According to Family Process magazine and reported by USA Today, both gay and heterosexual couples have grown much more monogamous. The study looks at data from 2000 and compares it with data from 1975. Money quote:
The percentage of heterosexual men who reported having sex with someone other than their wife dropped to 10% in 2000 from 28% in 1975; among married women, it declined to 14% from 23%. Among gay men, the percentage who cheated on a partner they lived with dropped to 59% from 83%; for lesbians it declined to 8% from 28%. Half the gays and lesbians in the study were in civil unions, half were living together in committed relationships, the researchers say.
The authors speculate that the HIV epidemic caused people to become more cautious and fearful. But think about all the changes that our community has seen since 1975. Attitudes towards sex have evolved, same-sex couples have become more visible, recognized and supported and gay and lesbian people are included in contemporary society in a way that is considerably different from the mid-1970s.
Perhaps no surprise: the statistics also suggest that there is an enormous difference between gay men and lesbian women when it comes to outside sex, bigger even than the difference between gay and straight relationships. Attitudes towards both relationships and sex are evolving among gay men.
Sex columnist Dan Savage’s views on the topic were explored over the summer in the New York Times. He coined the term “monogamish” to describe relationships that are primarily exclusive, but where outside sex is not seen as a death blow to the relationship.
What may be most new of all is seeing these topics discussed in the Times and USA Today.