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    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    More Pathological Monogamy

    I find it thoroughly fascinating when the monogamy requirement extends to relationships that aren't even sexual! Check this out, from the the latest Dear Prudence:

    Dear Prudence,
    I have been seeing the most delightful man for eight months. We are together every day, and have dinner either at his house or mine every night. A month ago, he went with me to my home state for my daughter's graduation. He's the sort of person everyone likes and wants to be around. When we first started seeing each other, he made it very clear that he was not interested in a sexual relationship. He is 55 and I am 62. He is gorgeous and I am a little less than that! I want the relationship to move forward, but I do not know how to do this without becoming extremely vulnerable. It would crush me if I made the advance and he turned it down. He says he is impotent, and I believe that he truly believes he will never have sex again. Should I just force myself to forget it? I know he could do things that would help with erectile dysfunction, and we've talked about it. I never initiate those talks—he does, but he always drifts off to another subject very quickly, as if he can't discuss it. I would go the rest of my life this way before I would humiliate him.

    —Wanting a Touch

    It seems clear to me that this man doesn't want sex. As is his prerogative. Or, it would be his prerogative not to have sex or even try to have sex with his partner if we lived in a world where this woman could simply have sex outside coupledom. Instead, Wanting a Touch feels she has two options: 1. miserable celibacy or 2. humiliating the person she loves.

    Sigh. This relationship may very well end over what probably has very little to do with what either of them see in each other or get from their intimacy.

    And let me continue this with regard to, yes, the whole blowjob controversy. Somewhere, I don't remember where as there were 51,000 blogs discussing this crap, but somewhere someone mentioned that Dan Savage, who can be a bit of an ass from time to time, but with whom I most often agree, said blowjobs are basically a sexual requirement in a relationship with a man now. Well, as we've recently heard loud and clear, some people don't like giving blowjobs, while others thoroughly enjoy the act. Wouldn't it be lovely if no one felt pressured to do anything they didn't want to do sexually? In a world without the expectation of monogamy, you could simply leave your partner's blowjob desires to someone else to satisfy. You could also get those things you desire that make your partner uncomfortable. If you went on meds and weren't feeling up to regular sex, you wouldn't have to worry about the end of your relationship over your partner's libido. And you wouldn't have to feel guilty and resentful when your partner didn't want to have sex with you. I don't pretend this one thing would solve all these problems totally - sometimes you don't just want sex, you want sex with a particular person - but I think it would do more good than harm to overall relationship health in many, but not all, cases. (I'm not dissing those who choose to be monogamous because it works for them.)

    For an awesome reconsideration of polyamory, read tekjani's post ... rapidly becoming one my new favorite blogs, by the way.


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