The links take you to a study, on ejhs.org and felt some of my followers might enjoy reading it. The study examines gay males in long-term open relationships. While some may feel because it relates to gay males it has no value to heterosexual couples or lesbian couples in an open relationship. In my opinion, it can provide some insight and regarding how an open relationship operates, maintains itself, and evolves over time. However the one minor issue with the study is alluding all forms of threesomes are a form of an open relationship. From reading the study it is difficult to know how the researchers define open relationship. It is this author’s opinion, if couple has threesome and does not have their own separate experience then the relationship is not open.
This is a small study with 86 couples. With any study relating to sex there are some limitations and biases to the study. Since this study involves interviews instead of being a controlled study or a study were couples are observed it means there are other possible reasons for the results. Some reasons could be wanting to please the interviewer by giving answers they believe they wanted, being guarded about revealing too much information, and giving socially acceptable answer. Plus research ethical requirements can place limitations on studies of this type due to potential damage and the private nature of sex. Finally the researchers note the sample being primarily middle-age white males and the authors note the encountered reluctance to participate. This can skew the results and limit the study’s ability to be generalized.
Nonetheless, I feel this study may provide insight in how open relationships evolve and operate in a relationship, regardless if it heterosexual or homosexual. Some interesting findings I feel that are worth considering and may be applicable to other couples include, though not limited to:
- 42% of couples surveyed were initially monogamous
- 6% moved away from being open and towards monogamy
- 58% made the decision to open up their relationship between 1 – 24 years into relationship with 24% being in the relationship more than 7 years before agreeing to open up their relationship. The average time being 6.6 years
- Couples find their own road-map in to non-monogamy
- 56% of couples chose to play together & separately
- Couples that ‘share’ non-monogamy together (e.g. threesomes) evolved into having their own experiences
- Communication being essential
This author may follow-up with a further analysis regarding this study and talk about it applicability to other couples. However this article this study seems to suggest that about 50% of those in long-term relationships practice involving their partner in at least some of their sexual experiences with someone else. Such a result is quite interesting since it suggests for a open relationship to survive, for many couples, involving their significant other in some experiences is necessary. It raises the question why does it occur? Is a trust issue or it is a boding / sharing issue? Also this study suggests that there is not specific stages a relationship goes through as it evolves into an open relationship. Instead it seems to suggest the each couple finds their own way in having an open relationship. Finally this study seems to reinforce the need for communication in order to maintain the relationship.
If you have read the study what are your thoughts?
- Satisfied? Jealous? On Deciding Not to Be Monogamous (psychologytoday.com)
- Evolution of a threesome relationship to an open relaitonship: Relationship structure, Multi-partner relationships, and Communication (3somes.wordpress.com)
- How Open Relationships Can Make People Happy (alternet.org)
- Why does my spouse / girlfriend want a mfm instead of fmf? (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Polynormativity and the New Poly Paradigm. (polysingleish.com)
- Pulling back from the cliff (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Open Relationship Definition (mademan.com)