Polyockers

Once again I find my Sunday full of joy and happiness at being able to juxtapose two posts each addressing this blog’s favourite subjects. We’ve had the one on carrier bags and now, via William of Ockham who lacks the expertise to address the topic, we have one on polyamory in my old stomping ground of Melbourne:

Married couple Peter*, 46, and Liz*, 50, are sitting in their Melbourne home cuddling up with their long-term partners and laughing over a board game with their children and partners’ children on a Sunday morning.

Ah yes, polyamory and children. They go together about as well as alcohol and firearms.

“He came to me and said, ‘Darling, I still love you and still want to have sex with you, but I have this overwhelming urge to have sex with other people and I’d like you to do it, too,” Liz says.

As I’m fond of pointing out, men – and probably women too – always have a desire to sleep with someone else. What stops them acting on it is the damage it will do to their relationship which, for most people, is worth preserving if only for the sake of any children.

“I was devastated. I felt really hurt. I had been taking care of him and it had changed our relationship dynamic. I was very angry. He was suggesting something crazy and mad and it would end badly.”

Well yes, and this is entirely predictable. You therefore have to question the degree of concern this man had for his wife.

Peter spent months seeing a psychiatrist…

Do you think we’re ever going to find an article featuring a polyamorist who doesn’t have mental problems?

…and Liz did a lot of internal questioning.

Such as “Why the fuck am I with this asshole?”

Several months later, Peter decided to take action and booked them into a course with Curious Creatures, which runs workshops in sex, communication and opening up relationships.

This woman must have self-esteem lower than Anna Soubry’s chances of re-election.

Liz says she was surprised to find the majority of people in polyamorous relationships were couples in their 40s. Once they’d completed the workshop, they went to the Curiosity party.

“It was like, whoa,” recalls Liz. “There was lots of S&M and people having sex all around us.”

And once again, the narrative that polyamory is about more than sex falls apart completely. If polyamory was really just about quietly sharing love, it wouldn’t involve S&M orgies, would it?

Peter says he learnt things about Liz he hadn’t known in the 16 years they’d been together because “I hadn’t asked the questions”.

Liz was hooked and the couple became regular attendees at the monthly parties. By the third, they were playing with other people.

So he’s managed to get his wife into sleeping with random strangers at orgies. This is presented as progress.

It was at a polyamorous meet-up 3½ years ago that Liz met her boyfriend. At about the same time, Peter met the woman he also shares his life with and her child.

Because having an uncommitted sexual partner drifting in and out of a mother’s life does wonders for a child’s development.

Both Liz and Peter say they feel no jealousy towards each other, but rather a genuine pleasure that each has found someone else they deeply love.

It’s often said that couples turn to polyamory because they lack the courage to get divorced. It seems that way, doesn’t it?

They have also been open with their three children, aged 15, 13 and 10. “We came out to our kids early because we didn’t want to feel like we were sleeping around,” says Liz. “The eldest said, ‘Thank god! I thought you guys were cheating.’ ”

Well yes, kids in these articles are always fully supportive of their parents’ polyamory just as cats always seem happy with their vegan diets. But can we hear from them in ten year’s time, do you think?

Liz likens polyamory to parents loving more than one child. “I love and adore Peter,” she says. “Loving someone else doesn’t mean I don’t love him. You don’t have a finite amount of love to share.”

Only an idiot thinks you can only love one person. But there is an abundance of evidence to show that having sex with only one person in a committed relationship brings advantages, particularly in the context of providing a stable environment in which to raise children. Once again, it’s really all about sex with these people.

Having multiple relationships as well as three children makes life very busy and requires them to maintain schedules and diaries.

Which miraculously never seems to impose an additional mental burden on polyamorists, despite their being rather fragile to begin with.

They have all even taken a holiday together.

Which was only slightly less detrimental to the kids than the McCanns’ trip to Portugal.

Peter feels his relationship with Liz has significantly improved since opening up their lives to other people.

“In long relationships there is often a lot of taking each other for granted or assuming,” he says. “That simply doesn’t happen any more with us.

I expect this is because you don’t give a damn any more.

“It has helped us become less co-dependent, to be our own sovereign people, loving ourselves and being comfortable with our own company

Get a divorce already!

The couple, both 32, have been married for nine years. They are deeply in love with each other as well as other people. “I’m definitely in love with my partner,” says Claire. “We’ve been together since August last year, but were best friends for two years before that.”

