Free Love

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October 9, 2012 by kzhen

During the Victorian Era, there were a number of publications that advocated for “free love,” the concept that woman should be free to move in and out of marriage. Within the broad topic of “free love,” there was also talk of expanding the sexual vocabulary, concept that sexual intercourse can be for pleasure, importance of sex education, and that marriage was like “legalized sex abuse” (Streitmatter, 70).

My reactions after reading this chapter:

  1. I thought it was very interesting that Anthony Comstock was funded by financier J. Pierpont Morgan and soap magnate Samuel Colgate to censor sexual reform publications. From the reading I can speculate that these very men were like other wealthy Victorian men who had multiple partners while advocating for respectable persons to follow strict morals of behavior. If my speculations are correct, not only are these men hypocritical but they also hire others to censor those who are exposing the truth. This reminds me of corporations and wealthy people who try to censor independent media and organizations that reveal corruption, hypocracy and truth.
  2. Angela and Ezra Heywoods published The Word, a monthly sexual reform journal. One of their arguments in the journal was that marriage was so terrible that babies born to unwed mothers were superior than babies born from marriages because “the marriage institution … destroys love, hinders intelligent reproduction, causes domestic discord, and corrupts and poisons the source of life” (Streitmatter, 74). Although I found myself agreeing or sympathizing to much of this chapter, this particular argument I just cannot agree or see any truth in.
  3. I’m interested in also looking at the institution of marriage presently. In the United States the divorce rate is about 50% but does that mean that divorce/separation is widely accepted? I would argue that divorce is still not accepted in some cultures. I’m also interested in discussing the prevalence of marital rape and relational abuse that occurs within marriages today. I feel like this topic in particular, is not given enough attention.

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