GGG is a term first coined by sex writer Dan Savage. Not only is it a good road map for healthy relationships, but those that follow it report a higher level of satisfaction in their love life.
My husband and I strive to make sure we are both satisfied with our sexual lives. Sometimes this means that one of us may have sex when we aren’t necessarily in the mood, or are in the mood for something different than what is being suggested. There is lots of compromise and negotiation. Often we may say, “OK, today we will do [what one of us suggests], but tomorrow we will do [what the other suggests].” We want to please not only ourselves, but each other. I never thought there was any term that classified what we do other than “healthy sexual relationship,” but it turns out that Dan Savage of the column Savage Love coined a very specific term a few years ago: GGG.
GGG stands for good, giving, and game. Good, as in striving to be “good in bed.” For us, this means research, understanding, communication, and being in tune with each other. We don’t just want to muddle through sex; we want to do it well. We read books and articles. We compare notes with other couples. We pick up tips and tricks.
The giving portion of GGG means “giving equal time and pleasure.” In our relationship, this means ensuring that both of us are getting our needs met. This can be emotional or physical, including but not limited to the opportunity to reach orgasm if an orgasm is desired, no matter what the activity. Of course, either one of us can and sometimes do say that we don’t need an orgasm on a given day, but mostly we ensure that we both at least have the ability and opportunity. Giving equal time also goes back to compromise. Maybe he wants a position that I’m not crazy about, but he agrees to try a different one later. Maybe he doesn’t like a position pillow in that position, but I’ll move it to a different position after a while. Both of us ensure that not only are our own needs met, but we also make sure that the other has everything needed to be satisfied.
Finally, we come to game. In this context, game means to be “game for anything–within reason.” This is where it can get a little tricky and it is very important that both partners understand that “within reason” is added to the rule for a reason. This doesn’t mean making demands or pushing boundaries that one or both partners aren’t comfortable with being pushed. For us, this means being open to new positions, toys, pillows, and activities. It does not open the door for belittling or abuse. If you try this with your partner and one of you says, “You have to do this. It’s part of being game,” then something has gone wrong.
Interestingly, scientific studies back up the premise of GGG as it applies to healthy relationships, especially the being game part. Studies show that when a person is happily open to trying new things for the sake of a partner and feel good about the change, they may experience a higher level of satisfaction in the relationship. However, being open-minded solely for oneself hasn’t been found to have an impact on satisfaction.
We never knew there was a term for the way we run our relationship. We just considered ourselves loving, giving, and open to the needs of each other. Now we have a term to describe our relationship more succinctly.