Black Swan: A Metaphor For Marriage?

I don’t go to church much anymore, if at all. I did when I was younger; my mother made me dress up in those cutesy frilly dresses with lace socks and shiny black patten leather shoes–dresses that matched the ones my younger sister wore. I even attended mass in high school, where I would sit and unravel the long piece of yarn I wrapped around my boyfriend’s class ring so it would fit my finger. But as I got older my visits became less frequent. When I did go it was usually in hopes that the sermon on that particular Sunday might contain some nugget of wisdom that could help me gain clarity about an issue or challenge I faced. And, because I think most of us open our eyes to envision the right route at the precise moment we’re ready, it often happened.

Eventually, though, the drama, ritual, and pretense of organized religion became too much for me personally so I quit going. But these revelations didn’t stop revealing themselves to me; I just found them in a more familiar setting: at the movies! One of the most prophetic pictures of my past was The Matrix, with its Alice in Wonderland subtext and sapient story of enlightenment and redemption through personal choice (red pill or blue pill?). And recently it happened again with this year’s astonishingly brilliant “Black Swan.”

The story is of a psychologically and sexually repressed ballet dancer who is technically precise enough to dance the role of the White Swan to perfection, but lacks the depth and personal (aka sexual) experience to adequately embody the Black Swan, the White Swan’s evil and seductive twin. She’s beautiful and captivating as the White Swan but, as her choreographer in the movie asks her dance partner: “Honestly, would you fuck that girl?’ His answer is no.

So this brings me to my epiphany. You know, the one that reminded me of the deeper meanings of life I used to seek in church? It occurred to me that, in the beginning of our relationships (like marriage), as we work to woo the object of our affections, we often embody the Black Swan in our passion and desire. Yet as time goes on and we fill our days with the often oppressing realities of everyday life–the broken bones, broken promises, broken pipes, and broken dreams–we come to personify the White Swan with the precision to tackle life’s dirty details but lacking the sizzle that keeps it smokin hot.

In thinking about my own relationships I realized that I had come to exemplify the White Swan to my spouse (and he had become mine) but I’ve symbolized the Black Swan to my sweethearts. In contrast, my lovers have been my Black Swans while they typically retained the role of White Swan to their wives. [If you don’t believe me think about the last time you made love to your spouse. Yes, I’m sure there are a few Demi & Ashtons out there but I bet most of us didn’t begin with a powerful, passionate embrace, barely making it through the door and beyond before ripping each other’s clothes off. Just sayin].

So given this idea that marriage might cause previously passionate people to evolve into sexual complaciency (I’m not even sure that’s what it is), is there hope for retaining that heat long after the flame may have flickered out? And what about folks who met and married young–being surely passionate but potentially lacking in sufficient sexual sophistication to embody the Black Swan at all. Are they doomed to a life of marital White Swan sex?

It seems to me there are a few choices that we face if we want to keep the spice in our sex lives:

  • We can work to recreate the Black Swan roles with our partners, who probably love us enough to do it but might struggle to step outside of long-held relationship roles that hold us firmly in their grasp. I’m thinking role play or other practices that help us suspend our existing beliefs or possible limitations.
  • We can live with it the way it is, ignoring our Black Swan selves in hopes that they miraculously go away (not likely).
  • We can love and accept our White Swan spouses and continue to fulfill our Black Swan desires on the side (hopefully openly & honestly). The risk with this, in my opinion, is that we often equate Black Swan desire with “love” and mistake the heat generated through those relationships as somehow more valid and valuable than the relationships we have with our partners.

I realize I have painted a picture that looks a little black and white. And I know life isn’t necessarily just like the movie; where the struggle between archetypes, this battle for supremacy between the light and the dark–the sexually virtuous and virginal vs. the shadowy and seductive–inevitably ends as one wins out over the other. No, my guess is that there’s a lot more grey area in between. And I assure you I’ll keep looking for that happy place–the one where the yin and the yang can coexist peacefully together.

Finding my lost voice.

I’ve been wanting to start this blog for some time. I used to write a blog about Second Life–the online virtual world where I first began meandering down my personal path of polyamory and open relationships. But once I left Second Life I stopped writing and it felt like I no longer had a voice. That all ends today, for I’ve found my voice again.

Hopefully you’ll find that my blog might be a bit different from others you may have read on the topic of open relationships. It’s not my style to share details about specific situations or experiences I’ve had. Nor do I plan to dish every detail of my salacious sex life on these pages. No, this blog is where I plan to explore the myriad complexities that are natural accompaniments to living in polyamorous or open relationships. And hopefully you’ll find the topics I explore here helpful if you’re likewise dabbling in this rewarding lifestyle.

Because this topic tends to lean toward the controversial, I must ask that you please be respectful of others who might share opinions here that diverge from your own. We’ve done a terrible job as a culture creating a supportive environment where topics like open marriage can be discussed without judgement and ridicule. And that’s exactly why I have decided to write about it. So please share your opinions and thoughts but do so in a considerate, respectful manner.

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