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OPINION: Monogamous gays, here’s 5 reasons why your heteronormativity might be showing

Just days ago, it was announced that the Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have called for the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Obergefell v. Hodges decision. Obergefell v. Hodges was the landmark 2015 ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

This is a real threat to many LGBTQ Americans and their spouses, especially since this is coming at a time when there is a very real possibility that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a far-right social conservative, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg died on September 18, and not more than a day later, Trump was already making plans as to who would replace her

In a petition, Justices Thomas and Alito insist that Obergefell v. Hodges was an attack on religious freedom, stating, “The Court has created a problem that only it can fix. Until then, Obergefell will continue to have ‘ruinous consequences for religious liberty.'” 

The idea that people being given the right to live their lives and love who they want to love is somehow an infringement upon religious freedom is ridiculous, but I have come to accept this type of idiocy from people who think that being asked to bake a fucking wedding cake for a gay couple is discrimination. However, I was taken back by comments from members of the LGBTQ community, particularly members of the LGBTQ community who consider themselves monogamous. 

In one post, I got into a slightly heated discussion with a gay man who insisted that if the decision was made to ban same-sex marriage again, it would be the “gays’ own fault.” I asked him to elaborate on what he meant, and it was suggested in his comment that, somehow, gays who are in open or non-monogamous relationships are to blame for this. 

He went on to imply that open relationships are not only illegal once a couple is married or in a civil partnership, but being in an open relationship somehow gives heterosexuals the leverage they need to invalidate and disregard gay relationships as “not real.” 

I’ve heard opinions like this from so many members of the LGBTQ community — the gay male community in particular — who appear to unfairly judge open or non-monogamous relationships as “stupid” and “meaningless” because they don’t follow the same heteronormative structure that our society has deemed normal and acceptable. They look down on gays for having open relationships, and I’ve often wondered why. 

After thinking about it for a while, and after revisiting some of the conversations I’ve had with other gay men on apps and social media about open relationships and non-monogamy, I’ve come up with some reasons why some gay men have these attitudes towards open relationships. 

1. They think people in open or non-monogamous relationships are the reason why they can’t find love. 

It’s the old “loose women make it hard for good girls to find a man” mentality. I remember overhearing a conversation between my mother and her girlfriends about this. There’s this idea held by some that men are attracted to sluts. Who ever heard such a thing, right? 

Knowing that men are attracted to sluts, they believe the slut is always seen as a threat to anyone who is either looking to be in a relationship or already in a relationship. A slut will take your man, because a slut will give him what you aren’t willing or able to give him. And, even if you aren’t in a relationship, a slut will still take all of the available guys’ attention away from you.  

Well, two sluts are better than one, and in many of these people’s minds, a guy is going to gravitate toward sex before he will gravitate toward a relationship. If you’re willing to give him all of what he desires with no commitment attached to it, then what do they have to offer all of these guys who aren’t paying attention to them? Which brings me to my next point…

2. They’re jealous because they can’t find guys who want to fuck them, but you seem to have less of a problem finding guys to fuck you AND your partner.

Imagine looking and searching for hours on end and not being able to find someone who wants to have sex with you. I’m not being judgemental here, but anyone who has spent time on gay dating apps knows that it can definitely be a hit or miss — and most of the time, it’s a MISS. 

Then, after spending hours not being able to find anyone to hook up with, your friend, who is in an open relationship, calls you and tells you that he and his partner just banged that hot Bear that’s been ignoring your messages for weeks. The anger. The rage. The “how come you two and not me, bitch?”

To add even more insult to injury, the hot Bear that’s been ignoring your messages all week chose to fuck two people who are ALREADY in a relationship, and ALREADY should be having loads of sex with each other, and ALREADY have each other to spend time with. Why can’t those that are already in relationships leave the single guys for you? Well, I don’t think anyone is taking anything from you if it hasn’t been offered. Which brings me to… 

 3. They think you’re being “greedy”.

“You have a man already.” “Go home and be happy with your partner.”

Those are just a few things I’ve heard people who aren’t in open relationships say to those that are. There’s this idea that many people hold that says if you’re in a relationship, your partner becomes the only person you should ever be with. If you’re in a relationship and still hooking up with people, it’s like they think you’re stealing from this pile of penises and vaginas that are designated for single people only.

As far as they’re concerned, people in relationships are not supposed to be sexually attracted to anyone, or flirt with anyone, or look at naked pictures of anyone. When you think of sex, the only thing that should accompany that thought is your partner. As a matter of fact, won’t you just take your penis or vagina off before you leave the house in the morning, because the only time you’ll be needing it is when you’re home or with your partner. 

Well, not only is that unhealthy and co-dependent AF, but it’s also unrealistic and intrusive. Your partner is allowed to find other people attractive, and in open relationships, your partner is allowed to pursue sex outside of the relationship because you both have an understanding that you do not own the copyright to your partner’s sexuality. It takes truly mature and secure people to understand this and be able to work through it. 

Also, it’s just sex. Having a partner does not equate to having exclusive sexual desires. Many people cannot accept this because sex, in their minds, is the key to emotional availability. And so, we move on to…

4. They like to fuck guys who are emotionally available for a relationship.

Quite frankly, they’re annoyed at the fact that, if your relationship is only sexually open, they are only allowed to have sex with you, and you aren’t available for more. Many gay men (and others) spend so much time looking for relationships and romance, that they forget that casual sex, sex with strangers, or sex “just because” can be fun. Sex feels great, so learn to enjoy it and stop expecting so much all the time. 

If the person they’re hooking up with is polyamorous and able to have multiple relationships, this still doesn’t sound like emotional availibitly to many monogamous people, because of the idea that romantic love should be exclusive. While it is true that polyamorous relationships, and even open relationships are not for everyone, we have to also understand that many of our feelings of jealousy are brought on by the idea of possesiveness and ownership in our romantic relationships. 

Once many people get over those feelings, or learn to cope better with them, they realize that it doesn’t affect the way that their partner feels about them if they have another partner.They become open to the idea of sharing. Sounds like some newfangled fuckery to you? Well, that brings me to my last point…

5. They are being held captive by old fashioned ideas and heteronormative standards. 

When we are young, we are all taught what a family should look like — A mother, a father, a few kids, and maybe some pets. We have that idea of a “loving family” etched into our brain. Even children who do not come from two-parent or “normal” households are told by our society that this is what a normal, heterosexual family should look like. 

But, wait… We’re not heterosexual. Actually, many of us are extremely queer. Many of us have already accepted the fact that we are different, but for some reason we still cannot stop holding ourselves, our relationships and our families to heterosexual norms. 

We’re queer. We can make our own rules, and that’s what we’re doing. 

However, just because we’re queer, it doesn’t mean that being legally binded is not important. Because we live in a heteronormative society, being married or legally binded in a civil partnership is the only way that we can protect our families, our relationships and our rights. So, to say that queer people “deserve” to have these legal rights taken away because we refuse to conform to heteronormative ideals feeds right into the idea that we don’t deserve rights at all. 

None of what I said is meant to bash or judge anyone’s preferences, and I do not believe there is anything wrong with monogamy. Both monogamy and non-monogamy are valid, but sometimes I feel like monogamous homosexuals need to understand that playing respectability politics won’t win you any gold medals with conservative heterosexuals.You’re still a vile queer, whether you’re a married one who has only had sex with a few people in your lifetime, or a slutty one who has had sex with more people than could fit inside the Houston Astrodome. 

Your heteronormativity is showing, and it ain’t cute.

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.