Book Club: The Average American Marriage


The Average American Marriage is the latest novel from filthy non-fiction writer, Chad Kultgen.

Kultgen is easily one of my favourite novelists. His raunchy, risqué writing style keeps me peeling the pages until the wee hours of the morning until I pass out.

With each novel he has written before this, they all seem to have a common theme: Sex, Sex and more Sex. Whether he is writing from the perspective of a teenager, a man or a woman, he makes all his characters come to life with real life issues and everyday questions.

In his latest installment of filthy literature, The Average American Marriage, we are taken on a journey through the eyes of a 30 something male, married with 2 children, seeking sexual pleasures outside of his marriage with his 21 year old intern.

Throughout the whole novel, we are never given this man’s name. I am not sure if Kultgen kept it this way to go with the secretive, risqué theme, but I thought it was neat. It was halfway through the book when I realized this.

As I read this book, it made me start to think about my upcoming nuptials in October, and the years of marriage ahead. Will my relationship with my significant other always be the same? Will everything be the same as it always is? Or will there be lies, deceit and shame? I hope not. But I began to wonder, just how marriages end up in such ruts? And how do you recognize the signs of danger before shameful, family-breaking acts occur?

While the idea of weddings are fun and exciting, from dress shopping to cake tastings, it is easy for couples to get wrapped up in the idea of a wedding but not actually think about the marriage. A wedding is one day, a marriage is forever (ideally).

I admit I am one of those girls who have been dreaming of my wedding day since a tiny tot, playing “house” and walking down my stairs covered in toilet paper and tutus. But what happens after it’s all over? After the dress is packed away and the pictures are all taken?  And the wrinkles set in, and the kids start popping out, and there is hardly enough time to breathe, let alone be intimate with your significant other? Will the relationship always be as fun and exciting as it always has been? I believe every person’s perspective is different and I whole heartedly believe that it stays exciting, but in a different way.

Like the character’s in Kultgen’s novel, after the children come, your lives are predominately about them and your priorities needs take a back seat (including sexual needs).  But for most people this is a new sense of excitement, getting to relive everything again through the eyes of your child. Sexually things may slow down a bit, but I believe there are ways around these lulls without risking the breakup of a family.

In this story, once the main character has committed the awful deed behind his wife and children’s backs, he develops an insatiable appetite for this “forbidden” and “risky” sex with his intern. The sneaking around and lying only makes him more enticed to continue this façade for as long as he can.

Meanwhile, this whole time his wife urges him into therapy where they can discuss their sexual issues openly. During these therapy sessions, the main character expresses his frustration with his wife’s lack of sexual interest. The therapist then agrees with the main character that being sexually active in a relationship is very important, and advises the wife to be more spontaneous with sex.

This part of the novel made me sad, seeing this poor character suffering emotionally. She wants to be sexy and attractive for her husband, but she doesn’t feel it, which I think all comes down to self-esteem. You have to look good to feel good. But again, when your priorities are pushed back, because heading to the gym every other day is probably not going to happen for new mothers.

The worst type of affairs is an emotional one. In this novel, clearly the main character was only after his 21-year-old intern for one thing, but he still loved his wife.  While this still doesn’t make it okay, in my opinion, it is more hurtful when a significant other is emotionally in love with someone else.

We see this cycle of marriage and children and cheating and deceit over and over. If we know it’s bad, why do we still do it? If we take all the things we know about losing sexual interest, becoming too busy with children, then why aren’t more people doing more to prevent these types of situations?

I have made a promise to myself that no matter how many kids I have, I will always make time for me. Even if only for a 1 hour a day, I will take a moment to breathe, exercise, relax, read…whatever…just to keep my sanity. If you let your kids run your life, then you will grow to resent them, and possibly blame them for your significant other’s cheating ways.

I realize this is a fictional novel but the whole theme of cheating and promiscuity makes me sad for our generation. The instant gratification society we live in today makes cheating seem like an almost acceptable idea. Even though there are bound to be bumps in the road, hopefully they don’t get rocky enough to swerve off the course. Stay strong and keep your eyes on the journey at hand and the destination ahead .

Natasha Pavlovic…

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