I was talking with a male friend of mine the other day. He said to me: “So, I’m really developing a thing for the married massage therapist I’m fucking.” I looked at him and said: “You didn’t tell me she was married. Are they open?” When he responded, I could see in his face that he wasn’t sure how to answer. He said: “Well, they’re open, but they don’t talk about it.” When I heard that, I began to laugh, because I knew exactly what that meant. I said: “That means she’s lying to him; that’s not open. Open is the married man I occasionally fuck who came to my birthday party with his wife, and they brought me white wine. That, my friend, is an open marriage.” When I said this, both he and my other male friend who was in the room looked at me like I was on fire. I have pondered that conversation for the last few weeks, because it made me realize how little people know about an open marriage.
As a society, we are conditioned to believe that we get married and then we are monogamous with our partners. Let’s face it, the divorce rate is over 50% and a huge reason for this is adultery. Monogamy is a hard thing for anyone to accomplish; we change friends, careers, cities we live in, but we’re supposed to have sex with one person forever? In reality many people lie because monogamy is difficult and then when it comes out, it’s devastating to a relationship. An open marriage is much different, depending on how you do it. The gist of it is, two people decide that they want to have others involved in their sex life. That doesn’t mean they don’t love each other; it just means they want to have the option of sex with another person, but still stay true to one another emotionally and financially. Sound easy? It’s really not. Magnus Sullivan, the screenwriter and producer of the film Marriage 2.0, that premiered at the Victoria Theatre on May 2, 2015, tackles the very topic of open marriage. Sullivan read a book titled “Sex at Dawn,” by Christopher Ryan. Ryan makes several cameos throughout the film, discussing how monogamy is not as easy as it seems.
After Sullivan read “Sex At Dawn,” he developed a friendship with Ryan and wanted to make an adult film that was about navigating an open relationship. Sullivan went all out with his cast: Nina Hartley, Mickey Mod, India Summer, Ryan Driller, Jack Hammer, Carol Queen, Christopher Ryan, and many more. The story follows a couple, Summer and Driller; who embark upon an open relationship, and how Summer’s character copes with it. The film talks about all the insecurities that come with non-monogamy. Hartley’s character as Summer’s mother was by far the stand out performance to me and many others in the audience. Hartley advises her on screen daughter Summer to embrace her sexuality and not be ashamed of it.
Summer also gets advice from other couples in the film who are in open relationships and ask them how they dealt with it. My favorite line in the film was: “The road to truth is paved with lies and forgiveness.” Being honest about wanting another sex partner in your relationship is not an easy thing. Navigating it is a whole other nightmare. If it’s done correctly and respectfully, those relationships can stand the test of time. Open relationships force you to be very honest with your partner, and it bonds you in a different way. Marriage 2.0 does a brilliant job of discussing all of this. They also have some amazing sex scenes mixed in with this narrative.
When I asked Sullivan what his intention was with this film, he said: “On a high level, my intention was to change how both the adult industry and the mainstream think of adult cinema. The spectrum of how sex can be used in film to create a cinematic experience that is unique to adult is so broad, yet we, as an industry, use sex in such a simplistic and one-dimensional way. This movie is the best attempt to date to show that a compelling, challenging, relevant and stunningly beautiful movie can be made within the confines of adult cinema.”
The one thing everyone I spoke with agreed on was that Marriage 2.0 held our attention for over an hour, how many times can you say that after watching porn? I mainly recommend watching it because it sparks conversation. I brought a friend with me who is exploring her own sexuality and she said the movie helped her. We talked about it for hours after the film and then I discussed it with other audience members after the screening. It’s definitely a movie you will talk about after you watch it.