If you started sleeping with your best friend while you were still married, he wasn’t your best friend. Can you imagine how the husband felt when his wife announced she was now shagging the thirsty weirdo who’d been sniffing around her the past two years? No wonder men don’t like their partners having male friends.

She says she experiences everything anyone would want in a relationship from her other partner: “Joy and fulfilment and someone to share your life with. It’s definitely a long-term.”

When asked why she stays with her husband, Claire explains: “Because I’m in love with my husband as well. I can’t imagine life without him and the home we have built together.

Translation: my rich husband has bought us a nice flat in a swanky part of Melbourne, whereas my jobless boyfriend lives in a squat out near the airport.

John says he initially instigated the idea of an open marriage several years earlier, however, at the time their marriage was in trouble and they were both looking to escape through seeing other people.

Did they not consider daytime drinking?

After two years of therapy…

Normal people folks, normal people.

…and focusing on each other their marriage was back on track and Claire brought up the idea of exploring different styles again.

Now our marriage is back on track, how about I sleep with my “friend”?

“I wanted the freedom to explore without the feeling of guilt or telling John he wasn’t good enough. I wanted to stretch my wings and see what that felt like.”

What I like most about polyamorists is their inimitable unselfishness.

John says he saw it as a growth opportunity. “I had been quite controlling in our relationship and demanding of her time and attention.”

Yeah, this guy’s definitely been to marriage therapy. I bet the poor sap paid for the sessions, too.

Now Claire sees her partner twice a week, often spending the weekend at his house. John’s partner is also married and seeing another man.

I bet John is deeply unhappy.

“We care for each other very much,” John explains. “It’s no different from any other boyfriend and girlfriend relationship. I feel very happy and excited for Claire that she has found someone that she loves and is able to express that love. Love is not a finite resource, but we treat it as though it is.”

I’ve got to hand it to whoever is handing out the hymn sheets, they’re consistent.

Adds Claire, “There is a lot of stigma about having sex with more than one person.”

Now why might that be?

Roger Butler is principal facilitator at Curious Creatures. Its workshop, Opening Up to Opening Up, sold out within a couple of days.

He warns opening up a bad relationship is not the answer to solving it and generally makes it worse.

I’m thinking I should open up a workshop on polyamory in which I get paid to state the obvious. I could call it Fucking Out, Fucking Up. It would be a fine use of my MBA.

Sarah*, 34, and Patrick*, 30, from Sydney, have been together for seven years and married for three. About seven months ago they decided to dabble in non-monogamy.

Hmmm. This is the second couple in this article in which the woman is older than the man. I think I need a research grant to explore this phenomenon. It sounds easier than engineering.

Sarah is particularly excited because Patrick’s girlfriend, Veronica*, has just joined them in bed for a cuddle before the three got up to enjoy Sunday brunch.

I think Patrick’s time in this relationship is limited.

Patrick now has a relationship with Veronica that is extremely close without them being in love.

See?

Sarah is dating men and trying to find a boyfriend.

Well, no: she has Veronica.

They are not polyamorous but have recently been spending a lot of time as a threesome with Veronica.

For now.

She says Patrick loves the fun and excitement but feels he is not capable of giving emotional support to more than one woman, which would be required in a polyamorous relationship.

You’re at a rugby match and you’ve just turned up in cricket gear, pal.

She hopes that when she finds a boyfriend he will join her and Patrick as a threesome too. “He finds me dating other men a real turn-on.”

Odd that he never thought to mention it, then. Well, that’s the end of the article. Remember folks: polyamorists are all perfectly normal.

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Playdates

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, a widow in her early forties. She said she’d tried online dating but found it a complete sewer, and the men either looked as though they ought to be on Crimewatch, or they looked half-normal but sent her photos of their dicks. She said the biggest problem was she had no idea who the people were she was chatting to, and when she met one or two of them they turned out to be completely different.

I could sympathise. I’ve met at least two women online who for the first month or so offered up Version 1: pleasant, mature, intelligent, and serious about a relationship. Suddenly Version 1 was replaced with Version 2: unpleasant, immature, dumb, and showing no sign they were even capable of having a proper relationship. I was left wondering what the hell happened to Version 1.

When I was in Florida having my recent bout of troubles, my sister made a good point. She said when she was single she wanted to see potential partners in the context of their everyday lives, i.e. with friends, family, and colleagues. For instance, if a man says he’s divorced, does he say the same thing in front of his friends? Then you’ll see who they really are. The problem with online dating is it allows people to play-act, detached from the realities of their everyday life (which is a problem with the internet and social media in general). This doesn’t mean everyone on there is play-acting, but if they are it’s hard to figure out.

