I am pleased to introduce my second guest blogger, Jill Nelson – an accomplished spirit, mind and writer. She originally ran this piece a while ago on her own site. I thought that it was so well written and thought-provoking that I wanted to introduce it here also. I hope you enjoy.
Even before I went to see the magnificent Prince last night at Madison Square Garden – a fabulous, dancing-in-your-seats performance with three encores and purple “confetti” rain falling from the ceiling – I’d been thinking about women’s sexuality. Seeing the physically diminutive, enormously talented, incredibly sexy Prince and his fabulous band threw the conversation with myself into high gear.
Once you’ve had your children, is monogamy over-rated? I can understand wanting to have the same father for all your children, but once that’s accomplished, is committing to only having sex with that man for the duration necessary? As women, why do we so often conflate a monogamous relationship with love? It’s almost as if getting our partners to relinquish sexual variety – something that to most men, and I believe, many women, is very dear – proves that they love us. Strange. Taking away what someone desires because we decide it’s not good for them is what a mother does for her child. Do we really want to be the morality/monogamy police for our husbands or partners?
Women have bought into the myth that monogamy equals love – a fictional concept that’s a disservice to our partners, our relationships and us. I’ve got no argument with couples who choose to only have sexual relationships with each other, but monogamy should be a choice, not a stipulation. As I’ve gotten older, it’s become clear to me that what keeps a relationship going and strong isn’t sexual fidelity, although good sex is a key element. But never once in dealing with life’s inevitable challenges with a partner has monogamy played a key, or really even an important, role. Being partnered with someone who listens, has a sense of humor, and is patient, thoughtful, intelligent, creative, and introspective are all characteristics that have helped me stroke my way through life’s challenges and enhance celebration of life’s joys and wonders.
Does whether or not our partners have sex with anyone besides us necessarily have any bearing on their ability to connect with, love and support us? Is it possible to be in a relationship that is committed but not monogamous? Or, when we speak of commitment, do we mean keeping all genitals locked down by the chastity police?
Let me be clear that I don’t subscribe to the “black women” perspective on relationships. I’m not suggesting that black women need special responses or analyses, but that it’s worthwhile for women to re-examine the importance of monogamy – for their partners, their relationships, and themselves.
I’m not endorsing man sharing, polygamy, celibacy or any approach to relationships beside an end to dancing to the same old tunes. I no more believe that monogamy equals love than I believe women are inherently monogamous. As I said earlier, while there may be a genetic and self-preserving imperative for women to have all their children with one man, if possible, as so many of our families illustrate, that’s not always possible or even crucial. What I’m sure of is that once women finish childbearing, there is no biological rationale for monogamy. In fact, this may well be a time when women – older, wiser and with an ever-decreasing risk of pregnancy –explore safe sexual experimentation with increased freedom and enjoyment, absent the desire to find a monogamous mate with whom to bear children.
With Valentine’s Day looming, we’re reminded how women are conditioned and inundated with notions of what the culture defines as “romantic love.” But what’s romantic about being a sexual prisoner/jailer or lonely yearner? Or using our sexuality as a bargaining chip for power and commitment in a relationship? What do you win by waiting for him to come along and for the moment when he pledges his penis, and we our vaginas, to a life of monogamy? How is it that we’ve come to define a successful relationship as a monogamous one, even when we know or suspect that our partner’s monogamy – or our own – is a lie, a facade, or a bore?
Read Jill’s original blog here.
PS: To become a Frank Love sponsor you can make a one-time contribution or contribute monthly by clicking on the amount you’d like to donate each month: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $35, $50, $75, $100, $200 or $500.