Two Sense: Should I Give My BF a Hall Pass for Burning Man?


My boyfriend is headed to Burning Man for a week and wants a BM hall pass. I’m not a Burner and have no problem with him going alone, but I’m not sure about this. He says everyone does it. But we’ve been monogamous for over a year and I feel it could greatly upset our connection.

He Said: It was Burning Man; it was a Las Vegas weekend; it was Mardi Gras; it was a high school reunion; she was crying and I felt for her; they wanted to see what the Power Exchange was like; I was really drunk; I did it to get even with you; I was tripping; it was Thailand; it was months ago now; it was a work Christmas party; it was a mistake that made me appreciate you more; you know how Italy is; she was gay but curious; I didn't know the massage came with a happy ending; he reminded me of you; BART wasn't running and she had a hotel room; we just finished that big work project; I think he spiked my drink with something; I was sound asleep and she crawled into bed with me; you would have done the same thing; it was a bachelor party; it was therapy; she wanted to make her ex jealous; OK, I needed the money.
Give him a hall pass. Absolutely. At least he's honest enough to ask for one. But know that there's nothing special about Burning Man. You can put alkali dust on it, but it’s still just a turd.

She Said: Allow me to (no pun intended) swing back and forth on this one for a bit.

On one hand, it's obvious the greater portion of society clings to monogamy with white knuckles. They can pass it off as moral high ground, but you can see the fear in their eyes. The truth is that open relationships and hall passes aren't mere laziness; they demand a level of honesty, communication, and self-awareness few possess. That's probably why Burning Man, whose advocates fancy themselves progressive and boundary-busting, has become a haven for this kind of experimentation. Or, it could just be that everyone's naked, high, and horny. I can't say for sure.

On the other hand, there's wisdom in what He Says. Lurking beneath all that progressiveness lies a primal truth: When two people are passionately in love and satisfying each other deeply, they very rarely feel the need to bonk strangers. Just the opposite; the thought repels them.

You and your boyfriend may someday have such a strong, vitally sexual bond that he has no desire for others, but since that day obviously isn't here yet, there is something to be said for loosening your hold for a week. What's prohibited tends to gain in allure, and since you already know he wants it, the role of confident, permissive girlfriend is definitely better than the role of insecure, old-fashioned one.

But you also have to think beyond those roles and what image you will project. The bottom line is that you either can, or cannot, physically and emotionally wrap yourself around the concept of your boyfriend sleeping with others. So forget everything you just read. Forget the Ten Commandments. Forget the liberal SF ethos. Forget what your mom or best friend would say. Listen, literally, to your stomach. It will either say something along the lines of, "It's scary but maybe a tad exciting too, and I could use a free week myself," or, "No effen way. I have zero interest in that kind of relationship and if he wants it that badly, he can find a Burner girlfriend and have at it."

When you get the message from your stomach, go with it. Do not question it. Do not overthink it. And let the chips fall where they may.

Photo by miriku? at Flickr

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