It also means the medium attracts those who play-act in real life, and there are reasons people do this. For example, if a foreign woman in her twenties marries a westerner in his forties for the chance of a nice life abroad, and then later becomes self-sufficient, I can imagine the knowledge that she sold her body for a passport weighs heavily upon her. In ten or fifteen years she might have learned English, earned a degree, and got a half-decent job but she won’t ever be able to forget how all this was made possible – especially when she meets other women who didn’t take that shortcut. I can imagine it’s a bit like an athlete who’s used steroids or someone who cheated on an exam: they’ll be living with that decision their whole lives. So they make up a story: I did it for love, despite knowing him for a week and only being able to communicate using an electronic translator. He was very handsome and didn’t look his age, only please don’t make that face when I show you the photos. He was very charming, at least up until the wedding day. I never wanted to leave my country, but somehow my profile ended up on a dating site aimed at foreigners. I’ve heard them all.

If you tell the lie often enough you’ll start to believe it, and eventually you’ll forget it was ever a lie. The problem is, you’ll then use this technique to deal with all the inconvenient facts of your life and before you know it your default setting is to play-act. And if that’s who you are, then online dating sites hold an obvious attraction. You can enjoy being the person you pretend to be until you get found out, then you block the person and move on to the next. My guess is the online dating sites are absolutely chock-full of people like this, both men and women, who don’t know truth from fiction, who the hell they really are, or what they want. I suspect a lot of these also don’t have a whole lot of friends in real life, and if they do they keep their online partners well away from them.

Ultimately, only time will tell you who someone really is. That might take months or years, but the chancers on the internet seem to get found out in a matter of weeks, generating an enormous churn (which is good for the site owners). Given online dating is the way most people meet each other these days, it makes the whole process of finding someone absolutely exhausting. I expect people are already starting to regret the MeToo movement banned people chatting each other up at work. They might even regret that they stopped going to church.

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Penny Farthing*

Staying on the topic of deranged women in the modern dating scene:

I’m forever grateful that every boyfriend I had at Oxford dumped me. If any of them had asked me to marry them, I probably would have said yes and it would have ruined my life. In an alternate universe somewhere, there are divorce papers with my name on them.

And the fox didn’t want the grapes anyway: they were too sour.

Instead, my first foray into online dating in 2002 changed my relationships, career and world-view. I was 42.

I was completely honest about everything, including my age. To my surprise, I received an avalanche of responses from younger men. I realised I was every young guy’s fantasy – an attractive, high-flying woman, who wasn’t interested in children, marriage, or even a relationship.

Every woman I’ve talked to about online dating has told me they are surprised by the number of young men who wouldn’t mind getting ’round an older woman. This is so common that a lot of women state in their profiles that they’re not interested in younger men. Very few are flattered by this, as they realise all these lads are after is a quick and possibly interesting shag. Little did they know that if they thought such attention was a good thing they could have landed a Telegraph piece.

So began a sexual odyssey with young men aged 19 to 30-odd that would change the course of my life.

I can’t think of anything sadder than having the course of your life determined by meaningless sex with a string of people miles outside your peer group. Even ageing rock stars can claim their womanising is a fringe benefit rather than central to who they are.

I quickly discovered how differently millennial and, to a lesser extent, Gen X men view sex and relationships to us baby boomers.

I discovered this by reading articles and talking to people, but who am I to dispute your research methods?

I want us all to celebrate the messy, awkward, funny, wonderful sex we have in real life, to promote consent, good sexual values and behaviour.

This is like Peter Sutcliffe launching a Safer Streets campaign.

I am my own research lab – I date a lot of younger men simultaneously, though I have an extremely selective three-step process, which men I meet on dating sites need to pass before a date. First, sending me some more pictures beyond those on their profile; secondly, emailing until I can tell we have chemistry; then, speaking on the phone to check the same. They need to be a very nice person.

This is extremely selective in the sense that old oilfield hands only shag locals when on holiday in Thailand.

When we get to the point of intimacy, I am open with them about what I want.

To be fair, they’ve probably figured that out already having found your name and number circulating on a WhatsApp group somewhere.

I’ll happily debunk the myths they’ve learnt from porn about what “good” sex looks like.

Or a good set of teeth.

I know it might change the atmosphere between us, but I think: “I have to do this for every other woman he’s going to sleep with.”

