Speak Out: What Are Your Hard Limits In A Relationship?

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In today’s much more sexually open and sexually adventurous world, compromising when it comes to relationships is even more important. This is doubly true when it comes to relationships in the LGBTQ community, as we’ve always been outsiders and more experimental when it comes to relationships and sex.

That said, we do have our limits, and one woman in a relationship with a bisexual man recently wrote to Slate to ask if her hard limit was something reasonable or not. According to the letter writer, her bisexual boyfriend has said that he’s mostly had sex with men, but has only been in relationships with women. Her boyfriend wants to open up their relationship, but she’s got some conditions she wants met before agreeing.

For one, she’s only cool with it if he sleeps with men and not with women. She’s also only okay with it if he’s the top during sex, because she’s afraid of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and also because she isn’t comfortable thinking of him in a “vulnerable” position.

The columnist says there isn’t anything wrong with setting stipulations, at least in principle. He also corrected some of her misconceptions about bottoming and STIs. He also pointed out that just because his boyfriend may be topping, it doesn’t make him any less vulnerable. He writes: “Putting your dick in the mouth of a stranger who could bite it off without a hell of a lot of effort and of whose history you know nothing? Pretty damn vulnerable.”

In the end, the columnist didn’t have any firm advice to give her, other than to say that opening up the relationship is “going to play out the way it’s going to play out.”

All that said, we want to hear about what your hard limits are when it comes to your relationships. If you’re in an open relationship, do you set limits when your partner hooks up with other people? If you’re in a monogamous relationship, what do you consider cheating? Is it okay for your partner to think about having sex with other people but not actually do it, or would you still consider that cheating? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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  1. Hunter0500

    “…compromising when it comes to relationships is even more important…” The assumption here is that you’d undertake a relationship that was a mismatch from the getgo. Too many guys flitter from man to man hoping they’ll somehow magically end up with whatever it is they seem to think they’re looking for. When the relationship finally implodes, they blame the other guy and call themselves the “victim”.

    Successful relationships result when guys are consistent in their search, are able to articulate what they’re looking for and are patient enough to find it. That’s a tough order for most gay guys.

    Monogamy is no longer the norm, regardless of sexual orientation. Next to impossible for gay men. Maybe a reasonable approach is to just find as many great men to have in your life as possible, without focusing on “the one and only.”

    • Mike

      That’s pretty much the only way forward that makes sense. Preconditions in this age are just impractical. Everyone is on their path, evolving at their own rate. Just be explicit about your thinking and flexibility and get the same clarity in return before considering a relationship.

  2. Taric Sam Alani

    Yes, I set hardliners for me:
    1. Drugs of any kind, not taken as directed
    2. Barebacking outside the committed relationship
    3. Exchanging money, goods or services for sex with anyone
    4. Lying or cheating of any kind, that’s cheating.

    Obviously, having sex with someone else without forming an agreement with your committed partner first is cheating. Violating that agreement is cheating. Having fantasies in your thoughts is obviously not cheating.

    • tek

      There aren’t enough people who will admit this. That said I don’t care what other people do in their relationships and find it weird when the advertise they are open.

  3. Nathan

    Nathan Writes:

    I do not pay-for-it!
    I do not support it!

    I do not live with it!
    I do not create a Trust Fund!

    I make no mention of its existence in my Will!

    Ultimately, no provisions, whatsoever; however, I will write an Obituary and I will visit the grave!

    • Nathan

      An Addendum:

      It does not Linger!
      It does not Shower!

      It does not remain for Breakfast or is it given a cup of Coffee!

      It is shown the Exit
      The door is to be closed – tightly – behind it!

      Once its Services are rendered; there is no point to continue the “Milk-Of-Human-Kindness”!

  4. Eddie

    The “Hard Limit” is the word itself…. “Relationship”. It’s the exclusivity of a relationship that makes it just that. If you don’t want to be in one, fine. Be “companions”, “buddies”, “fwb”. The idea behind the relationship is giving of yourself and expecting the same of the other person, in the sense you having and they having the one thing in the universe no one else has…each other exclusive. I’m not a prude or opposed to having fun, but when the time, if ever, for a relationship presents itself, respect it, your partner and yourself. We fought hard for equality and marriage, honor it. If it’s not for you that really is fine, but don’t call it something it isn’t.

  5. B

    Have a job, and no ,disability is not a job.
    Have your own car ,your own money.
    Your elderly mother can’t come live with us.nor your 20 year old daughter with three kids by three different baby daddies neither of whom pay child support,and not her soon to be 4th baby daddy who just got out of jail,doesn’t work,smokes pot like a fiend and has drinking problem,if you want more than toast for breakfast get up early and make or stop at McDonald”s on the way to your job. If you don’t like the same music as I do we will not get along ,I most likely will not like what you listen to. Same with movies. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories or ghosts or aliens. Other than that ,hit me up

  6. Keith

    My husband and I met in 1975, and have great sex, and still do. From day one we have always had an “Open” honest relationship about any extra sexual encounters. Our guidelines established over mutual discussion and approval are as follows.

    1. Always be safe, since everyone you sleep with is like sleeping with both partners, since whatever you may pick up will be shared (if not playing safe) with both parties.
    2. We have never brought any “trick” into our private home / domain, since it is tght… our home.
    3. After the adventure, we tell each other who we met and the details if asked. Honesty is the best policy. Actually, numerous NSA tricks over the 43 years and going strong have become very good friends all over the world.
    4. Must point out that when I and my partner have sex…. it is the highest level of pleasure since the addition of “Love” is the major “Bonus” in the magic of the sexual experience.
    5. Insecurity: From out perspective, jealousy is very dangerous and confirms a persons insecurity. There is sex… just getting off, and then sex with love… totally two different things in live.

