In the Blog

Open Marriage, Open Dialogue

August 31st, 2007     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

Given our firey discussion on marriage a little over a month ago, I thought I’d bring to your attention this interesting and enlightening piece by Jenny Block, in which she discusses her personal experiences in her open marriage, how it came to be and how it works for her:

I suppose open marriage works for us for precisely… because we talk about it, because it has opened us to one another. The learning curve certainly has been steep. We have absolutely, positively no models for what we’re doing. We’re really just the average couple next door. Really. We’ve just found that “owning” each other sexually doesn’t help our marriage. It only hurts it.

Particularily interesting are the reactions to the essay in the comments section: while some readers identify strongly and are thankful that she brings to light how “she made affairs the solution, not the problem,” others attack her, one going as far as to call the piece a pathetic rationalization for adultery.”

Young continues the debate (perhaps in safer territory) over at, where she takes on the question of “What does an open marriage look like to you?” and tackles it from a more gendered (feminist) perspective. In the piece she brings up the fact that the responses to her original article were at times less than supportive:

I was curious about why people posted such vehement comments to my article after it ran, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all about fear. Fear and lack of models of open marriages that are working. My husband and I are happy. We’re both getting what we want and need and we’re together. We love each other. We’re good parents. We understand that we’re simply not built for monogamy.

We’ve been socially programmed to demand fidelity and are told at every turn that jealousy and ownership prove love. I don’t buy it. I’m guest blogging today to open up the conversation, because I want to know what readers think—specifically what feminists think—about marriage, cheating, and open relationships. What’s the deal with Happily Ever After anyways?

Block brings up some really interesting points around the subject of open marriage in a feminist-informed way, while wondering why those couples in open marriages rarely identify with the rest of the poly community. The article was particularily interesting to me because I’m currently reading Anne Kingston’s The Meaning of Wife which further examines these kinds of “fidelity/monogomy paradigms” and whether or not they are unnecessarily constrictive for some people.

(I know, I know, it’s pretty obvious that my partner and I are talking about getting married, given my current reading material, but please, let’s ignore that for the good of professionalism, okay?)


Tags: activist report, in my opinion...

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