Monogamy and its discontents

Newt Gingrich asked his wife for an open marriage.  Sort of.  Not really.  Really, he asked her not to divorce him while he continued to fuck Callista.  She says he asked her for an open marriage.

I’m continually baffled by our collective head-in-the-sand attitude toward monogamy.
Here are a few things that you and I both know, but that we (unless we inhabit the sex-positive and/or poly world 24/7) rarely say to our friends:
  • Very few people actually are “monogamous.”
  • Most people who are “monogamous” have sex with more than one person.
  • Most “successful” marriages feature sex between/among more than two people at some point.
  • More marriages don’t break apart because of sex with a person outside the marriage than do.

I don’t know anyone who has been married more than, say, ten years who hasn’t confronted the bogeyman of non-monogamy, voluntarily or involuntarily.

This isn’t to preach the virtues of non-monogamy, or to disdain monogamy.  It’s to say that true monogamy – the kind where two people fuck one another and no one else FOREVER – is really hard, and probably pretty unusual.  Probably much more unusual than most people believe.  Or say in public.
Some things that are hard are also good (cocks, for example; also, chess).  And some things that are hard are really bad (non-consensual torture, for example).
Which is monogamy?  I don’t know.  But I do know it’s hard.

Postscript:  Everyone seems to be writing about “open marriages” and polyamory, now that Newt’s dirty laundry won him South Carolina.  The article I like best, because it comes closest to describing my feelings about my life, is “Our Successful Open Marriage,” by Sierra Black, author of the blog “Childwild,” in Salon.  I’m not quite like her:  I wouldn’t dream of holding my “girlfriend”‘s hand in front of any of either of our kids.  This, to me, is in the category of the “private” about which she writes.  But her general approach/philosophy meshes well with mine.  (Added 1/23)

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