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Taking monogamy down a notch.

July 21, 2011

“And [Dan Savage] does not believe that monogamy is wrong for all couples or even for most couples. Rather, he says that a more realistic sexual ethic would prize honesty, a little flexibility and, when necessary, forgiveness over absolute monogamy.

~ Mark Oppenheimer
“Marriage, With Infidelities”

Not sure if y’all have noticed, but there’s been quite a bit of discussion these days on the subject of monogamy.

Does it deserve to be the pillar on which we measure our relationships? What makes it so important? What if you don’t need it? Are we really that terrible at it, anyway? What about the disease and distrust that will surely result if you don’t have it? Ahhh the blasphemy!

Once Upon A Time, I also put monogamy on a pedestal. I believed it was how to measure my relationships. I said things like “once a cheater, always a cheater” and “Open relationships? Yeah, right! Doomed from the beginning! He just wants an excuse to fuck another woman is all!

I have since changed my tune. Just a bit. As you may have noticed.

And, as you may have guessed, I have a lot to say on the matter. However. This week kind of sucks so I will start with where I started, when I started thinking, and I mean really thinking, about monogamy. To get us started. And then I’ll probably say more of the things I want to say about it later. When I have more time. To create articular sentences. *ahem.*

Basically, I came to this:

  1. Part of the reason we are so freakin’ freaked out about the cheating is that we’re freakin’ insecure. A big ol’ good chuck of the reason, I would imagine. Why? Because we’re afraid 1) we’re not good enough for our partner, and 2) our partner will leave us for someone else. Basically, it’s about us being not attractive enough, or awesome enough, or good enough in bed. And thus, our partner is looking elsewhere. And, if the other person they find is so much more attractive or awesome or bed-rockin’, our partner will be gone. See ya.

    I would hazard a guess that our insecurities about these things are not particularly hampered by our current culture. You know the one that’s all about competition and self-promotion? Yeah that one.

  2. I know who I am and why I am awesome. I also know there are other people out there who are more attractive or more awesome or better in bed than I am (but not many… ha ha just kidding!). This is just reality. Nothing to be done about it, and nothing about it should make me feel insecure.

  3.  While I am not exactly on the Commitment Train (not even trying to find the station, really), if and when I decide to make a commitment? I will make that commitment to another person based on who that person is. And, just as importantly? I expect the same in return. 

    I do not foresee such a commitment being threatened by someone who is more attractive than I am, or more awesome, or better in bed. It should NOT be challenged by sex. Because it is about SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT – and it is about ME as a person. Is that other person me? Ok then.

    And if it can be challenged, and my partner leaves me for someone else? Well, then. We were clearly on different pages, so good riddance. No matter how much that hurts.

    No. I’m not kidding.

  4. I know this sounds difficult. I know it sounds like something that many people would find impossible. But, really?

    Who wants to settle for anything less?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2011 12:31 pm

    Nikki Nikki – damn girl I purely do love you.;-) Have an awesome day

    • July 22, 2011 10:57 am

      Hey thanks! I’m smitten, as well! 😉 Thanks for reading!

  2. July 21, 2011 12:34 pm

    It’s like you climbed into my head, rooted around a bit and expressed, so much more eloquently than I ever could what’s been rattling around in there! I’ve recently come to the realization that straight-up, classic monogamy is just not right for me.

    • July 22, 2011 10:59 am

      I’m still in the experimenting phase with it all, but it’s definitely food for thought. And opens up doors I had never thought about before….

      Regardless of my take, I think we all deserve to have choice. And to be able to be honest about what choices we’d like to take. Instead of having THIS WAY IS BEST shoved down our thoughts. I really think incredibly positive things can come from a more diverse and open dialogue…

  3. July 21, 2011 4:53 pm

    Hmmm this is a really interesting topic. I read this post and ended up having an interesting discussion with others about it. Many different point of views – but a majority (surprisingly actually) believing that monogamy is outdated and doesn’t really work in today’s society. The discussion was interesting and I believe I will do a follow up post on it, dwelving deeper into the points raised, linking to this. With your permission of course.

    In my point of view, jealously and cheating is based on insecurities and a need for reassurance of some kind. Would I be OK with an open relationship… ? Not sure to be honest. I do believe it is possible, provided all parties are fully committed in the “rules” and are OK with the life style. However I also believe it is a rare occurance.

