.

      Show me your friends and I will tell you what kind of man YOU are.

      The false, non-monogamous relationships that you associate with in your social circle have left you astounded to find true monogamy in action within the marriage of Bryan & Jay.

      In the end, when all is said and done,it is Jay or Bryan that will be holding the hand of the other while he lays on his death bed.And ALL the multiple sex parnters in the world within an open relationship will not compare to the beauty & simplicity of what Bryan & Jay have.

      "It is not he who has the MOST that is satisfied but rather he who needs the LEAST."

  7. Considering my own emotional makeup, monogamy is what satisfies my needs best and would be what I would strive for. If Dan Savage says monogamy is ridiculous, I say fine, let it be ridiculous FOR YOU. I want my relationship to be deep and profound and have sex be an expression of what our hearts feel rather than sex so impersonal and meaningless that it’s nothing more than a bong hit for your d**k. Like Bryan, I’m much more concerned over why cheating occurred than the mere fact that it happened. I also like Jay’s standard of if you’re doing something you feel would hurt your partner, your actions are cheating. And I at least hope I wouldn’t be rigid and unforgiving about it. But if that cheating were done with emotional involvement too, maybe that’s the one thing which shouldn’t be forgiven.

    So, if I were in a committed relationship I wanted to be monogamous, I would feel I’m cheating or coming dangerously close to it if I were to watch porn on my own and get myself off to it. Unless we live in a gym all the time and turn ourselves into musclebear gods in our own right, your own appearance and that of your partner simply can’t compete with most of the insanely hot porn actors in those videos. Those videos can be addictive and it can mess with your head and maybe lead to your finding your partner less attractive. Instead of giving your partner your full energy in bed—something he deserves—what you’re serving up is your crappy, depleted leftovers. Your partner is bound to notice the difference and how do you suppose that makes him feel? I wouldn’t like that being done to me so, in turn, I don’t want to pull crap like that on someone I profess to love.

    The most important thing anyone can do is have a frank conversation with his partner and formulate those relationship rules. And everyone will have different rules. I sure found that out during my Kansas City “Right to Love” trip. The guy from the bear bar I went to there who later became my “hotel guest” was partnered. In fact, I met both him and his partner before the movie. When I returned after the film, only my hotel guest remained. I went back to talking to him and it was he who came on to me. I was surprised that he did that considering that he was partnered. “Is this okay with your partner?” It was. Their relationship was an open one. “I think we need to have a little talk about just what the rules or your relationship are.” Each partner was free to do most anything with another person and there was no requirement that both partners “play together.” There was one limitation that both partners observed: a**l was reserved only for them, but any other activity with an outsider to their relationship was permissible. “Okay, then.” And I honored their rules in what we did together. Did I personally agree with their relationship rules? No. Would I structure my own relationship the same way? Absolutely not. But that’s not the point. Those are THEIR rules and they have the right to have whatever rules they please.

    Now I have a long-distance significant other and the geographic separation between us is insanely huge. Different countries and even different continents. Yes, we love each other, but we both are well aware that our ever meeting in person at best is years away and fairly unlikely at all. So what if we meet someone in our own countries before we ever have a chance to meet, he asked. Should we go ahead and pursue them? I answered yes, we should. My answer to him was primarily about putting his wellbeing and his happiness above my own. So I told him I want him to be happy and to have someone who can love him in a tangible way, even if that means it can’t be me. If opportunity knocks at your door, pursue it and don’t leave your life in limbo holding out for the slimmest of odds that we can actually be together someday. So, in the context of the longest-distance type relationship possible, the best relationship rules we can have which still give him a reasonable chance of happiness is to have NO rules at all….

