It strangely sounds as if you are suggesting we bow to political expediency. Surely you do not believe that the correctness of an idea is determined by what "the vast majority of Americans" believe?
I was recently reading an interview of 19-year-old actress Kirsten Dunst. She said something to the effect of how glad she is that her parents are divorced, and that she would rather live with one parent and visit the other, and see both of them happy, than have both of them around her and fighting all the time. Makes pretty good sense, don't you agree?
"The Ethical Slut" discusses all the issues that you cite as part of the common American belief system surrounding monogamy, including romance:
"Lifetime monogamy is a relatively new concept in human history, and makes us unique among primates. There is nothing that can be achieved within a long-term monogamous relationship that cannot be achieved without one -- business partnership, deep romantic attachment, stable parenting, personal growth, and care and companionship during the aging process are all well within the abilities of the slut.
"People who believe this myth may feel that something is wrong with them if they aren't in a committed twosome -- if they prefer to remain 'free agents,' if they discover themselves loving more than one person at a time, if they have tried one or more traditional relationships that didn't work out. Instead of questioning the myth, they question themselves. Such people often have a very romantic view of couplehood -- that Mr. or Ms. Right will automatically solve all their problems, fill all the gaps, make their lives complete." (p. 30)
"Celibacy is not the only sexual practice of the spiritually inclined. Early examples of religious communities based on nonmonogamy included the Mormon church, the Oneida community, the practice of maithuna and karezza in Tantric Yoga, and the temple whores of the early Mediterranean Goddess worshippers. Current sexually active spiritual communities include some pagan groups and radical faeries, who come together for festivals and gatherings, and celebrate ancient sexual rites such as Beltane, or make up their own that are appropriate to current lifestyles, like the open sexuality of Faery gatherings, or the underlying eroticism of ritual.
"These practitioners understand that sex is connected to the spiritual... every orgasm is a spiritual experience. Think of a moment of perfect wholeness, of yourself in perfect unity, of expanded awareness that transcends the split between mind and body and integrates all the parts of you in ecstatic consciousness..." (pp. 55-56)
"Getting over past fears of starvation can be one of the biggest challenges of ethical sluthood. It requires an enormous leap of faith -- you have to let go of some of what feels like yours, trusting that it will be replaced, and more, by a generous world... Unfortunately we can't promise you that the world *will* be generous to you. We think it will -- that if you loosen your possessive grip on the love that's already yours, you'll get more, from the person who loves you, and maybe from some other people too. It certainly has worked for us." (pp. 126-127)
"The challenge becomes learning to establish within yourself a strong foundation of internal security that is not dependent on sexual exclusivity, or ownership of your partner. This is part of the larger question of how to grasp your personal power and learn to understand and love yourself without such a desperate need for another person to validate you. You become free to give and receive validation, not from need or obligation, but from love and caring." (pp. 136-137)
"We think that the most important characteristic you can bring to bear in the lives of your children is *consistency*. Kids, especially younger ones, don't deal well with here-today-gone-tomorrow connections. While it's easy to assume that inclusive relationships might create massive inconsistency, our experience is just the opposite. The binary nature of monogamy-centrist thinking tends, we think, to cause problems: you're either the love of my life, or you're out of here. Both of us have found that opening our lives to other kinds of connections also opens our children's lives. For example, a former lover of Catherine's has not been sexually involved with her for quite a while, but has become a sort of surrogate uncle and best friend to one of her sons and is still a loved member of her household -- as she writes this, he is asleep on a futon on her living room floor." (p. 222)
"It's only natural to want to share our possessions with the people we care about. But this urge can cause problems when possessions -- money, food, art, toys -- belong, legally or emotionally, to more than one person. If there's any chance that someone feels a sense of possession about an item, we strongly recommend that you talk carefully with that person before you share the item with someone else." (p. 129)
"There are places where some people believe that being a slut makes you fair game for violence. Why were you walking down that street at night in a short dress, or tight pants? No wonder you got raped, or assaulted. Must be the victim's fault. And you look so queer -- no wonder that gang decided to beat you up.
"We are also considered fair game for other forms of oppression. Multiple sexual partners can be seen as a good excuse to take all of your property, your children, and your future income in a punitive divorce settlement... When we judge ourselves by cultural values imposed from the outside, when women believe they ought to be small and quiet, when gay people believe that their sexual choice is a neurosis, or when we all believe we would be better people if we were able to be monogamous, this is internalized oppression." (pp. 205-206)
I am not against the concept of marriage, rather I want to expand it to be more inclusive. And current trends are toward greater acceptance of polyamory and non-monogamy. Monogamy seems to work well for some people, and if people are happy in such relationships, then good for them. But the fact that a huge divorce rate exists, that most marriages include adultery, and that most people do *not* pair up for life despite all the legal, social, and cultural reinforcement of monogamy as the ideal, suggests that monogamy may not be the best model for most of us. Insisting that it must be promoted begs the question of why it needs promoting, if it is in fact so normal and natural.
Yours in liberty,
<<< Starchild >>>