a large number of male gay relationships are sexually open--with an acceptance of sexual activity outside the relationship…This can result in relationship difficulties, as one partner may feel less secure in the sexual freedom advocated by gay norms and mores, and issues of jealousy may arise.for gay men who are in a one-to-one relationship, 'serial monogamy' is more common than in the heterosexual population. Gay relationships do last for many years, as long as a more traditional marriage, but the idea of 'till death us do part' is less prevalent. This may change the emphasis in couples therapy, with gay couples being more prepared to separate if problems cannot be resolved. It is important for counsellors to acknowledge that the social pressures which cause many heterosexual couples to remain together in unsatisfactory relationships are often working in the opposite direction with gay couples… However, research has suggested that those gay male couples who were in a 'close coupled' stable relationship were the most happy and well-adjusted…as there is some evidence that couples who adhere to traditional sex role stereotypes are more likely to find themselves in distress…, this is a facet of gay relationships to be facilitated and encouraged. However, it has been suggested that counsellors often lack an awareness of how gay men perceive gender stereotypes…for counsellors working with clients experiencing sexual dysfunction, there are a number of important aspects of gay relationships to acknowledge. Firstly, it has been argued… that gay men have a greater empathy for and understanding of the effects of sexual dysfunction than do heterosexual couples. This suggests that gay men are more likely to come forward for therapeutic help if it is made accessible to them; a suggestion supported by evidence that gay men are more likely to come for help for particular types of sexual dysfunction, such as premature ejaculation… also argued that a gay relationship is less likely to be 'blamed' for any sexual difficulties, since the difficulties are invariably present outside the relationship also, in other sexual encounters… All of these factors suggest that there is a need for counselling with gay men in the area of sexual dysfunction; particularly so since the advent of AIDS, which has resulted in an exacerbation of the number of sexual problems experienced by gay couples…before embarking on counselling of sexual problems, the counsellor would need to be aware of the different sexual practices of gay men and their colloquial descriptions such as rimming, fisting, water sports, etc… Gay men are generally less rigid in their sexual attitudes than heterosexual couples, resulting in a wider range of sexual behaviour and an acceptance of more so-called 'deviant' sexual activities… In the light of AIDS, one would need to be conversant with the relative risks of different activities and be able to discuss risk reduction with gay clients, such as the practice of safer sex… Although AIDS might not be an issue with a particular gay couple, a therapist would need to be aware of the psychological factors associated with AIDS and HIV infection and of the ways in which these might affect sex or relationships…In addition, there are many specific social pressures on gay relationships not experienced by heterosexual couples. These include the difficulties in 'coming out' as a gay couple in a society dominated by traditional values; dealing with parents' ambivalence towards gay sexuality; the absence of a legal ritual, such as marriage, to legitimize the relationships; the difficulties (or impossibility) surrounding childrearing, resulting in a void in many men's lives; the difficulties in housing--either in gaining council housing because of being unmarried, or in getting a mortgage since the advent of AIDS; and difficulties in openly inviting one's partner to functions at work because of prejudices against gay people. These pressures, and a general lack of support for gay relationships, may lead to couples separating at the onset of any difficulty, rather than seeking counselling, particularly as most therapeutic interventions are geared towards heterosexual couples. There is a strong case for arguing that counselling should be made more available and accessible to gay couples because of the social pressures placed on the relationship."
