Free love is a social movement that rejects marriage, which is seen as a form of social bondage. The Free Love movement’s initial goal was to separate the state from sexual matters such as marriage, birth control, and adultery. It claimed that such issues were the concern of the people involved, and no one else.
Much of the free-love tradition is an offshoot of anarchism, and reflects a libertarian philosophy that seeks freedom from state regulation and church interference in personal relationships. According to this concept, the free unions of adults are legitimate relations which should be respected by all third parties whether they are emotional or sexual relations. In addition, some free-love writing has argued that both men and women have the right to sexual pleasure. In the Victorian era, this was a radical notion. Later, a new theme developed, linking free love with radical social change, and depicting it as a harbinger of a new anti-authoritarian, anti-repressive sensibility.
Many people in the early 19th century believed that marriage was an important aspect of life to "fulfil earthly human happiness." Middle-class Americans wanted the home to be a place of stability in an uncertain world. This mentality created a vision on strongly defined gender roles, which led to the advancement of the free love movement.
While the phrase free love is often associated with promiscuity in the popular imagination, especially in reference to the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, historically the free-love movement has not advocated multiple sexual partners or short-term sexual relationships. Rather, it has argued that love relations that are freely entered into should not be regulated by law.
The term "sex radical" is also used interchangeably with the term "free lover", and was the preferred term by advocates because of the negative connotations of "free love". By whatever name, advocates had two strong beliefs: opposition to the idea of forceful sexual activity in a relationship and advocacy for a woman to use her body in any way that she pleases.
Laws of particular concern to free love movements have included those that prevent an unmarried couple from living together, and those that regulate adultery and divorce, as well as age of consent, birth control, homosexuality, abortion, and sometimes prostitution; although not all free love advocates agree on these issues. The abrogation of individual rights in marriage is also a concern—for example, some jurisdictions do not recognize spousal rape or treat it less seriously than non-spousal rape. Free-love movements since the 19th century have also defended the right to publicly discuss sexuality and have battled obscenity laws.
In 1857, Francis Barry wrote that "marriage is a system of rape," stating that the woman is a victim where she can do nothing but be oppressed by her husband, as he tortures her in her home, which becomes a house of bondage. In one of his articles, Barry wrote:
'The Object of this Society,’ according to Article 2 of its constitution, ‘shall be to secure absolute freedom to woman, through the overthrow of the popular system of marriage.’
At the turn of the 20th century, some free-love proponents extended the critique of marriage to argue that marriage as a social institution encourages emotional possessiveness and psychological enslavement.
Other articles related to "free love, free":
... concern for American individualist anarchism was free love ... Free love particularly stressed women's rights since most sexual laws discriminated against women for example, marriage laws and anti-birth control measures ... The most important American free love journal was Lucifer the Lightbearer (1883–1907) edited by Moses Harman and Lois Waisbrooker, but also there existed Ezra Heywood and Angela Heywood's ...
... Together they published an edition of Margaret Sanger's Family Limitation, an action which saw them denounced by a London magistrate for "indiscriminate" publication and, despite expert testimony from a consultant to Guy's Hospital and evidence at the appeal that the book had only been sold to those aged over twenty-one, the stock was ordered to be destroyed ... Their case had been strongly supported by Dora Russell who, with her husband Bertrand Russell and John Maynard Keynes, paid the legal costs of the appeal ...
... The term free love has been used to describe a social movement that rejects marriage, which is seen as a form of social bondage ... The Free Love movement’s initial goal was to separate the state from sexual matters such as marriage, birth control, and adultery ... Much of the free-love tradition is an offshoot of anarchism, and reflects a civil libertarian philosophy that seeks freedom from state regulation and church interference in personal relationships ...
... In Europe and North America, the free love movement combined ideas revived from utopian socialism with anarchism and feminism to attack the "hypocritical" sexual morality ... Free lovers advocated voluntary sexual unions with no state interference and affirmed the right to sexual pleasure for both women and men, sometimes explicitly supporting the rights ... For a few decades, adherence to "free love" became widespread among European and American anarchists, but these views were opposed at the time by the dominant actors of the Left Marxists and social ...
... Watson, Erchomenon or the Republic of Materialism (1879) A free love utopia ... Heinlein explored the concept of free love throughout his writing career, starting with his first novel For Us, The Living A Comedy of Customs in 1939 ... in a Strange Land (1961), Valentine Michael Smith founds his own church preaching free love ...
Famous quotes containing the words love and/or free:
“Until you have a son of your own . . . you will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son. You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass something good and hopeful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to be.”
—Kent Nerburn (20th century)
“I dont know how long it has been since my ear has been free from the roll of a drum. It is the music I sleep by, and I love it.... I shall remain here while anyone remains, and do whatever comes to my hand. I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.”
—Clara Barton (18211912)