Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 6, 2011

Are gay media becoming less fearful? Profiles of MMM triads.

Gay Express (New Zealand)

Long-term gay partners agree on some form of non-monogamy more often than straight couples do, though gay spokespeople sometimes act embarrassed by this fact and try to sweep it under the rug.

Gay-marriage advocates in particular often mirror the straight trope that young people will sow their wild oats and then want to settle down into monogamy. But as with straights, some do, some don't. Gay media gradually seem to be getting more forthright about reporting on committed couples in open relationships — and, less often, on fully poly households of three or more.

There's even a term for a gay triad — a thruple — that I don't see used elsewhere.

Two San Francisco thruples were recently profiled in GayExpress, New Zealand's only gay magazine:

Three’s no crowd

By Leif Wauters

You can call them three-ways, but that more often refers to a purely physical encounter. Triad is the most common name used, although I lovingly conjured up the phrase “thruple” in reference to this variety of relationship that is gaining more and more acceptance. It’s not for everyone, and perhaps shouldn’t be for some, but when it works, it really works. It brings out the best in each member and can open up incredible opportunities for love and companionship.

I’ll venture thruples are more common than you’d expect as many prefer to keep their unions private....

Mike and Race had dabbled in a thruple before meeting Jim [they're all pictured above], with both of their personalities being open to this type of union. “Neither of us has a monogamous nature. In fact, we’re seriously dedicated to non-monogamy and were from the time we started dating.” It was a first for Jim, however, spawned not by any type of need but by how truly special he found Mike and Race. “At one point I said something like ‘If I could put the two of you together you’d make the perfect husband’,” says Jim, “so it seemed natural to pursue it.”

It might amaze you but they faced very few hurdles becoming a thruple, with most of those in the first few months. Truly a testament to the belief that the right relationships are meant to be – they just click – and they believe that their combined love isn’t really much different than that between two people. “It’s about communication, caring, etc. It’s the same stuff as pairs have, but there are four relationships going on, each with each other and then the three together. You have to honour each of the four dynamics to make it work.”...

While the magic of Mike, Race and Jim’s relationship continues, others’ attempts haven’t lasted as long. Not to say they still aren’t a family, but Daniel, Dave and Ken (known in global bear circles as DaDaKe) committed an inspiring level of love and energy to maintaining their thruple in the time they spent together.

In 2001, Daniel and Dave were married in San Francisco, just two magical years after they’d met. Five years down the road, Dave encounter a tall, tattooed force of love from Atlanta named Ken while at Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) in Washington DC. Their initial relationship leaned more towards that of long distance daddy/boy bond, but when Daniel entered the mix, the dynamic shifted dramatically. Dave recalls Daniel and Ken’s first meeting quite clearly. “Ken flew to SF for my birthday (May 2007) and I think I could actually see Daniel fall in love with him at first sight. It was that immediate.”

Ken’s shares the same view of how their relationship blossomed. “After I came out in May and met Daniel, the balance obviously shifted with an intense attraction on all sides, far beyond the physical. From May to November, Daniel and I had the chance to have our ‘courting’ phase, as Dave and I had the previous few months.”...

...“Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more; no subject is taboo,” says Daniel, a perspective shared by all six men. “Allot time for each of the four relationships: the three pairs, and the thruple. During intense discussions between a pair, the third should not take sides and help them think out of the box (“Have you considered…”). Ken also strongly adds that people should “not try to force a triad into the mould of a two-person heterosexual relationship. Triads are a break in tradition. Allow your version to find the level of relationship that it needs, and be open to it when that form changes over time.”

Read the whole article (Sept. 6, 2011). Thanks to Sarah Taub for spotting it.

Here are all my poly-gay related articles in the last two years (including this one; scroll down).


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not terribly surprising that a) homosexual unions include triads more often than heterosexual ones do and b) that gay rights advocates try to hide the triads.

Very nice article!

November 06, 2011 10:30 PM  
Blogger Anita Wagner Illig said...

My perception of the denial of multi-partner relationships by gay male advocates is that the reality of this flies in the face of the "we're couples who want the white picket fence just like het couples." For years attempts to form alliances by myself and other poly advocates couldn't even get a return phone call (HRC). Regardless, this "branding" has actually been quite effective and has surely helped reach the goal of marriage equality - something poly people have always supported. I, too, am delighted to see the number and frequency of media thruple profiles increase in recent years. Thanks for the heads-up on this one, Alan!

November 07, 2011 7:41 AM  
Anonymous RobR919 said...

The gay community...particularly gay rights advocates and media....has certainly trended a bit conservative about monogamy vs nonmonogamy as the whole same-sex marriage debates has been so active. But in reality these days, gay men particularly are showing a pretty hearty rebellion against that in practice...but keep it hush hush under the rug. Whether it be polyfidelitous triads & quads, or just even couples with an open relationship, nonmonogamy/polyamory among gays is nothing new. But whether it is actually talked about in public---well that just tends to vary a ton based on what's going on in the marriage debate.

I was in a all-male triad for a number of years. I learned a great deal, but you really have to have the right combo of personalities to make it work. Yes, that's true in all triads. But with all-male ones, my #1 recommendation is to make sure no more than one of the three has an "alpha" type personality, if you know what I mean...or you can see some major head-butting going on! :-O

November 07, 2011 10:03 AM  
Blogger Low Priest of Asmodeus said...

Please stop using thruple. It sounds like a cross between some form of currency, and an infection. There is ZERO need to "conjure" (i.e. make up) terms when a PERFECT one exists - Triad. I have been in a relationship that has been 2 of us for 14+ years, 3 of us for 6 (and we have NEVER used thruple - always Triad, even if we've had to explain it), and as a quad for coming up on 2 years.

November 07, 2014 7:27 AM  

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