She’s talking as though women in their twenties are completely inexperienced and therefore young men need her expert guidance in order to satisfy them properly. Which leads me to think she doesn’t understand the modern generation as well as she claims.

Even though I date casually, my relationships can often last, off and on, two, five or even 15 years.

That’s a booty call, not a relationship.

Interestingly, though they may go on to date women their own age, when those relationships end, many of them later come back.

For an hour, anyway. The irony is that Millennials stand accused of only being interested in meaningless sex while shunning stable relationships. This woman thinks she’s helping by having meaningless sex with Millennials in the absence of a stable relationship.

(Via a Twitter follower)

*An ancient bike.

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59 Flake

Years ago when I was a young, single man beginning my career in the oil industry, I was introduced to a rather attractive woman a few years younger than me who was sort of on holiday. In the circumstances of our meeting we were the only two people in our twenties while everyone else was over fifty, so naturally we got on quite well. That evening the two of us went to a nightclub, and for some reason I brought a Canadian soldier along too. We got horrendously drunk which culminated with the girl lying unconscious on my bathroom floor while I explained to the disappointed soldier that she’s getting the spare bed and he has a choice of the sofa or the other half of my pit.

The next morning she woke up with a major hangover and went home. That afternoon she called me and said she wanted to go out again, and in the evening we did. We got on very well and, as I may have already mentioned, she was rather good looking. To cut a long story short we ended up back at mine, sans Canadian soldier. From that point on this girl gave every impression she’d fallen for me and wanted a relationship. She said I was awesome, and she’d never met someone like me before, and when she left to visit London the next day she said she needed to come back ASAP and I ought to get myself over to the US pronto. Over the next couple of weeks we exchanged emails, messages, and talked on the phone. Every indication was that she had found someone she wanted a relationship with. This put her on much the same page as me. By chance I found myself on a business trip in London while she was still there and we met up. It was brilliant. She was delighted to see me, we ran all over town, and had as much fun as two twentysomethings can have when they’re falling in love. The next day she was going back to the US, and she said she’d be back out to where I was living soon. I kissed her goodbye in her hotel lobby, sure I’d see her again.

For the first week she was back in the US, we spoke every day. And then suddenly she didn’t pick up her phone, and she started taking longer to answer messages. I knew something was wrong and then, just like that, she lost interest. We exchanged a few emails and broke up, leaving me more than a little disappointed. I wrote it off to the pitfalls of a holiday romance – which it was for her – but it wasn’t the practicalities of a long-distance relationship which had put her off.

I was connected with her on Facebook and I watched over the next couple of years as she’d move to a new town, get together with a young man who’d gush all over her, then suddenly quit and move elsewhere. There was a musician in London who went from posting artsy photos of them kissing against a wall to increasingly desperate messages about where she’s gone and what the hell just happened. She turned up for a while dressed like a Mormon in the family pictures of a new boyfriend, before they were all taken down.

I caught up with her six years after our first meeting via the same people who’d introduced us. I was heavily involved with someone else by then, so there was no question of retracing my steps. We got along fine and didn’t bring up the past, but she did talk a lot about her amazing boyfriend who, from what I remember, was a DJ with a severe drug addiction and mental problems. A few years later she passed through town again, and we arranged to meet up. By then she was with another boyfriend, and I waited for her to confirm the meeting time until it got so late I went to bed. She later apologised to say she got “caught up in a vibe” (by now she was over thirty) but I suspect her boyfriend objected to her meeting me.

Because we have mutual friends I still know what she’s up to. She seems to be doing well but she’s still single, and she’d be in her late thirties by now. What this experience taught me is that there are women out there who say they want a relationship but don’t. For whatever reason, this girl – despite being pretty, smart, fun, and from a good family – didn’t want to commit to a relationship. Which is fair enough, but she said she did. I was there when she assured me she was ready for a relationship, and using flattery and much talk of a future together she convinced my skeptical side that she was serious. And then I watched her do the same to a succession of other men. She’d put in considerable work to enter a relationship with a man, and at the moment he’s fully committed dump him citing trivial reasons and move on. It seemed like an exhausting way to live, constantly seeking attention and the thrill of a new relationship but never taking it further.

What I never forgot was how I just knew, immediately, that the relationship was going cold. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but the subtle changes in the tone of her voice, the length and vocabulary of her text messages, and the delays in responding sounded a warning. No matter what else I told myself, I knew something was wrong and the relationship would end.