    1. i disagree with your judgement about porn being a no go. porn is a fantasy, if it becomes an obsession that is a different thing altogether. i think that tying it all to appearance like that is a huge cheapening of the situation. using bryan and jay as examples here (sorry if i hit any buttons bryan) you can see where jay's and bryan's fitness levels vary and it is plain to anyone with eyes that they are crazy about one another regardless of any issues over a few pounds or even significant gains. going a bit sideways and speaking entirely for myself, i KNOW that if Ant acquired the much feared (by him) man-boobs it would not affect my emotions for him. id just motorboat him in that fantasy situation.

      it is vitally healthy to all relationships that you have a good relationship with yourself, including sexually. im not saying that masturbation would be the go to but it certainly should not be a threat. frankly its really hott to have your sexual partner watching you like that, it is still masturbation but its also more. and if my guy were masturbating to me and found a way to include me then all the more fun can be had for US.

      i know that, at least in the near term, i am not as likely to watch porn or masturbate when i am getting it regularly from a sexual partner but i see no reason why that would last, not to say it would not.

    2. Rereading what I said about porn, I now feel it was clumsily said and maybe I created some impressions I didn’t intend. I have no problem with masturbation and agree it’s normal, healthy and hot for your partner to watch you do. And porn can be okay too, but I feel it’s better for a couple to watch it together and, in their wound-up state, go hog wild with each other afterwards. What I’m talking about is someone who watches more and more porn all by himself, gets off to it alone habitually, DOESN’T include his partner and, in his mind-warped addicted state, makes love to his partner LESS because of it. I’m getting much of this from a video done on the sillygayboy channel where David—I believe is his name—gave an account of how a prior boyfriend of his was so addicted to porn that they had sex less often and it ruined their relationship. I don’t want to be like that myself and I wouldn’t want a partner of me to become that either. For me, it’s that point when the porn addict is so far gone that he prefers solo sex with his porn star heroes on the computer screen to making love to his partner and therefore starts depriving his partner of physical love that he becomes a cheater. Once that deprived partner figures out what his live-in addict is up to, he then knows he’s no longer number one with him and that he’s practically been replaced by someone or something else, and that can’t feel very good at all. THIS, I hope, is a better description of where I would never want a relationship of mine to go and why.

    3. I guess that what Dave was saying about porn is that when u are in a relationship, u need to be honest both with u and your partner. If u feel that what u do is getting in the way of the relationship, u should talk about it. I think that's the whole point in the topic. Honesty. Each couple must have clear thoughts about monogamy or the kind of relationship they want have. They must have discussed their thoughts about it, and the relationship only will work and endure if it is done this way, with honesty.

      I think I understand what Dan says here. Many relationships fails because some people aren't honest with themselves and their partners, and in the pursuit of fulfill the present "rules" of relationships they ruin what could be have been a happy and successful relationship if they had different rules.

      But, for me, I am with Dave (literally):D hehehe. I think that even if we do feel attracted to other people besides our partner (what is probably going to happen), what u have with your partner, the person that you really love and care about, is incomparably better than what may happen with someone that u are only physically attracted.

      But if the couple thinks that its ok to have sex with other people that u are just physically attracted, that's is up to them to decide.

      But i want open another shade in the topic, that i mentioned in my first post. What if it happens that you start to feel emotionally attracted to more than one person? Its possible to love more than one person at the same time? What you guys think about it?

    4. I think the rules—or lack thereof—to Sam’s and my relationship is purely a reflection of how far apart we live—middle of the U.S. and Brazil and the relative difficulty or unlikelihood of ever meeting, though it isn’t completely impossible. As we get to know each other better, we seem pretty compatible so far, so the enormous physical distance between us is all the more heartbreaking for us because it seems likely we’d make a great couple if only we lived in the same city. If we did live in the same town, our relationship rules necessarily would have to be very different.

      Yes, I think it’s possible to love more than one at the same time, but extremely uncommon. In practice, I think it would be very messy and would go poorly from the perspective of the two people you love. How realistic is to love both partners equally and give them equal attention? I would think it’s inevitable that you eventually would prefer one over the other. And from the viewpoint of the two partners, to be the one who’s the “lesser than” or “loved less” hurts. A relationship train wreck sometime seems pretty likely.

  8. I don't understand why someone would be, or even consider being in a relationship, knowing that they are not going to monogamous...It doesn't quite make sense to me.

  9. personally for me, i'm the monogamous type. While i agree that people are essetionally monogamous which is proven throughout history, some folks would want to remain with a single partner. From what i knew, there have been a lot of reports about spouses cheating on one another. i think it's just cruel to sneak around behind your spouses back. if you want an open relationships, be sure to tell your partner this and see how they feel.

