NY Mag Writer Liberates Wife from ‘Patriarchal Oppression’ of Monogamy

Open marriage is a ‘mature, responsible way to address our needs.’

“After much soul-searching” and “an ocean of red wine,” Michael Sonmore became a eunuch, er, feminist. 

The defining moment? When Sonmore realized that his wife’s desire for an open marriage was not a rejection of him, but the “embracing” of herself. That’s right, #HeForShe! 

“Monogamy meant I controlled her sexual expression,” Sonmore reflected in NY Mag. “Not to get all women’s-studies major about it,” but “patriarchal oppression essentially boils down to a man’s fear that a woman with sexual agency is a woman he can’t control.” Blech.

Apparently, our culture labels a woman who “only likes sex with her husband or boyfriend” as “boring and lame.” At least, Sonmore’s wife certainly felt so. For her, honoring her marriage vows and “fulfilling her desires” were mutually exclusive. However, she also felt that “wanting a variety of sexual experiences … would not diminish or disrupt” the love she had for her husband.  

So, the couple embarked on their progressive arrangement – or in their words, “a mature, responsible way to address our needs and desires within our loving, mutually supportive marriage.” They take turns going out, as they have two young kids and don’t want the “curfew” that a babysitter would give them. Yep, mature. 

Now two years in, Sonmore reported that he and his wife have “never been happier, more in tune, closer, tighter, stronger,” yet “there are of course moments of jealousy, resentment, and insecurity.” Like that time when Sonmore’s wife didn’t return home in the morning and Sonmore had no idea where or with whom she was ... 

“It’s not the sex-with-other-men that bothers me,” wrote Sonmore. “It’s what the sex connects to, stands for, reveals that can be difficult. I don’t want her to fall in love with anyone else …” Might Sonmore be touching on the fact that sex is supposed to solely reflect the love that a married man and woman reserve exclusively for each other?

“Feminism always comes back to sex,” Sonmore opined. Watching Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham, one could easily think so. “The point isn’t that all women should be sexual adventurers. Celibacy is as valid an expression of sexuality as profligacy. The point is that it should be women who choose, not men — even the men they’re married to.” So now it’s either celibacy or profligacy. There’s no middle ground of good, old-fashioned marital fidelity? 

And why should women choose? Because, in addition to being a moral dishrag, Sonmore is just another self-flagellating liberal. If he weren’t busy enjoying the pain of marital castration, he’d be ostentatiously checking his privilege in all kinds of pathetic ways. 

In the end, although he’s pleased with the arrangement, Sonmore “wouldn’t recommend” an open marriage “for everyone.” Aw, too bad. Dan Savage was probably getting excited.