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GAY & BISEXUAL MEN - Relationships


There are no hard and fast rules about what a healthy relationship must look like. All different types of relationship can be healthy, fun, intimate and pleasurable. Whether it is friendship or romantic sometimes the problem isn't knowing when a relationship is healthy, but when it's unhealthy.

What are the qualities of a healthy relationship?

Some of the qualities a healthy relationship can be built on are:

Relationships can be healthy irrespective of the type if they are built on the qualities above. Some gay and bisexual men have relationships that wider society may not recognise as typical. However, the same variety of relationships exists between gay and bisexual men as exist between anyone else. The uniqueness of a relationship can be what makes it exciting, special and intimate but can sometimes be what makes it difficult to maintain.

When it comes to relationships and sex being able to negotiate with others about our needs is important. We may need to negotiate about the type of sex we want, the sexual role we prefer, whether or not to use condoms, the rules for relationships, taking alcohol or using other substances. 

What is an unhealthy relationship?  

An unhealthy relationship is one where trust, respect and equality has broken down. It can also be when someone is controlling or abusive (verbal, emotional, physical or sexual) to another person in the relationship. Whatever the type, abuse is always wrong.

What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship?

Some of the signs of an unhealthy relationship can be:

Sometimes people can miss the signs of an unhealthy relationship or believe that they deserve the treatment they get from a partner. But abuse is always wrong. Some gay and bisexual men can feel they have additional barriers to seeking help when they are in an unhealthy relationship due to their sexuality.

What barriers can gay and bisexual men have to seeking help?

The additional barriers gay and bisexual men can have to seeking help can include:

If you need someone to talk to about your relationship your local sexual health service is a good place to start. They can also put you in touch with local agencies that can help you build the skills and confidence to maintain the healthy relationships you want and enjoy.

Content reproduced/adapted with permission from Steve Retson Project, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde