Wide Open: My Adventures in Polyamory, Open Marriage, and Loving On My Own Terms by Gracie X
Date of Publication: September 1, 2015
Gracie X is a modern sexpot feminist. Married to her loving husband, Hank, for 25 years, their once-vibrant sex life has shriveled to nothing. Meanwhile, she has fallen in love with another man, Oz, for whom she has an overwhelming physical yearning. Her candid and provocative memoir, WIDE OPEN reveals—with humor, integrity and heart—how one woman blended love, sex and marriage in unconventional ways and found the fulfillment she was looking for.
The idea actually wasn't my idea. My pal Sarah came up with it, and this was the nexus of my shock. Why the hell didn't I think of it? Was I losing my edge in suburban motherhood? Was I becoming a compliant, in-the-box thinker? When I heard the idea, I was suddenly struck that I had swallowed whole all the "rules" regarding marriage.
Several friends and I were attending a women's spirituality retreat in Mendocino, California, a couple of hours north of Berkeley. I took my ten-year-old daughter, Tallulah, with me as well; it was our yearly mother-daughter vacation of four days in the woods. Every year, we were so excited to go on our vacation that we packed a week early. I started coming to the camp when Tallulah was four years old. I was drawn there because the women were committed to themselves, to their evolution and unfolding, no matter what circumstance they found themselves in.
Mimi, a fashionista who favors orange outfits, piped up and asked my friend Sarah about her "sexual pursuits." I was all ears because I knew that Sarah, like myself, had been married for more than twenty years and had two kids. Was her marriage as sexless as mine? Was she stepping out on her man? Hank and I felt mismatched sexually almost from the beginning, which frequently left me wanting more. We hadn't done the deed in a few months. I wasn't sure what Mimi was getting at, but there was way too much giddy excitement for her to be talking about Sarah's husband.
"Nothing has happened yet," Sarah giggled. Then she said that her husband, Matt, had agreed.
"What are you two talking about?" I asked, sewing a large hollow pod onto my crown.
Sarah went on to explain matter of factly that she had asked Matt to open up their marriage. She wanted to have sex with a woman, which she had never done but had always dreamed of. After a year of careful discussion and couple counseling he had agreed.
What? Say what?
At that moment the earth shifted and my world was altered. I literally sat speechless for many minutes, which was a highly rare state for me. Then my thoughts raced to the forbidden. I immediately started thinking, yet again, about my former Pilates client, Oz.
Oz, whose friendship I had ended at Hank's request. Both our spouses asked us not to have contact after they realized how close we had gotten. He lived a thirty-five-minute walk from my home, and our kids went to the same charter school near downtown Berkeley—still we attempted complete avoidance. But after three years of no contact punctuated by chance meetings, I was still thinking about him.
Our friendship changed my life. At first I couldn't imagine having much to say to him; Oz was so corporate and stiff. He was nine years my junior and seemed somewhat full of himself. But then I got to know him. I was usually the one asking the insightful questions. But he asked me questions too. His questions were from an engineering brain, pragmatic yet mystical—if that combination can be imagined. He had a facile, active mind, and his observations about me were unexpected and searing in their truth.
I felt so memorized, and by such a brilliant thinker. His conclusions were layered with kindness. He would shine a light on hidden parts of me that felt ugly, making them seem like gifts. Our conversations expanded my world—they felt like we were like taking a first-class voyage through the solar system, visiting planets, touching stars, taking breathtaking walks on the Moon. He adored me. To never see him again was equivalent to living in a tomb after meeting God on a mountaintop.
Later that day, while lying on my bed, I stared at the wood beams of my cabin roof. My heart was pounding wildly in my chest, my vulva starting to juice just thinking of Oz and the mere possibility that I might have sex with him. What a brilliant idea! Why hadn't I thought of this myself? I'd just ask my husband, Hank, very nicely, "Honey, would it be okay if I have sex with Oz?" And if he hesitated, I'd drop to my knees and whine, "Please, oh please. I'll do all the dishes for a month!"
About Gracie X
Gracie X is a Writer, Director, and Actress. She is the author of "Wide Open: An Unconventional Love Story" now available wherever books are sold.
She started a relationship odyssey nearly a decade ago that inspired her to create an unconventional polyamorous chosen family. For the past several years the idea that people can authentically construct their relationships, marriages, and families while meeting the needs of everyone involved– has cracked her wide open. She can't stop writing, talking, or thinking about it. Her main message is do it your own way. "There is so much more spaciousness in our relationships to get our needs met—and there's not one correct way to do it. There are a spectrum of options from monogamy to polyamory and all the nuances in between." She encourages people to create a unique ‘relationship mission statement' and set up their marriages, poly relationships and families in the way that works best for them.
She has been a principal on "Nash Bridges", and numerous local TV and commercials. Her short film which she directed and co-stars premiered in the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It has played at "The Outfest" in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Germany, Seattle, Orlando, and on San Jose's Public TV channel KTEH. Her plays have been produced by ‘Brava! For Women in the Arts", The Climate Theater, Solo Mio, The Chi Chi Club, The Fringe Festival, The Marsh and Josie's Juice Joint. Gracie X has toured throughout San Francisco, Vancouver and Los Angeles. A graduate of Bard College, she has worked with Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver at the WOW Cafe in New York City.
She currently lives in Northern California.
Find Gracie X Online