Love, sex and maybe marriage

The CN&R’s annual Valentine’s Day special report on romance, intimacy and changing attitudes toward sex

We admit it: We’re glad that Valentine’s Day gives us a handy excuse to put together this annual tribute to the power and challenges of romantic love. Like most people, the CN&R’s editors and writers are fools for love, and we greatly enjoy everything about producing this issue.

You’d have seen that if had you been at our brainstorming session three weeks ago, when we bounced story ideas around. Usually these gatherings last about 45 minutes, but when the subjects are love and sex and relationships, every idea generates all kinds of personal stories, many of them of the “You won’t believe this one” variety, that lead us down side paths. Two hours in, we were still going strong, laughing and joking and enjoying each other’s tales of love gone awry, gone crazy or just gone away.

We did get some work done, though, and what you’re now reading is the result. This is one of the more varied annual collections of stories we’ve produced so far. If there’s a theme, it’s love and sex on the fringes, or outside the mainstream.

Our lead story, Christine LaPado’s profile of sex therapist Adrienne Parker-Morano, focuses on polyamory, or love among multiple sexual partners. It sounds, well, complicated, but as you’ll learn it’s also fascinating in many different ways.

Then there are Meredith Graham’s revealing piece on one-night stands, Stacey Kennelly’s informative story about Chico State’s new academic minor in sexual diversity, and Vic Cantu’s sweet look at a group of developmentally disabled people who are learning how to have healthy sexual relationships.

We hope you enjoy this special report and that it reminds you of and encourages you to appreciate the wonders and mystery of human sexual intimacy.