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talking tricks
Rule #3: 'Don't come home at night and talk about your tricks'

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May 2002 Email this to a friend
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Rules for Open Relationships
By Joseph Couture

Fags can't keep their peckers in their pants­ and why should they? The male of the species lusts for sexual variety, and when it's guy going after guy, there's no question of feminine resistance. More than a few of us would insist that paradise would have to involve sucking cock and taking it up the butt every night with a different gorgeous man. Can there be heaven on earth? At least there's no need to let love and relationships get in the way of pursuing the dream of ready sex. If you're smart, you can have your boyfriend's ass and eat it, too. Open relationships can work­ if you follow the rules.

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The success of open relationships, I discovered, depends

on negotiating what the rules will be, and sticking to them. Hank and River are my first example. They've both been friends of mine for years and were gracious enough to sit down with me and talk candidly about sex­ the who, where, when, how and why of it all.

Hank has always been a dedicated slut. In fact, I met him at a seedy sex club where naughty boys stick their dicks through holes in the wall to get anonymous blow-jobs. He was taking a break and sitting at the bar having a few drinks when I saw him. I recognized him from his picture in the newspapers that accompanied articles about his work. Hank is a well known Toronto writer who pens diatribes about hypocritical homos who lobby for same sex marriages while secretly bare backing at the baths when their lovers are out-of-town.

Hank was single at the time, but just weeks away from meeting the love of his life, River. River is more like a hot spring, that rare combination of youth, good-looks, brains, and sensible politics that you usually only find in men you can't have for some reason. He was working in a small store in Toronto's Boy's Town and pursuing his film making career on the side when Hank spotted him behind the counter one day. Hank had seen him around the scene before, but now he was trapped.

They made pleasant chit-chat over the counter and Hank finally got a first date. After a couple of weeks and several more dates with no sex, I got a phone call. "He won't have sex with me. He says he wants to get to know me first. What do you think it means?" a distressed Hank asked. Taking the cynical view, I told him: "If it hasn't happened by now, it probably never will."

I think that's usually true. But what neither of us knew at the time was the fact that it was a deliberate strategy on the part of River to hook Hank. "If you want to keep someone," River says, 'You never sleep with them right off the bat." That's usually a trick woman use to ensnare straight men, but it worked on Hank. He wanted him even more because he was made to wait.

There was no denying there was a real spark between the two of them, but Hank's politics are more important than his penis, and River had to establish his radical credentials. It helped when he confessed to having a propensity for shoplifting, then for drag, and finally, when he told Hank he had no desire for a monogamous relationship, he secured a place in Hank's heart. "I had to prove myself," River says. "But I won."

Hank says the monogamy issue was a big one for him. "I've never had a monogamous relationship, and I don't want one." He says that often guys he dates say it's fine for him to see who he wants in the beginning, but then expect him to change when things get serious. But on this subject, Hank and River were in agreement. "Sex with all kinds of guys is fun," River says. "Why would I want to give that up?"

That doesn't mean they can do whatever they want or fuck anyone anytime. As they explained to me, there are complicated ground rules that must be followed.

Legs spread, mouth shut.

The first rule they've established is that they don't come home at night and talk about their tricks. Hank doesn't want to know who River's fucking, and River doesn't want to hear about who Hank's fucking. I thought it seemed a little odd at first. After all, if you're allowed to screw around, why can't you talk about it? "That just makes your partner insecure and nothing good comes from it," says River.

Talking about tricks "just makes you feel competitive and insecure," echos River. And that leads to rule number two: if a trick does come up, once they've talked about him, they can't sleep with him anymore. That's to prevent each other from worrying every night, "Oh, is he out with that Dave again?"

I've heard of couples that make it a rule that you can never see the same person twice, but that's not something that bothers Hank and River. River often has fuck buddies that he sees for a period of time and they're no threat to the relationship. "I've had sex with six- or seven-thousand men," says River. "And I've never met anyone else like Hank. Why would I give that up just because some guy's cute?"

Hank takes a different approach to his cruising. He prefers to go to the baths for quick, anonymous sex with guys he'll likely never see again. "I'm not looking for another boyfriend," he says.

