Love and Marriage, Go Together Like a Horse and Orangutan

“This definition [of marriage] has been with us for millennia, and it’s very difficult for the court to say: ‘Oh, well, we know better.'” — Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Marriage, straight or gay, is an interesting institution. Yes, it’s been around for a long time, but couples just a few hundred years ago would barely recognize modern matrimony. The whole idea of marrying for love with the expectation that both partners would remain sexually monogamous would have struck our ancestors as non-sensical. Marriage was meant to create alliances between families and cement bonds within an extended family. (Marriage between cousins is still very common in many cultures.) Children had no say in whom they married. Sex was for procreation and to satisfy the husband. Love didn’t start to come into the mix until about 250 years ago.

The concept that marriage was meant to be between one man and one woman is also a fairly recent development. God certainly didn’t seem to have a problem with polygamy. Many of his personally chosen go-to guys — Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon to name a few — had multiple wives. Hell, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (I suspect there were a lot of sexually frustrated women in that flock, not that Solomon probably cared.)

Even well into the 20th Century, it was accepted that men (at least those from the upper classes) might need to satisfy their urges outside of marriage. (I guess a woman who stayed home all day to take care of kids and keep house wasn’t a big turn-on.) It was fine for them to sleep with women on the side, as long as they didn’t flaunt it. As for the wives, well, they faced poverty and social condemnation if their husbands found out they were satisfying urges they weren’t even supposed to have.

My novel Goddess features a woman who wants to explore passions and desires that her husband can’t satisfy. It’s not that he’s a bad guy. She just needs something more than a good father and provider. In previous eras, she would have been told not to have those desires. Today, she’d be counseled to go to couples therapy and learn how to get her needs met within the confines of marriage. Which course is the right one? I guess it depends on your perspective.

I leave you with this excerpt from Goddess.

“You know, before I met Dave, I thought people who cheated on their spouses were selfish jerks. I was sure if I did it, I’d regret it for the rest of my life. But that first time, driving home afterwards, you know what I felt? Elation. I was so happy, being with a man who wanted me more than anything. It was such an amazing feeling.”

“But you never had that with Trent,” I objected.

“So what? Just because Matt was hot for you once doesn’t mean you should settle for what you have now.”

“If I’m unhappy with my marriage, I should talk to Matt. We should be working on it.”

“I’m sure that’s what Ann Landers would tell you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Everybody says keeping up the passion is a lot of work, but maybe that’s because we’re fighting against nature. Did you ever think that this idea that we can stay sexually attracted to one person for the rest of our lives is a myth created by society? Men were never expected to do that. We like to make an example of the few people who can keep it up for thirty years, pardon my pun, but they’re the exception to the rule. It reminds me of an old joke about Calvin Coolidge.”

“Calvin Coolidge?”

“Don’t ask me why him. I heard it in my college psychology class. Supposedly, the president and his wife were taking separate tours of a farm. The guide shows Mrs. Coolidge the chicken coop and tells her, ‘A rooster mates up to 20 times a day.’

“Mrs. Coolidge nods her head, impressed, and says, ‘Tell that to Mr. Coolidge.’

“So later on the same guide is showing the president the chickens and tells him about the rooster’s prowess. Coolidge listens, then asks the guide, ‘Same chicken?’

“The guide shakes his head. ‘ Oh no, a different chicken every time.’

“And the president says, ‘Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.’”

I laughed and shook my head. “Calvin Coolidge isn’t going to convince me to have an affair with Ashland Stewart.”

Best wishes,


Infidelity: The Last Taboo

I read a lot of writers’ blogs. They usually talk about books they like, their forthcoming novel, the writing process, and the pajamas and slippers they favor while meeting their daily word count. This is fascinating material for other writers, but having written a novel that centers on sex and infidelity, I thought those subjects would be more interesting to the general public.

Not long ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook that a friend of hers had confessed that she was having an affair. My friend was debating whether she should offer her friend support. The comments came fast and furious. “You should NOT support her. Cheating is just plain wrong.” “Anyone who cheats is selfish.” “If she’s unhappy in her marriage she should just leave.”

You’d think the woman had confessed to killing a man just to watch him die.

“91 percent of Americans consider extramarital infidelity to be morally wrong, a higher percentage than object to human cloning, suicide, and polygamy.”

Why do we have such a visceral reaction to infidelity? Perhaps it’s because most of us know someone whose spouse has cheated on them. The next time you’re at a PTA meeting or Little League game, look at the parents around you. One of them is probably having an affair.

If it could happen to other couples, it could happen to us. We’re afraid.

I knew a couple who are now divorced. He had fallen in love with another woman. They were both members of the same church. He was universally condemned by their fellow parishioners. She was embraced as the victim; he was driven out of the church.

What I knew that the church members didn’t was that while they were married and before the other woman came along, she had taken a vacation on her own because he couldn’t get off work. She was relaxing by the pool when a man struck up a friendly conversation with her. He was handsome, charming, and single. They had a drink together. The next night they had dinner. She invited him back to her room. They had sex. The same thing happened every night for the rest of her stay. She wasn’t interested in a longer-term relationship, even though he was. Their brief encounter was passionate and satisfying. That was enough. She returned to her husband, but she didn’t regret what had happened.

Is infidelity “just plain wrong?” Unlike the majority of Americans, I don’t think the answer is black and white. Consider Lady Chatterley in D. H. Lawrence’s classic novel. Her husband is paralyzed from the waist down because of a war injury–not his fault, but it leaves her sexually unfulfilled. He also neglects her emotionally. Is she wrong to have an affair? Read or reread the novel and decide for yourself.

I welcome your comments.


Why I Write

It all started with a casual confession from a friend.

She was in her mid 30s, with a PhD, a well-respected job, a husband, and a young son.

She told me that in her spare time she liked to write erotic short stories and publish them anonomously on a website.

My friend trusted me enough to share the website and her virtual moniker.

Her stories were explicit, sexy, and surprising. Her female protagonists enjoyed being put on display for the gratification of powerful men. They loved being desired and dominated. They were so completely unlike the wife, mother, and professional woman I knew, yet I could clearly see her in them.

I was fascinated by the dichotomy.

I’ve been a writer for many years. (In case you’re wondering, Kelee Morris is a pen name.) I’ve written screenplays and short stories. They had their share of sex scenes, but never more than the PG-13 or soft R variety. I’d never considered writing anything more graphic.

Then, a few months after my friend’s confession, another friend told me about a self-published phenomenon called Fifty Shades of Grey. Mommy Porn, some people called it. Needless to say, I was curious. I grabbed my Nook and downloaded a copy.

I won’t comment on the quality of writing in 50 Shades, but what really bothered me was the novel’s main character, Anastasia Steele. I understand why E.L. James chose to make her so naive and virginal, but Anastasia didn’t appeal to me at all. I wanted a character I could identify with, a woman with a real life and real responsibilities, someone who was smart, responsible, and sexy.

Someone like my friend.

The novel popped into my head almost fully formed. It centered on a tattoo—an abstract symbol, as faded as the mysterious, sex-charged dreams that inspired the image many years ago. But a chance meeting with an observant archeology student thrusts Julia Nelson—wife, mother of three, PTA president—into a breathtaking world of mystery, passion, and eroticism.

My first erotic romance novel Goddess will be published soon. My goal is to use this blog to promote it, but also to spark a discussion about love and sex inside and outside the bounds of marriage.

I hope you’ll read the book and enjoy this blog. It should be an interesting journey.