I mention this now because I found myself in a similar situation recently. I happened to meet someone who was adamant she wanted a serious relationship and pulled out all the stops over the course of a month to convince me I was the one it should be with. No sooner had I agreed when I noticed an odd delay in our correspondence from her side and a reply which should have been a touch longer. I knew what was coming. Twenty-four hours later she’d called it off for unspecified reasons and refused to talk to me any more. When pushed, she resorted to insults and blocking. Now there were red flags fluttering high in the breeze from the very first moment in this particular case, and I wasn’t daft enough to go in with my eyes closed: I just decided it might be worth a shot and I didn’t have much to lose. But the most telling of these was that over the course of about two years she had been on dates (of one kind or another) with 58 different men. I was the 59th. She was pretty, clever, and not an obvious nut (at least initially), but that statistic alone speaks volumes. This is not a case of her needing to meet the right man, but addressing the issues keeping her single.

Clearly there are women out there (and probably men too) who say they want a relationship and go to considerable lengths to find a partner, but for whatever reason can’t make the commitment and bail at the first opportunity. So here’s my question. Do they realise they spend half their time lying to people, or have they convinced themselves they’re genuinely interested in meeting someone? I get the impression it’s the latter. It’s an odd world, isn’t it?

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Polykilla

When I was in the US a couple of mass shootings took place, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio. I really couldn’t be bothered reading the commentary on either of them because there have been enough of these lately to know exactly what everyone’s going say anyway. But a Twitter follower alerted me to this factoid regarding Connor Betts, the perpetrator of the Dayton murders:

Connor and I kept our relationship on the down-low due to the polyamorous nature of it. I was engaged to another man while dating Connor, and all parties involved knew about the situation.

I don’t think there’s much data to suggest that polyamorists go around massacring innocents with firearms; murdering beauty standards is more their shtick. But we should hardly be surprised that a mentally unstable individual such as Betts should be attracted to polyamory. The question that remains is whether the additional strain of the relationship tipped him over the edge.

Incidentally, this passage sheds some light on the standards polyamorists adhere to when dating:

A couple of drinks later, Connor asked me if I saw the video of the synagogue shooting. As someone who makes a point to never watch those videos, I hadn’t. So, he pulled out his phone and I was too drunk to care that I was watching it. Thankfully the bar was too loud for me to hear what was going on. Connor gave me the play-by-play of what was happening. Even then, I did realize that that was a weird thing for a first date, but not too weird given the context of our class.

If a normal person was on a date with a bloke who pulled out a video of the synagogue massacre she’d be out of there in a flash, returning home to delete her Tinder account and spend the next month contemplating her life choices. But if you’re a polyamorist you’ll not think it anything too much out of the ordinary. Remember folks, they’re normal people.

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Mother To Please Her

One of the paradoxes of modern feminism is that it’s granted certain women freedom but at the expense of their ability to function as adults. Take a look at this article in – where else? – The Guardian:

It feels very personal, the fight you have with your partner about who does the laundry or cleans the bathroom.

But the second-wave feminists were right. The personal is political. The unequal division of labour at home is a systemic issue that needs structural social change to solve it.

Yes, we must restructure society because some entitled princess doesn’t want to clean the bathroom.

Housework, writes Megan K Stack in her book Women’s Work, is “a ubiquitous physical demand that has hamstrung and silenced women for most of human history”.

Until the invention of the washing machine, dishwasher, fridge, and vacuum cleaner. Which, coincidentally, is about the time feminists found the time and energy to complain how terrible their lives were.

Like many heterosexual couples, it was the arrival of children that set my husband and me on divergent paths at home. I’ve been an avowed (and untidy) feminist since I was old enough to say the word.

Western feminists like to boast they’re untidy, hoping it signals a carefree mind occupied by loftier matters than keeping the place clean. What it actually signals is she’s a lazy slob.

We were together for 10 years before the birth of our daughter – he knew his co-parent had zero aspirations to be a homemaker. So how did we end up so easily slipping into the prescribed gender roles that we’d dodged up until then?

Well, what happened when the sink got blocked?

There are a few reasons that come to mind, such as structural issues like the lack of parental leave for fathers and the gender pay gap.

I have another theory, related to the note at the bottom of the article which says “Nicola Heath is a freelance writer”. At a guess, you decided to indulge in a poorly-paid hobby rather than get a proper job, leaving your husband as the main breadwinner. Given he’s at work all day while you knock out boilerplate rubbish for The Guardian, it’s probably only fair that you clean the toilet occasionally.

Becoming a parent is already a huge transition. Your identity is reforged in the crucible of sleep deprivation and newfound responsibility. The pre-kid lifestyle of Friday night drinks, free time and sleeping in becomes a distant memory.

