MSN.com reports on “The New Monogamy” [since deleted], which is the new term for what people called “open marriage” in the ’70′s. The idea is, you and your spouse decide on certain rules. You’re allowed to kiss other people, but not sleep with them. Or you’re allowed to sleep with other people, but only when you’re away on business trips. Or you’re allowed to have orgies, while your spouse has a different orgy in another room of your abode.
It’s not a case of eroded values; that’s what cheating is about. This is about reconsidering the definition of an institution that has a failure rate of 52% – namely traditional marriage. It would at least seem to reduce the dishonesty and betrayal factor of cheating – which most of my married friends consider far more heartbreaking than the actual event of extracurricular sex. But my point here is not to assess the merits of this idea – I’ll leave that for others more qualified.
My point is: will we be seeing this on TV? If it becomes more normal, or trendy, or what people are doing, then it’ll be what people are relating to, or are curious about, or find sexy. So will it infiltrate TV shows? Will these skanky TV couples who are cheating on their spouses or on sworn duty be replaced by people who openly have sex on the side within agreed-upon parameters? (HBO’s Big Love doesn’t count: polygamy is traditional in its own way, not a new idea.)
My guess is no – at least not here in the US. Either it will be deemed too Morally Corrupt for American Eyes, or it will be seen as not sexy enough for the very reason that it lacks the dishonesty and betrayal factor that makes for “dramatic tension”.