When we think of living happily ever after, we usually think of being one half of a couple, maybe with children, a home. What we don't visualise is fucking other guys on the weekend to keep that fairytale afloat.
As a society, we believe that if we've found our soulmate we don't need to stick it in the stable boy too. But as more and more couples embrace an open sex life, is it monogamy that's the myth?
Many people perceive the idea of open relationships as a modern concept, but the fact is that monogamy is not a traditional ideology; not for the cavemen, anyway. It's believed that the male partner would leave his wife at home, with their child, while he went out and pursued his sexual desires. Many would argue that as men we're hard-wired to pursue sex with many different partners - so surely the concept of monogamy is even more difficult to achieve when both partners are male?
The topic arose recently while laying in bed with a property developer. Not only was he obviously intelligent, but being older than the guys I would usually go for, he also had experience on his side. Not that he didn't look great for his age, but it had struck me as strange that a man in his early 50s - that seemingly had every other aspect of his life in check - was chasing twinks on Grindr and not children around his yard. No judgement, and I understand it's not for everyone, but if settling down was something he wasn't choosing, I was curious (nosey) as to why.
"It's just not realistic", he stated, as someone that had tried and tested a failing method before.
"But if straight people can master it, then why can't we?"
"They haven't mastered it. Two thirds of those marriages end in divorce. Most often 'cause they find out their partner has cheated or wants to cheat."
It was something I'd never considered, and the realisation was more depressing than coming down on an Eastenders
omnibus. I'd always assumed that heterosexual couples had it all figured out and tied up in a neat little monogamous bow, and that it was just horny gay men that were attending Sunday sex parties with their significant other.
"Most couples stop having sex eventually, he went on, "So why not just accept that from the start and get the sex you need?"
I knew couples stopped shagging, but thought loss of intimacy just came with age. Instead, maybe it’s just the monotony of the same sex with the same person, in the same positions, in the same bed for forty years. You wouldn't eat the same meal every day, so why the same man? Well, isn’t that the power of love?
Though his proposition sounded like somebody that wanted to have their cake and suck it off too, was this the harsh reality?
On a recent road trip, a friend two years deep into his open relationship, weighed in: "I think it's better to be open with people than attempt to live the fairytale and be cheated on. My boyfriend actually lines up guys to have sex with me, as it turns him on, and he knows that I love him and it’s him I’ll be coming home to."
I struggle with jealousy when my imaginary boyfriend likes other boys' pictures, let alone when I'm passing my real one round like a packet of Wrigley's Extra. I can understand how watching two guys fuck would turn you on - it is our religion after all - but I know that my emotional investment would not only be a boner-kill, but a wrecking ball to my self-esteem.
"It's not personal. It's just sex. So once you separate that from love..."
I always thought I was quite good at separating the two; having sex without getting attached, and refraining from sex in the early stages of dating, but this was a different ball game altogether. Is the secret to lasting love learning to separate it from sex?
The thought of watching someone I was in love with - truly in love with - have sex with someone else, was unimaginable. But maybe I'm just deluding myself into pursuing something that just doesn't bode well with human nature, not to mention has a terrible success rate over the course of a lifetime.
Is it inevitable that as men who seek other men, we'll never find monogamy satisfying or successful because we're simply not wired that way? And by chasing the fantasy of a fairytale ending that doesn't exist, just setting ourselves up for heartbreak?
Was our future really this bleak? Perhaps it was. But I wasn't ready to give up on the fairytale just yet...
That said, it didn't prevent me accidentally falling into a threesome with a couple two weeks later. But hey, just because I still believe in monogamy, doesn't mean I can't have sex with those who don't. And if my cameo in their sex life was helping to keep love alive, I was more than happy to do my bit; I just don’t know if I could watch my man play with someone else's ring while there was one on my finger… I wish I could.
But as the landscape of dating evolves, and more people surpass traditional ideals, has love itself evolved too? And do we need to open our minds – and relationships – to be in with a chance of finding it?
Anthony Gilét is a London-based writer, blogger and YouTuber – follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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