The experts have spoken

The lonely early morning hours when one is exercising are a good time to catch up on all the neat audio content available out there*, and this morning was no exception as I was listening to Friday’s iteration of Tristan Taorimno‘s nifty new Internet radio show “Sex Out Loud.” Tristan plausibly identifies herself as an “…author, editor, columnist, sex educator, speaker, feminist filmmaker, and radio host,” and her guest this week was Reid Mihalko, famed in the sex-positive world as a guru to those who are or think they might want to be in polyamorous relationships. All interesting and good fun, though I was startled by this bit of advice (it appears at about 27:35 in the show; the transcription is my own and might not be perfectly accurate):

Reid: …You really have to start looking at what makes you happy.

Tristan: Uh huh.

Reid: What totally doesn’t work for you, like what are your bottom lines, and can you stick to them, even when you are starving for a relationship. What makes you happiest, where are your bottom lines, and then where is the wiggle room for you. Like where are the things where you go, eh, I don’t really need, I don’t really care what religion you are, I just care that you’re a decent human being. Like, I don’t care if you go to synagogue or church, it doesn’t matter to me. For some people, that’s a big fucking deal.

Tristan: Uh huh. That’s the top of the list.

Reid: And that’s a dealbreaker for you. If you really need someone to be the religion…

Tristan: …to share your spiritual…

Reid: …beliefs, yeah, and practices, you are a moron if you’re dating somebody who’s not excited about the same religious practices that you are, you’re going to totally make yourself unhappy, no matter how awesome they are in all these other areas.

Tristan: Right.

The sex experts have spoken. And personal experience suggests that they are right — I’ve seen quite a few relationships of my own dissolve over differences in beliefs and practices.

Self-assessment time. What am I? An atheist, a moral error theorist, an antinatalist, a pervert and a pornographer. I’m pretty excited about all that. Of course, most of that all runs quite contrary to what other people find it acceptable to be excited about. Any one of these categories puts me into a small minority of the population all by itself. Jointly, they’re a tiny number and perhaps even a minority of one. So it’s all narrowed down for me, just like that notorious Internet fellow (curiously enough, also named Tristan) who once did an analysis figuring out why he’ll never have a girlfriend.

There are monogamous folks who figure they’re better off having a relationship with one person, and polyamorous people who think they’re best off with many. What the word for someone who thinks ve might be best off with zero? There’s “celibate,” of course, but that to me suggests someone who refrains from relationships because ve has spiritual or institutional reasons for so doing that trump what would otherwise be in ver best interest. So what’s the word? How about something like “oudegamous?” which we can make out of a perfectly respectable Greek root.

We should. After all, the experts have spoken.

*I am especially fond of the archived Reith Lectures available for free download from the BBC. The first of these given by John Keegan (may he rest in peace) in 1998 is almost unbearably poignant. Those given by V.S. Ramachandran in 2004 remain deeply provocative and informative. And even those given at the very start by Bertrand Russell way back in 1948-9 seem to hold up remarkably well.

That’s what’s on the radio across the pond, apparently. Over here, we have Rush Limbaugh. It’s enough to make one think that America is a mistake, somehow. Back to main text.

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