Sowing Your Wild Oats in Mid-Life

April 19, 2015
the word sex on iron
the word sex on iron

Robin Rinaldi was mid-life, mid-career and mid-married when she launcher her wild oats project -- a year spent exploring sex.



Interesting interview. I didn't hear whether her marriage survived or if she ever had children.

You must have been very distracted when you were listening. No she didn't have children and that's part of her rationale for going on the escapade. And yes, she ended up getting divorced.

Interesting interview. I didn't hear whether her marriage survived or if she ever had children.

I heard this interview when it broadcast three weeks ago. It struck me like a thunderclap then, and it still does. I plan to act on my situation in a somewhat similar way - and there will be shame, more shame by far, than she endured.

Superficially I would seem not resemble Robin at all. While I am almost exactly her age, being male and married with two biological children & a step-kid seem to make my married life diametric to hers. But when she said she reached a crisis, and realized she could not go through the rest of her life having known but four lovers, ever, I knew instantly and powerfully how she felt. Physically painful knowledge struck me in that moment - the pain of a deep truth turning over & scraping at my core. I have known that feeling, and the shame of not acknowledging it, all of my married life.

In contrast to Robin, I have nowhere near the moral ground to claim in my life the action she took in hers. First of all, I am male, and today that carries (with some justification) an implicit condemnation for the greedy, selfish behavior of most men in their young, lusty days. Second, I have children, which Robin did not. Where she was deceived by her husband, who chose a vasectomy without consulting her, I am the Deceiver in my situation. My now-wife made her monogamous expectations clear before we married. I still married her, despite knowing that my eye was ever wandering and that the voice of my true soul would ever long to sing of other lovers. If monogamy were really natural for all of us, would we so often and constantly need reminding of its benefits?

Society deems that I have No Right to feel as I do - that I ought hew strictly to the monogamous vow I made well over a decade ago. Society demands this even though I knew then fundamentally it was an obligation I could not meet. At the time I ignored that knowledge - and since then have tried actively to suppress or deny it - to no avail. I've tried to meet it for over 12 years because of the children involved, but now it's clear to me that staying married to their mother is making me a poorer and less effective father to my children. But where is the moral space for that decision? In a marriage that's been moderately successful economically, wherein neither partner has ever struck or threatened the other, how does our society negotiate my shameful cost?

I freely acknowledge that, while I feel my situation feels to me deeply, painfully singular and individual, to most others it will appear just another example of male entitlement and greediness. A married man like me, the thinking runs, with a wife devoted to him and their children, Ought To Be Satisfied, and should be ashamed if he is not. I'm glad this episode of the program raised the questions it did of the role and benefits of shame & shaming in society. I continue to reflect on those applications in my life.

I've spent a good deal of thought on this comment; it has already had value for me therefor. I post it here, almost certainly now a deaf and quiet corner of the web, not for the replies which might come, but for the honesty of posting it SOMEwhere. Any comments or critiques which might follow AND which reflect the whole post will be welcome.

"Let's re-build a world in which there's space for everyone to figure out who they are, and how best to fit in to the whole."

Mid-life mommy reality porn. Anything for a buck.

I enjoy TTBOOK so very much, but in this case I would have preferred 10 minutes
and 48 seconds of dead air.

I think that's what must have happened. This interview was a substitute for dead air.

The subject matter was such that the host had to say, "Well, I can't talk on air about this, and about this, and about this....", so we're dealing with some very racy material, here. The basic idea is that the author (respectable magazine writer) was frustrated in her marriage, frustrated at not having children, so she decided the solution (apparently there were no others she could think of) was to release her inner slut and go on a wild forkfest, trainwrecking her marriage. Oh-kay, whatever helps. And since there were no young and innocent lives to drag along on the trainwreck, the author decided to try to make a buck and write a book about it! And there you have it, a 1950s style True Confessions sleazy potboiler that maybe will sell nearly as well as Fifty-Shades-Of-Whatever, she surely hopes. Do I hear movie deal? This interview would have worked a lot better as a feature article in It's All True! than in TTBOOK. Puh-leeeze!