Guest Contributor Lois Lagos: I want multiple partners…

I’ve recently found myself questioning my desire to have multiple sexual partners. I have always been monogamous even when I’m with a casual sexual partner as with my current situation. He is great in bed…exceptionally open to trying new things so logically I should be satisfied but he is not my boyfriend and whilst I am not in a steady relationship I want to have as much (safe) fun as possible.

I recently bumped into someone who I have only had the pleasure of ‘coming’ with once…well multiple times but only on one night and I had to fight with all my might not to arrange to link up with him for a repeat session. I have told myself that I should only really be fucking one person at a time but the memory of the latter dude’s tongue inside my pussy was unshakeable. I succeeded in avoiding him and staying “faithful” to the man who is not even my boyfriend and I suppose more importantly staying faithful to womankind. It is after all drummed into us that we are not allowed to have more than one sexual partner at anyone time whilst my male friends are allowed to have as many as they like as long as they are not in a relationship with any of them. Its frustrating because I know I am capable of separating the emotion from the sexual but the voice of morality keeps my inner “freak” at bay… I met a woman in her 50s recently who described a period in her life when she had a few guys on speed dial who she would call whenever she wanted male company; she made it sound so empowering…I think I may have been the only woman in my age group tempted to replicate her actions…and you know what, the more I think about it the more I may just do it.

Any of you ladies ever had multiple partners?

56 comments On Guest Contributor Lois Lagos: I want multiple partners…

  • Love this contribution, and I get the feeling its going to generate a lot of comments…Lois Lagos, the key is ‘safer’ sex like you’ve pointed out. I don’t have a boyfriend, so I have a couple of friends I can holla at whenever I am in *ahem* need …

    • Hello Nana, I just wanna know if you are serious about this statement of it is something that you say as a therapy? What is your take on morality with regards to this actions if indeed you do that?

  • Would you be upfront with male friends about your desire to have multiple partners? I ask because I’ve always found it hard to be that honest.

  • Hello once again Lady Darkoa

    It’s always refreshing to visit this website although I don’t do it as often as I like due to professional constraints. This is a very interesting and profound contribution and she revealed several issues relating to female (and male) sexuality. i want to single out a particular line and use that to address the other issues and narratives that were brought out in her piece.

    “Its frustrating because I know I am capable of separating the emotion from the sexual but the voice of morality keeps my inner “freak” at bay…”

    Now Nana *winking*, you know how this usually starts me off on my long-winded articles, lol. I’ll spare you all that today ;-). But what was said here spoke volumes even if that wasn’t the intent. It’s not so much the issue of separating sex from emotion — which we have discussed on previous occasions (I don’t buy into many of the either/or dichotomies; one can separate or combine both YET not necessarily link it with some kind of sustained [and god forbid, exclusive] relationship). What *does* stand out here is the “voice of morality” part.

    I would imagine that this stems from the very thorough immersion probably all of us have received in the narrative that certain sex acts among consenting adults are nonetheless “immoral” because they step out of the approved monogamous sex model. For the most part that is absolute egregious rubbish. And frankly, who defines what is “freaky” anyway? What’s THEIR benchmark? If you read books like “When Women Were Priests” or go to the original writings of Saints Augustine and Tertullian, as well as Plato, Socrates and the other members of the early sex police, you’d quickly discover that for them ALL sex was freaky….and dirty……and dangerous. The mere fact that for Augustine, since all sex was sinful but was the only way to bring about new offspring, and so the best thing to do was to restrict the “sin” by keeping it confined to one man and one woman, should cause us to seriously stop and re-examine what EXACTLY is “moral.”

    What Lois describes sounds to me perfectly normal and in a perfect world it would be just that. Of course we know the reality but that’s all the more reason why we should deconstruct and, if such a thing is possible, toss out the old narratives once and for all. When it comes to intimacy and sexuality humans have very diverse preferences — something patriarchal/patricentric mindsets could never accommodate — and we need to keep doing whatever we can to bring out environments that allow such diversity to flourish without ideas of guilt and sin.

    Oh and Nana, if ever you come to Trinidad, know that even here you can holla if you in *ahem* need.

  • i currently have two permanent sexual partners; my woman knows about my man( shes my best friend) but my man does not know about my woman( shes just my best friend to him). Sometimes there are more and even though initially i used to bash myself for being such a tramp(according to society), i quickly got over it when i realized they both cant satisfy me in some extents. My man can be very sexually selfish and frustrating and even though my woman does her best, which i really appreciate, sometimes i just crave the satisfaction given by a man. That being said, i look elsewhere when 2 permanent fixtures dont exactly cut it. What is most important is being at peace within you and also keeping yourself SAFE!

  • Hehehe @Corey you made me giggle…Trinidad is on my bucket list. Will definitely holla at you if I make it there, even if I am in not in *ahem* need 🙂 Loved your response to this post. As always, intellectually stimulating and this length was just right 😛

    @Adjeley – I want another guest contribution from you! Many, many more 🙂 Which reminds me, I should let everyone know that the last guest contribution from an ‘Adjeley’ re was not from this Adjeley who has commented here…someone asked me which is why I am clarifying 🙂

  • Nana D, is there really someone who remembers that there are 2 Adjeleys? One with a female lover, one without?

  • @ Kofi,

    Why should she be upfront about who she is doing? The parameters are very clear, it’s just sex. Nothing more nothing less. So therefore, it’s none of their business, as she is not in an EXCLUSIVE relationship.

    This was definitely a great read. I like that 50 year old woman’s approach. Have 2 or 3 on speedial, when push comes to shove, invite #1 for breakfast sheenanigans, #2 for lunch, and #3 for dinner sheenanigans and send them packing. No strings attached. After all, men are able to do this, without any questions asked. So why should we not indulge in the same?

  • @AM, no,, not saying she should, just asking. I think every kind of response and reaction is possible.

  • hmmm, interesting post. I, personally, haven’t been a fan of doing two guys at the same time. The reason? I’m afraid I’ll get pregnant and then not be able to tell whose it is. I’ve been on the pill, iud etc. but I know that none of these are 100% effective hence my fear. Maybe my fear’s compounded by the fact that I know women who swear to have conceived on the pill and on iud as well (one said her son came out clutching the iud, heeheehee).

  • If you are in *ahem* need and want multiple partners, have them just remember to play safe

  • @ Kofi,

    ahhh, I c. Agreed!! 🙂

  • Thanks for the clarification Nana Darkoa. I must say i was a bit surprised when i saw a contribution from a namesake because until then, i thought i was the only Adjeley on here. Upon hindsight i realised it really is such a common Ga name. Henceforth, in an effort to minimize any confusion, i shall post as Naa Adjeley

  • If she is not in a relationship and is just having a thing, I think she can do whomever, whenever. I do understand Lois’ mental block though.

