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  • Translator: Johannes Duschner Reviewer: Ivana Krivokuća

  • Wow, hello, everyone.

  • I'm going to put down my phone,

  • and totally resist the urge to snap a selfie to prove I was actually here.

  • As Riaz said, my name is Jessica O'Reilly,

  • and I am a sexologist.

  • A sexologist is, in fact, a real thing.

  • Do you believe me?

  • Three of you, okay.

  • So you're all on the side of my parents, I get it, that's cool, no problem.

  • I got the tiger mom.

  • Well, a sexologist; what does that mean?

  • That means,

  • I spend a whole lot of time talking about sex.

  • And almost no time actually having it.

  • (Laughter)

  • But I'm here today to talk to you about a serious subject.

  • We are in a time of crisis.

  • We have a global epidemic on our hands and it's airborne.

  • It affects the young and the old and knows no geographical bounds.

  • Now, this problem is not unlike other widespread crises,

  • the economy, climate change for instance.

  • But this crisis effects more of us,

  • in a more personal and perceptible fashion.

  • It tears families apart.

  • It takes the most detrimental toll on the most vulnerable among us

  • and it's contagious.

  • It's spreading.

  • Yet somehow, we're captivated by it.

  • I'm talking about the crisis of the modern monogamous marriage.

  • Now, if I were to make you a 50/50 offer in any realm of your life,

  • would you take it?

  • If I said, invest in my fund,

  • there's a 50 per cent chance you'll see a return.

  • Or sign this business deal,

  • you've got a 50 percent chance of failure, but hey, why not?

  • Or hop on this flight,

  • you've got a 50/50 shot at making it to your destination safely.

  • Even if I offered you two free checked bags,

  • (Laughter)

  • you'd probably say no.

  • But the modern monogamous marriage

  • offers even lower statistical odds

  • when you factor in divorce rates and the rates of infidelity.

  • Now, in North America, divorce rates are over 40 percent,

  • higher, if you count your second and third marriages.

  • In my family sometimes we go on even above three.

  • Four, five, and six.

  • You know already about my husband's fights

  • because of Riaz.

  • So I might as well divulge some info.

  • Infidelity rates in North America are between 25 and 45 percent,

  • depending on who's asking and who drank their truth serum this morning.

  • And research suggests

  • that satisfaction rates in marriage plummet

  • after the honeymoon phase, never to recover.

  • Scary.

  • Now, many young people are actually opting not to get married.

  • Marriage rates are on the decline.

  • Maybe because they've heard that research shows

  • that married people are, in fact, no happier

  • than their single counterparts.

  • And have you heard of mate poaching?

  • Apparently, 60 percent of men -

  • shame, shame -

  • and 54 percent of women -

  • we're not better, not much better -

  • have tried to woo someone away from their current spouse.

  • What is going on?

  • So when we combine these statistics, we look at the numbers.

  • We see that in marriage

  • 50/50 is in fact a best case scenario.

  • Marriage is in a time of crisis.

  • Now, I'm not suggesting that we do away with marriage; I'm a fan of marriage.

  • I even picked one up for myself.

  • (Laughter)

  • I've been happily married to my husband for eight years,

  • living with him for 13.

  • What I am saying is that marriage is a failure in human design.

  • It doesn't matter that research says that marriage is good for my health

  • and even better for men's health, somehow they always win.

  • And it doesn't matter that we all go into marriage

  • with the most noble of intentions, right?

  • To live happily ever after, to love our partner unconditionally,

  • to help them grow into the best version of themselves.

  • Because it doesn't always end up this way.

  • Because of this failure in human design,

  • marriage can be restrictive in personal growth,

  • and even repressive in its demands of absolute monogamy.

  • In any other realm,

  • if we saw failure rates like we see in marriage,

  • we would do something about it.

  • When the markets tumble, we do something about it;

  • we adjust interest rates,

  • we enact austerity measures,

  • we develop stimulus packages.

  • Right?

  • (Laughter)

  • If a car malfunctions in some way,

  • we issue a recall, so that we can repair it.

  • And if a superbug is unresponsive to a current vaccination,

  • we go back to the lab to develop a new formulation.

  • When something doesn't work,

  • when anything doesn't work, we innovate.

  • So why do we accept the monogamous marriage

  • in its current form, despite its design flaws?

  • Could our relationships not benefit from a stimulus package?

  • A temporary recall.

  • Just overnight.

  • (Laughter)

  • Isn't it time we go back to the lab to dissect the issues,

  • challenge the failing norm, and innovate?

  • Now, some couples have already done this.

  • They reject monogamy altogether.

  • Swingers for instance, I know a lot of them.

  • Surprise, surprise, the sexologist says.

  • They have sex with other people and it works for them.

  • Polyamorous have emotional, intimate, loving, and sexual relationships

  • with multiple partners and it works for them.

  • And open relationships come in a huge range of forms

  • that are custom designed by every couple

  • or threesome or foursome, or moresome,

  • 00:07:06,973 --> 00:07:10,014 Now, I know many couples for whom open relationships have worked,

  • Rosa and Dan for instance.