Having a baby changes your life. Who knew?

In this period of chaotic readjustment, it’s easy to fall back on what we know. Even in this era of dual-income households, women take the reins at home and men … carry on pretty much as they always did, with less sleep.

The complaint seems to be that when feminists have babies they adopt behaviours which work rather than stage a political protest.

But the tired and outdated breadwinner model is just as limiting for men as it is for women. The pressure men feel to provide for their families means they work long hours and miss out on time with their children in the name of economic security.

Indeed, driven by crippling mortgages to pay for houses they might not have chosen had they been married to a Filipina called Cherry.

A report by Deloitte put the value of unpaid work in Victoria at $205bn, half the gross state product,

How much of that was performed by men?

while PwC research from 2017 found that women performed 72% of unpaid work in Australia.

I hope that study was better than the one I cited here.

Some women don’t want to work outside the home – and that’s fine. But others do, and for them pursuing a career can be an uphill battle as they try to manage paid and unpaid work.

Because men don’t mow lawns, clear gutters, paint sheds, unblock drains, change car batteries, assemble wardrobes, replace loose slates, bleed radiators, and take care of the home insurance while pursuing a career.

If women want their partners to do more domestic tasks – which would free them up to do more work outside the home – it’s not going to happen without some uncomfortable conversations.

Such as: “Tell me more about this work outside the home, and how much money will it bring in?”

Change is difficult. We’re asking someone to give up their privilege, a sticking point articulated by pioneering New Zealand economist Marilyn Waring in her 1988 book Counting for Nothing: What Men Value and What Women Are Worth. “Men won’t easily give up a system in which half the world’s population works for next to nothing,” she wrote.

Ah yes, those 20th century miners, farmers, fishermen, labourers, warehousemen, soldiers, sailors, construction workers, all fighting tooth and nail to maintain their privilege.

For many women, this is a hard conversation to initiate. It requires saying, “my needs are important too, and what’s best for the family isn’t necessarily best for me” – something that goes against how we expect women to behave.

It goes against how we expect anyone to behave in a functioning relationship with children involved, to be honest. There’s a reason why it’s a hard conversation to initiate: you run the risk of being exposed as possibly the most selfish individual to ever progenate.

My eldest daughter is now six, and while my husband does a great deal around the house, I have never returned to working full-time. His career has forged ahead (to our collective benefit) while mine has adapted to the demands of childcare.

I can taste the oppression.

If we want women to flourish, we need to make some concessions.

Might I suggest you take this up with your husband rather than the general public?

But the result – men and women better fulfilling their potential inside and outside the home – is worth it.

If your potential outside the home was anything other than minimal, that’s where you’d already be.

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Special Victims Unit

This doesn’t come as a surprise:

The American Psychological Association has established a task force on “consensual non-monogamy,”

They’re going to classify polyamorists as mentally ill? From what I’ve seen that sounds perfectly reasonable. Ah, wait:

“Finding love and/or sexual intimacy is a central part of most people’s life experience. However, the ability to engage in desired intimacy without social and medical stigmatization is not a liberty for all. This task force seeks to address the needs of people who practice consensual non-monogamy, including their intersecting marginalized identities,” the website for the task force of the APA’s Division 44 explains.

It was only a matter of time before polyamorists carved out a special victim box for themselves, gaining privileges in an age of rampant identity politics. Nobody can say they haven’t been agitating for it for a long time, duly assisted by the dimmer end of the press corps.

Andre Van Mol, a board-certified family physician in Redding, California who co-chairs the committee on adolescent sexuality for the American College of Pediatricians, said in an email to The Christian Post that this is yet another example of marginal sexual practices being promoted as normal with academic gloss, making destructive things sound helpful and good.

He’s right, of course. I wonder if he’s a reader here?

“Their sexuality divisions have long since been taken over by extremists. Unless parents push back, it won’t be long before this will be taught to our children in school with the usual emotional blackmail that to do otherwise is to stigmatize.”

He added: “Since American mental health experts have largely given up on their job of investigating underlying factors that may be contributing to marginal sexual behavior, this is what we are left with, the cult of affirmation.”

This argument should be at the front and centre of our socio-political discourse, but instead it’s relegated to a couple of paragraphs in an article about polyamory. This goes a long way to explain how we find ourselves here.

(Via two different people who I’ve forgotten. Sorry.)

