Just How Many Gay Men Are In Open Relationships? These New Stats May Surprise You (Or Not)


The folks at FS magazine surveyed a group of gay men living in Britain about their experiences with and opinions about open relationships, and the results may or may not surprise you.

Roughly 1,000 gay men were surveyed. Of that number, 41 percent reported that they were either in, or have previously been in, an open relationship. Now let’s dig into the data, shall we?

Related: Guys Reveal How They Really Feel About Open Relationships

When it comes to the politics of open relationships, here’s what FS learned:

  • 74 percent of men who are currently in an open relationship said opening was a mutual decision between both partners.
  • 12 percent of them said they have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
  • 75 percent of them said they have rules in place with their relationship, but…
  • 21 percent admitted to breaking those rules at least once. (Tisk, tisk!)

Related: STUDY: Cheaters More Likely To Get STDs Than Couples In Open Relationships

Now, what about all those naysayers who disagree with open relationships?

  • 33 percent of single men with no experience of open relationships and 33 percent of coupled men with no experience of open relationships said they believe “open relationships are not real relationships.”
  • 41 percent of single men with no experience of open relationships and 30 percent of coupled men with no experience of open relationships said opening a relationship can be toxic.
  • 53 percent of single men with no experience of open relationships and 54 percent of coupled men with no experience of open relationships said they’d rather be single than in an open relationship.

Related: Man Ponders How He’ll Ever Find Real Love When He’s Obsessed With Hooking Up

Now compare that to men who are currently in an open relationship:

  • 47 percent think that it’s totally possible to have an monogamous relationship but they simply chose not to.
  • 50 percent think open relationships can be a good thing for a relationship.
  • 75 percent believe their open relationships are great.
  • 93 percent strongly disagree with the claim that “open relationships are not real relationships.”

Of all the men surveyed, 65 percent of said they believe there’s a stigma attached to gay men who are in open relationships.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think of open relationships? And does this data change your mind about anything? Sound off in the comments section below…

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  • Grant Mealey

    It’s none of my business now … it ??

  • Scott McIntosh

    I’ve been in a wonderful relationship with my husband for around 20 years. It has always been open and we don’t hide anything. We believe that it makes our relationship more honest and therefore stronger. Before this marriage I was in an open gay relationship for 9 years and that only ended when my partner developed a brain tumor and died – in my arms. So go for it – don’t try to copy heterosexual marriage, they’ve been at it for thousands of years and most can’t make it work

  • Martin Talbot

    Everyone makes choices, then reality helps or hinders their happiness !

  • Glücklich

    Open marriage here. Works for us. Started as open and stayed that way.

    No DADT. I’ve met Mr. Glücklich’s other partners and he’s met mine. Everyone’s on the same page so no one is expecting either of us to leave the other.

    I think as far as rules…my husband’s an artist so I wouldn’t gift one of his paintings to anyone I’m seeing. Mr. Glücklich dates on his own dime. We don’t share mutual partners and don’t get involved in the management of the other’s relationships.

    We each getting something from our other partners that doesn’t come from just the two of us; that’s not an indictment of shortcomings on either of our parts. Nor is it all about fuckin’ around because that’s the easy part. If something or someone provides an experience that makes the other happy, that enhances either of our lives, why deprive each other of it?

    It’s not “better,” it’s different. “In addition to” or “Why not have both?” are other ways to explain it.

  • Sweetie Pie

    Monogamy is a myth…whether gay or hetero

    That´s all I have to say

  • paulbear30

    It would be nice if all this less than wholesome stuff was let out of the closet when people go rallying for “rights” and fighting “discrimination” etc. because I hear that morality is a myth too.

  • Transiteer

    Personal decisions. I think myself though, that a ‘relationship’ is more than the sex but a trust and love and want-to-be-with feeling that would preempt any desire to ‘open’ up a relationship. Of course you notice the other hotties out there – you’re not dead. But you should know where your heart is. Just my thoughts.

  • Bauhaus

    I’ve been with my husband for more than twenty years. There have been times of openness and also long stretches of monogamy over the years. Both have worked for us.

    We don’t snoop on each other. As we are often away from each other for weeks at a time, it wouldn’t work if we were glued at the hip, constantly checking-up on each other, and suspicious all of the time. We give each other freedom, but we also know we are each other’s priority.

