Hear Kerry Cohen (writing as Michelle Perrot) read from this piece and talk about the aftermath tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday in Eugene, Portland and Seattle. I'll post my Q&A with her ASAP because it's fascinating and I'm SO proud to have published this original, not-seen-anywhere-else piece in Best Sex Writing 2010. I hope we get a big showing from poly people because I think outspoken, proud people who are willing to grapple publicly with what it means to reject our fucked up culture of compulsory monogamy are truly sexual outlaws, which is the theme of the anthology. Actually, scratch that - it's the general public who needs to hear voices like Kerry's, to understand that you can be married, be a good mom, be a smart, savvy person and still opt out of monogamy and (OMG!) be happy.
From "Anatomy of an Affair" by Kerry Cohen:
I don’t want 1950s-style advice about “date nights” and lingerie and role-playing. I don’t want to “spice up my marriage.” I want rough sex. Dirty, spit in his mouth sex. Wet, disgusting, nasty talk about pussies and cum and fuck-me sex. The kind of hate fucking where afterward you can’t move. And the bottom line is that I don’t want that kind of sex with my husband, this man I love.
For a number of years, of course, I assumed I would forgo this sort of sex. It was worth it to keep my marriage intact. Marriage is about compromise. It’s about some degree of sacrifice. Honestly, if what I would have to sacrifice were something other than the sort of sex that most fills me, I’d be happy to oblige. But sexual desire is so intensely personal, so completely something you don’t control. I can’t just decide that I will no longer crave that sort of sex, and our desires don’t always fit well with the monogamy our culture demands.
The running psychological theory is that we eroticize what has shamed, hurt, or frightened us, that our “lovemap cartographic systems,” as described by John Money, the famous John Hopkins psychologist, are learned. If that’s true, it could be argued that I spent my childhood feeling helpless, unable to control the ways in which my parents emotionally wounded me. As the years went by I tried to control the world where it felt out of control. I pursued men vigorously. I yelled at them when they hurt me, tried to force them into being who I wanted them to be. These were the men I had the best sex with, the ones who wanted to make clear who was really in charge once we got in the bedroom, the kind who made me go blind mid-orgasm, who told me my pussy was so wet and their cocks were aching with need for me, who smacked my ass while we did it from behind. These were the kind of men I never would have married. I wanted to get married, to share my life with someone.
I chose my husband because he was not one of these men.
Read the entire essay in Best Sex Writing 2010, which is for sale from publisher Cleis Press and: