C L A R K  S O R L E Y

•   m u s i c   r e c o r d i n g s   •



Although capable of affection, of intimacy, of companionship and care, of all the functionality around sex and desire, I never liked being coupled. I never liked the simple fact of it with its expectations and demands explicit and implicit. The consequence over thirty years of having such a reluctance was abject misery for all concerned. Others wanted exclusivity, they wanted family, they wanted convention, and were unhappy when I didn’t deliver. In contrast I was horrified at these prospects. I sought non-conformity and the freedom to pursue lateral impulses, to live the creative life, inevitably selfish, individual and unfettered.

Turning fifty I found myself unable to tolerate the situation. I would no longer engage women romantically so tired was I of the ensuing battle as they all tried for the standard relationship model of absolute monogamy in a traditional setting. Looking back now I’m increasingly resentful of that, resentful at being forced into a bind for which I was unsuited, resentful at the culture for its lack of imagination and failure to cater for complexity.

For it is true, humans are complex, and the standard model for partnership with its one-size-fits-all protocols probably suits only a small minority, leaving many like me dissatisfied. Yet monogamy and marriage are so heavily indoctrinated, close to a religion, that alternative lifestyles barely get a look in. I agree with those academics who argue that sexual exclusivity is neither historical nor natural. Neither is two adults with two children living in a small house, the shoebox as I call it, aka the nuclear family. Only by rigorous moral coercion have such customs been viable, just as often the rules flouted as men and women furtively revert to their native impulses.

At long last current movements are changing attitudes and values in these matters. That increasingly you can choose your sexual orientation and gender identity without being crucified for it is a welcome development. For the non-monogamous like me though, there is still a long way to go toward acceptability. In a world of LGBT..+ they’ll have used up most of the alphabet before my type is catered to.

And what was my type? Well, on a spectrum of asexual to hyper-sexual I was probably at the upper end. I’m not sure what that qualified me for but it’s certainly wasn’t monogamy. That I was expected to conjoin with one other soul and do everything forever in consort felt ridiculous. Polyamory might’ve been somewhere in the zone but it remained an outlier, whether a sexual orientation or an alternative relationship model still uncharted. Whatever the future offers it’ll be too little too late for me being closer now as I am to the other end of the aforementioned spectrum. Add being too old and too weary for the fray and the picture is fading.

These are a few of the whys and wherefores for my never having married and, barring some adventurous romp, why I almost certainly never will.

I sought non-conformity and freedom