    As i already said, i'm monogamous. I like to be with one person my whole life. But i'm also a realist, i know that if at some situation where if my future spouse was gone from my life, i might find someone who would spend their time with me.

  10. I have heard a lot of great points made here...minus one. But I am seeing a trend in thinking that the we are either talking about full on one person forever monogamy or open relationships. That was not the intention of what I wrote here. There are so many more shades in between these two modes of thinking and I think that is getting lost.

    1. So true. What Dan said about it being similar to alcoholism and sobriety, was an eye opening concept. I had never thought about it in terms of an obstacle, that someone could fail at and get back on the wagon. It gives me room in my heart to forgive, should something like my partner cheating on me happen. *Knock on wood*

    2. including alternate, not necessarily 'open' relationships to my commentary;

      i just watched 'a home at the end of the world.' i knew it was going to be one of those movies i will adore, it fits my sensibilities. i dont want to give any spoilers but i recommend it highly. it centers around the circumstances of bobbi and the life that he builds with clare and jonathan. a central theme is the running away from what is Home because it does not match what society tells us is 'home.'
      i held it, before watching it, for a while and i realize now it was because i needed time to prepare for it. im going to read the book and its going to be a whole lot more real for me. incidentally the author of the book wrote the screenplay, yay!

  11. What is there to be said of Dan Savage?

    His mind is seemingly clouded. There is a subtle restlessness and anxiety that prevails in his general demeanor that can not be acertained by the hearing of the human ear but rather by the human heart. He excudes confidence and certainty in his verbal communication but quietly Dan's heart speaks to our own heart's in a hidden way that allows every person (if one's heart is still enough to listen) to intuitivly 'read' Dan's heart like a book; it being full of doubts and umcertainty.

    Dan is well versed in topics of sex and the making and breaking of rules & regulations yet, with that said, he seemimgly knows nothing on matters of the heart.

    Dan, true love is not acertained if the couple remains monogamous. True love is not acertained if the couple does not lust in the mind for other people. True love is not ascertained if the couple is living happily ever after. But rather TRUE LOVE is ascertained when despite the spouses' lusting for others they still CHOOSE to ramin faithful to one another. TRUE LOVE is ascertained when despite the spouses' craving to be unfaithful they CHOOSE to remain honorable to each other. It is not in good times that our love for our spouses/partners is put to the test but rather in times of trial.

    It is not in times of peace that a soldier's faithfulness & love for country becomes evident but in hard times of war when all the joys of life are nowhere to be seen yet the soldier bravely throws himself out into the bloody field to pull his fellow wounded comrade from harms path. And although the soldier may not particularly like the shortcomings and faults of his wounded comrade he still walks to the threshold of deaths door to save his comrades (i.e. spouses) life.

    Dan, go to the middle east and see real Men with a capital "M" sacrificing their all for their American brothers in arms and then you will see that LOVE is hurt, LOVE is pain, LOVE is patience, LOVE is self-LESS. LOVE is not about the almighty 'ME' but rather it is all about everything but 'me'.

    If our US soldiers in arms can teach us a practical lesson in LOVE amongst themselves in such hellish living conditions how much more should we be able to exercise this same LOVE in honoring our spouses/partners in times of strife within our relationships?

    Dan, say all that you wish on the topic of monogamous and non-monogamous relationships. You show yourself to be well learned on the matter (academically speaking) but please do not enter the word LOVE into your subject. For your own words betray your naivety and gross ignorance on matters of the heart.

    Pardon my verboseness folks. :)

    1. i think it naive for anyone, myself included, to speak to what is in another's understanding. sometimes it is obvious and far more often we project onto other's understanding, and it is hard for us to know which we ourselves are doing at any given time. a full spirit leaves no room for the wisdom of he that made all things and needs not the comfort of she that birthed all things.

      i agree with your points about the ascertaining of Love being based on the choices people make with those they love. i believe in letting love define one's self however that may be.

