An excerpt from

My Messy Bedroom: Love & Sex in the 90's
by Josey Vogels

Leggo My Ego

It even turned up on “Bevely Hills 90210.” A true sign of the topic’s cultural relevance.

“Men and women aren’t necessarily monogamous by nature; Eskimos even have a word to describe the close bond they all feel in sharing the same lover.” Remember that unfortunate “feminist” character they had for a while – the independent and opinionated, sex-crazed, manipulative, divorcee anthropology prof? This is what she told Kelly in her “Women and Anthropology” class: “Traditional monogamy only works when everyone adheres to the same morality.”

Of which, of course, this woman has none because she’s just gone after Kelly’s boyfriend Dylan.

“Relationships can be healthier if people are more honest about their sexual impulses,” nympho-anhtro prof concludes.

After wrestling with that one a bit, our darling Kelly reveals, “I guess I’m just an old-fashioned girl.”

Social order is restored. Monogamy rules.

I don’t know if monogamy is natural but I do know that if you make a commitment to someone, naturally, you don’t sleep around. It’s that simple, right?

Yes, according to a friend of mine who volunteered his approach. When he starts seeing someone he lays it on the line right up front. “You’re free to see anyone you want,” he tells the interested party. “But if you start seeing someone else, you won’t see me anymore.”

Sounds more like blackmail, I told him.

“Hey, everything has a price,” was his blunt response.

“Sometimes you just gotta make choices.”

I’m not so sure.

The word itself sounds like some kind of virus.

Oddly enough, Webster’s Dictionary defines monogamy as “the condition” or “the habit” of having only one mate.

As if it was some kind of addiction.

I think a friend of mine is hooked. She was trumpeting her virtuosity the other day. “I never cheat on the people I go out with,” she stated proudly.

This person goes out with a new person practically every week. “But I never cheat on them,” she insisted.

Serial monogamy.

There are some fuzzy lines when it comes to monogamy. For instance, how far do you have to go to constitute having cheated on someone? Holding hands? Kissing? With tongue or without?

Is there a cheating free zone? That is, if you’re in another city or another country and you fool around on someone, does that count?

Then there’s the “I can sleep with other people but you can’t” approach. Uni-monogamists. They’re always amusing.

On the other hand, the concept of an “open relationship” has always made me suspicious. These inevitably become a battle of the egos. “Hmmm … you stomped all over my ego last week when you slept with that person, so this week it’s my turn to destroy yours, okay?

“Sure, I’m cool about it.”

Yeah, right.

That’s the problem with monogamy. It gets mixed up with our egos.

If your partner sleeps with someone else, you rant and rave that he or she has violated every trust, destroyed everything you have built together, but the bottom line is that the idea of your partner being physically intimate with another person makes you want to vomit. How could you choose him over me? What’s wrong with me? Was she better than me?

Sometimes fooling around id just about sex, cot love. The two can be mutually exclusive, at least that’s what the person doing the fooling around thinks.

People often tell me that if you’re in a relationship, and you feel the need to sleep with someone else, there’s something wrong with the relationship. I don’t know if I but it. I don’t believe people have affairs simply because they’re having relationship trouble. One poll I read said that almost half of the men and women they questioned in monogamous relationships cheat. The reasons: 96 percent of men and 74 percent of women said “feeling horny” was enough of a reason. Reason number two was that the other person was “just so gorgeous”. Deep.

I have to admit, the idea of sleeping with the same person for the rest of my life is a bit scary. It’s gotta get boring after awhile. And no matter how many Cosmo articles you read about how to “put some spice back into your relationship,” maybe you just need to sleep with someone different, fresh, new. I’m not saying that you necessarily should. Obviously, acting on the impulse creates some problems, but denying it exists at all can sometimes create more.

My friends in long-term “monogamous” relationships assure me you can work this stuff out. One of these long-distance friends says she copes by living all her promiscuous fantasies through her single friends. I spend a lot of time on the phone with her.

Monogamous by nature? I have my doubts. It seems like more of a practical choice given our social structure, conditioning, and collective morality.

And our egos.