Monday, August 30, 2004

Libertine vs Sex Addict

While blog surfing recently, I came upon a few blogs by “sex addicts”. Having been accused of this particular syndrome a time or two myself, I clicked on their links to read further and compare their lives to mine. On the surface, there is a similarity: an active sex life with a variety of partners.

But as I read closer, I found some crucial differences:

Compulsion/lack of control

A running theme I saw was that the sex addict doesn’t really want to have all these sexual adventures, but believe they can’t help themselves. They express a desire to stop, but feel powerless to do so.

A libertine, however, wants and desires a varied sex life and fully enjoys the diversity of experience that comes with having multiple lovers. In my case, I’ve learned a little bit from every new lover and I approach sex in much the same way a gourmet approaches food. Lovemaking is an acquired skill like any other, and I take no small pride in the sexual repertoire I’ve developed over the years.


Though the sex addict no doubt enjoys the sex while engaging in it, they commonly feel regret and disgust with themselves as soon as the hormonal surge from orgasm subsides. One blogger said, “…I sat on the bed wishing I could just disappear.”

This libertine, on the contrary, feels nothing of the sort. “Post-coital bliss” is not just a cliché to me. Instead of shame or regret, I feel exhilaration and sated satisfaction, and an “all is right with the world” feeling.


Sex addicts don't know why they keep seeking new lovers and new experiences, when deep down, they want to stay on the straight and narrow. They also know they enjoy the sexual thrill and don’t understand why they feel so bad about it afterwards. They twist themselves round and round into emotional knots and vicious circles, instead of either stopping the behavior, or engaging in it with a clear conscience.

The libertine, on the other hand, is not plagued by such conflicts. I know what I want and I actively go after it in a direct and straightforward manner, without excuses or apology. I take responsibility for my behavior and I accept any consequences that may result from it. My conscience is clear and untroubled.


Because of the shame and self-disgust sex addicts feel, dishonesty is a key component of sex addiction. A vicious circle is created when the shame and dishonesty feed upon one another. Quite a few sex addicts are married and want to remain faithful to their spouses and are distressed at the potential hurt they may cause. Yet, they continue to secretly and furtively pursue new sexual adventures, contrary to their intentions.

A libertine, on the other hand, openly pursues his or her chosen lifestyle. After my brief, youthful misadventure into marriage failed, I sat down and took a good look at who and what I was. I knew that I wasn’t monogamous and probably never would be, and that I truly enjoyed a varied sex life with multiple partners. But I also despise hypocrisy and phoniness, so I chose to honor my true nature from then on. I vowed never again to enter into a traditional marriage and to be honest about my lifestyle with each new prospective partner.

To sum it up, the libertine makes an active choice about their sexuality, where the sex addict is pushed along and controlled by their basic natures, without ever having acknowledged or accepted it.

I hope that all sex addicts will one day find the peace and self-acceptance that I currently enjoy and will no longer take for granted after reading a few of their blogs.

Friday, August 27, 2004

I'm An Animal!

OK, here's a lazy day blog post. I took a couple of those silly quizzes to see what kind of an animal I was.

What kind of cat am I?

What kind of dog am I?

just hangin
You are an Afghan hound. With long legs and a whip
like like tail you are gorgeous in the show
ring. You prefer to just hang out
with your friends. The only bad thing about you
is that you have to be brushed constantly.

What dog breed are you? Re-done with better answers and Pics. Please take!
brought to you by Quizilla

The second one is quite interesting, as I actually had an Afghan hound as a kid. And I think it would be cool to own a cougar and walk it on a leash, as Farrah Fawcett did back in the 70s on that old Mercury Cougar commercial.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Libertine Genes

I’ve been non monogamous ever since my hormones kicked in at puberty. This has always felt normal and natural to me. I’ve never felt any desire to be any different and have always been baffled and amazed by people who are able to remain monogamous for any length of time.

In my very early twenties, I was briefly married, and I tried to be monogamous to try to get along, but I wasn’t able to do it. My attempt failed after less than two weeks. If I’d known myself then as well as I do now, I’d not have gotten married in the first place, but I learned after making that one mistake, and have never seriously considered marriage since.

