Dan Savage, Judith Stacey, and other contemporary apologists for open marriage are obviously smart people. But in a piece in today’s Washington Post, I argue that their advocacy for open marriage is “stupid.” Here’s why:
1. Even today, sex often results in pregnancy.
2. Monogamous, married sex is more likely to deliver long-lasting satisfaction than the quick thrill offered by infidelity.
3. People often do not realize what they are really consenting to when it comes to open marriage.
4. Swinging increases your risk of acquiring a sexually-transmitted disease (STD).
On the last point, we do not really know much about how open infidelity affects children. What we do know, from the recent federal report on child abuse, is that kids are much more likely to be abused if they are exposed to a revolving carousel of romantic partners in the household. But my question is more fundamental: How does mom or dad’s open infidelity distort a child’s views of sex, love, and marriage, and influence their future adult behavior? I can only imagine. But, perhaps the Kennedy clan’s sad experiences with infidelity gives us some sense of how all this plays out across the generations.
I also find it strange that smart people like Savage and Stacey are harkening back to one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s recent family history, especially since the National Marriage Project finds that support for infidelity has fallen since the 1970s.
For all these reasons, let’s keep the “book on open marriage” closed.