Jenny Block gets us more good ink
Baltimore's big, much-read alternative newsweekly turns a book review of Jenny Block's Open into a long feature:
Jenny Block and Other Spouses in Open Relationships Refuse to Let Monogamy Ruin Their Marriages
By Heather Harris
Whom and how would you love if no one ever told you how it was "supposed" to be done?
...Think about it for a moment. Would you love men or women? Would you love for life? Would you love in series or in parallel? If you loved in parallel, would you tell each partner about the others? What would you do if you had to create the rules from scratch?
The circumstances of author Jenny Block's life led her to wrestle with these questions as few of us do. In her new book, Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage (Seal Press), Block traces her path from monogamy to infidelity to polyamory, being in an intimate relationship with more than one person....
Polyamory may have an established presence in urban "alternative" communities, but Block is telling her story from the suburbs. The thirtysomething girl next door, the one with the handsome WASP-y husband and the adorable young daughter... has her husband's blessing to engage in sexual relationships outside of their marriage. And what she has learned by flouting relationship convention so thoroughly is surprisingly, universally relevant.
...Block convinced her husband to try a threesome with her and her friend, a much-younger firecracker named Lisbeth. Christopher agreed, not without some reservation, and one night the girls tag-teamed him. "I was watching them," Block says on the phone from her home outside Dallas. "And I had this moment of, `Are you completely insane? She's 16 years his junior. She's hot. She's much more fun and entertaining than you are. How long do you think it's going to be before he leaves you for her?'"
But Lisbeth didn't want to be a wife and mother right then, and Christopher didn't want to be married to anyone but Block. So while their first foray into polyamory hit a few snags, it didn't threaten the integrity of the marriage or cause either spouse to question his or her desire to be there. It was a watershed experience for both of them.
...Block isn't trying to sell polyamory as some sort of utopia. "My husband can leave me just as easily as anyone else's," she says. "It's just that if he wants to see if the grass is greener, he can jump over the fence, that's all. In some ways I think being allowed that freedom keeps him from running off into the next pasture. There's no fantasy about what else is out there. Go ahead, look, have at it." She stops to think for a minute. "In the end, I think marriage and relationships all bear striking similarity to one another in that we all face the same issues once we settle down with one person. Yeah, you can leave your wife for your secretary, but it won't be long before your secretary turns into your wife."
..."I totally see why people follow convention," she says candidly. "People don't want other people to be different and they don't want them to be happy when they're different, because then the implication is that they could live differently, too. A lot of people just can't face that."
Block's larger goal for her book is to make it easier for people to live differently in all sorts of ways. Open doesn't just explore polyamory; it explores what it is to be a woman, a wife, a mother, a bisexual, a breaker of convention, and a married person in America. And with each exploration, Block suggests that people should have more latitude and responsibility to do what feels right and works for them.
Read the whole article (July 30, 2008).
Next up: in Charlottesville, Virginia, the alternative newspaper The Hook did a nice writeup prior to Block's appearance and reading in town:
"It was weird that it wasn't weird."
That's how Jenny Block, author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, describes the first sexual encounter she and her husband had with a mutual friend as part of their open marriage. According to Block, the friend was "a younger, hilarious, intelligent woman," and their relationship lasted for years....
Whole article (July 17, 2008).
Here's a short interview with Block in the June 12th Quick DFW, a free weekly paper in her Dallas hometown (published by the mainstream Dallas Morning News).
Keep up with her media notices and book-tour adventures at her book blog.
She is also writing regular columns for Tango magazine and The Huffington Post.