An Ordinary Man

Or, Men 101

Month: January, 2015

Non-monogamy is better?

Chris Messina, the inventor of the Twitter hashtag, writes that he is a believer in “non-monogamy” because, in part, the failure rate of marriage (50%) is so high, indicating that monogamy apparently does not work. I disagree; monogamy is sensational if, but only if, both parties are kept contented within it.  There is nothing quite like remaining happy with the same person for decades.  Since he mentions being data-driven, I’m sure he appreciates that we will have to wait and see if non-monogamous relationships work out any better than monogamous ones before drawing any conclusions, but I’m betting that open marriages won’t last any longer than, what, closed (?) marriages.

I know I would not be able to bear seeing my wife trot off to bed someone else for fear that someone else is better than me: sexier, better looking, wealthier, etc. Sure, maybe once or twice might be sort of hot, but as a lifestyle?  No way.  And that’s true even though I think I could have a meaningless affair.  Sorry, Chris, but when the numbers do come in, I’m virtually certain you will be proven wrong, and probably will not still be with whomever you are non-monogamous with now, if only because of the non-monogamy….

Infidelity is ruthlessly explored in the novel, An Ordinary Man, as are virtually all other aspects of the guy’s view of marital sex.


The top complaint about a marriage is not having sex ….

“On Google, the top complaint about a marriage is not having sex. Searches for ‘sexless marriage’ are three and a half times more common than ‘unhappy marriage’ and eight times more common than ‘loveless marriage.’ There are 16 times more complaints about a spouse not wanting sex than about a married partner not being willing to talk. Even couples not yet married complain somewhat frequently about lack of sex. Google searches for ‘sexless relationship’ are second only to searches for ‘abusive relationship.’ (Abusive relationships are obviously a very important topic that I will return to in the future.)”

This isn’t news to Dr. Richard Wilson, an ordinary man trapped in such a marriage in the novel of the same name, who in talking to his best friend, bemoans his lack of action thusly:

    “Actually, pretty much nothing. I mean, I’m not keeping a calendar or anything but it feels like several months can go by without anything happening. Anything at all. I got her a fancy nightie for Valentine’s Day last week and it’s still in its box. Like I said, it’s like she woke up one morning and said, ‘whew, we’re finally finished,’ as if we had better things to do.” Richard paused to shake his head. “She seems to have come to the conclusion that I have lost interest in sex. But where ever would she get that idea? Otherwise, why wouldn’t she take fifteen minutes out of her day to do something that makes me very happy? I mean, if I could do something for her that I knew would make her that happy, of course I would. Wouldn’t matter what it was. Why not? Wouldn’t you for Sarah?” He felt himself getting a little angry as he spoke.

While Seth found that at least as many women complained about not having sex as men, I hear many more men complain than women. It is, guaranteed, fatal to a marriage.  Read the book to see why this is the case.

A Fundamental Difference

From what he could see of it, Heather’s bra was intriguingly insubstantial and lightly trimmed with lace. Quite possibly, it was part of a matched set and Richard allowed his eyes to move down her body to her hips to contemplate the bottoms. The fabric of her pants, a perceptible weave of some kind – herringbone? – revealed no intimate details of what lay beneath so Richard began to seriously consider the matter. Of course, contemplation of the underwear leads to contemplation of what is within the underwear and before long Richard was shamelessly imagining the most intimate details of his colleague’s anatomy.

Richard, the frustrated college professor and the ordinary man of the novel of the same name, would understand an article in today’s NY Daily News perfectly.  There, a woman blogged about her decision not to wear yoga pants because of the thoughts such revealing attire can create in us poor males.

At least two of her readers suggested that by that logic, men would need to stop wearing suits because some women find them sexy. Exactly, Richard would tell his class; at a very basic level, men are programmed to respond to physical attractiveness and/or the apparent mindset of the woman, while women are programmed to respond to the ability of the male to provide – a woman showing her stuff is almost automatically sexy to a guy, just as a guy wearing a suit presumably has a good job and is therefore sexy to the essential female.

And it was to what he attributed his own dissatisfaction to in his marriage counseling session:

    “What about what you said was your worst fear; that you are not a good enough provider?”

    “Well, to understand that, you have to understand that I teach evolutionary biology for a living. My day is filled with the survival of the fittest, to the victor go the spoils, who is the best mate. Et cetera. It’s very obvious that she could have done better.”

    “You think her sexuality is dependent upon the size of your paycheck?”

    “Let’s say that I’m not sure it’s not. There is very heavy selection pressure to mate with the winners. Has been for eons.  I’m virtually certain that has worked its way into the human genome.”

An Ordinary Elephant

In my novelAn Ordinary Man, I attempt to explain how the ordinary guy views sex, particularly in a marital context. Some readers have been surprised at how focused I claim your standard male is.  To them, I can only say be glad we’re not elephants.