Q. Dear Men4Men, Tell me about gay relationships in those days. Were there established couples? Today the big focus is (monogamous) marriages. Was there a groupsex, everyman for himself, coupling norm?
Josh Answers: I don’t know what to say about relationships in those days. Like today, there were those who went from partner to partner, looking purely for sexual gratification and then there were some who sought out only primary relationships. But even that required a few “test drives” so, like now, there was a lot of promiscuity in the gay community. After all, when you have two sexual aggressors pointed at each other there’s a good chance someone’s getting laid. I’ve long been convinced that straight men would be just as promiscuous as gay men are if they could find consenting partners as readily as gay men do. Couples existed then, of course, but they weren’t as opened or obvious about their relationship, the atmosphere still wasn’t one where that was OK. I grew up in Southern California which was probably a lot more liberal than say Iowa, but you still played your cards very close to the vest and only confided in your most trusted friends. And remember in many places it was still illegal and you could be arrested just on the suspicion that you were gay. It’s curious that at that time, as a result of the civil rights movement, discrimination was being banned if you were , black, latino, asian, disabled or female, but it was still OK to beat up a fag (as long as he wasn’t , black, latino, asian , disabled or a female!). Seems that there must always be some group that it’s OK to hate openly. For a very long time that was and in some cases still is the gay community.
Today I think the move towards monogamous, primary relationships is born out of the fear of Aids and any number of incurable, sexually transmitted ailments like Hepatitis C. Then there are families like yours, a Trimary relationship. Although I’ve participated in a three-way occasionally, I never experienced a triad relationship long-term and I’m curious how you make that work. Personally, I’ve abandoned the notion that I’m incomplete without a partner. I’m old and set in my ways and I’m just as happy spanking my own monkey as I would be going to all the trouble of seeking out someone to do it for me. And, frankly, at 60 it’s not the nagging ache it was at 20. What I look for in my relationships is a lack of static. I’m old enough to realize that everyone is different with different needs and desires and I can’t fault them for having theirs if I want to have mine. I don’t expect everyone I know to agree with everything I think or do, but I most appreciate the ones that shut up about it. I find the problem with long-term committed relationships is that the participants view their “other” as a part or extension of themselves and consequently when their partner(s) does something they don’t agree with they feel compelled to rag on them about it which ultimately creates a lot of tension in the relationship. I have had the same companion for nearly a decade. The truth is we started out as fuck buddies and have never had a romantic or intimate relationship. Still we probably have sex more often that many people. Generally we have what we call “physical therapy” about once a week just to ease that “need” that often causes people to make poor decisions in an effort to find sexual relief. And you know it can’t be bad to exercise your prostate occasionally just to keep things moving. We both feel that the lack of exercise is what leads to prostate ailments in older men and we’re determined to avoid at least that harbinger of age. We don’t consider ourselves a couple in the regular sense of the word, although I’m certain it has that appearance to the outside world. But in 10 years we have never had more that an occasional, momentary tiff and very few of those. I think that is because we let each other seek out and find the solutions to our needs in whatever way we need to without feeling guilty that we’re betraying some sacred trust. My definition of true love is wanting for someone else what they want for themselves, even if it doesn’t include you.
Well, somehow I’ve wandered off the path a bit. Wow, that never happened before!?! I hope at least some of this drivel answers a few of your questions.