Hook-Up Culture Allows Exploration

Question Everything Monogamy John Cameron Mitchell Hedwig
Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Mia Tramz for TIME

The normalization of same-sex relationships may change how we view monogamy

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We need to stop assuming that the default relationship is monogamy and that happiness will ensue. I’m interested to see what happens now that same-sex relationships are normalizing. It could affect straight relationship in a positive way.

In the typical relationship between a man and a woman, there’s a tendency to fall into gender roles. People do what has been done before—it’s just easier. Monogamy is expected. In same-sex relationships, you tend to see more risk-taking. People have had to invent their own rules—they didn’t have the luxury to be lazy about defining their expectations.

Some long-term gay relationships have found openness at one time or another. There’s an understanding that sex changes over time. Sometimes it goes away—it becomes too hard, too boring—and that’s when affairs happen. When society says that that is wrong, it causes people to lie. And that’s worse than the sexual act itself.

The best relationships are those that have trust and openness. The hook-up culture actually allows for this exploration—sometimes in healthy ways and sometimes in unhealthy ways. It makes people say: “This is what I’m into—What are you into?” The healthiest view is: What are we into? I hope more couples say to each other: Let’s not just settle in—let’s see what we want as partners.

Mitchell is an actor, writer and director known for Hedwig and the Angry Inch

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