    One of the advantages (as I see it) of a gay relationship is the ability to make our own rules. I’m always dismayed when straight marriages fail/fall apart from the slightest indiscretion, a meaningless flirtation, or because of porn of all things.

    Be honest; at the same time, be sensitive to your partner’s feelings and needs.

  • Paco

    Never been interested in sitting around waiting for my partner to finish screwing some stranger before I get to spend time with him, and wondering if the fling was turning into something more serious when the texts start coming in at all hours soon after.

    Also, I was never interested in being someones play thing to toss away like a used tissue because they got bored with their partner and want to have their cake and eat it too. We all deserve better than that.

  • Raul

    I’ve been in a relatioship for six years and married for almost a year now and my relationship always have been open, honest and great. we have sex with some guys together and individually and never have been an issue. Is just sex! I think is the best option for gay guys, but everybody is different and all relatioships are their own world.

  • Glücklich

    I swear to god you’re right here {fingers walking on forehead}.

  • GayEGO

    My husband and I have been together for 54 years, married going on 12 years and our relationship is the most important factor. We have had our occasional, ahem….., back in the day but we have been monogamous for the last several years.

  • DCguy

    I have to say the comment of “12 percent of them said they have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.” Makes it sound like one of them doesn’t know the relationship is open. lol

  • Moritz

    My partner and I have been in our relationship for almost 37 years now. We have always been monogamous, as neither one of us is built to control our jealousy. Some people can do it, others can’t. I think it all depends on your own personality. Neither is right or wrong, it all depends on what works for that couple.

  • mike51295

    @Grant Mealey: I am with you. The way others live their lives is none of my business. What works for them is just fine

  • enlightenone

    @Paco: “…We all deserve better than that (‘open relationship’- recreational/porn sex)….”

    Beautifully said!!!! Commitment and monogamy are gifts (that requires true connection, maturity, vulnerability, and a deep desire to discover and explore each other at the DEEPEST LEVEL=SEXUAL FULFILLMENT, not just scratching an itch!) not a myth! It’s only a “myth” for those who are incapable due to narcissistic and egotistical thinking. A match “made in heaven” is the couple who share these thinking characteristics.

  • enlightenone

    @Moritz: “…as neither one of us is built to control our jealousy. Some people can do it, others can’t…”

    Why does it have to do with jealousy, motivatived by something negative, although there is plenty of “jealousy” in so called “open relationships.” Being in an “open relationship” doesn’t in no way make you immune to the human emotion of jealousy. In fact, in “open relationships” the probably is much higher. Think about it, really, think, think, think!

  • enlightenone

    @Raul: “…Is just sex! I think is the best option for gay guys…”

    If it’s JUST sex, why bother? Why best option for “gay guys? I REALLY want to know!!!

  • Bromancer7

    It really comes down to whatever works best for you. Some people are OK with open relationships and some aren’t. There is no one standard that’s perfect for everyone.

    The only issue I have is if one half of a couple is stepping out and the other half doesn’t know about it and believes he’s in a monogamous relationship with that person. That’s not cool. If you want to have an open relationship that’s something that has to be agreed upon and any rules you want to established be hammered out. Open is ok. Cheating is not. And yes, there’s a huge difference.

    I was in a very casual non-committed relationship with someone I really cared for a great deal. It was made clear many times that we were both free to see other people if we wanted, the only rule was that we would play safe. I was monogamous 99.9% of the time because I chose to be, not because I had to be.

  • MarionPaige

    the book The Male Couple claimed that “long-term male couples” are more likely to be open relationships. Don’t know if the book is considered outdated now. But,

    For the quoted study to be “credible”, it seems it should have specified the duration of the relationships that are open. For example, if 100% of the male relationships that are longer than say 10 years are open, then, it re-affirms what was given in The Male Couple.

    Found this stat in the article:

    50% of men in open marriages/civil partnerships have been in their current relationship for over five years. About 7% have been in an open relationship for less than a year

  • Realitycheck

    We all have different emotional needs, that survey means zero, and where was it taken? LOL That alone will dramatically change the results.
    And truth to be told everyone has a different capacity to love.
    What ever makes one happy and works with one is the way to go as long as both partners are honest and no one gets hurt.

