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.


  1. I am monogamous, possibly one of the few! It works for me but I don't think it works for everyone. It's easy for me, I am still totally in love with Gay (as we celebrate our 20yr anniversary) and have really no interest in being with anyone else.

  2. you've probably already discovered it but 'sex at dawn' is a good one to investigate for this topic. also talking with the folks at synegia ranch, out in new mexico -- johnny dolphin and co will have some strong thoughts, firmly based on experience
    good luck -- excited to see what you make of this

  3. 3yrs and 8 months in an honest relationship.

    It was something that came up when we started dating. And we both saw eye to eye on it. It was about being able to be 100% honest with each other.

    You may never act on it, but there's probably not one person thats been in a relationship and somewhere along the line hasnt fantasized at least for a minute about someone else.

    And its the most amazing feeling when you can come to your partner, as a friend, and tell them how you feel with no fear, knowing you're accepted, knowing the other person knows you're human and besides sharing your life with them, there's an individual path thats respected. Its about being honest. How can you be jealous if your man confesses thoughts, wants or needs that you probably have too? By being a hypocrite.

    Its about crushing your ego and accepting that maybe not at first, but 2, 3, 4, 5 years in the relationship the person you're with will have desires for someone else, and vice versa. And thats how it is going to be, wether you like it or not.

    And wether he is able to talk to you about it or not, will make the difference between having an honest commitment and being lied to, or told what you want to hear, but not whats real.

    For most people, sexual fidelity is the main and sometimes only reason they would break up a relationship over, and you see some people going through the most horrible unfulfilling relationships and you'd think being cheated on would be the least of their problems.

    Love is not scarce. It has no mass. It’s not a liquid. You don’t run out. However, it can certainly be exhausted by a bad relationship.

    And in a lot of cases, like ours for example, just being open to the possibility and knowing you could do it at any time, just makes you not really want it... Just having the chance to talk about it with your partner, takes a lot of the desire off, when you come to your partner and you say "hey I think I am attracted to this guy" and you both talk about it, most of time it takes the weight off of you.

    About a year ago, we had to be apart because of work for 3 straight months. And that was the only time we both actually did other people. The outcome? hilarious. When we met again after 3 months of missing each other like crazy, we both talked about what we had done and we couldnt believe we both felt the same way! we were both thinking we were definitely not missing out on anything in our relationship, and while it was fun, it was definitely not the rush we had expected. We talked about it in detail, and it was... natural if anything.

    To sum it up, I think only strong couples make good open relationships.
    And contrary to what you may think, its usually men that have it harder to accept an open relationship, than women. I am not quite sure why that is, probably cause throughout history men being unfaithful has been more "socially accepted" and so women have dealt with the thought of their men being with other women a lot more than men dealing with their woman being with other men.

  4. Love the concept, big complicated and very interesting subject....

    If I were tackling it, would take a peek at the following old and obscure book:
    The Puritan Oligarchy by Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker, which explains the Puritan morality of the founding fathers of the USA - which still pervades our culture - better than anything I've seen. Crucial to understanding the more rigidly enforced monogamy of the USA vs our counterparts from Europe and elsewhere.

    Evolutionary biology books such as Sperm Wars, Red Queen, Sex at Dawn, etc. can provide a good scientific rationale.

    Interview New Yorkers such as Taki or Peter Beard, b/c they are both highly successful socially and as philanderers, and confident enough in their social position to be able to talk relatively freely about the subject. Both are also far more self aware than the average American.

    Interview couples at Cap d'Agde in the south of France - the mecca for swingers for a rich defense of how the middle class rationalizes polyamory.

    The only place I've ever heard incredibly profound words on this subject were from an underground Buddhist scholar / monk / Kung Fu master / shaman. But I highly doubt he would ever consent to be filmed.

    Have passion about subject and lots more to share, maybe even an interest in investing in the project if you need money to complete. Post contact info if you're interested in discussing further. Am based in NYC.

  5. A lot of very interesting questions have arisen in this website/ trailer, but I also think it's important to calibrate human behavior to biological knowledge. There are several professors/ researchers out there teaching animal behavior (ethology/ behavioral ecology) and biology of reproduction courses who would have unique insights on human monogamy relative to the sexual activities of other organisms. From my personal experience, I have come to have a very open-ended, flexible view of human relationships ever since I took several invertebrate zoology, parasitology, animal behavior, vertebrate zoology courses.

    To start off, I think it would be REALLY interesting to interview Joan Roughgarden at Stanford, who wrote the book "Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People." Roughgarden herself was originally a male who went through treatment (surgery)? to become a woman.


  6. Besides being interested in who that Buddhist scholar/monk/ kung fu master/ shaman is...hints?

    You might make a run through St. Louis to meet with Kendra Holliday who runs the amazing website thebeautifulkind.com

    Dr. Michael Bader who wrote "Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasy" is in SF and would be as excellent an interview as Esther Perel.

  7. this looks absolutely fantastic...can't wait to see the finished product. a few key people come to mind for you to speak to (if you haven't already):

    -tristan taormino

    -franklin veaux

    -shira b. katz and gavin katz

    -reid mihalko

    -jaiya ma

    -jessica o'reilly:

    -sandra daugherty

    -sadie smythe

    and last but not least...
    -dan savage (my guess is you already know who he is, but just in case you don't):

    i see you've already included esther perel and christopher ryan...both essential additions.

    good luck with the documentary!

  8. Not sure if anyone mentioned Helen Fisher, "Why we love."

  9. Looks like a great project. Check out:
    Pamela Haag,
    author of "Marriage Confidential"
    Dossie Easton,
    author of "The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Adventures"

  10. If you come up through Seattle, I have a few suggestions: First, Cunning Minx (host of the popular podcast "polyamory weekly"; she may even ask to interview you about the project). Second, I am a local psych researcher specializing in polyamory (there are not many of us). There are some exciting research endeavors happening right now, which is practically unfounded in the research community, so it might be good to have a piece of that to round out the interviews. If any of this sounds interesting, let me know; I can be reached at polystudy1 (at) gmail dot com. Good luck with the project, it looks wonderful!

  11. I have been with other women besides my wife and probaby will again. I do not think my behavior is a natural condition of being married for twenty years. Its just that I gave up hope a long time ago that my marriage was one of the lucky ones with two fully committed people. The only natural condition I know of is the need for intimacy in any form possible. Lacking this in any marriage always magnifies the need for it. We live every day with our spouses as a human reminder, good or bad of this need.
    I am truly envious of those who have lifelong fullfillment with their wife. It would seem to be the best of all fortunes.