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Meet Markets

A reader sends me this interesting essay about dating apps and the modern sexual market place:

Dovetailing these concerns is an academic cottage industry on the “increased female unhappiness” of Western women. The theory here is that modern women are less satisfied than their grandmothers because they now delay childbearing to an advanced age while simultaneously holding down demanding jobs in the competitive globalized workplace. Arguably, however, the amount of “happiness” for women has not decreased, but merely been frontloaded to their early 20s when they are having copious sex before settling down for marriage with lesser men. The actual “redistribution of happiness” has been to the alpha males who secure more sexual pleasure in their 20s at the expense of betas who remain lonely until they later make terms with leftover women.

Go read the whole thing.

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Paul Maul

Staying on much the same topic (no doubt to the disappointment of my more sophisticated readers), a Kiwi reader sends me this article:

A Kiwi woman who married her Bumble match on the first date has split from the man two months later so she could return to a polyamorous lifestyle.

Sarah Elliott, 34, a nanny in the UK, matched with lighting technician Paul Edwards, 37, on the dating app on December 15 last year.

Aw, how sweet!

After the wedding, Elliott, of East Sussex, revealed her love of BDSM and fetish parties, the Daily Mail reports.

Ah. Not so sweet.

The dominatrix told the newspaper how she moved her then-husband Paul Edwards into her flat after they got married – which she shared with two ex-boyfriends also called Paul.

As the weeks went by she tried to introduce Edwards to the fetish community but claims he found it too difficult and was often jealous.

I expect he was told he was being “judgmental” and it was his fault for not being open-minded enough. To be fair it is his fault, but for being an idiot and marrying someone he didn’t know, not anything else.

At first the three Pauls got along, she claims, but rows quickly started and the situation got out of hand.

In an effort to work on their strained relationship the couple went to a sex party at the Torture Garden Club.

This is like an alcoholic trying to overcome dependency by going to the Munich beer festival.

But she says, Edwards was unable to contain his jealousy and things deteriorated further.

Despite another reconciliation bid at a sex party at Le Boudoir in central London, Edwards eventually moved out.

I don’t suppose they tried just talking it out in their living room, did they?

Another of the Pauls also moved out, leaving Elliott struggling financially.

I’m amazed other aspects of this woman’s life are a complete sh*tshow.

Elliott set up a dating profile with OkCupid in May and is already seeing a 29-year-old and a 27-year-old at the same time, she told The Sun.

As I’ve said before: go long on 1) those who hold the patents on anti-depressant medicine and 2) cat manufacturers.

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Milfs & Poon

A Twitter user alerts me to this article:

Unlike most everything else she did in her life, Amanda, a 41-year-old executive at a Boston-area creative agency, began her affair without much thought. It was just drinks with an old friend. When drinks turned to dinner, and dinner turned to sleepovers four months in, she didn’t stop it. It wasn’t weakness at play, she thought, but something else.

“As awful as it was to my family, and I knew it was awful, I couldn’t resist the draw,” Amanda, whose name we have changed to protect her privacy, says today. She had a thriving career (and salary to match), plenty of friends and interests, a devoted husband, a beautiful home by the beach. And yet what she liked most, she says, besides the great sex, was the ability to be someone else for a while.

So a woman, probably bored in her marriage, has an affair. It being 2019, this must be interpreted as a new dawn for women.

Once assumed to be the purview of powerful men — a notion #MeToo has done little to debunk — adultery has become something of an equal opportunity endeavor.

As I’m fond of saying, modern feminism is largely about encouraging women to adopt the worst behaviours of men.

Numbers from the National Opinion Research Center’s 2016 General Social Survey, meanwhile, show that although the percentage of men who admitted to infidelity has held steady over the past two decades, the percentage of wives who reported having affairs rose almost 40 percent — a trend that’s holding steady in 2018, says Tom Smith, director of the survey.

Or maybe just more are admitting it?

There’s also economics. The increasing number of female breadwinners means more women are not financially reliant on men.

Yeah, we’ll get back to that in a minute.

The fact is that good old-fashioned lust appeals to plenty of women, too.

Many experts now believe that women struggle as least as much as men and probably even more with monogamy,” Martin says, “and that they actually require variety and novelty of sexual experience more than men do.”

And as women have more agency regarding who they pair up with, they’re more willing and motivated to make a move when something’s not working.

