Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monogamy Sucks for George Pappas

Monogamy Sucks is an erotica novel written in diary format by George Pappas. As I read it, it reminded me of a male’s version of Sex in the City, only with the quest being sex and not attachment and the city being Los Angeles and not New York. In the novel, the main character, Jake Dalmas, decides he’s fed up with restrictive monogamous relationships. He wants variety and lots of it, but he doesn’t want to lie, cheat, or pay for it to get it. Thus he embarks on a swinging sexual adventure. Monogamy Sucks offers a frank and graphic, and frequently humorous, look at one man’s sexual exploration and quest. I’m pleased to interview the author, George Pappas.

Cara: How would you as the author describe Monogamy Sucks?

George: My latest novel Monogamy Sucks is truly a wild ride into the male sexual psyche. It is an unconventional exploration of a Long Beach, Calif. man’s mid-thirties lust crisis and his ensuing sexy, intriguing, and humorous journey into the swinging lifestyle. I call it real life erotica or reality fiction. The story is told in the form of a fictional diary by my book’s protagonist Jake Dalmas, who is looking for answers to deal with his growing disillusionment with conventional relationships and monogamy. Along the way, he discovers some misconceptions about swingers and new aspects about himself. It is frank, funny, shocking at times, and above all – painfully honest.

Cara: I understand that Monogamy Sucks is “loosely based” on your own experiences. Can you speak to that and to what prompted you to write the novel?

George: This book project all started with my own mid-thirties lust crisis. I had grown disenchanted with relationships and monogamy and craved something new in the mid 1990s. It led me on an interesting and strange journey into the swinging lifestyle. However, I wasn’t intending to write a book. I was looking for a good time and to relieve my sexual boredom. When I told my friends about my experiences they were fascinated and suggested I write about it. That helped me realize that these sexy, bizarre, funny and even at times inspirational encounters would make an interesting novel. Kind of an edgy male response to “Sex in the City” and “Bridget Jones Diary.” One reviewer intriguingly called my book “Tucker Max meets Sex in the City.” I think that’s a pretty accurate description.

The story is loosely based on my experiences in the swinging lifestyle, and the stories of others I met along the way, but I want to stress that this is a work of fiction. It’s not non-fiction, a memoir or autobiographical. Jake is a much darker version of myself. He writes and says things I might think, but probably wouldn’t say in real life.

Cara: Monogamy Sucks, but from the story, it appears that so does swinging. Jake doesn’t get the beautiful women he desires, but a lot of skanks he’s not the least bit attracted to. He’s wracked by insecurity and performance anxiety and few of his sexual encounters turn out the way he envisioned or would like. What keeps him going, why persist?

George: Well, my character Jake Dalmas is searching for a more fulfilling sexual life. He persists through the undesirable experiences because he knows the conventional lifestyle of monogamy, traditional relationships and marriage doesn’t work for him. Jake would rather keep searching for a new life rather than retreat to an old one that only leads to more unhappiness for him. He is brave in that way. A lot people I’ve known stay in relationships or marriages for years despite being unhappy and some of them cheat and find solace elsewhere.

I truly wanted the reader experience the journey through Jake’s eyes -- both the good and the bad. I didn’t want to leave anything out either. It was also my intention to provide a clear-eyed view of swinging beyond the fantasies and myths that have been created about this provocative lifestyle. Additionally, I also wanted to dispel some of those myths about swinging.

Cara: How much and in what way do you think real men are like Jake?

George: I believe a lot men in real life have thought about some of the things Jake writes about or experiences in my novel, but not all of them act on it. Jake doesn’t hold back in any way. I intended for him to embody the male sexual mind in all its raw and explicit glory. If many of us men said in real life what Jake writes in my book, we would most likely have trouble meeting women. Of course, women are attracted to bold men so maybe more of us should say what we think. LOL.

Surprisingly, women have really embraced my book more than men have. Maybe it’s because I reveal some hidden aspects of male thinking about sex, relationships and monogamy they would prefer not be exposed or explored publicly.

Cara: What makes men disillusioned with monogamy?

George: Boredom mostly.

