- Considerations of "Modern life"
- Creative writing
- Joie de vivre
- New York City
- The law
Because it might as well be renamed Manogamy to reflect a man’s role in dictating the terms of a relationship.
My biggest issue with this article is its perpetuating gender and sexual stereotypes in one shot. Is there really no other way to discuss a new way of defining a “relationship” other than implying deviation and therefore homosexuality?
There are SO MANY THINGS WRONG with this article though – Conflating sex, love, emotion and marriage/relationship; equivocating sexual preference with moral turpitude (projection of moral values and associations onto others whom you judge); the completely male perspective; perpetuating stereotypes; lacking in imagination.
1. Male homosexual relationship model as a guide for a discussion about nonmonogamy in the context of a marriage is misguided on so so many levels. First, as hard as it may try to veer away from the promiscuity issue, the underlying assumption and by virtue of its focus on the male orgasm/sexuality simplifies homosexual relationships are outside of sexual norms and have no concept of fidelity. If you can deduce the fact that homosexuals can be in sexually non-monogamous relationships because of the nature of male sexuality and for that reason alone, then why is the discussion of love, trust, emotions necessary in the context of a hetero relationship? Because it’s inherently different? Heteros can’t do the same, because we’re inherently more complex and less “basic” than homosexuals? And isn’t it just about the non-monogamy in the sexual realm? Isn’t that always the obsession of everyone? Because it’s easy, it’s obvious, it’s less abstract than emotional infidelity? Additionally, homosexual non-monogamy the article refers to doesn’t mention being in the context of having a family/marriage, SO HOW IS THAT EVEN AN APPROPRIATE comparison at all? Non-monogamy is a much more accessible discussion with less risks for EVERYONE, homosexual and heterosexuals alike, when you’re not entangled in a way that makes you liable for more than just emotions and ego. I don’t know why the article couldn’t take a cultural stance and focus on the other cultures’ definitions of relationships (which it briefly mentions) more instead of taking this homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy. Even just in Western European cultures (to which American culture is supposed to be the closest kin), these definitions are a lot more fluid and a lot less conservative. A reading of Heptamern would reveal that life in France even in the 1500s, when Catholicism was alive and well, is more adventurous than a night in Chelsea.
2. With that said, I completely agree with the article’s premise that everyone should define their own relationships and not according to societal conventions that are largely based on some really conservative set of puritan values which makes no allowance for sexual imagination beyond popping out babies for Jesus Christ. I mean I can make no judgment about Anthony Weiner’s scandal except that I think it’s a little pathetic – what is he 15, and likes to cyber? But while the endgame for many people is intercourse or actual contact, if he gets off by sending pics of himself to women, then he hasn’t gotten short changed in the adultery game. The only transgression he is guilty of is his betrayal and dishonesty; those are purely between his wife and him. Americans have to get it through their head that having/wanting non-vanilla sex doesn’t make you morally depraved.
3. Mostly because in the American conception, you don’t get that from your husband/wife, you must get it through some devious channel, you must therefore be susceptible to morally depraved behavior. You have to be whores for each other, true. While the root of infidelity is a partner’s own selfishness and greed, and it’s not fair to then blame the cuckolded spouse (already scorned) for the breach, I can’t, with good conscience, say that I won’t side-eye a spouse who gains over 20 pounds and/or stops giving it up and who then cry about being a victim. And also, these discussions about sexuality inevitably makes everything sound like a fucking perverse fetish – like getting cake smashed in the face, which is so peculiar that it makes this discussion seem inaccessible and irrelevant to everyone but the guy who likes getting cake smashed.
4. The paragraph about women having difficulty saying no to certain sexual requests takes us back to pre-1960 where wives have no voice and only have sex insofar as is necessary to reproduce and satisfy husbands. Give me a fucking break. Male perspective on sex can be far more sanitized than that of women’s. Hello, madonna/whore complex, there is no sex, just a beautiful manifestation/consummation of my admiration, so much so that I would even say that some women may have trouble suggesting deviation from the routine – more trouble than saying no for fear of ruining that image, let’s talk about the difficulty of that gender dynamic instead. It is purely one-sided and about the man in that case. Even just amongst my acquaintances, I know plenty of men who would project fear of a woman being a whore if she is more sexually adventurous than her male counterpart.
5. Male perspective: I don’t know this Dan Savage guy, but he sounds sane, reasonable and not completely vulnerable to categorical principles (either or conservative or liberal/completely depraved). But the whole: I’m a guy, this is my perspective, but anyway shouldn’t you know the perspective of the gender you’re in a relationship with thing is so wack – 1. it’s not that complicated to figure out the perspective of the other person, especially if you’re in a relationship with them (knock on wood, hubris is not my achilles’ heel) 2. not all male perspectives are that of the alpha type A American meat head who compartmentalizes logic, emotions and sex.
6. The article, however, hits it completely on the head when the author characterizes our view on infidelity essentially as an insecurity, both an insecurity of inadequacies within ourselves and the fear of being alone. The problem is that the insecurities are hardly ever addressed, they’re instead projected at the party at fault as if the shortcomings underlying insecurities don’t have any part/contribution to the problem. So they go unchanged and no self improvements are made, because it’s easier to find a scapegoat. And, you know, cheating eclipses everything.
7. I’m just surprised at the lack of a more in depth discussion of the more practical issues of infidelity in a marriage. Like, using domestic funds to woo some mistress. Writing about this without consideration to the practical matters is as futile and unrealistic an exercise as recounting a fairytale as a portrayal of a relationship. We are not 16 and relationships don’t just exist on love. Sorry, no.