Despite the biology and anthropology texts I’ve read, telling me that human beings are not naturally monogamous, it is also undoubtedly true that some people are able to adjust to living monogamously much easier than others. I apparently fall way to one side of that particular bell curve.

Though I have accepted my basic nature and I am happy with it, I’ve always wondered how it came to be. The fact that I was raised by liberal, tolerant parents no doubt accounts for some of it, but it’s not the entire story.

I have two older siblings, a brother and a sister, and they are not like me. My brother is almost my total opposite. He didn’t marry until he was nearly 30 and only had a couple of girlfriends before getting married. It’s quite possible that my sister-in-law has been his only lover all these years. My sister, who is ten years my senior, told me that her ex-husband had been her only lover by the time she’d gotten married at age 25. Since her divorce, after less than ten years of marriage, she has had a few lovers, but no more than four or five, if I were to make a guess. She has not married again, though it is more because of lack of opportunity, than lack of interest.

I have an adult son. He's not much like me, either, despite the fact that I've raised him alone since he was eight months old, and I did little to hide my libertinism from him. He's had a few lovers, but they've all been in the context of exclusive relationships.

My parents were married for twenty-eight years before my mother died suddenly while only in her late 40s. My father outlived her for nearly 25 years, remaining widowed for more than a decade before marrying again when he was nearly sixty. Though I cannot say for absolute certain that neither of them ever strayed, from what I know, they were monogamous.

My mother’s sister, however, had a few affairs that the family knew about. And then while researching my family’s genealogy, working on my paternal grandmother’s line, I discovered a 3 times great grandmother (1808-1880), whom I am almost certain was a libertine. Her first two or three children had unknown fathers, of which my 2 times great grandmother was one. There are two men named as fathers of her subsequent children, about seven or eight of them, but it is unclear which man was the father of which children, as her marriages/relationships to each of these men overlapped.

I later got in contact with another of her descendants from one of her other children and this person shared some stories about our common ancestor that an elderly relative had shared with her. She told me that her family was quite exasperated with her because she had “too many men”, to use the words of my distant cousin.

After discovering all this about her, I got to thinking that perhaps the tendency to libertinism might be something inherited. This is certainly something I’d like to research further.

After learning about this ancestor, I felt an immediate affinity with her -- she was like me.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Male Chauvinist?

While talking in a chatroom some time back, one of the women in there called me a "male chauvinist". She'd clicked on my profile and found a link to this site and had read several entries. She'd called me a misogynist based simply on the fact of my libertinism, without knowing anything else about me.

Her line of reasoning was based on the erroneous logic that I could not possibly have any positive regard for women precisely because I was not monogamous, nor interested in a sexually exclusive relationship.

This assumes an awful lot that isn't necessarily accurate. First of all, her dismissal of me as a "male chauvinist" assumes that all women, without exception, are naturally monogamous and are not interested in anything but committed, exclusive relationships, and, because I am a libertine, that I couldn't possibly respect women.

While most women, for whatever reason, probably do want exclusive committed relationships, not ALL women do. My experience has borne this out time and time again. Trust me, female libertines most assuredly do exist. Just because such women may be in the minority doesn't make their preference any less true or less valid.

And I'm guessing that she assumed that I am deceiving my lovers in some way, by telling them just what they want to hear, and by making promises I have no intention of keeping, just to get them into bed.

Hardly. I figure that the women I'm interested in are fully rational adults with diverse needs and preferences, capable of making their own decisions. I don't assume that all women are sheltered innocents who are easily offended and need to be protected as if they were little children.

I always lay my cards on the table right at the beginning and every woman knows immediately knows what I am and what she can and cannot expect out of me. The choice to get involved with me is always fully theirs, even if they were the one who initially approached me.

If they can handle it, good; if they can’t, then no harm done.

And I think it works a hell of a lot better than playing games with them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A Little Porn is Good For You

PORNOGRAPHY is good for people, the academic leading a taxpayer-funded study of the subject said yesterday, as the Coalition and Labor traded jibes about an Opposition push to stop online porn reaching home computers.

Alan McKee, who with academics Catharine Lumby and Kath Albury is conducting the Understanding Pornography in Australia study, said that a survey of more than 1000 porn-users must be taken into account as Labor considers forcing all internet service providers to automatically filter hardcore porn to protect children.

