On the eve of Virgo

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Dina. Photograph by Eric Francis.

Nowhere in the feminist literature that I’ve read have I encountered the idea that women deserve to be released from the requirement of monogamy, as a basic facet of holding full personhood.

One reason why this concept may not have surfaced in the past is because actual discussion of monogamy or any form of fidelity is unusual. We usually talk about it when someone violates the unwritten, often unspoken code that we are supposed to be one another’s property.

Rare is it for there to be a conscious, tangible agreement between two (or more) people.

Ideally when made, the agreement would be mutual; really all it needs to do is reflect everyone’s values. These agreements and the many possibilities they have are another conversation, and agreements truly are the heart of the matter in relationships.

What I am here to talk about tonight is specifically the release of women from presumed mandatory monogamy by their partners and friends. Friends often get in the way of a liberated woman just as obstinately as a partner can. There is a strict social code, and I may get around to proposing that it’s mostly the girls that get in the way of the girls, not the guys.

I recognize that everyone is concerned that anarchy would ensue if the code of chattel conduct were removed. Many women I know could fuck five guys in one night, and some could arrange it. That is intimidating. Female sexual desire has a crater-like quality that often reminds me of a volcano.

Or maybe it’s about jealousy that keeps us from embracing her freedom: we cling to alleged monogamy in fear of encountering our own jealousy – apparently a fate worse than death. This explains the don’t ask, don’t tell, freak out scenario: afraid of the jealousy but needing the connection, we cheat at the game and basically, lie so we get what we need.

Yet is it really cheating? It seems to be inherent in personhood, at different times in our lives, to desire more than one person.

Men have these opportunities either as a divine right or by happenstance, as the sex that doesn’t get pregnant. It’s less of an issue, for them. With the sexual freedom of personhood I advocate women fully taking up the responsibilities of communication, reproduction and health. These would in truth be side-benefits, requiring but a little discipline, to accompany the mutually-acknowledged freedom to choose.

This freedom is the fulcrum from which many other expressions of liberty may flow, mainly the freedom from guilt, the freedom to love and the freedom to make art.

(Posted at Book of Blue)

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