Our August 23 cover story on monogamy and Dan Savage has
gotten a lot of feedback, both positive and negative. Benjamin Dueholm offers a
nuanced take on the ways the popular sex columnist is beating pastors at their
own game--and the ways Savage's ethical worldview falls short. Some readers
seem too stuck on the first point--"the Christian
Century believes we should be instructed by an advice columnist," crows Joe Carter at First Things--to hear Dueholm out on the second.
In a post on his personal blog, Dueholm comments on
a recent Savage Love column that I'm sure he would have discussed in the Century if the column had been published
sooner. Savage strongly criticizes a husband who's been evasive about his
possible adultery--"not because of the cheating--monogamy isn't important to
me--but because of the lying and the bullying." The husband has been crediting
Savage for his own progressive views on monogamy.
Dueholm's incisive response
builds on his critique of Savage in our pages: while Savage claims to care not
about monogamy itself but about respecting agreements you've made with others,
his advice often suggests that monogamy maintains some sort of privileged
status. "You can't have sacred contracts over trivial things," Dueholm points
out. Provided you can handle strong language and frank talk about sex, you
really should read the whole post, which Dueholm aptly
titles "Monogamy's Ghost."
Meanwhile, USA Today reports that monogamy is
actually on the rise. Amanda Marcotte credits sexual liberation--if you're more
likely to be satisfied in your marriage, and less likely to feel social stigma
toward divorce, you're less likely to cheat. But E.J. Graff pokes some good-sized holes in this reading.