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Article on Monogamy in New York Times

(14 Posts)
Bennifer Sun 03-Jul-11 22:07:03

I saw this article and immediately thought of SpringChickenGoldBrass, and some of the many discussions that have gone on in here about monogamy and non-monogamy.

flipthefrog Sun 03-Jul-11 22:08:09

can you summarise it?

HavingAMaybe Mon 04-Jul-11 09:50:28

Bennifer thanks for the link. A very good read and I agree with Savage's ideas. Interesting point about the way in which marriage was always 'monogamy-optiona'l to men in the past, but now couples are bound by the more constrained version of marriage that women traditionally lived in.

Sadly, I'm not sure society as a whole is ready for the concept of lowering expectations of fidelity in order preserve a relationship.

FWIW I am married and monogamous!

Fightingforlove Mon 04-Jul-11 10:42:18

I've just read this and I'm currently dealing with an affair. It gives insight, but i too am not sure that it is the right thing to lower our expectations of marriage and family.

I read something a while ago and it stated that when a man has an affair it's all external just about the sex, no attachment to the person that they have sex with..... And that because a man has an affair it doesn't mean that they love u less Savage seems to take the same stand.

animula Mon 04-Jul-11 11:09:09

I found that interesting. It occurred to me that one way of reading it was as an urging of people to more honesty and creativity in their approach to partnerships/marriage - especially when these involve children - in order to make it workable. And that went for all partners and all behaviours - even though the emphasis is on monogamy/nonmonogamy in the article.

I thought the last page was particularly fascinating.

animula Mon 04-Jul-11 11:12:12

Those comments were with regard to the article as a whole, rather than Mr Savage. I thought the various interjections/critiques offered by others were interesting.

I was a leeetle surprised there was no analysis of power, to be utterly honest. I am quite sure that some of those "other voices" must have had a power-analysis (about who gets to set the terms within a relationship/marriage) but ... that might be just me.

snowmama Mon 04-Jul-11 12:36:43

Very intersting article.

I am all for non-monogamny but am with animula with this. Some very strange power structures in play in the article (which tbh I have only skimmed).

1. Non-monogamy being seen as a man/male thing
2. The GGG (good, generous , game - may have got that wrong) requirment of Mr Savage - yet when he came to it - he hated his wife having vaginal sex with another man and wanted to take it off the table. mmmmm....
3. A real implicit assumption that this is a male led decision...

Without a real analysis of the power basis of how these decisions are made within a relationship - lots of opportunity for disaster, really poses a completely different set of dynamics from being single and non-monogomist.

berries Mon 04-Jul-11 12:48:04

I think the emphasis on monogamy has actually made the emotional aspects of affairs more prevalent. If monogamy is the expected state when you love someone, then desiring to have sex with someone else means you must love them and leads to withdrawal from the marriage and dishonesty.
Obviously, this is not the same for everyone, but maybe having those open and honest talks helps to understand where each person in the partnership is coming from.
Fwiw, having been in a monogamous relationship for a long time, I'm not with a new Dp and we are working on an open arrangement. To me, sexual fidelity is not a deal-breaker but emotional honesty is.

berries Mon 04-Jul-11 12:49:50

*now with new dp

snowmama Mon 04-Jul-11 13:20:21

berries, if I started a new relationship, I would do the same thing, for the same reasons.

It is just the article (on a super quick read) felt very much like a male driven decision on very much the male partners terms (though I may have misread that).

NeonGolden Mon 04-Jul-11 18:12:25


The part about the guy in a MMF threesome not wanting his GF to have vaginal intercourse wasn't about Dan Savage himself (he's gay). It was about one of his readers.

Savage's stance on GGG isn't that you should do whatever your partner wants and be up for it, regardless of your own views. He does think that you should be able to TRY most things a couple of times, but if you REALLY don't like it, your partner should respect your wishes. And if you're not crazy about it, but it's just 'ok', but your partner really enjoys it, you should do it every now and then. Something which I wholeheartedly agree with.

I've been reading his column and been listening to his podcast (which is even better imo) for a couple of years now and tbh it's really changed my sex life. Before I was always afraid to divulge my fantasies etc, afraid of what people might think and WAY too eager to please. In my last few relationships there has been a ton more honesty and openness, much, much better sex, and mutual respect.

But to get back on the topic of nonmonogamy, I think he often forgets to realise that if one partner asks to be allowed to step outside the relationship, it can be very hurtful to the other person. I agree that it's probably still preferable to cheat outright (and for the record, he doesn't think that going behind someone's back and having an affair is a commendable thing), but I agree that there will probably be something of a power shift. Still, I'd rather have my partner voicing these issues to me than just outright having sex with someone else.

Another thing on which I do agree with him, which I don't think has been mentioned in the article, is that affairs sometimes do save a marriage. I remember one example in his podcast I think, where the husband had become severely disabled and sex was out of the question. The wife took care of him for the rest of his life, but had a (very discreet) affair on the side... Really, is that such a horrible thing? As he said, it stopped her from going insane, and kept the family together in a way.

These things are worth thinking about at least. After all this time I'm still not sure if I could ever handle it myself, my partner wanting to have sex with someone else (without me). But there are so many things in between, I've had a couple of threesomes within my current relationship (which just happened, really), and it actually brought us much closer together and just affirmed to me that we have a very strong relationship indeed. Maybe it would work in the same way, maybe not. For now we're very happy with just each other, but 20 years down the road? Who knows where we'll be in our relationship then, and I truly believe that if you try to keep talking honestly to each other that will solve a lot of problems before they even begin...

(Ok, such a rambly post, and sorry for mistakes, English is not my first language!)

snowmama Mon 04-Jul-11 18:56:23

Thanks NeonGold, will return to the article and read it properly, as everything you have covered I agree with, and had completely missed that the example mentioed was about someone else!

NeonGolden Tue 05-Jul-11 00:23:40

Tbh most things in 'the media' about Dan Savage are just one-sided stories. This article made a good effort to show that it's not that he's 100% pro non-monogamy, just that he thinks it might work better as a relationship model for some (!) people.

God, I'm such a Dan Savage fangirl, it's ridiculous. smile (Even though I have some reservations on some of his views, even if they sound good in theory I'm not sure how well they work in real life.) But like I said before, he really did change my life...

I really enjoyed this article by the way, especially because a couple of other viewpoints were talked about. They could have gone a little further but it's more nuanced than 99% of the articles on the same subject I've read...

SpringchickenGoldBrass Tue 05-Jul-11 01:06:59

I found it interesting as well and I have a fair bit of time for Dan Savage but I have a problem with his male privilege and his implications that men want sex but women want love, which is bullshit.
I thought the quotes from Stephanie COontz were far more interesting and I think she makes more sense.

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