"The surprising finding was that pornography is actually good for you in many ways," Dr McKee said. "When you look at people who are using it in everyday life, over 90 per cent report it has had a very positive effect."

Dr McKee said porn users reported it had taught them "to be more relaxed about their sexuality" and marriages were healthier, while porn made people think about another person's pleasure and made them less judgmental about body shapes.

(See the link at the bottom of the page to read the rest of the story.)

First of all, I find it quite disturbing that the Australian government would even consider such legislation. I’m sure that the right to free speech is as cherished an ideal in Australia as it is in the US, and this proposal is a drastic bit of censorship.

It’s one thing for parents to censor the internet viewing of their own young children by means of such devices as Net Nanny, but it’s quite another for internet service to come pre-censored for everyone, including adults. I can remember one local internet service in my community advertising their service by calling attention to the fact that their service was “pre-filtered” to screen out “objectionable“ material.

For one thing, adults are free agents who can decide what is “objectionable” for themselves and to simply not click on sites that offend them. Naturally, what is offensive is going to vary widely among people.

More importantly, who decides what is “objectionable” and where do they draw the line? Some of these “pre-filtered” services, especially those offered by internet providers run by religious conservatives, block access to sites advocating political opinions they don’t agree with, for example.

This kind of thing is a can of worms the Australian government really doesn‘t need to open. Adult internet users are quite capable of monitoring their own internet usage, and that of their children with software already available.

So far as my personal experience with online porn goes, I didn’t get my first computer until my son was seventeen. At that age, I figured he was old enough to look at anything on the net, so I’ve never monitored his computer usage. I know that he looks at it regularly, but that's his business.

I look at it myself on occasion, but not regularly. I prefer to go out and get the real thing, rather than spending hours looking at porn. I will occasionally watch a porn movie with one of my lovers to spice things up a bit, but not all that often. It’s no big deal, really.


Monday, August 16, 2004

Different Kinds of Closets

In response to my comments complimenting another person's blog, he responded with questions about mine. What follows is my reponse to him, with his comments in italics

You get right to the point as well. Case in point, "And
I am strictly heterosexual." It's forceful, it's informative, and it's
darn funny. I think I found it even more so because I'm strictly not.

My father always told me I'd never make a diplomat; that I was much too plain speaking for that. And although I'm not gay, I am a natural ally of gay people because I consider myself a sexual minority. Although het, I am not the least bit monogamous and have no desire to be. And I do not make excuses, nor do I apologize for that basic part of my nature.

I suspect that there are more people out there like me who have not come out of the monogamy closet as unambiguously as I have, but are still trying to pay lip service to the sacred cow of monogamy and are getting themselves into all sorts of trouble with their denial. Bill Clinton is a prime example of that....a libertine if I ever saw one!

I also made a post on the McGreevey incident, as you did on your blog. The basic point of my blog entry was that staying in the closet and living in denial all those years is what got him where he is today, and that there are other sorts of closets as well, specifically the one reserved for the nonmonogamous, which also lead to all sorts of trouble, as Clinton again has shown us.

I've heard the term libertine before, but I never really understood
what it meant. Is it like liberal, but not? Like libertarian, but
not? Just curious.

Check out my blog entry "Liberal Libertarian Libertine", which goes into that. One thing that is interesting to note is that even though most liberals and libertarians are not libertines, most libertines are both liberal and libertarian.
Roget's Thesaurus defines libertine as:

"Marked by an absence of conventional restraint in sexual behavior; sexually unrestrained."

I would go beyond this and say it is at core an attitude, a way of looking at the world, as well as being unrestrained in sexual behavior. It is possible to be a libertine, albeit a very frustrated one!, even when one is in a monogamous relationship or is celibate, but is unable to act out their libertine impulses in their present lives, for whatever reason. I've had several people tell me that they have the "heart of a libertine", but cannot actively express it right then because of other responsibilities, but hope to later on when circumstances in their lives allow it.

Libertine is also just another way of saying "promiscuous". It's not a new concept; as there were many people who were openly libertines in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. And, of course, libertines have always existed in actual practice, if not in philosophy.

