I just finished reading Christopher Ryan’s Sex at Dawn for the second time, which makes the case that, at our core, we humans are not monogamous creatures. Many people are giving Mr. Ryan credit for making it safe for people to talk about monogamy, polyamory and open marriage in public, and he certainly did deliver the opening salvo.
But I am thinking that it is the disclosure of Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife, and the defensive embarrassment of the conservative Republican Presidential hopeful that has really taken this conversation to the center of the stage.
It is obvious that Newt has had some difficulty with long term monogamy. He has had several wives and affairs. Even if the disclosure from his ex-wife in regard to his request for an “open marriage” was not true, he certainly was playing outside the confines of a traditional monogamous marriage. Some might even say that he was “cheating” with his now current wife before he was divorced. We can point fingers at Newt if we wish, but we know the truth. Newt has a lot of company out there in the land of sexual infidelity. Shall I mention Kennedy here, or Clinton? Or is it your best friend, your neighbor or you?
Monogamy is a societal concept that many would say has been imposed on us by religion and many other factors. I lived in a completely monogamous marriage for 23 years, and then I needed more. But for me, it was too big a leap from being completely monogamous to having an open marriage or polyamorous lifestyle. My husband and I were never going to be “swingers” either.
So how do I have more and stay married? That is when I embraced a new definition of marital sex, which some of us call being “monogamish.”
My memoir, Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner, is all about the beginning of my journey on that path. And as I have traveled further down the path of the brave new marriage with my husband, there are so many conversations in the sex positive community about what we each mean by all of these labels and terms. We all don’t agree on the definitions of anything.