But really, I don’t disagree that marriage is a myth we comfort ourselves with in a barren, corporate world. We have the desire to share things with each other – but not all things, so we marry and join bank accounts and households and attend each other’s family gatherings, but we keep secrets that allow us to maintain a personal identity outside of “Mr. and Mrs.” I’m not into marriage – with the divorce rate continuing to skyrocket, and I myself coming from a home where the marriage slowly crumbled – I don’t see it as a realistic nod to happiness. Quintessential American life is built on morality, while we are constantly being thrust into an “immoral” atmosphere. Marriage is essentially a religious construct. It is passé. It only leads to pain.
But the trouble is that people continue to get married, and continue to expect monogamy from their partners. If men want to have open marriages, they need to acknowledge that their wives will be seeking extramarital sex, too. You can’t have a hooker and a devoted wife and be honest about both. If you can withstand the idea of your wife with someone else’s cock in her mouth, then feel free to pick up your very own Ashley Dupre. But the trouble is that most men can’t. They want the comfort of a monogamous wife, who tends to them and cooks for them and raises the children, alongside a guiltless tryst with a perky young blonde.
And while scientific data points to the fact that men’s sexual desires are stronger and more prominent than women’s, and men engage in about 10% more affairs, it’s not uncommon for women, too, to want to fuck someone besides their crumbly old husbands. But women are more secretive about these kinds of things. They tell fewer people, and they’re less likely to get caught. For men, fucking someone else reaps bragging rights, an important component to male bonding. It’s the age-old concept of the Old Boys’ Club, where cigars and topless women signal success and masculinity.
The more we drive the wedge between sex and marriage – the more they’re deemed as two separate concepts almost at odds with each other – the more we doom the institution of marriage to failure. Because it’s the expectations that lead us to disappointment. If I ever get married, I will expect my husband to be emotionally monogamous, but not necessarily physically. Perhaps the idea of being open and honest about extramarital affairs is pedestrian and tragically optimistic, but if my husband comes home smelling like another bitch’s perfume I’m certainly not going to pretend he got some new cologne and resign myself to the emotionally battered wife role. I’ve had enough experience with dishonesty to know that no good relationship can withstand a foundation built of it. If marriage is a myth, I want the sex to be the mythbuster. We can both fuck other people, but only if we promise not to feel afterwards. Only if he comes home for dinner when I ask him to, and promises not to do it in our bed, and can successfully separate sex and love into two dichotomous camps.
The trouble is that most people can’t do it. In some ways, I’d rather be married to Spitzer than Clinton – at least Spitzer picked up someone whose job was to fuck him, where you know there are no emotions involved whatsoever. It becomes reduced to something completely physical, an animalistic urge curbed by a young sex worker who will do the things a wife might refuse in the bedroom.
Maybe the cure for all this is to acknowledge that both men and women are sexual beings, and if your husband or wife asks you to delve into a little S&M, cede your ego and go along with it. Sexual satisfaction and marriage do not have to remain strange bedfellows. If you want your spouse to remain monogamous, then you have to be prepared to face a variety of compromises. Weiss himself acknowledges that he thirsts for sex from other women because there are things he wants sexually that his wife won’t give him. Sexual openness and honesty and a lack of shame are all important components to a sexually healthy marriage. But for some reason, people can’t seem to master these tactics. Blame it on society or rusty American mores that tell us we are wrong to possess desire, but the fact remains that if husband and wife cannot sexually satisfy each other, then the creeping desire to fuck other people is always going to lurk beneath the surface.
Another funny assumption made by Weiss is the idea that young women don’t want to be complicit in the fantasies of older men. It’s no secret that I have a total thing for older guys. I’m 20 years old and every time I flirt with someone I check for a wedding band. And most other girls I know entertain the same fantasies. We all want a hot older guy because they are generally sexually confident, emotionally mature and worship you in a way younger guys don’t yet understand. Weiss writes, “I explained Squire’s history to my friend and suggested that we could change sexual norms to, say, encourage New York waitresses to look on being mistresses as a cool option. “That’s fringe,” my friend said dismissively.” His friend is wrong. As a “millennial,” my sexual norms are already different than the boomers. I don’t look at marriages as sexually monogamous, because I am realistic about these kinds of things. As children of divorce, most millennials are. We expect a lifelong emotional commitment, not a physical one. And so when a married men checks me out in a bar, I don’t stop and think, “Lecherous son of a bitch! What would his wife think?” Instead I direct my gaze downward, willing him to buy me a drink, because there is nothing more youthful and exciting and erotic – for both of us – than forbidden sex.
And isn’t that what this is all about, anyway? If all men who desired them were granted open marriages, sex with other women would just get old. This concept functions the same way underage alcohol restrictions do: tell them they’re not allowed to do something, and immediately they’re doing it – and they’re doing it in full force. If men and women were given the opportunity to sexually experiment with others while married, the wonderment would wear off pretty quickly, and wouldn’t we be just as unsatisfied as we were before?