One partner or more? Gay men's relationship survey

Do gay men negotiate their relationships differently to others? Victoria University psychologist Warwick Hosking suspects they do and is conducting a survey to find out.

Dr Hosking is calling for gay men in relationships to fill out an online survey to gather data on how sex inside and outside relationships is negotiated.

"We want to examine the different kinds of agreements or arrangements that exist in gay men's relationships, and how strictly men adhere to these arrangements," Dr Hosking says.

"We would like to explore how differences in relationship arrangements - and the breaking of arrangements - may influence safe-sex practices and relationship quality.

"Monogamy is an option for all couples, but it tends to be a more widely accepted norm in heterosexual relationships. Gay men may be monogamous, or they may agree to have other partners outside their primary relationship. To date there is little research on how these arrangements are made or how they function."

The survey has important implications for wellbeing, public health and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, and for counsellors and educators.

To participate, respondents must be 18 years of age or over, identify as gay men (not bisexual), have been in a relationship for at least six months, and be a permanent resident of Australia.

Dr Hosking is working with fellow VU psychologist Dorothy Bruck on the project, which has been funded by the university.

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