What if for just one year you let desire call the shots?
The project was simple: Robin Rinaldi, a successful magazine journalist, 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 abandon, heartbreak, and unexpected revelation—is the topic of this riveting memoir, The Wild Oats Project.
Monogamous and sexually cautious her entire adult life, Rinaldi never planned on an open marriage—her priority as she approached midlife was to start a family. But when her husband insisted on a vasectomy, something snapped. If I'm not going to 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 have wall-banging sex. On the weekends, she would go home and be a wife. Her marriage provided safety and love, but she also needed passion, and she was willing to go outside her marriage to find it.At a time when the bestseller lists are topped by books about eroticism and the shifting roles of women, this brave, brutally honest memoir explores how our sexuality defines us, how it relates to maternal longing, and how we must walk the line between loving others and staying true to ourselves. Like the most searing memoirs, The Wild Oats Project challenges our sensibilities, yielding truths that we all can recognize but that few would dare write down.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
At times The Wild Oats Project made us deeply uncomfortable, but the fact is we had a hard time putting it down. Robin Rinaldi’s unfiltered account of her decision to spend a year in an open marriage embraces the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether or not you can wrap your head around the former magazine editor’s gonzo decision to shake up her relatively healthy marriage, you’ll find poignant truths about adulthood, intimacy, and loneliness. Rinaldi is a dazzling writer capable of crystallizing small moments and big emotions.
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.
Even if a person didn't care for the detailed descriptions of the sexual experimentation, or has some moral or religious objection to the wild oats project, and what Robin experienced, one has to give much credit to the author for being open, honest, and courageous enough to tell her story. In her story are probably bits and pieces that we all can identify with. Feelings, emotions, desires, passions and drives that we somehow suppressed and ignored. Rightly or wrongly, she LIVED! Everyone dies... Not everyone truly lives!
The female middle age crisis, what NOT to do. Waste of time, money and electronic paper.
This is a bio of mid-age panic indulgence, narcissistic permission to inflict immense pain and de-valuation upon the one person you promised all your love and support, and just how low an adulterer will allow their morals to side face down on the black top in the name of “ finding one’s self”.
Far from a story of shared cuckholdery or open marriage, this is a big ol swig off the oily, hairy, cockroach laden gutter water filled bottle of broken trust, corrupted persona, and selfishness.
Robin definitely needs to work on herself. Perhaps a few less filthy hippy fingers O’ing her, and a bit more psychotherapy on why she chose to descend so quickly and embarrass herself by documenting it for the world.