A survey of 1,006 gay men in the UK has uncovered common beliefs and experiences when it comes to opening relationships up to other partners.
Conducted by the gay men’s health charity GMFA through its publication FS, the survey discovered that 41% of those polled have been or currently are in an open relationship.
In what seems to indicate that these kinds of relationship can work for some couples, the survey found that 50% of men in open marriages/civil partnerships have been in their current relationship for over five years.
Of those in open relationships, 74% said that opening the relationship was a mutual decision but one in five admitted that they had broken the “rules”.
An overwhelming amount (75%) of men in open relationships believe that these kinds of relationships are “great”. Thirty-one-percent believe that gay men simply can’t be monogamous but 47% think that while it’s possible to have monogamous relationship they have chosen not to.
There is more scepticism among those who have not experienced open relationships. Of these men, 41% said they can be bad for relationships and 53% said they’d rather be single than in an open relationship.
“Most gay people will have grown up encountering attitudes that told them that they were not ‘normal’, outside of convention,” said Matthew Hodson, CEO of GMFA.
“It’s not a surprise that many gay and bisexual people seek sexual satisfaction and relationship set ups that are outside of the norm.”
There are concerns about the risk of HIV and STIs, with the survey finding that over two thirds of men currently in an open relationship say they don’t use condoms with their partner – although 64% claim that they always use condoms with casual partners.