Sexuality in the 60’s Monogamy vs Non-monogamy

I’ve been with my partner for 38 years. Now a days, not too many people can boast about that. Longevity in relationships is rare. Most people divorce. Why did we stick together? Well, I think it had a lot to do with the 60s and the 70s. We were the product of the sexual revolution and we were ready to challenge what our parents had been doing. When we first met, relationships were being tested. Monogamy or non-monogamy. When I was in my 20’s and meeting up with my partner, I didn’t even know what that word meant. Monogamy meaning the practice of being with one person versus non-monogamy meaning the practice of being with more than one person. The book of the day was, “Open Marriage.” It was on the best seller list for 40 weeks in 1972. The authors were Nena O’Neill and George O’Neill. Many say that this book fostered the sexual revolution of the 70s. My partner was older than me by 8 years and when he said that he wanted a non-monogamous relationship, I started reading this book. I needed to have a guidebook about what I was about to venture into. There were many aspects of the book to take in. Trust, communication, flexibility. I thought of myself as a trusting and flexible person who was able to communicate well with others. I wanted to be living in that “let’s live it day by day” thought. I was thinking as a committed person in this relationship with my partner. I was also pregnant with his child. I read more and more of this book. The words I read made sense to me until the reality set in. I was living in a cabin in Eastern Washington. My partner had cabin fever and traveled to Seattle for a Mardi Gras Party. While he was gone and being pregnant and all, I wanted to talk to him. I went walking down the road to ask a neighbor if I could use their phone very early in the morning. When I called the number of where he was going to be at, his friend said that he was at another woman’s place. I called that number and when she answered and gave him the phone, there was “Hello” and much silence. I walked back up to my cabin in the woods and read more of the book. I was feeling pain. Jealousy. But I wanted this man and I wanted to see if I could have a love without jealousy. The book talked about rules. I liked rules. If I could live with these rules, then I could try this non-monogamy relationship. So I did. Rule #1: You can’t sleep overnight with the person. Rule #2: You can never do the deed in our personal bed. Rule#3: You have to tell the other person ahead that you are going to be sleeping with someone else. Also I needed my partner to say to me that I was the primary person in our relationship. When my partner returned, I was prepared for a discussion. We sat in my cabin by a warm fire in the pot belly stove and he stated that I was his primary person and that he would follow all the rules. In that moment, everything was resolved. But we all know that rules are meant to be broken. I know it was hard for him to follow Rule #3. Not so hard for me. The day that I had a relationship with someone else, I followed all the rules. Even for my partner, the jealousy was painful. When you read a book about this subject and you try out all the many relationships that you could have, the bottom line is that emotions are there. They explode out of you and then you need a therapist to help both of you work out what you really want in a relationship.

Author: susan

Susan Carr is a professional actress and singer performing in New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. Her film/TV credits include Lynn, Shelton's Laggies, Mike Mill's The Architecture of Reassurance, Rob Devor's ZOO, Paul Sorvino's That Championship Season, The Practice and Gilmore Girls. Susan has written many plays/screenplays that have been performed at Seattle Fringe Festivals, Bumbershoot and New City's New Works Festival. Susan is the vocal coach to many Grammy winning bands such as Macklemore, Alice in Chains, The Head & The Heart, Alien Ant Farm, Mastodon, The President of the United States and new up and coming bands, Hey Marseilles, Chelsea Wolf, and Pickwick. Susan teaches "The Art of Screaming!" The Ballad of Desiree is Susan's first novel.

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