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Hey, Woody!

What do you think of Huma Abedin, the wife of Anthony Weiner? 

needwood bannerNeed Wood: Is it (Carlos) “Danger”ous for Huma to Admit to an Open Marriage

by: Woody Miller

Hey, Woody!

What do you think of Huma Abedin, the wife of Anthony Weiner?  Do you think she’s a feminist doormat or a woman who’s learned to forgive?

—  Confused

Dear Confused:

The question isn’t whether she’s a masochistic wife or a forgiving Christian.  It’s whether she has an open marriage.

The press has no problems writing about thongs in the oval office (Clinton), putting women in headlocks to steal a kiss (Bob Filner, former mayor of San Diego) or the adventures of Carlos Danger (Anthony Weiner) but it gets oddly uptight at the thought of unconventional matrimony.

That’s because their readers–mainstream America –do not believe it’s possible to be in a deeply loving, committed relationship and still have sex with other people.

But many gay men do.   And that’s a fundamental difference between gay and straight perceptions of these sex scandals. 

That’s not to say that gay men aspire to relationships as porous as cheesecloth, but a good portion of them have been in relationships that allowed them, with certain rules, to wander.  Many know it’s possible to be emotionally committed and sexually unfaithful. 

Most of the letters I get after a sex scandal come from men who caught their partners cheating.   Like Hillary/Huma/Insert Aggrieved Wife Here, they think they only have two choices:  Break up or learn to forgive.

But there’s a third choice.  A choice that many political couples may have exercised, but for electoral survival, could never admit:  Allowing sex outside the marriage.

Is it possible to have a successful marriage with that kind of framework?  Yes.  But first you have to ask yourself this question: 

Can you look into the eyes of your lover and whisper “I love you; I want us to be together for the rest of our lives” and then bang the new guy at the gym without diminishing the love for your partner?

It is here, in this question, where you’ll get the full explosion of contradictory human responses.  It is here where you’ll see the delicate tendrils of social custom mix with indestructible biological imperatives and plutonium-grade hypocrisy.  A more vivid comedy, a more anguished drama, you could not create. 

Compare the public uproar over all these sex scandals and this indelicate fact:  Kinsey’s study showed that adultery occurs in 50-80% of all marriages.  That was in the 1950s.  Imagine what it is now.  Imagine what it is for gay men.

So why do we attempt something that seems universally impossible? 

Because it can often lead to the attainment of something unique, a level of love, commitment and unity that may not be achievable otherwise. 

I say “may” because I’m an agnostic on the answer.  I don’t believe monogamy is an immutable moral law precisely because society says it is.  Society has been wrong on almost everything when it comes to sex and love.  What society has said is fake, dangerous and sick (homosexuality and interracial love come to mind) I often experience as genuine, safe and healthy. 



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