"therapists working with same-sex couples also serve as a valuable referral resource for community support groups for gays and lesbians, which also can support the couple. Therefore, as current knowledge related to working with same-sex couples continues to progress and warrants additional investigation, clinicians will continue to provide treatment based on the best information available (page 45).They found that individuals in heterosexual relationships identified themselves with more stereotypic sex-roles than did individuals in same-sex relationships. Heterosexual couples also reported more sex-role–differentiated behavior, whereas same-sex couples reported more sex-role–undifferentiated behavior. This finding may lead researchers and clinicians to conclude that because same-sex couples are more likely to endorse similar sex-role identification relative to heterosexual couples, they may report less conflict with regard to perceived financial, household, child-rearing responsibilities (page 46).Unlike for heterosexual couples who have multiple role models in their families and in the media, few role models exist for same-sex couples. Thus, sexual minorities likely develop their own normative relationship dynamics… Heterosexual individuals can more readily obtain advice or validation from other heterosexuals when not sure about current or future relationships. This is likely to be more difficult for sexual minorities who, because of a lower number of same-sex couples and role models, are limited in their opportunities for relationship feedback. Thus, sexual minorities might be left with the belief that questions or difficulties that they are experiencing are the result of their sexual orientation rather than mere relationship difficulties… The influence of relationship role models and accessibility to peer feedback on relationship difficulties has not been addressed adequately in the literature and requires further investigation" (page 46-47).
"Lesbian bed death" was first documented in 1983, when Blumenstein and Schwartz reported that lesbians in long-term relationships have significantly less sex than gay men or women in heterosexual relationships. Despite the fact that the 1990s saw lesbian sexuality change when lesbian sex clubs and parties emerged and dildo sales increased, lesbians still seemed to be engaging in less sex that other men and women… In one of only a few studies that has investigated the decrease in sexual behavior in lesbian relationships (page 48).Two theories have been proposed to explain the phenomenon of decreased sexual behavior over the first few years of the relationships: a decrease in sexual desire and internalized homophobia. Recently, researchers have found that low sexual desire, secondary type, is experienced more frequently among lesbian than gay or heterosexual couples… Secondary type, as opposed to primary type, is often specified as lesbian couples typically report strong sexual desire and high levels of sexual behavior during the beginning of the relationship but then a decline in sexual activity and desire after the first few years of the relationship… cites several factors that may contribute to a low frequency of sexual behavior, including the cultural socialization that teaches women to be less sexually assertive, leaving lesbian couples without a "trained initiator," and the extreme degree of connectedness between lesbian partners that develop, known as fusion. The second issue, internalized homophobia, may also explain the decrease in sexual behavior in lesbian relationships over time. Internalized homophobia has been described as the process by which one who is a member of a stigmatized group internalizes negative stereotypes and expectations held by the majority… Internalized homophobia can impact lesbians in profound ways and lead to guilt, self-hatred, self-doubting, and negative outlooks regarding the possibility of maintaining a long-term relationship… (page 48).Researchers have suggested that, for lesbians, a major outcome of gender and female socialization is relationship "fusion"… Fusion has been conceptualized as the process by which the boundaries and emotional distance between each partner become blurred to the point where there tends to be an extreme form of emotional closeness… problems develop when neither partner establishes an autonomous identity in the relationship…. one possible explanation for the development of this relational closeness in lesbian couples is that the couple begins to bond and support one another in reaction to the social and political pressures, stigmatizations, and negative stereotypes that typically undermine the relationship (page 49)For fused lesbians, introducing exercises that establish some distance and differentiation between the partners while supporting and validating them would allow for each partner to maintain the emotional and intimate connection while also developing a greater sense of autonomy. This kind of therapy ultimately aims to establish a secure and appropriate level of attachment…"(page 49).
Normative age for marriageWhy that age?Do men have to achieve certain things before getting married?When are men/women considered eligible?How much free will do they have?History of arranged marriage?
Definition of arranged marriageWhose responsibility?
Do these patterns continue with migration?
Other basis for mate selectionIf so, how different?
How is it accepted by the culture?Role of common interest, mutual attraction, love or lustExpected duties of husband/wifeGender rolesSelf-conceptsDivision of responsibilitiesPower, alteration of power equationRole of families of originConception of sexual relationsDo' s and don'ts in interactions with outsider
More thorough preparation for marriageGreater degree of commitmentGreater degree of self-other
Broader opportunities for learning and growthGreater opportunities for childrenMore accepting of differences
Less common ground in relationshipDifferences causing doubtsSense of loss of selfLearning and growth interfered with by conflicting backgrounds.Social stigma and non-acceptanceInstitutional racism