    To Kofi’s question, I do think one needs to let the people know you guys are not exclusive because there is increased risk with multiple partners (A condom doesn’t protect from many contact- and fluid-spread infections). Part of being a considerate and respectful lover. You would wanna know if we were just casual ‘mutual need-meeters’ and I had a side dish that was HIV-positive, no? I believe it’s the right thing to do to let the person choose their risk, as much as depends on you. Just my two cents.

  • Wow! Thanks for the responses. I have to say I’ve not had the opportunity to try this out yet but 2013 could be the year! LOL @AM’s comment…my 50 year old pal knew had to LIVE back in the day! Now she’s happily married getting that EASY LIKE SUNDAY MORNING Dick from her husband (I kid you not she told me Sunday mornings were the best for getting jiggy). Anyway if I do venture into this I shall of course have a stockpile of condoms and get some extra protection ready. I probably would not tell them unless asked though; it would probably ruin the flow. I remember when one guy I was seeing told me he had multiple partners; and even though we spent time together I couldn’t shake the thought of what the other partners were doing and why I couldn’t be enough (even though we were not a couple). I was much younger then though.

  • @lois i think your personal inhibitions are preventing you from ‘muddying’ the waters a bit. we all have the ‘normal’ and ‘upright’ way drummed into us when growing up. girls stay in with the dollies, boys go out to play and get dirty ;). but you need to marry your personality to certain aspects of the imparted culture that you have. i see you procrastinating, talking about the ifs and the 2013s. are you comfortable with taking that step however? forget about the morality of it. separate that from who you truly are. will you enjoy multiple partners? if so, go for it girl. explore and have memories instead of regrets. #beyourself 🙂

  • Thanks @korkor – I would most certainly like to explore and explore I shall once the opportunities open up to me!

  • Why must it be either / or? I am a married woman in a steady relationship with another single man and an occasional girlfriend. My husband knows and approves. He has had another woman as well, but rarely. We are in a committed relationship, but sexually open.

    • hehehe Petra has taken it there…let’s discuss ‘open relationships’. Yay or nay? Has anyone been in an open relationship before? I have, and it was tough cos we were completely open, so not only did we have to say if we had hooked up with someone else, but we could end up going into all the details 🙂 BUT it was also a long distance relationship so it was open for practical reasons…I don’t think I would want to do an open committed relationship again though…

  • It would be fun if Petra told us more about how she and her husband got into an open relationship…

  • Hmm, isn’t the phrase ‘open relationship’ an oxymoron? If it’s open then is there even a relationship so to speak?

  • Oh I’m all for discussion open relationships, lol (oh how I wish just talking about it brought it about *sigh*)

    But in all seriousness, in response to the question as to whether the term is an oxymoron, I don’t know why we must accept that “relationships” are only to be understood in closed, exclusive terms. I don’t accept that at all. Why must we accept that romantic/intimate unions among people only take place in the context of monogamous pairings?

    In my opinion, that has more to do with the way in which our understanding of love and relationships have been corralled and hijacked by patriarchal Western culture that manifests itself in the very limiting lexicon of English (and other European languages too although they seem to have somewhat more flexibility) not to mention their very restrictive ideas of morality.

  • @ Corey Wilkes: I dunno, I’m still not convinced by this ‘open relationship’ thing. How exactly does it work? The couple agree that ok we both can ‘f’ other people but our hearts remain with each other? how realistic is that? It seems to me that loads of time, an open relationship is one partner wanting to screw around and the other partner accepting it to sustain the relationship.

    And I don’t think that monogamy is a Western patriarchal concept. The ‘open relationship’ concept is rather the modern Western concept. Societies have always embraced the concept of monogamy so far as women were concerned, it’s just that men have always been permitted to have more than one wife and mistresses. As a Fanti, I’ve learnt from reading the writings of Sarbah and other writers on Akan people (like Rattray) and on other African people (like Schapera) that for Africans, for eg, although men were allowed to have ‘as many wives as their nets/cutlasses/ bows could take care of’, women were restricted to one man at a time so there was nothing like an ‘open relationship’ in those societies.

    In fact, all throughout history, where anyone was allowed to screw outside the relationship, generally, it was the men and not the women and so there has really never been a concept of open relationship, throughout the ages. It is rather the post-feminism- and-the-pill-Western society which (since the 60s) has embraced the concept of women owning their sexuality and sleeping with whomever they want when they want to and hence also (kind of ) accepted that people can have open relationships and swing etc .

    I found out while working on my thesis that although polygyny abounded in ancient society, polyandry was highly rare and even when it was practiced, it was typically to the benefit of men in society. So in societies where men offered their wives to their guests, for eg, it wasn’t for the wives’ enjoyment but as an extension of the men’s power and an indication that their wives were properties who could be given out at will. So although it’d be great to believe that humans have always allowed everyone (including women) to sleep with whom they want, sadly, that’s not the case.

  • @ Ekuba

    *sigh* where to begin? Look, I cannot and will not pretend to speak about what is/was the rality for all cultures. In fact, I always remember Ifi Amadiume cautioning against the tendency for people to write about Africa as if it’s one homogenous socio-political entity. Now I don’t know what were your source materials (and would love to have you cite them) but for my part, I looked at the evolution of Caribbean society and the origins of Western social mores.

    For the sake of brevity, let me state that I don not share your view that open relationships are a new, Western and post-feminist creation; in human history and while a great many cultures — many African ones included — observed monogamy or polyandry, neither is it fair to make a blanket statement that it was the woman who was always the one who was sidelined.

    Archaeological, anthropological and historical evidence shows us that human sexual relationships were “open” for much longer than they were exclusive. Indeed, if Senegalese scholar Cheikh Anta Diop’s works are still valid, the exclusive, monogamous model most of us are familiar with can be traced back to the rise of Eurasian patriarchal societies that themselves were once matricentric. As ecological conditions became extremely harsh, masculinist pursuits as war and hunting took precedence and the social order in turn also shifted to the patriarch. This included restricting women’s sexuality and developing the concept of paternity to stand alone and above matrilineal descent. Please not that NONE of our sexual mores and ideas of romance (“the one” the “soulmate” “commitment” fidelity, use of words like loyalty) stem from any respect for women, family, god or any other romanticised rubbish, all of this stemmed from ECONOMIC considerations — MEN’S economic considerations — that came out of the militaristic, hunter-gatherer cultures and the rise of the acquisition of material assets as marks of wealth. The very word adultery is an economic term.

    This is echoed somewhat in Merlin Stone in When God Was a Woman, Gerda Lerner in The Creation of Patriarchy, Marilyn French’s Beyond Power, Anderson and Zinnser in A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present and in a book The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light (I can’t recall the author presently). Basically they point out that such things as “friends with benefits,” premarital and extramarital sex by both parties was not the universal stigma we think it was. Many ancient cities along the Mediterranean, among the Africans of the ancient Nile Valley cvilisations, in parts of India and even Japan (where at least one group of women still practise it), women enjoyed greater sexual freedom. All that changed to individualistic concepts of private ownership with the rise of patriarchy circa 2600BCE.