After doing much questioning and reading into biology, anthropology, sociology, and history, I decided to accept myself and my sexual nature as I naturally am, and to come out of the monogamy closet. Life is too damned short to live in denial while trying to squeeze oneself into an ill-fitting mold. And, as gay people have claimed the word "queer", I have claimed the word "libertine" to describe who and what I am.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sex Personality Test

Here are the results of a Sex Personality Test I took at:

About This Test

Different strokes for different folks; it's a common truth that applies not only to every day life and habits, but also to the secretive world of the bedroom. What starts one person's engines may repulse another, and everyone expresses the natural human need for sexual intimacy in a unique and individual way.

That's the beauty of mankind - we are not homogeneous robots. Just as we love and communicate with others in different ways, so we bring diverse styles with us into the sack. These approaches to sex stem from a wide range of factors; how in touch we are with our sensual side, the way we learned about sex as we grew up, our moral and religious beliefs, the strength of our need to express ourselves sexually and the physical relationships we've had in the past. And our loving style may or not change and evolve throughout our lifetime, depending on experiences and level of contentment with the way things are.

All this is to say that, as in other personality characteristics like introversion or extroversion, there is no right or wrong way to be. Some people simply don't desire sex, or choose to abstain completely, while others continue to experiment and explore their sexual sides for an entire lifetime. The direction you lean towards doesn't matter; what is important is being satisfied with the way you are and accepting your uniqueness. As Todd Ruthman once said, "It's the things in common that make relationships enjoyable, but it's the little differences that make them interesting."

Attitude Index = 94Your score
Spice Index = 77Your score
Sexual Daredevil Index = 71Your score

The results of the test suggest that you are very open-minded when it comes to sexuality. You seem to welcome new experiences within the realm of sex and even if you aren't comfortable with a particular ingredient of sex, you are very nonjudgmental of those who indulge themselves. You are not threatened by the diverse sexual tastes that make this world go round. In fact, you seem to be willing to tolerate sexual behavior that colors outside of the lines of 'normalcy,' as long as both partners are into it. Keep up the healthy attitude!

According to the test results you seem to be one gutsy love-maker! You are evidently willing to experiment and are adept at using your creative instincts in the bedroom. Your approach is playful and fun. Amongst mutually consenting adults, your bedroom manner pulsates with life and love!

According to the Sexual Daredevil Index, you are a wild and untamed animal that prowls stealthily by night and day. You are a free roaming sexual being that will not be confined to the bedroom! Sexual captivity is your worst nightmare. You are a curious, adventurous animal and a dyed in the wool sensation seeker.

According to this assessment, there are things that would turn you on, but for whatever reason, you don't indulge yourself.

If this is because your partner has made it clear that s/he doesn't want to go there, then don't push it. Instead, design a smooth plan composed of engaging non-threatening small steps that will be appealing to both of you. Gradually, you can help your partner embark on a journey of exploration that s/he would not dare to take on her/his own.

What does your score mean?
Results of Your Sex Personality Test

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Libertine Guidelines

In my years as a libertine, I’ve learned through trial and error that some basic, flexible guidelines help me to make the most of the lifestyle I’ve chosen, with as few hassles as possible.

The most important rule is that anyone I have sex with for whatever reason must be a fully consenting legal adult, needless to say. This is to protect myself and make my life easier. The fact that teenagers tend to get on my nerves makes this rule easy to keep.

Condoms are important for one night stands, though I do tend to dispense with them fairly early on in an ongoing relationship. I also do not get into relationships with active alcoholics, drug users, or those with major mental illnesses. And I am strictly heterosexual.

Another strict rule is to never make a promise I have no intention of keeping, because it will bite me in the ass every time. This goes for both one-time deals and for ongoing relationships.

For a one night stand encounter, I make it quite clear at the outset, that I’m not interested in anything more than the one time. It’s important to me that anyone I have sex with be doing so fully informed and of their own free will. I’ve been turned down many times, but it’s no big deal. For every one who is offended by the idea of casual sex simply for it’s own sake, there are others who are turned on by it. At the end of such an encounter, I tell them I’ve enjoyed it and say goodbye, with none of this "I’ll call you" bullshit.

