The Wild Oats Project
In Robin Rinaldi’s The Wild Oats Project, she embarks on a new adventure in her 40s. Married to a wonderful husband for 20 years, Rinaldi suddenly desires to have children, which her husband refuses. This sparks Rinaldi to a decision: either she has a child or she is given the green light (by her husband) to have multiple sexual partners, something she felt she missed out on by getting married young.
It’s interesting to read about a woman’s sexual discovery and respect her for making her own choices. Rinaldi decides to learn more about female sexuality and orgasm, which takes her to workshops and conferences in her home in San Francisco to different parts of the country. She meets men and women in their own personal paths for sexuality, and while she gets to know them intimately, she’s always able to leave at the end of the week and return to her husband on the weekends. But while she begins this project with the notion that all of her dalliances are only for the purpose of sex, some become an emotional connection. And the project involves her husband getting to have one-night stands with women, but is he also keeping emotionally detached?
For me, the whole giant decision that launched this memoir seemed faulty in its inception. It was hard for me to grasp how having multiple sexual partners would assuage Rinaldi more than her desire to have a child. In the memoir, she argues that she wants to leave a legacy, which would happen if she had a child. With that logic, she’s not “leaving a legacy” by having multiple sexual encounters.
Nonetheless, memoir is all about memory, and Rinaldi looks back on her choices and considers them in the context of her toxic family upbringing, something she had tried to escape, but still left her with scars. I may have my reservations about the reasoning behind Rinaldi’s actions, but they are her choices, and as readers, we get to see how those choices pan out in her marriage.