Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monogamy & Its Discontents trailer

Christopher Ryan on Monogamy

New York Times bestselling author of Sex at Dawn compares monogamy to vegetarianism:

Recent interviews

John Perry Barlow, essayist/lyricist/activist

Dossie Easton, author The Ethical Slut

Judith Stacey, sociologist; author Unhitched

Marisa Galarza, kindergarten teacher/boxer

Sarah Unguez, HIV Counselor/swinger/former sex club manager

Stephanie Coontz, sociologist, author Marriage: A History

Daniel "boom boom" Guevara, our trusty sound man

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tao getting ready to interview Eric Berkowitz tomorrow

On the Kinomad RV driving from San Luis Obisbo to San Francisco; Photo by Patrick Sanchez Smith

We're on the Road from LA to Alaska!

We'll be filming interviews for the film until the end of August. Check back soon for more details. Please let us know if you are somewhere on our path (along the pacific coast...) and if we should interview you or anyone you know. We're south of San Francisco now and will be in the bay area for the next 3 days at least. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Monogamy & Its Discontents is a documentary I am shooting now and for the next 4 months, about the state of love, marriage, monogamy & polyamory in our culture. This blog will host trailers, short interviews, reading materials, etc.

Please leave comments with suggestions for people we should talk to, films we should watch, books and articles we should read. This is very much a work in progress and I welcome your feedback and collaboration. Please feel free to tell your stories in the comments section as well. Are you married? Monogamous? Monogamish? Polyamorous? I want to hear from you...

more soon

PS In July & August we will be traveling from Los Angeles to Alaska in the Kinomad RV shooting interviews for the film; if you know of anyone we should talk to on the way, let us know. We will also be in NYC June 19-26 and Europe (Spain, Italy and France) in September.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Monogamy & Its Discontents treatment

The “traditional” values that have shaped our understanding of love, sex, and marriage are losing their hold on our culture.  The last half century, in particular, has seen dramatic changes in attitudes about sex and in marital relationships, especially in terms of the division of labor, gender roles, the distribution of social and economic power, and transformations of legal rights and obligations.   It’s not surprising that these changes are greeted both with anxiety and with exuberance.  They are both celebrated as liberating (by progressives) and bemoaned as undermining the very foundations of our civilization (by conservatives).  

There is one ideal, however, to which most conservatives and progressives alike adhere:  the ideal of monogamy.  In popular culture, the monogamous loving couple is celebrated; the philanderer is demonized.  Despite counter-cultural experiments with alternative arrangements (polygamy, polyandry, open relationships, and so on), despite historically unprecedented rates of divorce, despite widespread incidence of infidelity, the dream of a loving, life-long, monogamous relationship still commands widespread respect.   And so, our culture remains, if not exactly committed to monogamy, largely “monogamish”.

But what is the ideal?  Despite, or perhaps because of, its status as a self-evident good, there is surprisingly little consensus or even rigorous thought about what the ideal amounts to and what it entails.  What does it really mean to be monogamous?  What does a successful monogamous relationship involve?  How should it deal with the inevitable changes that all human relationships undergo – for instance, from the passion of first love to the day to day demands of everyday domestic life?  Or, the way children change the dynamic of personal relationships?  How ought partners in a monogamous relationship deal with temptations?  Can a monogamous relationship preserve passion in a satisfying way?  Or does it offer a different kind of satisfaction to compensate for the loss of passion? What about alternatives to monogamy? Are they viable given the strength of the monogamous ideal in our culture?

In this film, we will explore such questions by talking to psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, artists, and people living within and outside of monogamous relationships.

Of course, the vague contemporary conception of monogamy is itself historically particular and contingent.  We will thus also historically situate the contemporary ideal by exploring alternative visions of monogamy in its various manifestations from antiquity, through the development of the ideal of romantic love, the changing structure of the household and family during the industrialization of western society, the development of modern enlightenment ethical and moral codes of conduct, and finally the breakdown of traditional forms of morality during the increasingly technological entrenchment of post-modern consumerist culture.  By historically contextualizing our ideals and institutions in this way, we hope to open up a space for decision – a space where viewers can reflect on their own conception of the monogamous ideal, and perhaps take an authentic stand for or against it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Some recent interview subjects

Aida Shibli, Palestinian Peace Activist

Debra Berger, Artist, Designer (& Tao's Mom)

Frida Ratford, Tamera Free Love community, Portugal

Stash Klossowski, Alchemist
Dr. Susan Block, Sex Therapist