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Four in 10 gay men have had an open relationship

Four in 10 gay men have had an open relationship

Nearly half of gay men in the UK have had an open relationship, according to a new survey conducted by FS magazine.

Of the 1,006 gay men surveyed 41% are in, or have previously experienced, an open relationship.

Other key findings include:

  • 53% of single gay men said they’d rather be single than in an open relationship.
  • 29% of single gay men believe relationships end up open because gay men can’t be monogamous.
  • 31% of gay men in open relationships believe relationships end up open because gay men can’t be monogamous. However, 47% think that it’s quite possible to have a monogamous relationship but choose not to.
  • 73% in an open relationship believe it’s possible to cheat.
  • 75% of gay men in open relationships have rules in place. However, 21% of those currently in an open relationship, and 15% of those in an open marriage/civil partnership, admitted to having broken the rules on occasion.

Matthew Hodson, CEO of gay men’s health charity GMFA, said: ‘Most gay people will have grown up encountering attitudes that told them that they were not “normal,” outside of convention.

‘It’s not a surprise that many gay and bisexual people seek sexual satisfaction and relationship set ups that are outside of the norm.’

Few subjects are as contentious in the gay community as open relationships.

However, it’s not just the impact on traditional relationship patterns that causes concern, but also the increased risk of transmitting HIV or other STIs.

More than two thirds of respondents currently in an open relationship said they don’t use condoms with their partner – although 64% say they always use condoms with casual partners. 55% have picked up an STI during their open relationship, with 70% believing they got that STI from a casual partner.

Hodson said, ‘If you’re used to having unprotected sex with your main partner it may be difficult to regain the condom habit when you have sex with others.

‘This isn’t to suggest that such risks can’t be managed – clearly some couples do this very well, but it’s a challenge which requires excellent communication, honesty and trust to meet.’