Robin Rinaldi wanted kids. Her husband, Scott, did not. The impasse in their 18-year-old marriage led to an interesting “solution.” They would trade monogamy for an “open” relationship in order to save it.
What could possibly go wrong?
Rinaldi, a freelance writer from San Francisco, was already disappointed with her marriage, but when her husband refused to have kids – and got a vasectomy to guarantee it – she adopted a desperate plan to safeguard her femininity and happiness. She recommended the two of them openly entertain other sexual partners to increase their pleasure and fulfillment…oh, and avoid the time-consuming “sneaking around” required by private affairs.
Scott consented, and during the year-long experiment, his unsatisfied wife rented an apartment and met with lovers – both male and female – throughout the week, and then returned home to him on the weekends. There were rules, of course; three to be precise. First, all sex had to be safe. Second, they couldn’t have sex with mutual friends. And finally, there could be no long-term relationships. With the parameters in place – parameters they’d both disregard across the coming year – there was nothing left for Robin to do but place an ad….
“I’m a 44-year-old professional, educated, attractive woman in an open marriage seeking single men aged 35-50 to help me explore my sexuality. You must be trustworthy, smart, and skilled at conversation as well as in bed. Our time together will be limited to three dates as I cannot become seriously involved.”
It didn’t take long for Rinaldi to attract suitors; by day’s end, she had 23 offers. Her book, The Wild Oats Project: One Woman’s Midlife Quest for Passion at Any Cost, chronicles the various lovers, locations, and libido the 44-year-old wife experienced. The pages don’t pull many punches. Her reflections are as graphic as they are sad. When she says “at any cost,” that’s exactly what she means.
“I wanted their smells, their stomachs, their grasping hands, and hungry mouths. The more maleness I had, the more female I could be. I sought it out despite the warnings of concerned friends, the obvious pain I was causing my husband, the moral code and defining boundaries of the self I’d known for 44 years. Come what may, I would be ravished, and then they could leave.”
When the year ended, Robin moved back in with Scott, but the damage had been done. “After you open up a marriage and experience a whole range of sexual variety and aspects of yourself you’ve never had before, it’s hard to put everything back in the box,” she laments. “You’re changed.”
Yes, changed. And shortchanged.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)