7 Things: Intrigues #1 – Straight Relationships

Heterosexual couplings should be no mystery to me. They are portrayed so frequently in film, television and books that I should be an expert on the dynamics of the straight relationship. The thing is, from those portrayals, I have taken away the same things that I have taken away from personal experience with straight couples. And that doesn’t leave me less, but more, confused.

I once had a conversation with an ex-coworker in which the woman told me that if she weren’t married, she would basically screw around with anyone who was of interest to her. This revelation was made within the context of a broader conversation about the affair she once had with her married boss – because apparently only her marriage was sacred – her current relationship, my relationship and relationships in general.

I have had so many (insulting!) things said to me by straight people since I’ve come out that I’ve gotten a clear picture that, if you’re not married and you, as a couple, have close friendships with other people, then you must all be fucking. Is there some kind of straight myth I don’t know about that says only straight people can have platonic friends? Because I haven’t heard that one bounced about by the religious right yet. Also, it’s been hinted at that, if two lesbians live with a guy, there must be a threeway happening. Which indicates that, one, straight people don’t quite grasp the definition of “lesbian” and, two, straight people assume no commitment.

That doesn’t mean I’m against threeways, fourways, sixteenways, communes, whatever. In fact, I kind of think the world would be better if there were more love, less jealousy, and more cooperative living, but, hey, that’s just one hippie’s point of view. The thing that annoys me about such assumptions from straight people is the reason they make these assumptions, which is –

Without marriage, there is no commitment.

You see, sometimes I think that we gays get a bad rap, based not upon on our own behavior, but upon what many of our straight counterparts would do in our places. Since, here in the good ole “all men are created equal” US of A, most of us don’t have the option of marriage, we must check single on that little checkform of life, even when we’re not. It’s not true. It doesn’t mean we’re “on the market”. But, in others minds, that’s exactly what it makes us, because if those other people were still checking single, they would have no qualms about about playing the field.

Don’t get upset, my straight friends, I’m not saying this is all of you. I’m saying that those of you who do think this way – that gay people are promiscuous because they can be, that gay people have open relationships, that gay people basically have a hella lot more fun within their relationships than you have within yours – you’re thinking that way based upon what you would do if you didn’t check “Married” on the form of life. Because “Married” is the sacred line in the sand.

Our culture plays heavily into this, of course. After all, what is a bachelor or bachelorette party for if not to add a tick mark to your fuck tally prior to holy matrimony? Or to get someone’s breasts or testicles rubbed in your face? To go to the stripclub? To kiss a stranger? To blast your partner to your friends, knowing that, once you’re married, you’re expected to say nicer things about the person because the person is now your spouse.

And not us girls so much, but our gay guy comrades, also get a bad rap for those things they are permitted to do. Some gay relationships are open, as are some straight relationships. But gay men still get a reputation as being promiscuous. Are they really? Are they more promiscuous as a group? Maybe. Are they only more promiscuous because their partners are more easygoing about it? Seems to me, having as much sex with as many people as possible is a guy thing, not a gay thing. If straight guys could get women to sleep with them in the numbers that gay men can, are we really pretending that they wouldn’t? I mean, isn’t it the expectations of the women whom they are with, and the refusals of the women whom they want to sleep with, that prevent men from fucking around to the extent that they would like?

As a general rule, haven’t we been made to accept that men are biologically driven to want sex – all the time with practically anyone they find attractive? It’s been drilled into our brains almost to the point of acceptance, hasn’t it? So, when it comes down to it, don’t gay guys get a bad rap mainly because straight guys are irritated that a gay man’s partner may allow him to have sex with other people and still feel perfectly secure in their relationship when he comes home at night, while their own partners don’t take the same liberal views on sex?

Sometimes I wonder if the entire push against gay marriage is really just a bunch of jealous straight guys who don’t think gay guys should get the benefits of marriage without the terrible consequence of sexual monogamy. In short, it’s a pissing contest, and straight guys know gay guys will win because their penises have been tempered by repeated use.

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