    In closing, all I can say is do what works for you and your partner, no matter what your sexuality is. I know because our relationship is an example where both parties have been happy,caring and loving for 43 years….. and we survived the AIDS crisis. Be happy and do not condemn something just because yo u may not like or agree with other peoples beliefs or happiness.


  7. Wayne

    First for me to even explore relationship they be a bottom who is fem or transgender whose smooth especially in the face and chest. No public flamboyancy at but it’s ok in private. No outside relationship unless both are present….

  8. Lamar

    You wanna lose a good ‘thang’, (moi) don’t fuck-around outside our ‘thang’, I won’t either. No alcohol or drug of food addictions. I don’t trust anybody, who does not drink, though. I’m 1/2 Jamaican so, love to burn herb-now and then, not that all of ‘us’ do, but I do. No republicans at this point, no overly needy clingy shit, no cowardness, no greediness, not into femmes, either, if I was I’d get a real woman. I much prefer a man who who’s unapologetic about who is, simultaneously
    has no asshole traits either, don’t like unnecessary meanness or cruelty. Not into religious types, but not really feeling those whom cannot get Intouch with their spirit either. If, you can’t dance, cook or sing, play an instrument, love the out-doors or grow plants, ain’t haven’ it. Overly materialistic, not; don’t love-adore animals or babies either, something is wrong with you, which brings me to my next point, overly evil is not excepted, litter-bugs suck , selfish-self centered guys. Well, I think that covers it, lol.

  9. Seth

    Yes I have dealbreakers..

    1. Drugs of any kind (learn to control your alcohol).
    2. Open relationship. Even if you suggested it, its done.
    3. Cheating.
    4. Lying
    5. If you do drag.
    6. No job or money

  10. David

    Meth. Party and play. Sneaking around. Guys looking for love on a sex site.
    In a relationship, completely open with my partner, of 27 years, so If they know it is not cheating. In fact he met many of my FBs. Honesty

    • Marcus

      My major concern is (1). personal hygiene. Very firm on that.
      (2). Have a stable job where you can afford yourself.
      (3). Average gym maintained body.
      (4). Secure and individualistic. Nothing wrong with going on vacation alone every once in a while.

  11. Michael J Antonelli

    Not commenting on how my open relationship works due to the fact that gay men can be a bit too judgmental about others. What works for one couple or one person in what their or his limits are set to, may not or cannot work for others, therefore, there is no point in disclosing the limits in my relationship. All I can say is we both have a respect for each other and as long as that respect is maintained, the love between us will always be.

    • walkerd36

      This X1000. Read these sick comments. Gay men denouncing others for being femme, for being disabled, and for wanting a relationship? A bunch of schizoids here. And the partnered guys saying it’s okay for them to screw around so long as it’s in the other guys’ house and not their own? Bizarre and selfish beyond comprehension.

  12. Libertarian Queer

    “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them.” – J B Books (John Wayne) in The Shootist

    That pretty much sums it up for me.

  13. Steven Kerry

    I have heard enough relationship horror stories from others and experienced enough myself to know this much: 1. you have to be CLEAR about your expectations and boundaries before co-habitating with another man. If he is on a different page with such issues as substance use/ abuse, sexual fidelity or the lack thereof, and especially calm and non-drama-infused communication between the two of you and you still move in together then you are either in a state of oblivious denial or are adrift in a Hollywood movie version of love. 2. If you sense a flashing warning sign about the man you are falling in love with listen to your intuition. it won’t necessarily go away just because you came into his life and offered him “love”. Men will not blatantly announce their weakest aspects or problems to you, but they WILL tell you in a casual and unguarded moment in which they quietly show their hand. Listen, and don’t dismiss it with a shrug; he is telling you the truth and hoping you won’t care and will just overlook what he has said. Then you have only yourself to blame when you move in with him and he is exactly as he told you. 3. The only reason “monogamy” is considered impossible to gay men is because the word itself has a bad rep. The old school gay male sexual paradigm of non-stop “sowing your wild oats” is lifted from an old and tattered page out of a book written by heterosexual men called “How to Be a Real Man”. Monogamy is derided and scoffed at by most gay men when it should be given respect and credibility as an OPTION as good as other options. Monogamy is also not “impossible” for men as adults have choices in life and they know it. I suspect more gay men would love to be in this type of relationship than would ever admit so in the company of other men. Gay male life has always been the same: we are encouraged to be sexual warriors and eat at the buffet table while way too many of us are starving for emotional substance and genuine love. I am not saying everyone must be monogamous so don’t hang that shit on me; I am saying that fidelity should be a respected and respectable option and not the target of cynicism and mockery. Gay men are men first and gay secondarily: it’s time to challenge the old school, tired definitions we have of being “a real man”. Women have torn the old and irrelevant “What it Means to be a Real Woman” book to shreds in recent years, but men never seem to question the tired old book they still enslave themselves to.

  14. showmeguy

    Due to past experience, I know that I should stay away from Satanists, Republicans, and Aquarius Star Signs. No good can come from guys who type double Ts in words spelled with only one T or were not born in 1988 yet are obsessed with the number 88.
    No good can come from those relationships.

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