Thursday, September 30, 2004

Libertine FAQ

What is a libertine, anyway?

A person who espouses or practices libertinism (q.v.)., which is:

1. Defiance in thought, word, or deed of the prevailing sexual mores (q.v.).

2. Sexual activity as such -- that is, without unwelcome admixtures such as the violation of another's freedom -- conducted in rejection of what others think is proper as expressed in laws, social mores, or codes of religious purity; licentious sexual behavior. The pejorative tag is "liberty without virtue," although that tag falsely implies that all people who practice libertinism in this sense lack virtue.

3. The view that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is acceptable.

4. The view that one is morally free to engage in sexual activity without incurring marital obligation, whether first or afterwards, with as many willing people as one wishes.

Isn’t libertinism the same thing as promiscuity; being a slut?

Similar, yes. However, many libertines have actively chosen this lifestyle, unlike many promiscuous people who merely drift into such behavior without much conscious thought or choice. The difference in outlook being that, for many people, promiscuity is a manifestation of other issues going on in that person’s life, whereas, for the libertine, it is a matter of philosophy and a way of looking at the world that goes beyond mere sexual expression.

What’s the difference between a libertine and a sex addict?

Choice and control. The libertine has chosen sexual freedom with a clear conscience and is in control of with whom, when, where, and how they choose to have sex, whereas the sex addict is acting out of compulsion and feels much guilt. See my blog entry “Libertine vs. Sex Addict” (30 Aug) for a more in-depth comparison.

Are libertines polyamorous and/or swingers?

Though all three have sex with multiple partners, libertinism isn’t the same as polyamory or swinging. Both forms of non monogamy are too structured to be true libertinism, where the emphasis is on unrestrained sexuality.

Polyamory stresses love and generally involves limiting oneself to a set number of partners. Swinging, on the other hand, generally doesn’t limit the number of sex partners, but swingers are usually legally married and are emotionally monogamous.

Libertines do not like to limit themselves either emotionally or in their availability to having new lovers. Rather, libertines prefer to remain open to all possibilities.

Do libertines have long term love relationships? Or is it all about the sex?

Libertines can fall in love just like anyone else. Unlike monogamous people, who confine their sexual expression and romantic love to a single partner, libertine relationships run the full gamut of possibilities, usually with several, of different levels of intensity, going on simultaneously.

The types of relationships typically include one night stands, fuckbuddies, sexual friendships, and love relationships. There may be one or several of each type going on concurrently, though the typical pattern is to have fewer “in love” relationships and one night stands, and more fuckbuddies and sexual friendships. Fuckbuddies and sexual friends are quite similar, differing mainly in frequency and feelings. Fuckbuddies are now and then lovers, at the emotional level typical of acquaintances, where one may love (but not be “in love” with) a sexual friend and usually sees them on a more regular basis.

Of course, every libertine manages it differently; some are indeed, “all about the sex”, where others lean more toward the polyamorous end of the spectrum. Any way is good; the key component being individual preference.

Can one be a libertine and be celibate? Monogamous?

Yes. Being a libertine isn’t only about behavior; at the core, it is an attitude, a philosophy, a way of looking at the world.

Though no libertine wants to be celibate, sometimes libertines are obliged to be celibate by circumstance: sickness, old age, etc.

Similarly, there are those who might be married and have many unavoidable responsibilities and do not have the time to pursue libertinism at certain points in their lives.

There are active libertines, and there are also libertines merely by belief.

Do libertines make promises they don't intend to keep just to get someone into bed?

Jerks come in all types, libertines included. So, the less ethical among us might do that, but anyone who’s been successful as a libertine for any length of time has learned that honesty is the best policy and prevents most types of hassles.

What about STDs?

The first thing to remember is that all forms of sexual expression carry risks; the only thing that is 100% guaranteed to be safe is abstinence. And for nearly everyone, that isn’t a workable or acceptable option. That being said, it is true that those of us with active, non monogamous sex lives do have a greater risk of contracting STDs, and it is important for us to be aware of and practice safer sex methods, especially with new lovers and those of short duration.

Condom usage and periodic testing for STDs is important, as is taking some care in choosing partners. Of course, this isn’t foolproof, but it does reduce the likelihood.

Life itself comes with risks -- driving a car is risky, flying in a plane is risky, crossing a busy city street on foot is risky. Consenting adults all have to decide for themselves what is an acceptable level of risk to have in their lives, and then take responsibility for their choices and any such consequences that may result.

And again, honesty is essential. Before getting involved with us, potential new lovers deserve to know that we are not monogamous in order to be able to make an informed decision whether to consent to sexual involvement. Giving others the opportunity to assess their own personally acceptable risk level is the only ethical thing to do.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Questions and Answers, II

My blog entry “Libertine vs. Sex Addict” (8-30), was recently quoted on the Kiss N Tell Confessions blog.