    And having come to this point let me also state that contrary to the simplistic arguments peddled mainly by chauvinist and religious people, this does NOT mean that the alternative to closed monogamous sex is wanton screwing all over the place. Most open relationships are characterised by open and constant communication as to the partners, likes, dislikes and approvals. There are many variations but generally, open relationships incorporate two or three other partners and yes, emotional bonds are often formed. It has also been shown that most open relationships tend to “close off” after the third or fourth partner has been added. Often one leaves for a myriad of reasons and the relationship either stays “closed” or another partner joins. Trust me, from what I’ve picked up, there are a great many variations to this theme.

    It’s hard for you (us) to fully understand this or appreciate much of it since most of us are immersed in the monogamy-is-the-only-morality bullshit. And,as you pointed out, even in polygamous unions, women’s sexuality is usually restricted. But that itself must be understood in the context of the spread of chauvinist patricentric ideology through either Western Christianity or Arab Islam or some cataclysmic ecological or socio-political event that shifts delicate traditional balances between male and female principles. And if you read Amadiume’s books (Male Daughters, Female Husbands and Reinventing Africa) you will see that even in unions where the men have more than one wife, the power is not necessarily enjoyed by him at all.

  • Ah, but you prove my point exactly with what you’ve just said Corey!

    Which specific society do you know of where women were permitted to date/ mate with/ marry as many partners as they liked at the same time? Of course societies have always allowed men to screw around but which one do you know which allowed women to do the same?

    Sure, women enjoyed more ‘sexual freedom’ in some eras/ societies than in others but can you mention just one society where anthropologists have found that ordinary women were permitted to tell their male partners that ‘hey, besides you, I’m taking 2 other partners or sure, I’ll marry you but I’ll still screw someone else’ and it was considered ok?

  • Colourful use of words Ekuba

    But in answer to the question in the first paragraph, well I suppose one could point to the Sanbanham of India, the Venda of southern Africa, the Mosuo of China. But I am unclear what was the “point” you speak about; the discussion shifted to open relationships, you stated your doubts about the concept — that it usually seemed to be one party wanting to screw around while the other one accepted it to sustain the relationship (which does happen, but that’s not what an open relationship is anyway).

    If your “point” is that a truly mutual open arrangement is improbable, you’re in for a shock; it’s going on even as we speak. I myself know of several such arrangements and both parties are nonetheless committed to each other. Sometimes, yes, there are problem when one decides to opt out and the other doesn’t but that has to do with the natural evolution of people. It happens in monogamous relationships. As you age and move through life and experiences, often what interested you before no longer does and you change to suit; that in fact, is the fundamental difference between matricentric and patricentric social orderings; patricentry/patriarchy is very much opposed to the notion of fluidity: things must remain the way they have always been.

    MY point is, Ekuba, that all what has happened in the past and why should be used as guides to help make sense of what one needs to do today. The sexual mores of the last 2000 years in Eurasian history that was imposed on pretty much the rest of us cannot work, never did and must be at the very least expanded (I’ll stop short of saying they should be flung out…..though they should) to accept other forms of sexual/intimate interactions. The history that predates the last 2000 years is a useful guide as is the history of other cultures outside of Europe and Arabia within the last 2000 years but at the end of it all, we still must create different spaces because the realities of travel, communication and demographics have radically changed. Morality created in a completely different time for completely different purposes cannot help everyone.

  • @ Corey: No, no, no! The 3 examples you give are perfect examples of how people today look at the cultures of ancient societies with rose tinted glasses in order to argue that women led a certain lifestyle in those times & enjoyed certain rights/ privileges which they actually did not.

    I came across 2 of the 3 societies you mentioned during my research and I will discuss them below. You would kindly have to provide me with more information on the 3rd society so that I can read for myself and see if what you’re saying is true.

    Let’s discuss the Mosuo (Moso) people of China: there is no historical record that ordinary women used to negotiate and enjoy open relationships. Rather, when you read Cai Hua (A society without fathers) & Chuan-kang Shih & Mark R. Jenik (A Cultural–Historical Perspective on the Depressed Fertility Among the Matrilineal Moso in Southwest China) you discover that although the Mosuo people practiced ‘walking marriages’/ tisese this was merely a disguise for serial monogamy and not a ticket for the women to have multiple partners at the same time. Indeed, they had sexual mores too because a woman who could not tell the father of her children was derided since when a child was born, there was a ceremony where the child’s father had to present certain gifts and he had to do the same when the child turned 13.

    I came across the Vhavenda people when I was researching polygamy and found out that they, like several other African societies, practice(d) polygyny. Prof Muluadzi’s article (Indigenous health beliefs, attitudes and practices among VhaVenda) states that men were allowed to marry many women and as soon as they paid the bride price/ mamalo for a woman, they had exclusive rights to her sexually. Kindly refer me to the anthropological report/ article that details that Vhavenda women used to engage in open relationship.

    I never researched the Sanbanham people so pray do enlighten me by referring me to the publication that discusses how their women used to practice open relationships.

    You talk about several couples you know who are practicing open relationships but are still committed to each other. How can you tell the level of commitment in someone’s relationship if you are not in it yourself? And what is your academic/anthropological basis for saying that the current mores about sexuality is Eurasian and only came into existence 2000 years ago?

  • (as we say in Trinidad) hol up dey! I’m wondering if we are arguing on the basis of a “fundamentalist” interpretations of words. I can’t and didn’t say that the Sandbanham or any of the others, has what in the West could be called an “open” relationship or if we should even be using those terms. At the same time, non-Western cultures being what they often are, we may both be guilty, as some of the scholars we read, of trying to interpret and fit these cultures in Western terms. I too, for example, had an issue with one man marrying several wives and held — still do to a point — that that is just another form of patriarchal chauvinism. Amadiume’s look at her Nnobi customs, however, made me re-evauate some of what I think. For on the surface, the husband is/was “in charge” (and the effects of colonialism pretty much cemented that aspect unfortunately [note an example here of the cataclysmic social event that tilts the tenuous balance] ) but in reality, the women were the ones who influenced the decisions (and such measures like the collective withholding of sex was one way they often kept him in line). The Ile ekwe titled women had final say in political decision making and that was a political order that has as its nucleus, the common household

    If I’m reading you correctly, however, i think you are asking a question that I myself am struggling with and have been for some time: how did the *common* or ordinary people live? That is what I’m trying to piece together for the book I am working on for some years now. I’m not so sure we may ever fully know since much of the early anthropological and historical research tended to focus on the middle and upper classes/elites. What the “black hen chicken” did wasn’t seen as terribly important apparently. However, even then, I have been able to discern little glimmers that suggest that in ancient Greece, Rome, medieval Europe, Victorian-age Europe and colonial Caribbean, the peasants and the working class women had much greater “freedom” sexually and socially than their counterparts in the middle and upper class. Of course, since they had to work to uphold the elites, that “freedom” didn’t necessarily amount to much. But they very much seemed to have had much less restricted lives than the “ladies” of the house.

