INTRODUCTION: WHERE DO WE FIT IN?

Did you know that about half of gay men are in a relationship at any one time? Some are short-lived and others last for many years. Recent research on gay men's relationships has found that around 20 per cent of these relationships are less than six months old; and another 12 per cent are between six and 12 months old. This means that if you are in a relationship right now, there is a one-in-three chance that your relationship is less than a year old. On the other end of the spectrum, another study found that a quarter of men were in relationships that had lasted for more than ten years.

There are lots of different styles of relationships. Many of these models are not those that we have grown up learning about through our own family experiences, or from popular culture such as film and television.

Many gay men enter adulthood with similar ideals about romantic love and relationships as other people from the same culture. There are also some indications that attitudes to relationships may be changing. According to recent research, younger gay men were much more likely than older men to say that they planned to formalise their relationship through some kind of ceremony. And in another study in the United States, the majority of young gay men said they aspired to be in a long-term relationship and have children.

There are many different kinds of relationships. One is the "open relationship" which means one or both partners are free to have sex with other people. This accounts for about one-third of gay relationships in Australia. Monogamy is also very common among gay men. A smaller proportion of men are in different kinds of relationships such as threesomes. Some men live with their partners, but many don't.

A feature of some gay men's lives is the "fuck buddy". This is usually a regular sex partner - which could mean occasionally or on a very regular basis - but does not imply the same kind of intimacy as a relationship partner. As the name suggests, a fuck buddy is like a "friend with benefits".

More than half of gay men are in a relationship.