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 commitment, 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. The consequence over thirty years of having such a reluctance was abject misery for all concerned. When others wanted exclusivity, when they wanted family, when 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, invariably 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 battles 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 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 scholars 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 are flouted as men and women furtively revert to their native impulses.

At long last current movements are changing attitudes 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, if there's a spectrum ranging from the the asexual to the hypersexual I was probably at the far end of it for much of my adult life. I’m not sure what that qualified me for but it 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 that aforementioned spectrum - i.e. I am something near to asexual these days. Add being too old and too weary for the fray and the picture is fading. Barring some adventurous romp I imagine that is the way it will remain.

I sought non-conformity and freedom