STUDY: “Monogamish” Gay Couples Happier Than Single Or Monogamous Guys

threeway 2A study conducted through Hunter College confirms what a lot of gay men will tell you: being in a monogamous relationship isn’t the only road to happiness.
Surveying more than 800 gay and bisexual men in New York, researchers at the school’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST) discovered that many subjects received physical and mental health benefits from relationships with some degree of openness.

“The diversity in types of non-monogamous relationships was interesting, and something that hasn’t been explored very much in research studies,” claims Dr. Jeffrey Parsons, who authored the study. “Typically gay men have been categorized as monogamous or not—and our data show that it is not so black-and-white.”

Roughly 40% of the survey’s respondents said they were partnered, with 58% of those men claiming to be in strictly monogamous relationships. Of the 32% in non-monogamous pairings, though, 47% were “monogamish,” a phrase popularized by Dan Savage to refer to relationships that were mostly closed, but with a little wiggle room.

Not unexpectedly, men in fully monogamous partnerships showed significantly less illicit drug use and unsafe-sex practices. But the guys in “monogamish” relationships showed lower rates of depression when compared to single gay men, and higher rates of life satisfaction than singles or guys in open or closed relationships.

In other words, it’s not an either-or proposition.
“Often people may assume that… non-monogamous relationships are inherently ‘less healthy’ in some way,” said researcher Dr. Tyrel Starks. “Our results suggest that there is substantial variability in the agreements that governed these established relationships, and each agreement had some unique mental and physical health correlates.”