I have just recently finished the book, "Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free" by Wednesday Martin. For a guy like me who has written on female sexuality (and how it pertains to relationship, marriage and infidelity), this is not what I would call a major eye-opener of a book. In fact, I am going to go out on a limb and say that I agree with most of what Ms. Martin says. There's nothing really ground-breaking here for me or for most of my readers. We're not her target audience, after all.
What IS interesting to me is that she has unknowingly written what may be the most intensely anti-marriage mainstream book I've read in quite some time. It's well-written. It's smart. It's funny. Yes, she approaches her subject from an unabashedly feminist perspective, using history and evolutionary psychology to build her case, but the conclusions are the same as your typical angry 20-something guy ranting about women on Reddit:
What I think Martin fails to appreciate is how much of a "holy shit" this is for one particular (and important) section of our population: Monogamous men that are looking to settle down with one woman for the rest of their lives.
I can just picture some normal guy with a good job, healthy 401k and a girlfriend of three years he's about to propose to. He's aimlessly walking through the book store and sees a copy of this book prominently displayed along with other seedy "sex" and "relationship" books. He picks it up, takes a look... reads a few pages... and mindlessly takes it over to the coffee shop area. A few chapters and one large cappucino later, and he's angrily texting his girlfriend. "We need to talk."
On a big picture scale, what may be seen as an understandably "empowering" and "freeing" sexual manifesto for many women will be used by a GIANT chunk of our society (men) as a handy excuse to completely bail out of the monogamy industry. In other words, the more the "secret" gets out, the more men may very well opt out of the whole monogamous marriage process.
Men WANT the dream of the woman who has eyes only for him and who will be devoted to him no matter what life throws their way. Most men can't even CONCEIVE of their married life in any other way. It's a dream that many of us men have been spoon fed since the day we first noticed girls. We've been told out whole lives what marriage was SUPPOSED to be... and books like this are telling us that we were lied to? "Okay... then we don't want to participate in this game anymore" many men are saying.
Instead, men will live comfortably in their shitty little apartments, with their shitty but comfortable jobs, a steady but not exciting paycheck, their modest 401k savings, their video games, little social interaction, and way too much porn. Other than the pickup truck in the driveway, their vasectomy will be the only other major life expense. They don't want to have a major "oops" and ruin all the good stuff they have going on!
Obviously, this would have dramatic repercussions for the economy and for state of the Western family. Economists are already freaking out about dropping fertility rates and subsequent lack of spending. We have real-world examples of how this dynamic plays out with the current situation in Japan and their "Herbivore Men". It's not pretty.
Make no mistake about it, the "monogamous married couple with 2.5 kids" model is an industry. It drives our consumption economy. From the expensive wedding, to the expensive honeymoon, the way-too-big house, the pointless SUV, the hybrid sedan, the namebrand baby items, the namebrand clothes, the expensive vacations, the expensive divorces... it's a giant machine that is the hub of a very big economic wheel. A viral change in mindset can shut the machine down a little at a time.
FACT: Women drive 84% of all consumer spending in the U.S. That's $7 trillion dollars of spending annually. Trillion. With a T.
Good, quality men have always been on the edge of opting out of the marriage industry... and things like Untrue are all it may take to push them right over the edge into eternal bachelorhood. What was once a goal to strive for (marriage and raising kids) is now a giant life-ruining accident they want to avoid, all because their vision of what a relationship is supposed to be has been upturned. Marriage is now seen as a huge fun-killer for the other half of the population. As Wednesday Martin says in the title of the book: "... How the New Science Can Set Us Free". Set women free from what? Monogamy? I think if your wise old grandma were here, she would tell you, "Honey, be careful what you wish for. You just might get it."
According to Martin and "Untrue", it's time the rest of society get with the program and recognize women's sexual autonomy and change the game to accomodate their needs. We'll all be better off for it.
Martin's book and the subject matter is not considered "mainstream" just yet. She's not a household name. The subject is still considered a "fringe" topic by many, but it's one that is gaining a lot of ground in a hurry. It seems like everyone has a buddy whose wife just suggested an open marriage, or a wife who got caught sexting a guy from work, or a wife who simply walked away from the husband and kids to be with the sexy loser. It happens.
The question is... okay, now what? If what Martin says is correct... what do YOU do about it?