For ongoing relationships, both casual and of the more emotional variety, explicit honesty is even more essential. At the beginnings of such relationships, I tell them upfront that I am a libertine, and just what that entails. I stress that I will never be faithful to them -- even if I come to love them in the course of the relationship and that I do not believe in legal marriage. (I was married once, very briefly, in the early 80s, but I’ll not do that again). I also tell them that I don’t expect them to be faithful to me. I am not attracted by clingy women with no life of their own. If they can deal with that, we give it a try and see how it works out; if not, then no harm done.

I tend to prefer married women, or those in long term "marriage clone" relationships, as they usually have other things in their lives important to them and don’t need me to "take care of them" or are looking for a husband. I will not get involved in any kind of ongoing relationship with a married woman in any kind of abusive situation, however, as I have no desire to get involved in the middle of shit like that, nor do I want to possibly make things worse for her.

When I do get involved in a satisfactory ongoing relationship with a married woman, I am discreet, doing nothing to call attention to our relationship in public. Nor do I have any interest in getting between her and her husband. Their marriage is their private business and I have absolutely no interest in it, whatsoever.

I also have had ongoing relationships with unattached women, though these can sometimes be more complicated than with those in other ongoing relationships. One common problem that occurs is that the woman might be able to accept non monogamy intellectually, but as the relationship progresses, she finds she can’t quite accept it emotionally. Several times, either consciously or unconsciously, the woman has hoped that once love has entered the picture, that I’ll suddenly decide I want to be monogamous, after all, and want to get married, just as it happens in romance novels. Unfortunately, I’ve had a few relationships to end because this issue could not be resolved between us. The most successful relationships I’ve had with unattached women have all been with those who are very independent and who are usually libertines as well.

Nothing is hassle-free in life, but this has worked well for me in 30+ years of being sexually active.

Saturday, August 7, 2004

The Libertine in Romance Novels

A few of my lovers are avid readers of romance novels. One day, I decided to read a few to see what the fuss was all about. I quickly discovered that libertines figure frequently in romance fiction, particularly in the historical romance subgenre and what is known as the "steamy" category. The basic theme of such novels is loosely "Good Girl Tames Bad Boy".

The male character, variously described as a "libertine", "rake", "rogue", or "scoundrel", is usually in his late 20s to late 30s, has never been married, and lives a sexually unrestrained lifestyle, having many lovers. The female character is almost always a virgin, ranging in age from late teens to around 30. There are some exceptions to this, there are some "ruined" females, that is, one who has had sex at least once, usually several years before, but who is now paying for her "mistake" with the prospect of lifelong spinsterhood. A few novels feature widows, usually in dire financial straits. In one novel by Susan Johnson (who writes excellent sex scenes, by the way), there is a woman in her late 20s who could just about be described as a libertine herself, having had lovers without the expectation of marriage.

A typical theme of such novels is that the couple meets, usually with the male helping the woman out of one type of scrape or another. The male is captivated at once by this woman, while simultaneously being irritated by her. The woman is attracted immediately as well, though many times will try to deny it for half the book. His "bad boy" aura draws her like a moth to a flame, but the good girl in her feels as if she "shouldn't" be attracted to someone like that. But as she gets to know him and realizes he's a lot more interesting, alive, and fun than the men she's known previously, she gives in to him, sometimes sooner, sometimes later.

In some instances, the male character remains an active, unrepentant libertine almost to the end of the novel. But more often, almost as soon as the man meets the woman, he suddenly loses interest in his libertine lifestyle, all because he can't get this woman out of his mind and that she's totally different from any other woman he's ever known. He will either immediately become celibate or faithful to the new woman, if they've had sex earlier, rather than later. Another common running theme in some novels, particularly those by Cheryl Holt (who also writes excellent sex scenes), is that the man is a libertine because of some type of psychological damage as a child, that he is really "good", but his libertinism is a defense mechanism in response to his unfortunate childhood. Oh please, spare me the psychobabble!

Regardless of variations in plot, the endings are always the same, without exception. The man loses all interest in continuing his libertine lifestyle and suddenly realizes that all he ever wanted, after all, was a conventional, monogamous marriage, like "everyone else". The characters get married and have a completely conventional marriage, from that moment forward. Now, there's nothing wrong with this ending on occasion, but it's trite, tiresome, and unrealistic to have it every time. Predictability is boring. Considering that the reason that the woman was attracted to the man in the first place was precisely because he was a "bad boy", having him turn into a domesticated male like the ones who had bored her in the past would tend not to bode well for their future relationship.

