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Married Gay Men Care About Infidelity?

Back when I was a little boy in rural Illinois, the ideas of “swinging” and “wife-swapping” were exotic concepts from society’s fringe. Free-loving hippies, infidels and over-sexed degenerates were the only ones that had sex outside of their marriages. Marriage was meant to be monogamous, and no sane person would give their spouse permission to gay couple indulge in frivolous sex with someone else.

by Dennis Milam Bensie

By the time I was in high school in the early 1980’s, I knew I was gay, but I had no gay role models. There was no rule book on how to go out into the world and be an openly gay man. I was faced with trying to adapt the straight sexual values I had growing up. I just used the heterosexual rule book and changed the pronouns.
Either Don had cheated on Peter, or the two men had an agreement that they could have no-strings sex on the side.

After college I moved to the big, bad city and spent many years trying to build my own queer marriage and family manifesto. I learned to create my own rules. Since the gays weren’t allowed to get married or adopt children, it seemed natural for us to live our lives with no sexual accountability. One might say it was expected of us.

The end of the 1990’s introduced America to two entities that would change everything: home computers and Will and Grace.


Of course, gay people and the internet were around before Y2K, but the popularity of these two things changed the dynamic of how gay people had sex. The popular television show gave us pride and mainstream visibility. It showed the straight world that homosexuality wasn’t so scary after all.

gay couple

The World Wide Web made no-strings sex accessible without going to a seedy club. Finding a sex partner became as pedestrian as ordering a pizza. Hooking up via the Internet could be very hard to resist, even for the most seasoned couples. It seemed everyone was “doing it” more efficiently.

gay couple My friend, Walt, made a statement in 2001 that really surprised me. He said that his friend Kyle (whom I didn’t know) got a quick blow job from our friend, Don—a guy I had assumed to be sexually monogamous with his long-term partner, Peter.

I started wondering more about my other partnered gay friends and their commitments.

Eric and Paul lived together, and I knew they had their own, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on sex outside the relationship. They both had no-strings sex with other men on regular basis.

John and Robert didn’t have any rules about sex. The adorable twenty-something guys did whatever they wanted with other men and shared all the gory, sexy details with each other. I got the impression they liked the idea that their partner was hot enough to be sexually desirable by other attractive men.

My friend Pat was not quite forty years old and his partner, Matt, was thirteen years younger.

“It’s okay if he has fun every once in a while. It’s just sex and we still love each other. As soon as it’s ‘forbidden’ it’ll be a big problem,” Pat said casually.

Although these examples fit the stereotype that homosexuals are over-sexual, there are still many gay people who have sex lives that would be considered low-key and more traditional. I have several friends who maintain their old-fashioned monogamous relationships with ease.

gay couple JR and Troy have worn gold wedding bands ever since I met them in 1994, but they skipped a formal wedding. They appear to have escaped all internet temptation as far as I can tell. (I would never ask them about their sex life). They have the house with the picket fence and are raising a son they plan to adopt.

I love that my coupled friends have all addressed their needs. The question now is whether or not the blooming of same-sex marriage will change how heterosexual married couples set their sexual boundaries. Are the gays going to give the institution of marriage a make-over?

Gay or straight, there is a big difference between cheating and swinging, and homosexuals didn’t invent infidelity.

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