What if for just one year you explored everything you’d wondered about sex but hadn’t tried?
The project was simple: An attractive, successful magazine journalist, Robin Rinaldi, would move into a San Francisco apartment, join a dating site, and get laid. Never mind that she already owned a beautiful flat a few blocks away, that she was forty-four, or that she was married to a man she’d been in love with for eighteen years. What followed—a year of sex, heartbreak, and unexpected revelation—is the topic of this riveting memoir, The Wild Oats Project.
An open marriage was never one of Rinaldi’s goals—her priority as she approached midlife was to start a family. But when her husband insisted on a vasectomy, she decided that she could remain married only on her own terms. If I can’t have children, she told herself, then I’m going to have lovers. During the week she would live alone, seduce men (and women), attend erotic workshops, and partake in wall-banging sex. On the weekends, she would go home and be a wife.
At a time when the bestseller lists are topped by books about eroticism and the shifting roles of women, this brave memoir explores how our sexuality defines us—and it delivers the missing link: an everywoman’s account of sex. Combining the strong literary voice of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild with the adventurousness of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, The Wild Oats Project challenges our sensibilities and evokes the delicate balance between loving others and staying true to oneself.
In this frank, salacious work delineating her desperate attempt at emotional and sexual liberation, the Scranton, Penn., author and frustrated wife ultimately recognizes that she lost a great deal and gained little. As an editor at San Francisco's lifestyle magazine 7 x 7, married for 10 years to Scott, a successful, though emotionally opaque entrepreneur ("His erection was solid and dependable, just like him"), dealing with her childhood of parental alcoholism and brutality, and facing childlessness by her mid-40s, Rinaldi resolved to contemplate an open marriage when her husband took the decisive step to get a vasectomy rather than have children. Rather surprisingly, he agrees to the arrangement, and while the couple spends the weekdays together at their shared home near the Castro, Rinaldi gets a studio and begins a dizzying round of Nerve.com dates that fulfill her need for sexual exploration, though she sets firm perimeters in terms of emotional attachment. Luckily, in San Francisco, she notes wryly that "polyamory wasn't all that rare," and she gravitates toward the "urban commune" called OneTaste, which conducts hands-on orgasm meditation (OM) seminars for men and women, and where Rinaldi ultimately finds her most satisfying lovers also women. To her credit, Rinaldi does not hide the dark side to this odyssey her own jealousy at Scott's lover, her absolute self-absorption and mendacity but her ability to grasp its soul-driving necessity without insisting on winning over her readers renders this a notable work of self-knowledge.
A raw depiction of true life experiences
I could not put this book down. The author is courageous, honest and fearless.