Lots of people are involved in unsatisfactory and unhappy relationships. The divorce rate in the United Kingdom, with some forty two percent of all marriages ending in divorce, attests to that. Often it is a couple’s sex life which bears the brunt of the blame for the end of marital bliss. It is harder to pretend when you cannot get it up for your waiting spouse. Many marriages become more like sibling relationships, duty bound minus the physical affection. Husband swapping: a feminist perspective. Does a night in the sack with someone new offer an antidote for the bedroom blues?
For some women in the right circumstances this can be a rewarding experience. A consensual non-monogamous relationship can provide the right couple with opportunities to stay together without missing out on some passion in their lives. The question, however, may arise, as to why the non-sexually active couple want to stay together anyway. Children are one very obvious answer, when the couple have children and do not want to disrupt the lives of their kids through separation. In the sophisticated world we now inhabit, compartmentalising parts of our lives in terms of where we spend our time and what we do with a variety of people is no longer such an alien concept for some.
Husband-Swapping: A Feminist Perspective
However, for many women, the role of the husband is inextricably tied up with things like ownership and physical intimacy is linked to that possessiveness. For these women their men earn the right to have sexual congress with them through doing the right thing as husbands and fathers within their nuclear family structure. Polyamatory or husband swapping is not going to work for these women. Conceptions of love and human relationships are for most folks bound up in tradition and religious groups have a lot to say in this space.
Feminists have previously discussed polygamy in terms of women sharing household duties to lessen the workload of individual women within traditional marriages. Relationships are constructed of various parts: there is the sexual/procreative aspect; then, there are the mundane duties involved in day to day living like working, eating, cleaning and sleeping. Surrounding these parts is the haze of love and romance; permeating, initially, much of the couple’s relationship. For many people it is this haze that eventually lifts and sometimes couples then find themselves living with people they have nothing in common with. A night of husband swapping may provide temporary relief, but in this circumstance is no long term solution.