    On one condition

    They tended to stay unmarried. If there were unions, they would have been common law. Post-colonial Caribbean, especially here in Trinidad is rich in learning that aspect and I was a boy back in the 1970s before Trinidad was as industrialised and urbanised as it is now so some of the old vestiges were pretty much intact. Historical studies like “Trinidad Village” also helped augment a lot of what I learned from my mother’s stories.

    But understanding exactly what the ordinary people did will be “open” for debate between us I imagine.

    Re the sexual mores. That, I found to be somewhat easier to trace. Now in all cultures there were patriarchal/patricentric mores and ideas of morality. But in the more tropical regions, there does seem to have been powerful female institutions and mores that served as counterbalances that varied in effectiveness depending on what region one s looking at. However, scholars pretty much agree that the jumping off point for the containment of female sexuality in Eurasia really gathered momentum with the Codex Hammurabi. Add to that the Assyrian and Babylonian Codes and the Roman Codes which came later but drew from the earlier ones I mentioned. THAT served as the basis for the Jewish and especially the Christian tenets and the strictures against sex largely influenced by Tertullain and especially Augustine (who was quite a playa himself before)

    I mentioned some publications just now, you might also want to go through:
    – The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets – Barbara G Walker
    – Cultural Unity of Black Africa – Cheikh Anta Diop
    – Civilisation or Barbarism – Cheikh Anta Diop
    – When Women were Priests – Karen Torjessen
    – Women’s Evolution – Evelyn Reed

    There are some others but I’m not close to my personal library and the old 43-year old brain not as quick as before (and you know we men can’t multitask *ahem*)

    Ok, now off to bed

  • @ Corey: My contention throughout this discussion has been that some people say ‘women in ancient times used to have open relationships, enjoyed massive sexual freedom, could do as they pleased it is Christianity and Islam which have imposed limits on women etc.’ but I always ask, what is the proof for that assertion? And if you can’t prove it then I’m not buying it. I mean, I’m not a world renowned anthropologist or anything but with the research I’ve done and am still doing, I’m yet to come across even just 1 society which allowed women to negotiate for open relationships as and when they felt like it.

    I read the works of Amadiume and loved them but I found nothing therein that that suggested that women in Igbo society or the other cultures she writes about used to have open relationships. Sure, one can glean from her book “African Matriachal foundations” that women in Igbo society did not suffer the same restrictions as say a woman in England in 1898 nevertheless, she never once states that women in Igbo society enjoyed full sexual freedom to the point that they could negotiate with their husbands to sleep with other men.

    I’m surprised that you’ve listed Cheikh Anta Diop as one of the anthropologists who avers that monogamy is a Western/ Eurasian/ modern concept because I definitely did not get that when I read his works. Sure, he stated that women in some societies enjoyed greater sexual freedom but he also argued that monogamy is very indigenous to Africa and not a Western ideal only. In his book “the cultural unity of black Africa”, Diop argued that monogamy is indigenous to Africa and that majority of Africans practiced monogamy even up to the late middle ages. I just pulled a copy of that book from my stack, I’m using the edition printed in 2000, kindly read page 114 and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    I must admit that I’ve not read the other books you’ve listed and am going to look for them tomorrow but before I read them, let me ask you, are they going to provide me with historical evidence that women in ancient societies used to practice open relationships? Because if they’re not going to do that, then my question still remains unanswered: I want just one example of a society where ordinary women were allowed to negotiate for open relationships and/ or have multiple partners at the same time.

  • Good morning Ekuba (well, it’s morning over here, lol)

    I do understand your objection; far too often there is an over-romanticising of “traditional” cultures and the “old days” when what we need is more clinical analyses. And that does not only apply to sexual issues but many other issues.

    Now I KNOW if you read any of the articles I’ve contributed to this site or the others on, nowhere do I make that claim. I have always argued that the anti-sexual, misogynistic attitudes of these religions were inherited from the secular and religious cultures that existed before them

    But I realise that we can’t move past the issue of whether or not open relationships existed and whether women were able to as you say negotiate to sleep with whomever. Surely you must know that in many societies (and forgive me if this sounds simplistic but I am running late) sex was just that, sex. By this I mean that it was another way of socially interacting and not *necessarily* something linked to “love” or exclusivity. Marriages certainly didn’t take place principally for love; that’s a relatively recent development (see Stephanie Coontz’s web page and lectures on YouTube for her treatment of this); to give a modern example of sorts, I remember training some French soldiers back in the 1990s when the Monica Lewinsky scandal was brewing with President Bill Clinton and they were very much amused that that could even be an issue in the US. They said that that would not have been news in France let alone the grounds for impeachment hearing. While I wondered if they would have had said the same thing if it was the woman who was president or a public figure, I got the point. As a woman said in the book “The Bitch in the House,” — I think it was the one who wrote “My Marriage, My Affairs” — perhaps it would be much better if sex was de-lnked from morality. The point here is that insofar as open marriages are basically understood to mean that WHILE married either or both parties have the option of exploring sexual/erotic intimacy with other people as long as the other spouse consents and is aware we both agree that the woman has for centuries been an unequal partner here in a great many cases. Even when unmarried, many women were still considered property although in some cases some avenues for sexual freedom did exist (have you read about the Trobriand Islanders in Wilhelm Reich’s “Invasion of Compulsory Sexual Morality”?) in some societies.

    I would hasten to add, though, that speaking for the evolution of social mores, sex *was* the foundation of their current political, social, religious and economic ideas. Diop himself in Civilisation or Barbarism (where he mentions the imposition of monogamy by what he calls the Northern Cradle; he did acknowledge that monogamy existed in CUBA but that space existed for other unions) was one of the first researchers I came across who observes that much of European laws, religious tenets, etc, stem from an obsessive fear of death and being annihilated. As such they, perhaps more than any other society, developed an obsession with establishing control. The root fear of this annihilation was embedded in sex and sexual interaction. And women got the blame for the power of this act. Walker points out that this is something common to all patriarchal ideological constructs, it’s only that Europe carried it to the point of serving as the basis for military domination of the globe.

    Now I have to run but I’ll check in during the course of this afternoon as there’s some other things I wanted to touch on. For now, suffice it to say that of the books I’ve cited, the ones that come closest to what you’re looking for — but you may still have to draw your own conclusions to some extent — would be the books by Marilyn French and Merlin Stone. I’d like to also recommend Sex at Dawn based on the reviews and what I’ve heard but I’ve not yet read it.