Rule number three, and the easiest one to break, is that when one of them is going out, they never ask where. "I don't want to know if he's on his way to go fuck some guy," says Hank. "Would it make you jealous if you did know?" I ask. "Not jealous," he replies. "I just don't want to spend my night thinking about it." It seems to me that at this point that all their rules are designed to keep them from thinking about it. Ignorance can be bliss.

The final rule, and an important one, is that so-called "social fucking" is not allowed. There is to be no sleeping with common friends or people they both know. This rule is obviously to prevent the awkward situation of having a friend or acquaintance say, "I slept with your boyfriend." It's also harder to be discreet if it's someone they both know. And discretion is the golden rule.

One thing they do talk about a lot is their love for each other. "It's important to nurture the relationship and make the other person feel secure," says River. They don't have sex with each other as much as they used to, but what they do have a lot of is affection. "We cuddle and affirm our love all the time," says Hank.

Case study two

Things work very differently for my next couple, Mike and Mark.

Mike is an attractive, fit 41-year-old who works in the Internet business. His partner Mike is a sexy 35-year-old who's a manage at a bank. They met about six year ago when a mutual friend invited them both to his birthday party.

They were reading from the same page as their relationship developed. Mike had no interest in seeing other people, and Mark, who had only been out a few years, thought that all relationships were monogamous and about "white houses and picket fences."

Then, about two years into the relationship, something happened to change all that. They were on a trip with an acquaintance­ sharing a hotel room with the alcohol flowing. One thing lead to another and they ended up having a three-way with the guy. Mark was nervous and a little freaked out by the experience, but describes it as "neither good nor bad."

Afterwards, they discovered they were able to talk about what happened. The encounter didn't destroy them or upset the relationship, and they realized they even sort of liked the idea of threesomes.

Mike began to question the notion of monogamy and picket fences. "I began to think, 'Why should gay relationships be based on heterosexual models?'" His gay friends, in supposed monogamous relationships, turned out to be out having extramural affairs. He was discovering there seemed to be a difference between "the way things should be and what works."

They decided what would work for them was something a little more open. Their dialogue on the subject progressed until they felt they were ready to start looking for other guys with whom to have threesomes and foursomes. Neither wanted to go out and pursue sex on his own­ they wanted everything they did to be shared.

The reason Hank and River don't have three-ways is very similar to my experience: guys usually prefer one over the other. I remember this couple I used to do a few years ago. The one was a totally hot blond muscle guy, and the other an older guy I wasn't really into. I could only have muscle boy in the context of doing both of them as a package deal. A one-on-one was out of the question. After weighing my options, I decided it was worth faking it with one to get the other.

Hank and River are have totally different looks and there's a 17-year age spread between them. It would be difficult to find people who were in to both of them at the same time. Mike and Mark, however, aren't so different. They're close enough in age, and, while they have slightly different looks, are both attractive enough in their own ways to make it work.

"The sex is always equal, or we don't do it again," says Mike. It sounds like they've been lucky and not had any encounters where one partner felt left out. "I kind of like watching Mark have sex, too," he says. That's very different from Hank, who says, "I just don't want to see River doing it with someone else." That's fine. Whatever works for you is all right.

Mark and Mike never cruise the bars or the personal ads looking for tricks. They meet their boys along the way in the course of everyday normal life. Some of their sex partners have worked out so well it's almost become a situation where they're having a three-way relationship, with guys hanging out with them for many months.

There's no hint of jealously between them and they both say that threesomes are just a way of adding to an already vigorous and satisfying sex life. "Threesomes just enhance what we already have. They in no way supersede a normal sex life between us," says Mike. It just keeps them from getting bored or feeling trapped in the relationship because there's always the possibility of something new on the horizon.

Mark says he would have flipped out had any of this been suggested to him in the beginning. But now he's happy they found a way to have it all. Hank and River have taken a different path, but they've also got their cake and can eat it too. When it comes to baking up a light, fluffy open relationship, it seems the thing to do is to agree on a recipe.

Author Profile:  Joseph Couture
Joseph Couture is a journalist based on London, Ontario.


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