A new study indicates that monogamy may not be of paramount importance to many gay relationships, and suggests that is good news for couples that decide to open their unions.
According to The New York Times, the Gay Couples Study from San Francisco State University followed 556 male couples in the Bay Area for three years, and found that 50% of them had sex outside the relationship with the approval of their partner.
The implications for the relationships often were healthy.
"A study to be released next month is offering a rare glimpse inside gay relationships and reveals that monogamy is not a central feature for many," reports the Times. "Some gay men and lesbians argue that, as a result, they have stronger, longer-lasting and more honest relationships. And while that may sound counterintuitive, some experts say boundary-challenging gay relationships represent an evolution in marriage -- one that might point the way for the survival of the institution."
However, contrary to an earlier study, which found that monogamous relationships were shorter lived, the new study found that same-sex couples in exclusive relationships were comparably happy to couples in open relationships.
The findings arrive after television host Joy Behar came under fire this week for suggesting that gay couples were more likely to be non-monogamous and happy about the arrangement than straight couples.
Despite the positive assessment of open relationships in the new study, couples in them were reluctant to be interviewed by the Times, citing personal and political reasons.
"None of this is news in the gay community, but few will speak publicly about it," reported the Times. "Of the dozen people in open relationships contacted for this column, no one would agree to use his or her full name, citing privacy concerns. They also worried that discussing the subject could undermine the legal fight for same-sex marriage."