  • Good morning Corey (it’s morning here too). I’ll keep this short and sweet.

    Monogamy is not a modern concept, it’s rather the concept of an open relationship which is modern, Western. Women have enjoyed greater sexual freedom in some cultures but societies have always kept relationships closed so far as women were concerned. In no society has it been ok for a married woman/ woman in a committed relationship to take on lover(s) with the knowledge of her husband/ partner. When I’m referred to any anthropological work that contradicts these assertions I have, I will change them but until then, I abide by them.

  • Ekuba

    I for one never said or believed that monogamy is a modern concept, so that’s not an issue, at east not for me. I do not fully accept your view that open relationships are modern or Western although I most readily concede that by and large non-monogamous unions by and large favoured the men and not the women after all, it was we who have been writing the rules for the last 2-3000-odd years.

    Since we have been engaged in this exchange I have been speaking from off the top of my head and have not pulled out any of my old books. However, if my memory is correct, in Stone’s book When God was a Woman, when she was talking about the hora/horae/quadishtu — the sacred priestesses of Sumer who had as part of their functions was to engage in ritualistic sexual unions — some of the orders had women who were married. She also spoke about the women of Egypt who were the ones who pursued men rather than the other way around. I know that may not the same as what you were looking for, but I thought I’d include this as part of the discussion.

    What made me do a double-take, however, is your last statement: “In no society has it been ok for a married woman/ woman in a committed relationship to take on lover(s) with the knowledge of her husband/ partner. When I’m referred to any anthropological work that contradicts these assertions I have, I will change them but until then, I abide by them.”

    Uhm, what am I to make of this? If I read you correctly, I have to now ask, if indeed it is not ok in ANY society (including our respective ones) for a married woman — or man — to engage in any form of erotic intimacy with someone else, WHO determined it was not ok? What was their rationale? Most importantly, WHEN did they decide on this and what was their motivation at that specific time? Is it even relevant now?

    Speaking for myself, I hold the view that “society” has no place telling me what to do or my wife for that matter in our sex lives. Period. Given the nature of the evolution of sexual mores, once that became apparent to me *how* they came about, I made a decision to reject totally what “society” deems moral or immoral. I say to you that if YOU, Ekuba, intend to abide by the idea that it is not ok for you to engage in intimate relations of any kind with someone other than your husband, fine, I have no issue with that at all…..I just say that let that be what YOU want, not what “society” determines, particularly if that decision was made at a time when travel, technology and economy was radically different than what they are today. Double that if it was created by people who had a problem with sex, saw sex as just another expression of power and held a view that women were not people with minds and desires of their own.

    And just to emphasise on this point lest it be simplified into a view that I’m just looking for some excuse to screw around (which I could do anyway without requiring anthropological or any academic justification), I am saying that for me this is about what applies for me, the person and my spouse, taking all sorts of things into consideration. Whether monogamy is the approved model, or open marriages, or swinging, or polygyny, etc, *you* need to work out what will work for you based on your preferences, lifestyle, work, travel, and so on and so on. The main thing in Lynn Atwater’s book “The Extramarital Connection” that sticks in my head is her assertion that we have inherited a set of sexual codes that are completely inappropriate and barely relevant for living in the modern age given the realities of travel and consciousness and the complexities of human sexuality (my personal argument is that once you understand how these rules came about in Western society, you’ll hold the view that they were not appropriate even then)

    My central point remains that we need to do what we can — through these exchanges of ideas and knowledge for instance — to create space for an environment where different forms of sexual/intimate expressions can be entered into by consenting adults without the guilt, judgmental attitudes by ignorant religious types and neurotic drama whenever non-monogmous situations arise. It’s not easy and is sometimes messy, but so is monogamy and like monogamy, it is not for everyone so we come back to the point about the need to create a different, more accommodating environment.

  • Almost forgot

    Might I be so bold as to leave this link with you and anyone else who wishes to do some further reading. This is the site of Dr Stephanie Coontz. You can check out some of her interviews and lectures on YouTube.

  • @ Corey: I am sure you are aware that Merlin Stone’s works have been heavily criticized by several historians including Carlo Ginzburg for twisting historical evidence to support her feminist theology. I referred to her work during my research but she’s not an authority I’d rely on. However, let’s take it that her theories are accurate and married priestesses could sleep with whom they wanted. Were these priestesses ordinary women? No. So did the ordinary women in Egypt have the right to negotiate for open relationships? We’re back to square one.

    You asked “who determined that it (ie: open relationships) was not ok”?. Well, society always creates these little rules which you aptly identify as ‘sexual mores’. How are mores created? I leave that to the sociologists reading this to answer but suffice it to say that these sexual mores exist and are real else tomorrow, UK’s Prime Minister could reveal in an interview that he and his wife have a swinging relationship and no one would bat an eye. Ever wonder why we all announce that we’re married to someone but few people publicly admit to having open relationships? mhhmm, sexual mores!

    I disagree that we need to ‘create a space’ for ‘different forms of sexual expressions’ by ‘consenting adults’ without ‘guilt’. That might be a picture of your ideal society because you are comfortable with the different forms of sexual expressions eg. open relationships & you should be allowed to advocate for same. But some people (for religious reasons or otherwise) may embrace monogamy & be opposed to other forms of sexual expression; they should also be allowed to advocate for that. No one should judge you for having more liberal views and similarly, those who have conservative views should also not be judged as being ignorant/ neurotic.

  • Well now, here’s where we really start getting riled up

    First off, Stone’s book; if you were able to see my copy of her book, you’d see numerous notes in the margin critiquing certain timelines and interpretations. What I wish to say is not necessarily directed toward Ginzburg, but I cannot help but be somewhat cautious when I hear people critiquing someone for interpreting something in a feminist mindset. Often conservative scholars who critique “radical” researchers tend to overlook or dishonestly skirt around the fact that many times the “accepted” narratives often ignore other aspects of history or other perspectives. The mere fact that we are both fishing for material on how ordinary people interacted sexually is because for decades, that part of society was considered irrelevant and still is in some circles.

    If you want the truth, I consider her history to be quite sloppy and possibly guided more by ethnocentric idealism, but that’s me. I have some issues with Euro-centred feminism — a lot actually — but her recounting of the goddess cultures and the sacred sexual practices are pretty much on point. They are shared by such researchers as Lerner, Walker and Jean Merkhale in his book The Great Goddess which looked at the ancient finds of (often African influenced) goddess figurines all over Europe. My main objection with Stone’s argument that the earliest concepts of the Divine were “women” is that the evidence indicates that they were female but not human. The ancients sought to use images that were either representations of animals or fused human and animal forms to express that superhuman element. Anyway, that’s an aside

    I had to laugh at your statement about the UK PM; too bad you didn’t say the French President because if HE were to reveal the same thing in an interview, no one would bat an eyelid. Why? Because he ain’t the only one, male or female, who does it.