Despite all the recent high profile sex scandals, I don’t think men are the only ones disillusioned with monogamy. I believe more women than we have been led to believe are also unhappy with monogamy even if they don’t want to readily admit it.

Frankly, I think a growing number men and women, too, are becoming bored sexually in long term relationships, and are secretly beginning to resent monogamy. There is a lot of temptation out there, and I don’t believe we are monogamous creatures by nature. Monogamy is a tradition imposed or encouraged by society much like marriage is, but the recent surveys and studies about infidelity (and marriage, too!) are troubling and telling a much different story.

Some studies suggest that around 30–40 percent of dating relationships and 18–20 percent of marriages are marked by at least one incident of sexual infidelity, according to the publication “Close encounters: Communication in Relationships.” Some researchers say there's a 50–50 chance today that one partner will have an affair during a marriage. It is estimated that roughly 30 to 60 percent of all married individuals (in the United States) will engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage as referenced on the Truth About Deception Web site. So all is not well with traditional relationships contrary to popular belief.

Cara: Is there a message to Monogamy Sucks? What should men take away from the book? Women?

George: Well, the main message to Monogamy Sucks is that if you’re unhappy with monogamy and conventional relationships that there are alternatives to explore, and monogamy is not all that it is cracked up to be.

I think the message for men is that it is OK to want variety in your sex life and express that in a healthy manner. I believe to deny that part of ourselves as men does not lead to happiness over the long run. Now, that doesn’t mean I am encouraging anyone to cheat, however. I still think men and women should be honest about their desires and talk about them openly and not lie and cheat.

I believe it is the same message for women in that it is healthy to express their true sexual desires as well. However, my book could also provide women keen insight into the male sexual mind, too.

Cara: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about swinging and the biggest misconceptions about monogamy?

George: I think the biggest misconception about swinging is that swingers are soulless freaks only out to find meaningless pleasure. I learned so much from the swingers that I met. Swingers are no different from anyone else except they have decided to expand their sexual lives. They would rather do that than cheat and lie to their partners. You can see on the news every night how well monogamy is playing out with the latest story of celebrities, athletes or politicians cheating.

Swingers fall in love, have families, houses with picket fences, live in suburbia, work day jobs, go on vacations, and live the normal mainstream life. It’s in the bedroom where they are adventurous. Swingers come from everywhere and exist in almost every country. In fact, you probably know a swinger right now and don’t even know it.

I think the biggest misconception about monogamy is that people assume that it is for everyone and that if you can’t live that way that there must be something wrong with you. There is no right or wrong way to live as long you respect the rights and liberty of others. Whether someone chooses to live monogamously only becomes a moral issue for me when one lies about their real desires and activities. The other misconception is that monogamy helps keep families and marriages together. I don’t think this is true since when people can’t live up to monogamy they lie and cheat causing their spouses and families a great deal of pain and heartache.

Cara: Did the process of writing the book change you in any way?

George: Actually, writing this book helped me become a lot bolder in my personal life and enabled me work out some of my own questions about sex, monogamy and relationships. The experience of writing my novel also has given me confidence as writer to at last pursue my writing dreams. I overcame a lot of fears and doubts in the process of writing my novel, and have developed a thicker skin in dealing with detractors. I’ve also learned the importance of a writer sharing their work online and reaching out through social media. If it wasn’t for my blog and Twitter, I probably wouldn’t have a publishing deal right now. My novel would probably still be sitting in my computer or I would be bringing out myself at some point.

Cara: Any advice for men (or women) who wish to explore swinging or alternative sexual lifestyles?

George: Keep an open mind. Talk about everything before you participate in a swinging encounter if you are a couple. Set up some ground rules so no one gets hurt or there are no misunderstandings. You are expanding your sexual lives not your relationship. This is swinging not polyamory

If you are a single man or woman, just keep in mind that you have been invited to participate in a couple’s sexual lives and nothing more. Keep your head. Once the fun is over, the couple will go back to their married or relationship life and you will go home to seek more future fun as a single swinger. No one wants to ruin anyone else’s relationship. There is a lot erotic pleasure to be discovered for singles and couples in the swinging lifestyle, who approach it in a mature and cool manner.

Cara: What’s next for George Pappas?