  • After 22 years of marriage, they said, "Something's gotta give."

  • Their words, not mine.

  • So they decided to open their relationship up

  • and now they have lovers across North America,

  • and they couldn't be happier.

  • But like monogamy,

  • open relationships only work for a very small number of people.

  • An estimated four to five, not 45, four to five percent have tried it

  • with a good degree of success.

  • The problem with open relationships is that most of us just don't want one.

  • We're okay with other people being open,

  • but we don't want to share our partners.

  • Happily ever after with one true soul mate

  • has been too firmly ingrained in our subconciousness, since birth.

  • So what we've determined so far

  • is that over here we have the monogamous.

  • Monogamy works for a small number of people.

  • Over here we have the non-monogamous,

  • and that works for an even smaller percentage of people.

  • And the rest of us,

  • we fall somewhere in between.

  • So what about the rest of us?

  • Cheating isn't an option.

  • I'm not even going to go there.

  • So how do we find our happily ever after?

  • Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed guests,

  • I submit to you

  • that the solution is to consider

  • the gray area of the monogamish.

  • (Laughter)

  • This term has been around for some time.

  • I remember hearing it as a kid

  • when I shouldn't have been listening to my parents friends

  • back in the 80s, but it became popularized by sex columnists,

  • Dan Savage, more recently.

  • And Dan used this term to describe his relationship

  • in which he is emotionally, and practically, and lovingly

  • monogamous with his partner,

  • but sexually they're allowed to do other things.

  • So to me, that's more of an open relationship.

  • So what I suggest is that we fine-tune the term -

  • the philosophy of monogamish -

  • to make it more accessible to the rest of us,

  • who fall into this gray area.

  • Let's use monogamish

  • to take the monotony out of monogamy

  • in a way that preserves the sanctity,

  • the safety, and the comfort of our relationships.

  • So, monogamish, what might this look like?

  • Monogamish couples might look to extramarital sources

  • for sexual stimulation.

  • But only in thought, not in action.

  • So if I'm monogamish,

  • there might have been a volunteer backstage

  • that was kinda cute.

  • So I took a second look.

  • I hope I didn't make him uncomfortable, never making him uncomfortable.

  • I might have had a break and thought about him a little.

  • I might think about him later tonight.

  • (Laughter)

  • But I'm never going to act upon that thought.

  • And this thought and thoughts like it

  • that are forbidden in so many monogamous relationships,

  • admitting to this thought serves to further stabilize my relationship

  • because when we put these forbidden thoughts

  • out in the open,

  • we serve to reduce their power, and we decrease the likelihood

  • that we'll actually act upon them.

  • So, we have thought, but not action,

  • and then we have talk, but not touch.

  • So monogamish couples might look to extramarital sources

  • for sexual arousal and pleasure in a talk format with no touch.

  • Flirting with other people comes to mind as a really good example of this.

  • So, bear with me a moment.

  • Picture this: you're at a bar, you're with you partner.

  • Say you're with your husband.

  • And there's a waitress and she's kinda cute.

  • Not too cute.

  • (Laughter)

  • We all have our limits.

  • So you tease him a little:

  • "She's really cute, isn't she? I think she was checking you out.

  • You look hot tonight, Babe."

  • She totally wasn't checking him out,

  • but they all like a good stroking of the ego.

  • With your coaxing, maybe, he even flirts with her a little.

  • Maybe you get in on that flirting, too.

  • Obviously showing her the utmost respect and respect for your relationship.

  • At the end of the night, you go home together,

  • you and your husband, not the waitress.

  • (Laughter)

  • Let's be clear here.

  • You go home and you continue the fantasy.

  • You weave it in the bedroom.

  • You even talk about having a threesome.

  • "Oh Babe, you look so hot tonight.

  • I totally want to bring her home with us.

  • Yeah, I'd love to, absolutely, don't you want four hands on you?

  • Can't you imagine, I'd love to share you."

  • It's just talk.

  • You pull out all the stops.

  • You drive him into a frenzy

  • and then you both get off, you have a great time.

  • When you're done,

  • you take him by the hand and look him in the eye and you say,

  • "Don't even think about it."

  • (Laughter)

  • And he knows and says,

  • "Of course not, Babe, that was amazing, thank you.

  • You're all I want.

  • Can I get you anything, a beer or a cheeseburger?"

  • (Laughter)

  • Isn't that how it should always end?

  • Alright.

  • You break the norms of rigid monogamy without ever touching another person.

  • It's just talk.

  • All the flirting, all the fantasy, the four hands, the waitress.

  • You're never going to that bar again, by the way.

  • So one shot deal.

  • It's just talk, nothing more.

  • Now, we have thought, but not action.

  • We have talk, but not touch.

  • And then we have couples,

  • who make this foray into monogamish territory, and they love it.

  • They relish in it, and they say,

  • "You know what? Things have never been better.