    So very few married people admit to having open relationships. Oh wow, why? Wait for it…..because they are usually stigmatised in a society that espouses the egregious monogamy-is-the-supreme-morality nonsense that has been peddled for ages. From top to bottom Western society is built on double-standards. Like Atwater says, sexually we preach one thing but practise another.

    And YES, I WILL ask such questions like who created the mores and why, and I am not going to leave it to the sociologists or anyone else for that matter either. Whoever wants to quietly accept and conform, go right ahead. Believe it or not, I’m not deriding that, some people are more than comfortable with living and functioning within the status quo. For others, however, we must, ask, challenge and deconstruct especially if what exists simply is not working……and it isn’t working. It’s not working because it was founded on a foundation of lies and held together by violence — physical and more so psychological through egregious notions of sin and guilt — so that as information became more and more accessible and people begin to question and investigate, the holes show up.

    The point is that as time passes, what may be relevant and important in one period may not necessarily be so afterward. Jared Diamond points out in his books and lectures that the reason why certain ancient great civilisations as well as those like England and Russia collapsed was because the philosophies, mores and customs that made them powerful in their ascendence became the same things that brought them down because there was no evaluation of these things as situations and conditions changed.

    On to your last statement. You confuse me. You say you don’t agree that we should create a (mental) space so that there is greater acceptance of different forms of intimate expression, but then say that no one should judge me for having more liberal views……which is it? And, correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t this very website seeking to do exactly that? Why are you here then?

    Anyway, my point here is that if some people do not accept the various forms of non-monogamy for religious reasons or otherwise, then don’t live that way; let them hold their beliefs and even state them. *That’s* not the problem, the problem is that for way too long only one form was aggressively projected as THE only legitimate, moral way and everything else is viewed as an aberration, sin, immoral, etc. It is they, the religious, who have been condemning everyone else and making millions of people feel less than deserving of respect and redemption because the exclusive monogamous pairing is something they just could not conform to.

    Furthermore, if you don’t think that those who hold the conservative view should be judged as being ignorant, then tell them to cease and desist from condemning others. They have no solid standing; this hiding behind “god” so it can’t be questioned is absolute egregious rubbish. Believe what you want theologically; believe a man really walked on water or chariots of fire ran through the sky or 72 doe-eyed virgins await you if you die in battle, I could care less. History is a different matter and history tells us that in Western influenced society their monogamous marriages stem from the writings of Tertullian and especially Augustine. It was Augustine, influenced by ancient Greek ideas, who argued that ALL forms of sex, including within marriage, was sinful. All. But since it was the only way to populate the earth, then the best way to limit the sin was to confine it to one man and one woman (and just so you know, if you engage in sex with your spouse in any way other than the missionary position, enjoyed the experience, did it with lights on or in the day, then you are as guilty of lust as I am for all my liberal views).

  • @ Corey: What exactly is your point & why are you riled? I’ve averred that ‘open relationship’ is a modern construct. I’ve averred that no society has allowed 2 consenting adults to engage in whatever sexual arrangements/ agreements they want including France which to date bars consenting adults from entering polygamous unions. I’ve averred that all cultures have restricted women’s exercise of sexuality. Do you disagree with these averments? Good, then enlighten me with the historical/ anthropological evidence backing your view. I don’t think this website is for persons with liberal views only else someone wouldn’t have written a post on ‘good Christian girls don’t have sex’. If people want a society free of smoking, religion, guns, sex, whatever, they should be allowed to air their views and advocate for same but no one has any duty to create a ‘mental space’ to make it more comfortable for another person to lead a particular lifestyle. You want a society devoid of ‘judgmental attitudes’ but by saying that religious people ‘hide behind god’, are ‘ignorant’, ‘neurotic’ etc. you’re condemning them just as you accuse them of condemning you.

  • Ekuba

    Relax, don’t pay any mind to my choice of words, lol. That’s the thing about us Trinidadians, we often say one thing but don’t always mean exactly what was said (we call it “robber talk” after one of our traditional Carnival characters). Truth be told I’m thoroughly enjoying this discussion; there’s not a whole lot it going on in my little neck of the woods. As far as I’m concerned regardless of who “wins” it provides something enlightening to those who may be following it.

    I used the term “riled up” part playfully; usually at this point when religion gets into any discussion, that’s the point when logic and reason often gets kicked out the window and emotive responses take place. In all seriousness, I make no apologies though, in saying that most religious people are ignorant. That doesn’t (necessarily) mean that they are stupid, but because of the way in which religion is taught in most places, one is mired in a culture of ignorance from childhood. Find that being harsh? Talk to anyone who holds the view that the bible is the inerrant Word of God and was written by inspired men, especially those who hold that view of the King James Version. Most of them know absolutely nothing of the Councils of Nicea, Chalcedon, Trent; never read one line of the early Christian theologians like Augustine, Cyprian, Tertullian, Jerome, far less compared their words to the ancient Greeks who came before them like Plato, Socrates, Hesiod (now THAT was a misogynist), Aristotle. They know nothing of the Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, never read the recently authenticated Gospel of Judas or the hundreds of other Gospels and scriptural writings that either never made it into the canonical bible or were taken out…… and they don’t CARE to know. They don’t even know how their book came to be called the “Word” and yet walk about smugly telling those who are non-Christian or engage in secular pursuits that they are following “paganism”…. hilarious. Any of them understand what that word actually means? How many of them traced the relationship between Christianity and the “pagan” beliefs of ancient Egypt, India, Sumer? So, yes, they’re ignorant, the system has effectively seen to that. The better to control and gain unquestioned conformity. Not *everyone* is like that of course, but by and large most of those who bleat the loudest do so from a position of smug ignorance.

    Again, I could care less, but when literal interpretations of myths and often badly mistranslated myths at that direct public policy and, in this context, makes people who have a different or higher sexual drive feel less than a person or slutty because of that ignorance, then that’s a horse of a different colour. Have you forgotten how Africa came to be colonised in the first place? How my ancestors were kidnapped, enslaved and brought to the Caribbean? The rationale then is the same rationale now for what we call globalisation and religion remains one of the effective tools in facilitating that. Sex, as a means of pursuing pleasure and de-stressing, thus becomes very much political as someone wrote in this site. The predominant philosophies stemming from Western worldviews are very much suspicious of pleasure and sensuality as Eurasian hunter-soldiers were when they were literally fighting to survive the frozen wastes of the steppes. Their descendants in Washington, London, Paris, Brussels still see the world around them through those long-dead eyes.

