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Gay men have fickle dicks; sometimes boredom sets in 10 minutes after the sex starts. So how on earth do long-term gay couples, especially guys who have been together five, 10, 20 years or more, keep their sex lives revved up and good to go?
Since we, as queer men, get to invent our relationships as we go along, the answers can go far beyond the usual women's magazine ideas like "Make Him a Nice Dinner" or "Buy a Frilly New Nightie." Sex & Long Term Relationships
It's safe to say there are as many answers as there are queer couples according to Merle Yost, editor of When Love Lasts Forever, a new book on long-term gay couples.

After 22 years together, Jim and Terry still have sex. They're one of the couples featured in Yost's book, and they provide a good example of adaptability. While their relationship isn't fully open, it's not really monogamous either. "We're utterly lascivious in bars, but we always go home together," Terry says. On rare occasions, they've invited a third person to join them. Like many long-term couples, their respective sexual interests have evolved in directions that sometimes diverge, exploring various sorts of kink, so they play with others at sex parties as well. And while the decades have seen a diminishment in the frequency and intensity of their sex - in the beginning, they never went to sleep without coming - they're still together, still having good sex, and still in love.

Other couples have other tactics. Sometimes monogamy truly works, and the sex remains good. As 38-year-old Bryan says, "If anyone had suggested when I met David 11 years ago that I'd still find him the hottest man in town, and never end up in bed with someone else, I'm not sure I would have believed it. But it's true."

Some relationships, however, are truly, totally open. Andy and Chris decided, when they first became a couple, that their relationship would be non-monogamous. That was 26 years ago, and they've had a lot of other partners over the years, with no rules except courtesy and consideration. Jealousy? "On rare occasions," Andy says, "but I honestly think that knowing I'm having sex with Chris because I want to, rather than have to, helps keeps our sex life good."

Yost estimates that of couples together a decade or longer, about 20 percent have honestly open relationships like Chris and Andy's, about 30 percent are thoroughly monogamous, and the remaining 50 percent have arrangements that qualify as "other."

These include things like "don't ask, don't tell" tricking - something that may not be totally honest, but, integrated into the fabric of the relationship, can work for both partners.

Gay men have a well-deserved reputation for promiscuity, or as I prefer to think of it, "sexual generosity." So it's heartening to note that not only can gay couples endure, they can keep on fucking.

What long-term relationships may lose in discovery and spontaneity, they can gain in tenderness, caring, and a mutual knowledge of what turns each other on. Sometimes the sex may be "maintenance sex," sometimes hot and deep lovemaking, but that's only to be expected.

So is there some secret to keeping the hard-ons in a relationship? Just one. As Yost says, "The guys keep trying and they don't give up."

Simon Sheppard

Now here's your chance to meet the man behind this column. OutUK has an interview with Simon Sheppard or you can take a look at some of his books that are currently available:

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Looking for something very sexy and just as smart? Man on Man collects the best and hottest gay sex writing by Simon, who is also co-editor of Rough Stuff: Tales of Gay Men, Sex, and Power as well as a collection of gay erotica called Hotter Than Hell.

In KINKORAMA : Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion he takes readers behind the unmarked doors and black vinyl curtains that lead to the sometimes shocking, often hilarious, relentlessly arousing scenarios of extreme sex. There are also stories of bears in Tales from the Bear Cult: Beat Bear Stories from the Best Magazines.


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