    It is an interesting concept. Is monogamy just old outdated rules brought to us through history and “socialisation” or are we meant to mate for life? And in that case, what defines “for life”?

    • July 22, 2011 11:04 am

      SO interesting… I look forward to your post, Ivy, and of course you can link here! I am always happy to be inspiration! 😀

      I think monogamy as the yardstick by which we measure a “good” and “successful” relationship is outdated and can be detrimental in some instances. I don’t think we should do away with monogamy entirely (and neither does Mr. Savage, btw) – it is still going to be important and feel right for many people.

      I think the point is being more open and thoughtful about why we put SO much emphasis on monogamy, and about alternatives. And making open relationships an option for some people. With that, of course, comes incredible responsibility, in my view. The responsibilities to be honest and communicative to your partner, and other people you become involved with. You also have a responsibility to be self-aware, and always thinking about what you’re doing, and why, and the repercussions.

      I think we should have that responsibility regardless of our relationship definitions, and I don’t think we’ve had it enough. I think discussing things in a more inclusive way allows for it, and makes those things a necessity. You know?

    • July 22, 2011 11:07 am

      BTW there is evidence that humans were *not* supposed to mate for life. That were we more community-based than pair-based. That the reason we started going down the monogamous-pair road was because of agriculture and animal domestication. Prior to animal domestication, we didn’t understand sex –> kids. And then, with agriculture, we started taking possession of things… including the women folk, because now we knew where kids came from, and we have possessions… we need to possess the ladiez so we can *know* the kids are ours, so we can pass on our possessions to our actual kids.

      Make sense? Interesting, eh?

  4. Esme permalink
    July 22, 2011 1:40 am

    As always, I am listening with rapt attention. I never thought-in a million years-that I would be considering the other side of the monogamy coin.

    • July 22, 2011 11:05 am

      Honey, there was one time I never in a million years thought it either. Things change, new information comes available, etc. Life happens. We just need to open to it, and honest with each other and ourselves…

  5. July 22, 2011 7:46 pm

    Nikki, I am with you completely.

    I do not want to keep my partner forcefully, I wouldn’t want it even if I could. And I don’t want him to think about me as his (always makes me think property).

    I see it as ok to just let go in some situations and go with the passion, wherever it takes us. I actually think it can strengthen, rather than weaken the relationship. Of course, if both partners are respectful to each other, and follow certain rules that have to be agreed beforehand.

    • July 25, 2011 9:25 am

      Absolutely. It’s about respect and communication – and having some boundaries that are agreed upon. I also agree opening a relationship has potential to strengthen it – if you have needs that aren’t met but could be by someone else. This leaves you happier, and perhaps a better partner, and takes the pressure off the one you are with to fill a need they don’t want to or can’t. If you allow such things to be OK in your relationship, instead of making them the end, things can be alright – and even better.

  6. Movedup permalink
    August 1, 2011 12:31 pm

    Hi Nikki – I honestly think that a person needs to consider themselves first in any type of relationship whether it be open, poly, monogamous or whatever form it takes. If you can’t be true to yourself then who can you be true to. I would agree that cheating is all about insecurity and jealousy as well. They are both reflections of the person that is projecting it – not whom it is projected on. Being a “enlightened” individual – I do not judge those that choose a different lifestyle than my own. Relationships to me are……fill in the blank and no one should decide for you what that means to you. Me myself I am an absolutely monogamous – no question. My monogamy is based on my core primary values and beliefs. I don’t worry about whether I am good enough, great in bed (thou I am) and/or attractive enough. I think so – so others opinions don’t matter to me – how I think and how I feel are more important to me. I will not go against myself and I do speak my mind – same page – great – not same page – later. I would not tolerate another in the relationship on any level certainly not sexually. Its about commitment to me and how I define it and what works for me. I am not the least bit curious on how the other side lives – I like where I am at and it works for me! Happy Anniversary my love to whom I have vowed to be true to myself and him.

  7. Movedup permalink
    August 1, 2011 12:39 pm

    The other thing Nikki its damn hard to find the relationship that I have – the freedom I have in it and the same page we have. Not to mention someone who truly understands and celebrates my burlesque side – great videos! Love home movies – hee hee


  1. Do you believe in monogamy? « Ivy Blaise's Blog
  2. Open Relationships, Swingers and All That Jizz « Single Girl Blogging
  3. Being the Other Woman. « Women Are From Mars

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