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Free love

Parents: free - love

Related: sexual revolution - counterculture

In the West in the 1960s a new culture of "free love" with tens of thousands of young people becoming "hippies" arose who preached the power of love and the beauty of sex as part of ordinary student life. This was part of a counter culture that exists to the present. It became acceptable for colleges to allow co-educational housing where male and female students commingled freely.

Well, um, what I'm saying is that I'm part of the sexual revolution, um, and I feel that the...in one of my most controversial sentences is "Everybody who preached free love in the 60's is responsible for AIDS." I mean by that the Mama's and the Papa's and all of us, so, the price of that revolution has been paid by gay men, primarily. I think that what we're understanding is the enormous power of nature. Even Larry Kramer is starting to talk like this now: that nature apparently did not want us to be promiscuous and that it puts a thousand obstacles in our paths such as these diseases. OK. I feel that procreation is nature's law, and that's why I defy nature, I resist it, I oppose it. OK. I think that women certainly are in the..um, you know we were the first generation to have the birth control pill, OK, which frustrates nature. [...] --Camille Paglia interviewed by Jack Nichols, 1997


Free love is an ideology that love and sexual activities could be shared amongst many, and not be confined to long term relationships. The ideology is generally not applied to polygamous cultures, such as early 19th century Mormons and Islamic cultures.

The idea has appeared various times in history such as among the Cathars of Medieval France, the Saint-Simonians in the early 1800s, the Greenwich Village movements of the early 1900s, and among hippies in the 1960s and 1970s.

The movements which support free love tend to be utopian collectivist ones which see the traditional institutions of marriage and family as oppressive. Partly because of these anti-institutional views, free love cultures and those that support polygamy tend to be quite hostile to each other. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_love

Casual sex

Casual sex refers to sexual activity outside the context of a romantic relationship, consisting of a range of informal sexual encounters.

People who engage in any type of sex put themselves at increased risk of sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy. The use of condoms and other birth control methods are often employed to reduce this risk. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casual_sex [Jan 2007]


Promiscuity is the practice of making relatively unselective, casual and indiscriminate choices.

The term is most commonly applied to sexual behavior, where it refers to sex that is not in the framework of a steady sexual relationship, or occurs in multiple, simultaneous sexual relationships. A promiscuous person may nevertheless be quite selective in their choice of sexual partners.

A common concern about promiscuity is the potential to run a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV which may eventually lead to AIDS. Promiscuous behaviour requires strict application of safer sex measures, in order to reduce this risk. However, consecutive monogamous sexual relationships (serial monogamy) without safer sex measures can pose a similar risk.

In some cases, promiscuous behaviour is caused by definite pathology such as manic episodes of bipolar disorder, some forms of brain tumors, or alcohol and substance abuse.

Some sects, cults, and religious orders have a place for promiscuous behaviour. There were special examples of religious prostitution in ancient Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome.

What is socially acceptable in promiscuous behaviour varies widely between cultures, and for different groups within a culture. In some contexts, a woman who has sex with any man other than her husband is considered promiscuous, while the term may not be applied to a man from the same culture likewise having extramarital sex. In other cultures, the term applies only to people who have more than one lover at the same time.

It is difficult to accurately assess people's sexual behaviour, since there are strong social and personal motivations to either minimise or exaggerate reported sexual activity, depending on social sanctions and taboos.

The best statistical evidence of actual sexual behaviour is derived from research into sexually transmitted diseases. Extensive mathematical research has been conducted to model different mathematical models of sexual behaviour and to compare the results generated with the observed prevalence of STDs to try to estimate the probable actual sexual behavior of the population.

People's numbers of sexual partners, both over their lifetime and concurrently, varies widely over the population. Studies of STD spread have consistently shown that a small minority of the population have substantially more partners than the average, and a large minority (including those who abstain from sex) have less than the average.

One important issue in STD epidemiology is whether these groups have sex mostly within their groups (so-called assortative mixing) or at random.

There is a growing modern movement to promote the acceptance of promiscuity in the context of honesty and safer sex. A crucial text in this regard is The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promiscuity [Dec 2005]

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