    To the ones saying monogamy is a myth and everyone cheat, or open relation ships are the only way to go….. you are simply talking about yourself and transposing on everyone else, open your mind and accept the diversity of humanity.

  • Realitycheck

    @MarionPaige: Years ago I read a NYC study to the opposite effect, in fact most people in a open relation ship were pushed in to it by their partner and most of the time the relation ship broke because of it.

  • Alan David Smith

    truth is you don’t know why these men are in open relationships. i was in one. and the #1 reason was i have health issues that affected my ability to give my partner certain things. #2. even though we were only 3 years apart in age. he had already done things that i didn’t know were even option’s and he knew what he did and didn’t like. so for us being open meant honesty, and safety. and for me. i wouldn’t kiss because that was something for your partner. each person has thier own story.

  • MMDD

    My husband and I have been together just under 21 years, and we are monogamous. It’s not a matter of not being attracted to other men (I always say, “I’m married, not dead); it’s a matter of being sexually faithful to each other and finding joy and fulfillment in that kind of exclusivity. I have no problem with guys who prefer some degree of openness in their relationships. What I *do* have an issue with is people who talk about them in the sense that “open” = more honest, stronger, healthier, etc. A monogamous relationship can be (and frequently is) honest, strong, and healthy. Ours is. No, it’s not perfect, but nobody’s is. Too many people focus on the infidelity aspect instead of those partners who are faithful to each other. By being sexually exclusive, my desire for my husband has deepened to a level I never experienced before with another man. And the sex…damn…sweeter and more delicious than I ever imagined it could be.

  • Stefano

    @MMDD: Do you really beleive what you say or are you trying to convince yourself (and us)? Loll

  • John

    This article goes to show that stats are like hookers, you can spin them however you want. Lots of hullabalu. We have been together for 20 years, we have dallied with a few 3-somes but we wouldn’t consider ours an “open relationship”. I would have liked to have seen some “hookers” that stated how many claim “monogamous” but one or both of the 2 play on the DL. Imagine our surprise travelling with another company who preach monogamy and turn their noses up then for us to walk in on the one that preaches the loudest in an uncomprimising position, and he says we have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy so don’t mention it. We no longer travel with this couple, because I don’t believe it’s “dadt”. I believe he plays and the other truly doesnt know.

  • Bauhaus

    Similarities… Sharp avatar. Très chic.

  • Bauhaus


    Speaking of Bette Davis:

    “An affair now and then is good for a marriage. It adds spice, stops it from getting boring… I ought to know.”

  • Jim Philbrick

    Open relationships are not real relationships

  • MMDD

    @Stefano: Were you born a troll or did you go to school to learn how to be one?


    let’s not ape heterosexuals mores blah blah blah! Okay but then why the fuck get married then??? Weak assed no self control having narcissists

  • bottom250

    I will stick with sleeping around and not being in a relationship. Sweethearts I am addicted to men

  • felchapo

    My name is frank doe,i’m in need of a good looking and loving guy who can make me feel more like a man,one who will take me way out of this world with just a touch.long lasting relationship….here is my kik:felchapo or email:[email protected]

  • frankcar1965

    @paulbear30: It’s only less “wholesome” to you, why do you think you own morality? You don’t you know. You have every right not to be in an open relationship just make sure you ask before you get too involved.

  • frankcar1965

    @Paco: It’s everyone choice so don’t say everyone deserves better.If you don’t want an open relationship don’t get into one, it’s that simple. Quit judging like the straights do to gays.

  • frankcar1965

    @enlightenone: You are nothing special, hate to tell you. How do you know your husband is not screwing around? You don’t so get off your high horse. He could be with me, a lot.

  • frankcar1965

    @Bromancer7: You may have played safe but did he? Why does it matter if you are using protection? You should treat everyone like they are HIV poz not just your “loved” one. Check out Poz mag and see that the majority of people who sero-convert are in “relationships” so what does that tell you?

  • frankcar1965

    @MMDD: Are you sure he is not having sex with no one else? You really don’t but you tell yourself so you can feel ok, ignorance is bliss I guess.

Comments are closed.