  12. totally off topic, but related to my sense of integrity.

    oooops! i forgot a thing i said and did that thing again(nothing bad or negative-just outside a boundary i felt i needed to maintain) i know i drew that line for fear of being inappropriate. i dont know that that is a concern anymore, although 'appropriate' is disjointed at best between me and others. regardless of my intent and the circumstance that was being led up to at the time it still is a crossing of that line i drew. mayhap i need to let it go or as dan says maybe this was one of those mistakes that makes me strive to better hold that line. i dont know yet.

  13. I don't know much about being in a long term relationship, the longest relationship I have ever been in was about 6 months other wise I have been a bounce back guy until they decide they are bored or they think something better has/is coming along.

    Pragmatically I know on one level that Dan is right when he says the monogamy needs to be rethought, but another part of me dose not know what they would do if someone I was in a long term committed relationship cheated on me. Part of me feels that it should be grounds for ending it right there, more because of the lying and shattering of trust then anything else. I don't know if I could forgive someone for doing that when I know that I could not forgive my self for doing that. I still mad at my self of accidentally becoming the other guy when it turned out someone that I dated extremely briefly had a partner. I would like to think that if I was truly in love with the person and they where truly in love with me that I could with lots of work forgive their transgression.

  14. I understand what he's saying, though he isn't presenting it very well. Basically humans and birds ARE wired for monogomy, but it's not the fortefied construct we assume it to be. Many bird species, though they mate for life, will occationally "step out" on their mates for various reasons, usually to do with genetic fitness or resources. Humans are much the same way.
    Bryan, your post was incredibly insightful and unbiased which given the subject matter was particularly impressive.

  15. Irregardless of how the animal kingdom (of which we are a part of) behaves
    it is our duty to rise above the common dog or slimy slug.

    RATIONALITY will forever be the defining distinction between us and the creature that eats it's own sh*t.

    It ain't rocket science folks, it's called 'common human sense'....which apparently His Holiness Dan Savage knows little, if any, about.

    Hi Holiness Dan Savage wants to be in an open relationship and justify it as part of his nature and that he can SUCCESSFULLY juggle such a way of life despite religious, cultural, socital & traditional admonishions on such a way of life.

    There are millions of SUCCESSFUL relationships that have 1 husband and 10 wives. Such relationships truly DO work. Consider the Mormon church where men marry more than one partner for example. Consider tribal families in Africa where to this day a man marries more than one women and they have multiple children. The same is also practies in the Middle East. Heck, look at the Bible where Abraham not only had more than one wife but had sexual relations with his own daughters! All of the above examples TRULY where successful examples of people who did NOT practice monogamy with 1 person only.

    What is the difference between Dan Savage having multiple sex partners in his open relationship with his boyfriend and the poligamous relationships noted above?

    Why will Dan Savages' open relationships ultimately crumble eventually and not be long lasting as the Chrsitan Mormon's relationship, or the Muslim Shiek's relationship, or the African tribesmen's relationship?

    The reason is that the Chrsitian poligamist, the Muslim Shiek and the African tribesmen have the FOUNDATIONS of their relationships based on religious, cultural & traditional practices as opposed to solely on hedonistic pleasure In other words the MOTIVATION behind having multiple partners is based in honoring their God(s), their Culture and their Traditional Heritage. These men practice their relationships to honor somthing other than themselves whereas Dan Savage practices his open relationships to honor no one BUT himself.

    Dan, your mind is so close minded. Surely, you must have not travlelled outside the borders of your own country for if you had you would see millions of multi-partner relationshps succeeding and prospering all across thw world irregardless of the religion, culture, tradition or nationality of the relationship.

    Having a multi-partenr relationship is not the issue Dan. It's the MOTIVE behind the multi-partner relationship that is questionable.

    The various men above practice their relationships within a context of SUBSTANCE whereas you, Dan, practice your open multi-partner relationship with NO substance.

    As a practicing gay man, I am ashamed that some cirlces find you to be representative of our community as if a mascot.

    ...Dan, I'd prefer the common dog or slimy slug as a moscot over you. At least these irrational animals have an excuse for being dumb.

    Cheers! :)

  16. It's good to know there are guys out there who think similar. Without diving into details, I really share your views, Bryan+Jay. Sexuality is way too complicated to see it just in 2 colors.