In the Susan Johnson novel, "Seduction in Mind", which had the rare combination of a sexually experienced female with a libertine male, I'd had hopes that it would end differently, with a more unconventional relationship. As Johnson had avoided the tiresome cliche of virgin female paired with a psychologically tortured male libertine, I'd thought that this book might be different. But no, it ended as all the others did. Sigh. This was especially disappointing, because Johnson's books are otherwise a cut above most such books of this genre, in that she's done extensive research to get the historical details correct; her books come complete with footnotes detailing her research.

I'm suspecting that one big reason why these books always end the same way is that publishers have decided that their female readers want them to end this way. This is no doubt true in most cases, but I'm sure many readers would also like to see novels with less predictable endings. But considering that the sacred cow of monogamy runs deep through every facet of our culture, I doubt readers will see anything different in romance fiction any time soon.

Monday, August 2, 2004

Slippery Slopes and Red Herrings, Left and Right

One argument frequently given by opponents of same-sex marriage is that if such marriages are legalized, then what is stopping the government from legalizing polygamy as well. "There isn’t a single argument in favor of same-sex marriage that isn’t also an argument in favor of polygamy –- people have a right to marry who they love, these relationships already exist," said Maggie Gallagher, a columnist in favor of the federal marriage amendment.

Many supporters of same sex marriage call this concern a red herring. They are quick to disassociate themselves with any sort of marriage which contains more than two people. In response to a question by conservative journalist George Will, Barney Frank said, "Some distinctions are hard to draw. But the difference between two people and three people is almost always clear. It is responsible for a society to say, ‘Look, you can do what you want personally. If three people want to have sex together, that’s not against the law. But when it comes to being married and institutionalizing these legal relationships with regards to the ownership of property and children, then we believe a three-way operation is likely to cause difficulty, friction with the children.’"

Author Jonathan Rauch is quite explicit in his repudiation of nonmonogamous relationships, throwing in his own red herring by illogically lumping all forms of nonmonogamy together with incest. "Anyone who can love two women can also love one of them. People who insist on marrying their mother or several lovers want an additional (and weird) marital option," Rauch said in an article, "Marrying Somebody" posted on the Indpendent Gay Forum. "Homosexuals currently have no marital option at all. A demand for polygamous or incestuous marriage is thus frivolous in a way that the demand for gay marriage is not." Rauch went on to assert in the same article, "But there are ample grounds to oppose polygamous and incestuous marriage, grounds that have nothing to do with whether gay people will be allowed to partake of society's most stabilizing, civilizing institution. I don't ask to break the rules that we all depend on. I just want to be allowed to follow them."

When referring to "polygamy", what commentators, both liberal and conservative, almost always mean is the extreme brand of patriarchal, religion-based polygyny practiced by renegade Mormons. "Polygamy", according to the dictionary, is either men or women having multiple spouses, with "polygyny" meaning one man, multiple wives and "polyandry" meaning one woman, multiple husbands. Rarely, if ever, are the more modern, egalitarian forms of committed multipartner unions considered, such as polyamory.

I have more patience with conservative commentators who make these assertions, because at least they are being consistent. I have absolutely no use for so-called liberals who resort to the same sort of slippery slope arguments, because they should know better. Indeed, these very same red herrings were used to oppose mixed race marriages a generation ago. Gay rights activists should also remember the same types of disassociations made by some some feminists in the 1970s and 80s, who saw the issue of gay rights as holding back the cause of women's rights. In the 19th century, some abolitionists distanced themselves from the women's suffrage issue because they believed that it hindered the push for the rights of black men. Such types of sellouts are nothing new.

I believe that as long as legal marriage exists, along with all the legal benefits and perks that go with it, that it should be available to both same-sex and multi-partner unions, as well as traditional monogamous, heterosexual couples. However, I still think my idea of abolishing marriage altogether and kicking the government out of everyone's bedrooms, and delinking benefits from relationship status is the saner way to go.