“Deep conflicts rage at the heart of modern sexuality. Our cultivated ignorance is devastating. The campaign to obscure the true nature of our species’ sexuality leaves half our marriages collapsing under an unstoppable tide of swirling sexual frustration, libido-killing boredom, impulsive betrayal, dysfunction, confusion, and shame. Serial monogamy stretches before (and behind) many of us like an archipelago of failure: isolated islands of transitory happiness in a cold, dark sea of disappointment. And how many of the couples who manage to stay together for the long haul have done so by resigned themselves to sacrificing their eroticism on the altar of three of life’s irreplaceable joys: family stability, companionship, and emotional, if not sexual, intimacy? Are those who innocently aspire to these joys cursed by nature to preside over the slow strangulation of their partner’s libido?” —Sex at Dawn
It feels as though it’s been light-years since I’ve read Sex at Dawn. I read all books with the intention of filing away what I most resonate with, discarding the rest, and there was plenty packed into this book that stuck around to be pulled back to the fore and playfully tossed around.
Having contemplated paradigm shifts in relationships and the idea that focusing on one lover or partner for the entirety of this earthly experience doesn’t always surface as the best fit, this read filled my mind with historical intrigue and offered up some interesting subject matter for the countless conversations that would follow with others—a surprising many of who were contemplating the same matters.
Sex At Dawn is a provocative and magnetic orchestration of research about human sexual evolution—which ultimately invites others to consider the notion that we, as humans, are not naturally monogamous creatures. It explores the idea that monogamy is a societal concept—with its brand of law rolled out by religious constructs, alongside others. It embodies the added bonus of offering up fun, at times laugh provoking prose.
The authors do not suggest that others recklessly act upon every love or sex interest. Instead, through a fresh and (for some, at least) convincing narrative, they suggest that we examine why, as a culture, we seem so desperate to promote and conform to a monogamous paradigm that might not be as righteous or as natural as we are routinely ushered along the path to believing.
Likely to stir up a few conversations with marriage counselors, the writers have produced the book-strewn equivalent of barging into an all-appropriate and proper shindig of staunch monogamists, turning up some music, stripping off clothes and surrendering to every fiery instinct—whilst all other room inhabitants watch, shocked and frightened. Yet, people wind up leaving the party not only curious about what just happened, but a bit more open and with questions—eager to process what it all means for their personal connections.
Over the years, it has become clear to me that it is essential, for personal growth and awareness, for us to feel comfortable exploring who we are as an individual every bit as much as who we are within the dynamic of a partnership.
Good, lasting relationships flow from building a solid foundation with a soul who you recognize and embrace as home while also allowing and cultivating the freedom and space to safely take note of and process thoughts within the boundaries of resolute honesty, mutual trust and understanding. Approaching our partnerships with these elements at the fore may not only aid in keeping our intimate connections happy and fulfilling, but can help to expand our own personal experience in a way that more fully supports our individual needs and life goals.
If we have the room to sincerely consider whatever it is that we feel most aligned with, without culturally imposed shame and/or guilt, it seems promising—or at least reasonably possible— that more people would feel joyfully satiated in a way that allows them to happily remain in their relationships. Instead, many feel backed into a corner, unable to openly express how they feel and what they need for their own expansion—eventually reaching a breaking point where interactions feel less than satisfying and complete separation, along with pursuing another experience, with another soul is both wanted and achieved.
I’m not suggesting that this would, will or could work for every partnership—yet, not having space to earnestly address and/or explore feelings that arise doesn’t seem to be working for everyone, either.
I believe that we are drawn to certain souls, romantically or otherwise, for very specific reasons to and for the evolution of our being. Throughout my life, each new friend and/or lover has brought (and, in turn, received) something that, in hindsight, really furthered each of us along our path. One complimentary soul who is designed and destined to feed our soul, and vice versa, forever? Yeah—it happens often—but, not as a rule.
Some people, if not most, upon first mention of the idea of allowing a partner to explore connections with other souls immediately assume that the draw towards this is due to some sort of fear of or disinterest in commitment. What I’ve gathered is so reliably the opposite. The people I’ve met, who are open to this sort of allowance are so because they want to make deep commitments. They feel that, in this ever-dynamic world, allowing things to flow freely and openly is a secure and solid way of allowing a relationship to remain adaptable, sound and steady—for the long stretch.
This is not about forgoing deeply devoted relationships. It’s not about setting one’s life up in a way in which lasting connections fail to be cultivated.
This is about understanding that the ardent paradigms, currently on the front lines in our society, might not be the best for every being or partnership—that they might not support each soul’s journey most fully. None of us are here to follow a rigid, cookie-cutter game plan. This is about cultivating a sustaining sexual and emotional harmony that works for each partnership, and allowing each other the room to love and to grow without ever feeling the need to walk away to do so. This is about allowing those we love and adore to travel down any and all paths that are here to take them to a more vibrant version of themselves.
Allowing love, period—in all of its magical and beautiful manifestations—to simply be, unconstrained and uncontrolled—wild, rooted and free.
(elephant journal, august 2013)