When it comes to open relationships, judgments are changing. Historically, it was believed, and still is, that if a couple was open to bringing in others for sex, that was the beginning of the end for their relationship. Also the thought of a couple in an open relationship coming to therapy has been—and still is—seen as one of the problems for them, even if they themselves denied it. But too many happy and successful relationships, both gay and straight, have open contracts around sex.
Meanwhile, some monogamous couples struggle and disintegrate for not being willing to open up their relationships at all.
It’s not appropriate to judge couples for behavior that society does not believe to be “proper” for any relationship. The therapist can challenge the couple about open relationships and share their thoughts and concerns. However, if the arrangement is working for them, then the therapist needs to stand back and let them make the final decisions.
Open relationships are controversial, to be sure. Claiming that gay male couples can show how to manage them successfully is even more controversial, at a time when the issue of gay marriage is making headlines. However, many heterosexual couples’ lives are torn apart because of affairs and cheating; and only rarely do these couples talk openly about their sex lives. This is far worse than a couple talking openly and honestly with each other about a sensitive topic like sexuality.
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