Published: April 13, 2011
Openness and honesty don't automatically translate into everyone gets everything everyone wants. Not all needs can be met. But sometimes just having the sacrifices we've made for the good of our marriages acknowledged — getting a receipt after paying the price of admission — is good enough. Getting some credit for going without anal, along with the green light to jerk off to anal porn now and then, can make going without anal easier. Indeed, it can make going without anal virtuous, something that speaks well of the going-without-anal partner's character and priorities.
But there are times when monogamy — its pressures, its discontents, its unquestioned acceptance — can destroy an otherwise decent marriage.
Take PATH's marriage. If his wife doesn't come around — if her libido doesn't kick back into gear after mental or medical intervention — this couple is surely headed for divorce. PATH is not only feeling depressed and resentful, he's also contemplating an affair (even if he's in the dismiss-that-idea stage). Sooner or later, he's going to cheat or walk. But this marriage, a marriage that works on every other level ("parenting, money, religion, politics, etc."), could be saved if Mr. and Mrs. PATH were encouraged to openly and honestly discuss their sexual needs and their sexual disconnect. If Mrs. PATH is done with sex — for now, perhaps forever — Mr. and Mrs. PATH should be encouraged to come to a reasonable, mutually agreeable accommodation, one that allows for Mr. PATH to get his needs met elsewhere if that's what he needs to stay sane and stay married.
I'm not sure what to call someone who places a higher value on preserving monogamy within a particular marriage over preserving that marriage itself, Maggie, but I wouldn't call that person a defender of marriage.
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