A colleague mentioned that she was watching a movie that included a scene with couples tossing their keys into a bowl, and at that moment her teenage daughter walked into the room. Confused by the scene, the daughter asked why the couples were tossing keys in a bowl, and my colleague explained the concept of a key party. The daughter responded that the behavior they were demonstrating was “reckless” and my colleague wholeheartedly agreed.
I asked her why it was reckless. She stared at me, without responding, for a few moments, before asking me how it wasn’t reckless.
I pointed out that in a previous conversation, she mentioned she wasn’t a virgin before she got married. How was sleeping with several partners while single any more “reckless” than after marriage? She didn’t have a response other than “Well, ya know…” and changing the subject.
There are, of course, risks to sexual behavior. Any sexual behavior. You can be a virgin and contract HIV from your virgin partner on your wedding night (after they contracted it through a blood transfusion). The risks aren’t just limited to disease either; sex intimately involves us with others, and that leaves open the door for emotional pain as well.
There are plenty of dangers in simply leaving your house, crossing the street, or driving your car. Though statistically you’re more likely to die in a car than you are to contract AIDS, mothers around the world aren’t condemning driving as reckless. There are ways to recklessly engage in sex (e.g. not using condoms) and there are ways to drive recklessly (e.g. driving under the influence). That does not mean that all sex, or are all driving, is reckless behavior.
We’re led to believe that monogamy is normal and all things non-monogamous are abnormal and, moreover, bad, sinful, and, of course, reckless. The idea of monogamy is so ingrained in our society that any other relationship configuration is dismissed out-of-hand. The vast majority of those who make statements about non-monogamy have given very little, if any, consideration to the subject. Pointing out the fallacies in their arguments forces people to give the subject some thought and, in turn, might make them more aware of their prejudice.