A while ago I got my hands on Sex at Dawn and I devoured it like a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Page flipping and note taking and serious contemplation on everything I’d been taught for the past 21 years. I had thought my head might be in agony from all that thinking and had prepared myself a care package of tea and crackers, but, pushed aside, I found myself only nodding at everything I read. As the tea grew cold I continued to read and realized that not only did I agree with near everything said but it was as though this stranger had reached inside of my head and pulled out emotions I had yet to figure out how to describe.
So I finished the book and I started to think to myself about how this was going to affect my life. The core message I got from the book was that monogamy is not natural and we don’t have to feel bad about that. Tonight Christopher Ryan said he thought one of the main ideas was that even though the entire book is really about sex, the point is that sex really isn’t that big of a deal at all. I agree.
Now I’m not even slightly knowledgeable with monkeys and I have to admit at parts of the book I wished there was less monkey and more “But why do I feel this way? How can I use this?” Which isn’t something he can teach me, or anyone else can teach me. I knew that going into it, but for some reason it was still aggravating. It’s something I have to learn on my own. I feel lucky in that I have had my horizon broadened exponentially with the reading I have tackled in the past two years but I also, at the same time, feel so terribly sad for everyone else.
I see my friends asking themselves these same questions. Why? How? Help! And I realize that I can’t help them either. The best I can do is deliver them a stack of books, highlighted chapters, notes in the borders. “Read this and you’ll understand.” And they’ll come to some conclusion and whatever it is they’ll have more options than they did before.
So my notes are scribbled and one worded and are fairly nonsensical so I won’t really get into that. Even my notes seem to be just for myself. There are a few (small) points I wanted to mention though just for my readers.
There was some talk tonight about jealousy and whether or not that is natural (yes) and how that reflected on the idea of non-monogamy being natural. The answer is really that jealousy is a product of fear and insecurity (both natural, as well) and as the last chapter in the book describes… you might just have to trust what you don’t know or understand.
I am at a constant struggle with myself over this and I have found that the times I’ve just let life slide are the times which I have been most happy and at ease. When something in life happens where I should find myself jealous or uneasy or even a little scared I have to ask myself why. Why am I feeling this way? Is it rational? And I have to conclude that if my relationship (romantic or otherwise) were really so weak and flimsy that it could be torn apart in the middle of Starbucks or walking down the street that it wasn’t much of a relationship to begin with. That’s where I started getting into this, that’s where my thoughts began.
Society will tell me what you need to watch your man because he’ll stray or you have to keep him happy and you need to do all of these things for him but I think that’s a bit of bullshit. You should have a mutually beneficial partnership with someone but you should by no means be a slave to them and the commitment you have to them.
I very much enjoyed the concept of the person as a “universe” and completely on their own. That’s something I’ve stumbled with in giving advice in the past. People want to know what to do and they want to know what you would do and they want answers to their problems. The best anyone can really do is explain what they say from their perspective and then direct that scenario back to the person having troubles. The answer is within you, somewhere, it just seems like people are unequipped with the tools to find these answers.
In my opinion, this book is one of those tools.
You read it and you realize that perhaps what everyone else does isn’t normal and you don’t have to do it just because they are.
It’s not to say that breaking the boundaries of societal norms is easy, but as the book says you should confront these things together. Communicate with your partner/s and open up that dialogue to what you really want in a relationship and how you can get there together. Essentially, there is no wrong answer… and there is no right answer… as long as it works for those involved.
Thanks to Shannon for the book and the excellent writing team behind it. I look forward to a potential part two.