What Are the Differences Between Gay and Straight Relationships? | LoveToKnow
By Jeff Levy - Gay men married to women frequently describe their each partner could engage in sexual relationships outside the marriage. The main obstacle is straight men who have sex with men are not usually open about this. Often, the relationship with a gay guy is less a case. This is consistent with previous findings: Gay and bisexual men are exposed to minority stressors that can de-stabilize relationships (Meyer.
We all know that gay male couples are much more likely to entertain the idea of, or even be in, a non-monogamous relationship. So, part of my job in couples counseling is to help gay men understand this, and to avoid making direct comparisons to straight relationships all the time some of the time is OK, particularly in confronting double-standards and internalized homophobia.
What Are the Differences Between Gay and Straight Relationships?
While this is not necessarily unique to gay men, a big factor can be finding time for sex, when often both partners are busy, high-level executives or professionals who work extraordinarily long hours or have jobs that require frequent travel.
Household Chores— Perhaps surprisingly to a non-clinician, the issue of how to equitably and fairly divide the list of common household chores can be frequent topic in conjoint therapy.
While modern straight couples sometimes like to pretend that they are oh-so-liberated, in reality, in many or most cases, the woman is subtly expected to, and ends up doing, the majority of the household chores related to keeping things clean, organized, in good repair, supplied, delivered, monitored, and humming along in a domestic household. In couples counseling, I generally recommend that a Master List of Required Household Chores be written down, which is exhaustive and comprehensive.
Who pays the bills? Who does the cleaning? Or, who supervises the cleaning? Who mows the lawn? Or, who pays the gardener to mow the lawn?
Who supervises the gardener? Who changes the light bulbs?
- Gay Men’s Relationships: 10 Ways They Differ From Straight Relationships
Who picks up the dry cleaning? Often, making a list and then discussing how to divide it can be a discussion at home, or in session. Gay male relationships where there is a parenting factor involved differ from straight relationships mostly in that same-sex parenting needs extra support. Family— In gay male relationships, the role of one of the male partners in taking care of aging parents can be an issue, similar to straight couples.MensXP: Indian Gay And Straight Men Talk About Relationships & Sex Part 2
Fortunately, for most of the gay couples I have worked with, there have been surprisingly few seriously hostile in-law conflicts. More often, the son-in-law is treated as a full member of the family, which is a nice thing to be able to say about the current times we live in. Fun— Fortunately, one huge and consistent benefit I have observed in gay male relationships over straight ones is that gay couples consistently demonstrate a youthfulness, playfulness, and sense of fun, especially with peers but also alone with each other.
While this is common to affluent gay male couples, even middle class or working class gay couples seem to have an extra sense of discovering fun, creative pastimes.
Men are physically larger than women, so they can go through a lot of alcohol and food at events hence the stories of the first all-gay cruises running out of alcohol on board! A friend of mine once said that he believed gay men had particularly-evolved critical thinking skills. While two gay men might love one another in their relationship, they will still subtly compete with one another to others, like most males in the animal kingdom. However, the APA notes that because gay marriages are still banned in many states, this has a negative psychological effect on gay families.
Common Issues All relationships face issues. However, not many studies have focused upon the similarities in relationship issues between gay and heterosexual relationships. However, there are many influences on homosexual relationships that do not exist with as much force in heterosexual relationships. Conversely, there are issues in heterosexual relationships that do not exist in same-sex relationships.
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Sex All relationships deal with sex, and many times it is a major issue in one form or another. For example, a poll conducted by the New York Timesshowed that in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, if there isn't any sex after a month of dating, both men and women might lose interest.
Also, sexually transmitted diseases STDs remain a concern for all populations. However, the sexual issues in dating that arise for heterosexuals have to do with differences between male and female perceptions and attitudes.
There is also a double standard for women and pregnancy that is not an issue for same sex couples. Although HIV is an ongoing concern for all populations, no community has been hit harder with the HIV epidemic than gay men. Kramer notes that in his practice, he sees a variety of issues arise: Whether or not to bring up HIV status positive or negative and when it's appropriate to talk about it The experience of rejection out of the fear of HIV Reluctance to share HIV status out of fear of losing someone important Keeping negative HIV status if your partner is HIV positive Kramer notes that the medication Truvada is making a positive impact.
One partner might be "out" while the other may not have reached that level. Also another big issue is how alienated each partner is from his family.
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Sometimes, a person's coming out is not greeted with open arms. As Kramer observes, "There is a great deal of homelessness for young gay people, because when they come out to their family members, they are rejected and kicked out of their homes. Experiencing this kind of rejection from one's family can create issues in later relationships. This is seen as a relationship issue because like sex, the emotional support should come from the partner and not another female outside of the relationship.
The Forces of Discrimination Are Real While the political and social climate is changing for the better, same-sex couples still experience a great deal of discrimination, which can impact a relationship at any stage.
Also, there are interpersonal factors that can impact relationships of any kind, such as past childhood issues, exposure to abuse, traumatization, and trust issues.
At times, discrimination can compound these issues.
Finding a mental health professional who is well-versed in same-sex relationships can help gay couples build long-lasting relationships. Some mental health professionals such as Scott A.
Kramer, LCSW, ACSW build their entire practice upon helping same-sex couples find happiness and love and are very educated in helping the populations they serve. Was this page useful?