That’s certainly a misleading entry title, because it isn’t me. Or at least I don’t think it is. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to find out.
What I do know is that I draw a distinction between “monogamy” and “fidelity”. I separate them on physicality grounds. That is, “monogamy” is about the sex side of things, about fucking only a single person. “Fidelity”, on the other hand, is faithfulness, being mentally and emotionally true to a single person. Fidelity is (should be) the true goal of relationships, in my opinion. We want someone to love, someone to rely on. What are the roots of monogamy, after all, but a means of forcing fidelity? (“If he fucks only me, then he is more likely to love and rely on me.”)
(Okay, there are other roots to monogamy, too, such as insuring an heir: “Since she fucks only me, I know the kid is mine” and “Since he fucks only me, I know my kid is his heir.”)
I believe that it is possible — and desirable — to achieve fidelity separate from monogamy. You (both of you) can then have both the mental/emotional benefits provided by the former and also the physical benefits provided by the latter. Or as dialogue, “I love you, honey, but you know, I’d really love to fuck him.”
Not that this is manageable for and by everyone. First and foremost, the goal has to be a goal for both members of the couple (or however many are involved; more than two is usually a mark that you’ve already gone past the start of the question). And you have to have discussed it — not “discussed” it as when one says he wants it and the other says he’s okay with that but secretly isn’t — really discussed it. And then you have to find a way to make it work for the two (or more) of you: some ways it works might include only fucking others when out of town, or fucking others at their place but never sleeping over and never bringing them home, or a limit on how many times you can fuck someone else, or even only fucking others as a couple. And for some relationships, strict monogamy is simply the way is has to go, if that’s what both partners want.
The point is, our culture has heavily ingrained us with the idea that fidelity and monogamy are the same thing, and although they are not, we all have our personal levels of comfort with how different they are. For a separation of the two to work, everyone involved has to be on the same page and willing to compromise to a certain degree.
The compromise between fidelity and monogamy should not be an all or nothing game. When that happens, someone is going to lose, and a relationship should not be a competition.
(Note that I intentionally chose to use the word “fuck” throughout this, to avoid euphemisms like “play around” or “sleep with,” or even just the passivity of “has sex with.” Euphemisms breed [ahem] a lack of clarity and boldness. Of course, no term is unable to be misinterpreted; my use of “fuck” should not be read as laying everything at the feet of the “fucker” and excusing the “fuckee” from any responsibility. It takes two to fuck.)
[Weblog title reference: From the Irving Berlin song “Mr. Monotony”, originally heard in Easter Parade.]
Updated on March 20, 2003
Updated on October 21, 2003