August 21st, 2008

As someone who’s recently started blabbing my personal details on the internet, I’m always impressed when people can write entire books dedicated to their sex lives. I’m also a little bit jealous.

Around the same time Tristan Taormino came out with Opening Up, writer Jenny Block published “Open: Love, Sex, & Life in an Open Marriage. Being a poly person and a book dork, I snatched up a review copy and breezed through it in a couple afternoons.

While it was great to see the story of someone in an open marriage make it into the mainstream (Block is a suburban moms, so things don’t get more mainstream than that), I was largely disappointed by Open. In comparison to Taormino’s, Block’s narrative felt ranty. I would’ve liked half as many monologues on modern marriage and female repression and twice as many sexy details about the author’s encounters with various male and female lovers. It also seemed Block didn’t have such a successful time as a member of an open marriage: people judged her, partners left her, her husband felt unloved. Sure, everyone has ups and downs, but if we readers are going to get reassured open marriage is a legit option, shouldn’t it be by someone who leads by example?

Tags: books, reviews

One Response to “‘Open: Love, Sex, & Life in an Open Marriage’”

  1. That Fuzzy Bastard Says:

    It seems like Block’s approach is valid, though. I haven’t read the book, but it sounds like she went into it clear-eyed and non-judgemental, it didn’t work, and now she’s writing about why, while remaining generally neutral on whether it can ever work.

    And that’s fine. One of the more unfortunate tendencies of the sex-positive community is the habit of jumping down the throat (in a bad way) of anyone who publicly doesn’t want to be bi-poly-whatev’s. But open marriages would seem like a much more plausible long-term lifestyle choice if we were more willing to acknowledge that, like closed marriages, they often don’t work out and produce a lot of unhappiness for those involved. And just as there are plenty of people in closed marriages who’d be happier in open ones, there are people in open marriages who’d be happier in closed ones (I’ve known some of ’em myself, and it’s always powerfully sad).

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