George: My next novel about Internet sex and dating is coming out later this summer on Lazy Day Publishing. It has an interesting celebrity angle I can’t reveal right now. I am also writing a paranormal erotica story for a print anthology out in Oct. entitled Indulgence featuring an incredible group of talented Lazy Day Publishing authors. Delving into paranormal erotica is new territory for me. I am very excited about the prospects.

Oh, and I am hoping to finish my sequel to Monogamy Sucks for release by Summer 2012.

Excerpt from Monogamy Sucks by George Pappas

Monogamy sucks.

I came to this sobering realization shortly after my 35th birthday. I had recently ended a dissatisfying relationship with yet another girlfriend because I was sexually restless and convinced I was missing out on something. This had become the frustrating pattern of my love life. Initially, I was enthralled with a new relationship, but typically after several months (sometimes weeks, days or even hours) I would grow bored and long to be single again.

There was no denying I was in the throes of a mid thirties (not quite mid-life) lust crisis.

I am hardly alone in this. I believe this sexual restlessness; this strong need to explore is experienced by many men and women who are married or in long term relationships. They harbor these secret feelings in their hearts and at times act on them.

I am convinced that many who embrace monogamy are in deep denial. The rest of us tolerate it or grow to despise this unrealistic societal restriction of our natural impulses to sexually pursue pleasure with as many partners as possible.

All I know is, staying faithful frustrated me to no end as I attempted to make my way through a wasteland of failed love affairs and relationships. The thrill of the new – new pussy, new sexual adventures – intrigued and haunted me.

My name is Jake Dalmas and what follows is my diary. It is a strange document of how breaking the bonds of monogamy and ditching boring relationship sex, led me on an always interesting, hilarious, intriguing and even at times nightmarish, journey into the provocative world of swinging and casual sex.

How did I come to cross the line from conventional relationships into the sexually charged, but largely misunderstood scene of alternative sexual relationships or what is commonly known as swinging?
Lust, curiosity and boredom, mostly. Those were the driving forces that pushed me into forbidden territory. I was tired of being the good boyfriend who always remained faithful. I wanted the adventure and wild sex I had read about, without being dishonest with myself and cheating on any of the women I was involved with. I guess I wanted to be a bad boy without being a lying asshole.

Deep down I still preferred serious relationships and still even believed I wanted to get married someday. However, as I have a low threshold for sexual boredom, I began to realize that this conventional lifestyle wasn’t a realistic option for me. My imagination burned with visions of orgies, wild sexual couplings, threesomes, and lusty adventures with women of every background, size and age. There was a porno movie playing in my head all the time.

My urges and desires began to affect every aspect of my life. After a while, I had trouble concentrating on anything else. I almost lost my job as a reporter at a daily newspaper because of this obsession, and later had to move into a less stressful public relations job so I would have more time to work out my sexual malaise.

Several of my girlfriends accused me of cheating on them. Well, I have to admit that I was unfaithful in my fantasies. Most of the time when I had sex with my girlfriends, I fantasized about other women. It was really the only way I could fuck them after a while. I was beginning to feel betrayed by my overactive sexual imagination.

Although I never acted on any of these lusty fantasies while I was in a relationship, I knew I was just fooling myself. It was only a matter of time. I wanted other women. There was no denying it. I began to wonder if we are truly monogamous beings.

I was searching for answers to my sexual confusion. But the bottom line; I was hoping to get laid as much as possible. I just wanted to have one day in my life like Hugh Hefner’s typical day at the Playboy Mansion (every hot blooded heterosexual American boy’s dream) and just bed down a bevy of sexy, stunning ladies.

Yet I embarked on my sexual sojourn with mixed feelings of trepidation, lust and excitement. Honestly, I was even somewhat scared. I was entering unknown territory, uncharted waters for me. I didn’t know what to expect. All I had to go on was rumor, fantasy and sketchy information provided by the Internet, men’s and women’s magazines, swinger rags and movies.

However, during my two year journey into this sexual frontier, I discovered that the sexual revolution never really ended. It just went underground. I came to view many of the swingers I met, even those I despised, as erotic explorers and free spirits (not freaks) trying to find more pleasure in their lives.