    So we will agree to strongly disagree on the making of a “mental space;” I’m not saying that a person is to hold the same views as I do, just saying that let as any people be exposed to the kind of information that was withheld and distorted for so long and thus be in a more informed position to make their own choices or co-exist with those who make a different choice. Plain and simple

  • Ekuba and Corey, this is the kind of erudite discourse I always applaud on this site… you prove that horniness and cogitation are not mutually opposed goals.

    I generally tend to side with Corey, but I find the questions raised by Ekuba to be worthy of major consideration.

    But I do part company with Ekuba’s line of reasoning when she says the following:

    “I disagree that we need to ‘create a space’ for ‘different forms of sexual expressions’ by ‘consenting adults’ without ‘guilt’. That might be a picture of your ideal society because you are comfortable with the different forms of sexual expressions eg. open relationships & you should be allowed to advocate for same. But some people (for religious reasons or otherwise) may embrace monogamy & be opposed to other forms of sexual expression; they should also be allowed to advocate for that. No one should judge you for having more liberal views and similarly, those who have conservative views should also not be judged as being ignorant/ neurotic.”

    Basically, the logic of this argument says that whenever someone is uncomfortable for whatever reason, their discomfort alone is reason why other forms of sexual expression should not be validated. I think this is a slippery slope and it can lead to many, many retrograde constrictions on behavior, including a lot of the behaviors people right about on this site.

    But this is a small objection….

  • @ Corey: Wow, when did you do a survey of religious people to realize that ‘most’ of them are ignorant? Did that survey reveal that they’re more ignorant than persons who hold a liberal view? So everyone who doesn’t know about Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus etc. is not entitled to his/ her opinions? I took classes in Trinity College in Ghana where 80% of the ‘withheld info’ you talk about was discussed & I’ve read up on 15 % of the remaining info , so if after all that I hold conservative views, am I now permitted to hold them without being condemned because I now have ‘appropriate information’? In the meantime, you’re still evading my question on whether you believe ancient cultures used to practice ‘open relationships’ and your historical backing for saying so & I’m still waiting for your answer on that.

    @ Kofi A: I’m holding on to my views more stubbornly now than ever . I don’t think anyone has the duty to babysit another grown adult and make it ‘more comfortable’ for him/ her to live his/ her chosen lifestyle. If you make a choice and are confident in it why do you need ‘validation’ from someone else? So, since we all have the duty to validate one another’s sexual expression, does that mean that those who hold more liberal views have the duty to validate someone who believes that all sex is sinful? You see, expecting people to validate the sexual expression of others is rather the ‘slippery slope’.

  • Hmmm, “horniness and cogitation”…..I’ve got to use that in a sentence sometime.

    Ekuba raised some very important and valid points, in fact I am very much in agreement that women have come up with the shitty end of the stick for centuries. Whether or not open relationships in the way we understand it today will be debated although the Trobriand Islanders seem to have come the closest if Reich and Malinowsky are to be believed.

    I also understand about the need to be sensitive towards the religious sensibilities of the faithful. I understand, doesn’t mean that I will be sympathetic or co-operative. It’s not my fault that their religious leaders held them in ignorance and made them and even those who do not even share their religious views feel less in virtue because they find the prospect of monogamy constricting. No one is telling the faithful to adopt it, but if they are going to condemn it, they better be standing on much firmer and credible grounds than their bible, because that was written by hands as human as mine and is no authority if one closely examines its background. They may have views that make “liberals” uncomfortable but if the society is mature and informed, then we can have proper debates where the views of both sides can be deconstructed and we can see basically who is on firmer ground.

    And for argument’s sake, let’s go with the view that all these things are “modern,” so does that mean we ignore them? Don’t adopt them if we so desire? Not everything that was valid and relevant 2-3000 years ago is valid and relevant now; most of the moral codes and taboos against premarital and extramarital sex had to do with ensuring the offspring “belonged” to the man as did the woman who gave birth to it so as to secure more wealth and assets later on, you going to go with that today? Ok, cool.


    Congratulations for having attended Trinity College, and how many Ghanaians did? I neglected to do a survey in Ghana; how many Ghanaians know all of what I said? That has got to be the most enlightened country in Africa. So how is it there are more agnostics and atheists in the same England the colonised both of our countries?

    And what’s this?

    “So everyone who doesn’t know about Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus etc. is not entitled to his/ her opinions? ”

    Of course they are entitled to their own opinion. But they are not entitled to their own facts. And here the fact remains that for centuries, religion, specifically Christianity and Islam peddled their theology and myths AS facts which they imposed on everyone else. I dare you to say that that was not the case. The mere fact that people still feel deeply that “good Christian girls do not have sex” shows clearly that widespread sexual and religious ignorance and misplaced guilt still abounds in your country as it does in mine.

    I do like this statement though and agree wholeheartedly:

    “If you make a choice and are confident in it why do you need ‘validation’ from someone else?”

    But here you are guilty of living in that same idealistic world you say I live in. Many *don’t* possess that confidence and that is because they grew up with a very warped understanding of human sexuality through the anti-sexual attitudes pushed by religion. Hence the need to put out more information for people to study and make more informed choices.

  • @ Corey: You’ve answered my question so I’m satisfied & although I may not agree with everything you’ve said so far, I respect your opinion because who’s to say my view is correct anyway?

    To be honest, I’ve played the Devil’s advocate in these discussions because I myself am a die-hard liberal. I was raised in a strict Christian home but became a staunch liberal in University (my former church members said I’d ‘backslidden’). Due to my background, I have both liberal friends and conservative friends & so my 2 bffs back home in Ghana are a Baptist pastor’s wife & a lesbian gay rights activist & all 3 of us hang out sometimes. Having both liberal & conservative friends has sensitized me to different view-points on life & it’s also made me favor being non-judgmental over validation. If I’m non-judgmental, I may disagree with you but I won’t say you’re evil or stupid for having a different opinion. But if I’m to validate you, then I would go a step further to tell you that I think your choice is alright. Validation isn’t possible every time because there are times when we’ll have vastly different opinions but being non-judgmental is possible every time. Even on this website where several people have liberal views, African Mami’s blog post on polygamy revealed that not everyone agrees with a polygamous lifestyle or would want to validate it.

    So religious people are not ridiculous & neither are their beliefs based on ‘myths’. For years, historians & anthropologists have debated & disagreed on the veracity of the Bible & they will continue to do so for a long time. For every scientist who believes in the big bang theory, there’s another scientist who believes that the world is too complex not to have been created by a higher being (my mom’s a physicist so I know this). Who can tell who’s right?

  • @ Ekuba

    Who indeed can tell who’s right? For me, I always like to believe that the answer lies somewhere in between which is probably why I always try to seek a balance; too much of anything is good for nothing.

