During recent years the majority of gay and lesbian political groups in Greece have argued for the legal recognition of civil marriage between persons of the same sex. In this article, I will argue that this claim is connected to the dominance of the ideal of a stable and longstanding relationship in contemporary Greek society. This ideal is widespread even among the younger generation of Greek gays aged between twenty and thirty years old. Some of these young gays—in order to realize the ideal of ‘marriage’—accept the lack of sexual pleasure or even infrequent sexual contact in their relationships. Others who do not have a stable relationship are categorized as ‘lonely’ or in the transitional situation of a half-human searching for his or her other half.
I explore the ways in which the emergence of this ideal of marriage is connected with the cultural conceptualizations of the sexual body, emotions, friendship, kinship, and identity and their transformations from the 1950s onward in Greek society, especially among men in homosexual relations. Finally, I present alternative points of view from Greek lesbians and gays who explore the cultural possibilities of life not based on ‘marital’ relationships.