Now that I’ve got your attention, I hope to point to a fascinating article that appeared in the June issue of The Atlantic. Several great articles here, including Jerry Brown’s “California comeback”, but my provocative title phrase comes from the piece, “What Straights Can Learn from Same-Sex Couples”.
This is the first piece I’ve read that takes on the stereotypes and questions always on the back burner (Do gay men really want monogamy? How do the children of two-mommys understand their sexuality?) and places them in the midst of a growing body of scholarly research.
It’s a romp through decades of data but it never gets geeky or too arcane. Instead its an absorbing analysis of gender roles (both culturally and religiously defined), the institution of marriage, and the human desire for intimacy, Like I said fascinating, and available for free online.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about my title phrase, there’s an interesting backstory on that. Want to know the couples most likely to split? It’s two-women. And research speculates the lack of sexual contact has something to do with it. Apparently women establish deep enough intimacy through communication that their sexual relationship can go by the wayside. Hence the ‘death bed’. That lack of sexual contact, combined with “perfectionist” tendencies in establishing an exactly 50-50 egalitarian ethos, lead women to spilt up more frequently than all other couples – gay or straight.
Lots of interesting data here. I closed their magazine convinced that what I’ve been saying in my pre-marital counseling for years is just as good and true and holy as it ever was: Love gets you to marriage, and marriage teaches you how to love. Sorry to be the broken record here: but establishing anything that is life-giving means “seeking the good of the other”, “speaking the truth in love”, “building up the other” and “loving as Christ loved the church”.
That truth goes for each one of us: male and female, gay and straight.