It’s ironic the article contains this passage while also mentioning the MeToo movement. Here we’re being told that women’s sexuality is a lot like men’s in that they too enjoy lots of hot sex with strangers, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have it if they can get it. But we’re also told women are subject to an increasing volume of unwanted sexual advances from men on the street, in bars, and at work. Well, what do you expect? If you go around telling men that women are up for sex in the same way they are, i.e. right now behind the nearest dumpster, they’re going to chance their arm with every cute girl they run into.

Fewer women are marrying out of need, Fisher says; instead, they’re marrying to please themselves. But that also means when they’re dissatisfied with something, they can feel justified to go elsewhere.

That certainly seems to be the modern view of a relationship. You’re committed right up to the point that something better wanders by, then you jump ship.

That’s not to say they want to go so far as divorce — and, in fact, even as adultery is on the rise, divorce rates are falling.

Probably because women have worked out that even if they commit adultery, the man is the one who gets cleaned out in the divorce. I doubt this situation is sustainable.

Martin puts a more overtly feminist, or at least sex-positive spin on it: “Why would you get divorced just because you want to have sex with someone else? What is that equation? It makes no sense to lots of women, just like it makes no sense to lots of men.”

Everyone wants to have sex with someone else. The difference is you give up your ability to act on those impulses in return for the benefits which come with a monogamous relationship. One of the most common self-delusions among certain people is that you can have regular sex outside the marriage while keeping the benefits of a monogamous relationship. You can’t.

Amid the political spotlight on gender equality, there’s also not a little bit of earned rebellion going on, a backlash to the idea that if a woman cheats, she’s damaged and slutty, but if a man cheats, he’s, well, a man.

Oh, not this rubbish again. I dealt with this in my book (which I’m sure everyone on here has bought by now given the fact I’m writing this on my yacht). Past a certain age, somewhere between 25-30, there is nothing admirable about a man embarking on a string of one-night stands, and nobody is impressed by a man cheating on his wife especially if there are kids involved. The reaction from his friends is largely one of disappointment, concern for his long term welfare, and an outburst of “WTF are you playing at, man?” But I’ve noticed when women cheat her friends rally around and say “well, I’m sure there are good reasons why she did that” and inform her husband or boyfriend that he needs to work on the relationship.

Playing the role of the “good wife” — whether that means dutifully making dinner or, you know, not fucking the neighbor — is no longer desirable for most women.

I’m sure going to work every day and paying down a giant mortgage isn’t desirable for most men in isolation, but being a mature adult means making sacrifices for long-term goals, maintaining impulse control, and disavowing short-term gratification.

“The ‘privilege’ of infidelity has historically belonged to men. But female infidelity is the most radical but also the most basic version of female autonomy. And in that sense, it’s very much about power.”

There’s this odd idea among modern feminists that having a string of meaningless sexual encounters with men is empowering. Countering that view is one I heard from a Turkish woman who wasn’t brought up in the west, and she thought the real power of a woman comes from withholding her sexual capabilities and wielding them sparingly. I’ve gotta say, I’m with the girl from Izmir on this one.

“Men and women alike cheat when there’s no perception of ‘problems in their relationships.’ Plenty of women are in it for the sex.”

My marriage is fine honestly, I’m just sleeping with someone else.

Science confirms this, Martin says, pointing to the work of researchers Alicia Walker and Marta Meana, whose studies conclude that women’s sexual desire is no less strong than it is for men, and that, in fact, such desire could be stronger due to an evolutionary draw to increase one’s chances of healthy reproduction.

I don’t think anyone denies women’s sexual desire can be pretty damned strong. I’m just not sure this means women want to sleep around more.

The fact that Amanda is the family breadwinner didn’t factor into her affair, she says; she never considered the affair something to which she was entitled.

And this is the bit I wanted to come back to. I suspect a large part of the problem is Amanda doesn’t respect her husband because he’s not playing the role of provider, so she’s seeking fulfillment with from some “old friend” who’s probably out-earning her.

At the same time, Amanda says that she thinks her equitable marriage probably made her less satisfied in the bedroom

Exactly. Women don’t like to marry down, they like to marry up. If hubby isn’t earning what she is, she’s not going to want to sleep with him for very long.

“Wanting some heteronormalcy isn’t something people want to talk about in that bourgie Brooklyn world I live in.

Brooklyn. Who would have guessed?

Eventually, Susan says, she realized she was confusing power with novelty. She called off her affair and talked to her husband instead. “I had made something happen for myself,” she says. “It was a way of claiming independence. But once I had that, I understood: People who are truly empowered don’t need to lie or betray trust.”

Well, fancy that. These women are basically living out the lives of characters in beach-holiday romance books, all the while thinking they’re doing something new.

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