Gay relationships are less mired in deception and perhaps even less prone to friction, according to multiple studies.
By: Kaja Perina
"There will always be a battle between the sexes because men and women want different things," quipped comedian George Burns. "Men want women and women want men." But when men want men and women want women, each couple can circumvent treacherous romantic terrain because partners more closely share sexual appetites and mind-reading abilities than do heterosexual pairs.
Most lesbians don't fear rapacious women and gay men need not always soft-peddle their sexual predilections. On balance, gays and lesbians understand their partners' bodies and biases with a certainty that many a clueless "breeder" yearns for. "Homosexuality could be viewed in some respects as the triumph of the individual's mating intelligence over the gonads' evolutionary interests," argues Geoffrey Miller.
The result is that gay relationships are less mired in deception and perhaps even less prone to friction, according to multiple studies.
"If two guys in a relationship are on the same wavelength, it's going to be very hard for them to deceive one another about their motives, their lusts, their philandering. Whereas between the sexes, each sex presents a socially acceptable form of masculinity or femininity that is reassuring to the other person but not particularly accurate," says Miller.
Romantic lies are, after all, a sort of Rosetta stone on which gender differences are coyly inscribed. Straight men lie about their commitment to the relationship and about their resources, finds psychologist Maureen O'Sullivan. They are also more likely to lie to keep their partner from getting angry at them, a small but telling testament to the wrath of women. Women, in contrast, lie to flatter a man's sense of self and to downplay their interest in other men.
Gay and lesbian couples are not only more honest with one another, they are also more likely to exhibit affection and humor in negotiating relationship stressors, according to John Gottman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington. Gottman compared conflict discussions in gay and straight couples and found that "gays and lesbians talked explicitly about sex and monogamy. Those topics don't come up in 31 years of studying heterosexual couples, who are uptight in discussing sex. In their conversations, you really don't know what they're talking about."
Whether a same-sex edge to mating intelligence makes for longer unions is unclear. Among the couples Gottman studied, the projected break-up rate for homosexuals, over a four-decade span, is a grim 64 percent (gay men are far more likely to split than are lesbians). The 40-year divorce rate for straight couples in first marriages is 67 percent. To amend George Burns: If you wait long enough, every couple wants different things.
Special Thanks to Psychology Today