In this review it is hypothesized that in studying men in gay relationships scientific interest shifted from an individualpsychological perspective to a relationship oriented one, that attention shifted from strict sexual aspects towards non-sexual intimate experiences, and that the methodological framework of the studies improved.
To investigate possible shifts in research on gay male relationships, studies from 1958 to 1992 are compared. Over time, interest in individual characteristics appears to remain predominant. Regard for intimate relational characteristics increased, while interest in strictly sexual characteristics declined.
It is concluded that gay relationship studies may improve from a broadening in theory and research topics. If gay relationship studies and the general relationship field affiliate, it may improve both fields.
There is no clear proof of an overall improvement in methodology. To reduce the methodological gap with the general relational field more attention for sophisticated designs is needed
Men Together: Understanding the Gay Couple
The present study surveyed male gay couples to determine how their relationships began and were maintained, the types of conflict they experienced, and how the issues of monogamy, sexual behavior and AIDS affected the relationships.
Ninety-two couples responded to the survey. The gay bar was the most common initial meeting place and relationships had lasted from less than one to 35 years. Few had had a commitment ceremony, although many reported wanting one if it were available.
most of the close friends of respondents were also gay couples and about two-thirds of family members were supportive of the relationship. The most persistent conflicts centered around finances and relations with family members.
Virtually all respondents described their relationships as monogamous, but only half practiced safe-sex. More attention needs to be given to understanding male couples and to targeting AIDS-prevention messages to them
Relationship characteristics and motivations behind agreements among gay male couples: differences by agreement type and couple serostatus
Gay men in relationships are often overlooked in HIV prevention efforts, yet many engage in sexual behaviors that increase their HIV risk and some seroconvert as a result.
While different aspects of gay male relationships have been studied, such as sexual agreements, relationship characteristics, and couple serostatus, little research combines these elements to examine HIV risk for this population.
The present study recruited 566 gay male couples from the San Francisco Bay Area to study their sexual agreements, motivations behind making agreements, and other relationship characteristics, such as agreement investment, relationship satisfaction, intimacy, and communication.
Participants rated their level of concurrence with a set of reasons for making their agreements. They were also measured on relationship characteristics using standard instruments.
Analyses were conducted by agreement type (monogamous, open, and discrepant) and couple serostatus (concordant negative, concordant positive, and discordant). A majority reported explicitly discussing their agreements and nearly equal numbers reported being in monogamous and open relationships.
A small number (8%) reported discrepant agreements. Across all agreement type and serostatus groups, HIV prevention as a motivator for agreements fell behind every motivator oriented toward relationship-based factors. Only concordant negative couples endorsed HIV and STD prevention among their top motivators for making an agreement.
Mean scores on several relationship characteristics varied significantly. Couples with monogamous agreements had higher scores on most relationship characteristics, although there was no difference in relationship satisfaction between couples with monogamous and open agreements.
Scores for concordant positive couples were distinctly lower compared to concordant negative and discordant couples. Agreements, the motivations behind them, and the relationship characteristics associated with them are an important part of gay male relationships.
When examined by agreement type and couple serostatus, important differences emerge that must be taken into account to improve the effectiveness of future HIV prevention efforts with gay couples.
Monogamy of the Heart Extradyadic Sex and Gay Male Couples
Sixty-five coupled gay men were qualitatively interviewed to examine how they decided whether or not to be monogamous, and how some maintained openly nonmonogamous relationships. Unlike their monogamous counterparts, men in open relationships cognitively separated sex from intimacy and prized sexual variety.
Although outside sex could stimulate insecurity, men in open couples established guidelines that safeguarded their health and affirmed couple primacy. Respondents in self-described monogamous unions who engaged in outside sex minimized its importance, and some reported that monogamy was assumed but never discussed with their partners.
These findings suggest that clinicians be flexible regarding traditional ideas about sexual monogamy and commitment as they help gay couples improve communication and affirm couple boundaries
Gay Monogamy: I Love You But I Can't Have Sex With Only You
Assuming isomorphism between heterosexual and homosexual relationships may preclude a contextual understanding of gay male monogamy and extra-dyadic sex that may otherwise remain perfunctory.
This study sought to explore the experiences of gay men who engaged in extra-dyadic sex outside their primary relationships. Based on qualitative interviews with eight gay men, this study may shed light on the relational structures and processes of same-sex unions.
Several strategies including compartmentalization, boundary affirmation and secretiveness were reported to be utilized to preserve emotional monogamy and primary relationship quality. Such findings may bear relevance to therapeutic practitioners working with this group that may challenge normative relationship conventions
Gay Men in Long-Term Relationships The Impact of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy on Relational Health
The current study explored whether differences in the practice of monogamy or non-monogamy related to the relational health of men in long-term same-sex relationships. A total of 179 monogamous and non-monogamous gay partnered men from the U.S. and Canada were surveyed via the internet in order to examine demographic, sexual, and relational variables.
The majority of the sample reported maintaining a monogamous relationship (73%). The results suggested that non-monogamous men were more out, reported a greater number of sexual partners, higher frequencies of past sexual contact with men, and lower levels of dyadic attachment than their monogamous counterparts.
Conversely, the monogamous and non-monogamous coupled men appeared similar in age and total number of past relationships, and did not appear to differ in their frequency of sex with their primary partners, nor in their stated relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, or attachment styles.
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