    I too am a backslider I suppose. Raised a Christian, was an acolyte in the Anglican church and in fact struggled very much to break free of that hold. I don’t know how your transition was but it was quite hard for me in some respects. When I first delved into the history of Africa, I examined only such things as the sciences but steered clear of anything that challenged what I felt was unimpeachable religious teachings. Even after I made the proverbial bold step, the issue of premarital sex remained a huge taboo in my mind. I can remember the guilt I felt when I did become sexually active with my ex. It is memories lie that plus the losing of a close friend by suicide that spurs me to if nothing else, commit to writing some of the information I was able to uncover over the years so that maybe it’ll help someone.

    I do try to be respectful, I really do, but I have to tell you, there are some religious people whose smugness and vociferous claims to moral superiority who just ask for it. And that’s when the old military side of me kicks in and I just have to point out to them in an academic or direct way that I know they are full of shit and need to fuck off for everyone else’s good. Sometimes religion needs that well-meaning kick in the arse to bring its devotees back down a bit. I’ve already gone through one attempted coup and don’t care too see the country go through another, certainly not on the basis of religious divisiveness. Besides, I’ve learned a long time ago that the diplomatic thing just ain’t working out; some people need to be told with the diplomacy of a sledgehammer *blush*

    I won’t make any apologies for using the term myths to describe religious teachings; that’s exactly what they are, myths (ie in the sense of a “tradition” as well as the fairy tale ‘nansy story’ connotation) and that’s ok. The use of myths to pass on teachings of morality, knowledge, etc, is as old as humankind. The problem here is that far too many people have not been made aware that the religious teachings they hold to their heart fall into both categories to varying degrees. I think one of the most scandalous aspects of Christianity is the way its early architects took inherited myths, historicised them and projected it the way they did for narrow political purposes. Perhaps I’m being too harsh and judgmental here given the circumstances at that time (reading early Church history can be quite fascinating) but it’s hard to be completely sympathetic.

  • While not the scholar either Ekuba or Corey are, I am fascinated by this subject. Perhaps one of you could enlighten me on this notion of mores… What is the standard that is being used? The Roman bacchanalia, English aristocracy as far back as HenryVIII, European peasant life of the Middle Ages? I have read accounts that I can’t put my finger on the customs of many African societies to get the impression that things were not that simple. My casual reading of the situation is that mores have been relatively elastic, and that it took the modern era’s penchant for double entry accounting to reify the mores we observe today. And even today, these are observed more in the breach than in the reality… And they keep evolving.. no one gets married anymore in Sweden (I exaggerate, but marriage is in decline). Just like with church attendance, we seem to hold on to these cultural practices way beyond anyone else.

  • @ Kofi A: I absolutely agree with you that mores keeps evolving since marriage was considered most important in continental Europe, including Sweden, in the middle ages and I definitely see current mores in Africa evolving too. I’m not sure whether mores are always elastic though. Sometimes. But often, the more powerful you are, the more elastic the mores becomes for you. In lots of cultures, wealth & gender were indicators of power (there are exceptions to this). Standard of mores: Speaking personally, for my research, to determine what constituted mores in a society, I used the account of at least 3 historians. If less than 3 historians had written on something, I tended to give it less weight. Was there a margin of error? Hell yes every research has that. It’s the reason we all thought there were 9 planets in our solar system till 2006.

  • @ Kofi
    *lapses into Trini accent* Wha scholar you talking ’bout? Me eh no scholar, pardna. I never even see the inside of a university classroom. I just read all kinds of books and try to see what making sense.

    Indeed, my preferred method is exactly like Ekuba except that I don’t only take information from historians but, influenced by Diop, Van Seertima and others from the Africentric school, I incorporate archaeologists, anthropologists, Egyptologists, theologians, religious scholars, etc, to piece together the relevant narrative.

    It’s clear that mores are evolving as they have always been. The pace may have quickened over the last few decades. At times I am inclined to think, however that the standard sexual narrative might very well be what certain moralists and thinkers desired, rather than what may have been the reality. The more I’m delving into this morass, the more it is becoming apparent that a lot of what we view as modern sexual behaviour (like friends-with-benefits, spouse-swapping), has been around a lot longer than we may think. Just a few months ago I was reading a UK Guardian piece that suggests that even the much maligned Victorian age may not have been the prudish asexual society it is often depicted as being.

    Ekuba hasa very valid point in stating that the more powerful you are the more elastic the mores become for you. One supposes that that may be because one can cover up the nasty little secrets better. But then again, I tend to also hold the view that it is the people, the populace, who occasionally determines what the mores will be, it’s just that the law does not keep up and religion even more so.

  • Corey, again, scholar, like sexual mores, is an evolving term… much in the same way that porn-making has decentralized sexual-image making via the internet, so to has learning begun its own revolution. I know I’m preaching to the converted.

    I actually agree with your last point.. I’m sure that other than in times of explicit repression like the Inquisition, rulers have known that letting the masses copulate as they pleased was one way of ensuring that they didn’t end up being chased out their palaces…

  • “I’m sure that other than in times of explicit repression like the Inquisition, rulers have known that letting the masses copulate as they pleased was one way of ensuring that they didn’t end up being chased out their palaces…”

    Hmmm, I must really look into that sometime. Many accounts of the Inquisition argue that sex was something most leaders had an obsession with as deeply threatening. Yet, given the nature of the reported tortures, it’s easy to think the torturers may have had an obsession with S&M

    Whatever, the real story, there’s no denying that in Western culture sexual attitudes and morality are deeply hypocritical; double-standards are the rule rather than the exception.

  • Aaaaand my reading list has just increased! Thank you so much guys.

  • Aaaaand my reading list has just increased! Thank you so much guys.

  • Wow! The comments alone are going to be keeping me busy for a while! Thanks for sharing your insights and thoughts.

  • @ Corey Gilkes & Kofi Ametewee: When I saw this news report yesterday, I remembered this thread & my convo with you guys on it so I decided to put the link up here in case you overlooked it (it wasn’t exactly in the headlines). It’s about an Indian woman who’s in a polyandrous relationship with 5 brothers

  • Thank you very much for that link Ekuba

    Frankly it was not a very good article at all, which isn’t surprising considering it’s the Daily Mail which from what I understand is a more tabloid-leaning paper in the UK. It was more sensationalist than anything else; it made allusions to such things as she not knowing which is the father — drawing on the assumption that the concept of fatherhood is something universal. The tone of the paper also seems to be conveying the sense that she is a victim which may not necessarily be the case but will be automatically assumed in a culture win which most people are steeped in the egregious monogamy-is-the-only-morality notion.

    Any student of sociology would recognise in this similarities to such ethnic customs as what is observed among the Sanbhanam. All in all it was not a well written or contextualised article at all.

  • I read this article in ES Magazine this weekend…they published it online: on the Perks of Polyamory

  • Lois, if you still are looking to hook up, let’s meet!

  • Pingback: ‘How Romance Books Can Serve As Inspiration To Our Sex Lives’ by Guest Contributor Shauna Williams ()

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.