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” Nagoski pointed me to a 12-year study of same-sex couples by eminent marriage therapist Dr.
"When it comes to emotions, we think these couples may operate with very different principles than straight couples,” says Gottman.With the recent vote against gay marriage in North Carolina and President Obama’s support of marriage equality, same-sex relationships are making headlines.But my colleagues and I have less political concerns: We’re focused on helping our gay, lesbian, and bisexual clients navigate their way through many of same relationship hurdles that heterosexual clients face.Couples of all orientations find themselves struggling with the same issues, from mismatched libidos to sex ruts to infidelity.“The underlying dynamics are identical,” says Emily Nagoski, sex educator and author of "A Scientific Guide to Successful Relationships." “They may play out differently because of the differences in gender or because of external social pressures, but the rules are the same – and there's some clear indications that gay couples are actually better at following those rules than straight couples!“Straight couples may have a lot to learn from gay and lesbian relationships." Studies suggest, for instance, that gay male couples tend to have sex more often than any other type of couples, while lesbian couples tend to have the least amount of sex.
Since women often value emotional intimacy over sexual intimacy, low sex drive may not be a concern.
Likewise, two men who have strong libidos may be able to accommodate their sexual desires within an open relationship.
“A number of my gay clients prefer to be sexually open but emotionally monogamous,” says sex and relationship therapist Joe Kort.
“They can have lovers on the side and not have it be a threat to the relationship.” It’s a type of male coupledom that sex columnist Dan Savage has famously termed “monogamish” - but it’s not necessarily unique to gay relationships.
“Overall, men are good at compartmentalizing sexual and emotional feelings,” explains Kort.
“It’s a guy thing, not a gay thing.” At the same time, gay and lesbian couples can have unique concerns that just don’t exist in straight relationships.