People you’d never suspect could have the wildest sex lives. A housewife from Redondo Beach could make Madonna look like a nun as she fucks 10 guys in one night. Or a hairdresser from Kansas could spend Saturday night having a threesome with her husband and his best friend.

Who are these people?

They could be anyone. They might be your neighbors. They are doctors, lawyers, CEOs of large corporations, sports stars, successful business people, actors, directors, writers, blue collar workers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, housewives and working women with children. They are family people with kids living the suburban life. They are the nice people living next door to you. They are work colleagues. They could be your best friend or even a family member. They could be the girlfriend in high school, who gave you a lousy blow job and didn’t seem into sex, but has since experienced sexual adventures far beyond anything you could have dreamed. Or they could be the boy you used to know in high school, that never talked to the girls and now orchestrates a gang bang with 12 guys fucking his wife. Or maybe he fucks two or three women in a night.

I knew infiltrating the mysterious and underground world of swingers was not going to be easy. I was embarking on a trip without a roadmap or compass. I really didn’t know what I would find. Maybe I would discover aspects about myself and my sexuality I had not previously known or even a new way to express myself sexually.

I also wondered what past writers, particularly Henry Miller and Anais Nin, would make of today’s modern conveniences of voicemail, 900 numbers, the explosion of porn, and the Internet. Would they find the same basic truths about sex, monogamy and love? Or would they be faced with emptiness, a modern, calculated, instant gratification world of erotica featuring wall-to-wall sucking and fucking with no real sense of adventure, heart or soul? Inspired by their amazing and provocative novels and diaries, I wanted to explore the evolving nature of eroticism, sex and romance occurring in my time as they did in theirs.

I can only hope I have honestly put down in my swinger’s diary what I was feeling and experiencing during my wild romp through this confused journey that we call modern sex.

Monogamy Sucks Buy Link
George Pappas blog
Lazy Day Publisher


Kellie Kamryn said...

I agree with your statement that people have to do what is right for themselves, be it in a monogamous relationship or swinger lifestyle. Problems occur when you're going against what is right for you. This book sounds interesting! Men and women do think very differently about things, particularly sex.

Congratulations to you and I wish you much future success! Great interview :)

An Open Book said...

I have to agree with this statement "I think the biggest misconception about monogamy is that people assume that it is for everyone and that if you can’t live that way that there must be something wrong with you."

SO true- great interview Cara and Steve
Dawne P

Savanna Kougar said...

I applaud your honesty and adventurous spirit. A whole lot of individuals live in denial about their true sexual natures, whether basically monogamous, or not. Personally, I've reached the conclusion that as a race we are genetically designed to be one way or the other. I can say that because I have no interest in anything but monogamy, and am, at the same time erotically adventurous by nature. However, I certainly don't want to impose that way of being on anyone else, just as I don't want not-monogamy forced on me as a preferred lifestyle. I want to live in a world where both are accepted as lifestyles, and no one is put down.

And, that's why I write the books I do, paranormal erotic romance. It's the truth for me even it it is fictional and considered fantasy.

Cathleen Ross said...

How much of this is fantasy? As a writing teacher I've seen this before from my male incarcerated students. Gave me a good laugh.
Cathleen ross

Poetic Justice said...

Brilliant interview George. As always I applaud your honesty and fearless approach towards the subjects of sex and monogamy:)

Great questions Cara...I love your blog too:)

George Pappas said...

Thanks so much Poetic Justice, Savannah, An Open Book and Kellie for your insightful and supportive comments. Really means a lot. Glad you enjoy my interview and book excerpt.

As for Cathleen Ross, I am glad you enjoyed the humor, but to be honest -- none of my book is based on fantasy. I call it reality fiction or real life erotica. In fact, I pride myself on delving into areas other authors avoid -- frankness about sex, problems with monogamy and convential relationships and the swinging lifestyle.
I don't sugarcoat things like much of the erotica I read these days.
Also last time I checked -- one didn't have to incarcerated in a soul sucking prison to write truthful erotica and to explore what some men (more than will admit it) really think about sex and monogamy.

Kudos to Cara Bristol for asking such wonderful and thoughtful questions and being brave enough to tackle such controversial subjects.

George Pappas
author of novel "Monogamy Sucks"