My entry spoke to issues going on in that blogger’s life, and it served to generate more questions for her. I’ll try to briefly answer the questions she posed:

I still have some questions: Is it easier to be a male libertine? Does our society judge women's sexual decisions harsher than men's?

Though it is probably now easier for women to be open libertines than any other time in history, the double standard still tenaciously persists. Even the feminist movement has had mixed feelings when it comes to the idea of sexual freedom.

The roots of the double standard go back a very long time and are probably related to the establishment of monogamy, which has always been enforced more strictly on women than men.

Monogamy arose around the same time as the establishment of private property and the practice of inheritance. With the establishment of inheritance in a patriarchal society where inheritance passed from father to son, the sure knowledge that a man’s children were indeed his biologically became of the utmost importance. And the only way men could know this with any certainty was to limit the sexual expression of women. The strict adherence to monogamy wasn’t as important for men because women always know which children are theirs and because women didn’t have any property rights

Of course, nowadays, we have DNA testing available, which makes this concern a moot point. Old attitudes die hard, however, especially considering that the original reasons for monogamy have been shrouded by mythology which arose to bolster its enforcement, with one of the main supports being that of religion.

Also, up until the last century and the advent of reliable forms of birth control, most women typically spent much of their adult lives being the primary caretakers for large families, which left them little time to pursue extracurricular sexual interests or earn their own money, which would have afforded them independence to live as they pleased. Nowadays, women have fewer children, or none at all, and most also earn a living, but again, attitudes haven’t kept up with reality.

Is it expected that men will be promiscuous, and "wrong" for women to be the same way?

I don’t know whether men are expected to be promiscuous, but there is certainly more understanding when a man is not strictly monogamous. There’s a lot of sly winking about a man who gets around and has many lovers; he’s a “ladies’ man”, a tomcat, a stud. “Boys will be boys” and all that.

Unfortunately, there really aren’t many positive words for a female libertine; rather, she is referred to as a “slut”, “tramp”, etc. However, much in the same way that gay activists claimed the word “queer” and size activists have claimed the word “fat”, female libertines have claimed the word “slut” as a label of pride and turned the original meaning on its head.

Is it expected that at a certain age, no matter what your sex, you get over your "wild side" and fall into monogamy?

Yes, even men are expected to eventually cease sowing their wild oats, as if libertinism is just a phase and not an integral part of oneself. By around age thirty or so, give a take a few years, there is a mainly unspoken expectation that a man will “settle down” into a steady career, get married, and have a family. Of course, this expectation isn’t as relentless as it’s always been for women, but the attitude that a bachelor isn’t quite as mature and responsible as the “family man” still lingers.

I raised my son alone from about a year old until adulthood. It was suggested to me several times, both subtly and blatantly, that I “ought” to get married in order to provide him with a mother, and that I was “selfish” for not doing so!

In closing, though the double standard still remains, attitudes have been and will continue to change, however slowly, in order to match the realities of modern life. Monogamy will no doubt continue to be predominant, but a tolerance for alternative sexual expressions will be a growing trend as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Book Review: The Myth of Monogamy

The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People

Date: 01 May, 2002 — $10.50 — Book

product page


A biologically based study of animal and human behavior, showing that human beings, as well as most animal species, are not naturally monogamous. Particular attention is paid to the difference between "social monogamy" and actual biological monogamy. Also refuted are earlier studies which suggested that men were naturally promiscuous and women naturally monogamous; instead, it is shown that both sexes have the predisposition to stray. Another point covered is the conflict between our biological natures and the moral dictates of religion and society. I gave the book four stars, instead of five, because I believe the authors copped out by stopping short of offering common sense guidelines that would allow society to acknowledge this biological fact and to help make nonmonogamous relationships an openly acceptable alternative.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

How to Be a Successful Libertine

Lately, I’ve read some blogs written by people struggling with unconventional sexual ideas and lifestyles; people torn between their own desires and conventional sexual mores in our culture. After reading a few such blogs, I decided to list what has worked for me in my chosen lifestyle, to hopefully be of some help to those struggling with questions and conflicts about lifestyle options.

A High Libido

Naturally, only those with high libidos would be attracted to libertinism in the first place. Those with more sedate sex drives probably are more content with more conventional lifestyles.

A second related component is a desire for sexual variety both in types of experiences and partners. One can have a relatively high libido, yet still be satisfied with a conventional marriage if one does not require a lot of variety, especially if one happens to marry someone with an equally high libido. Libertines, however, need a good bit of variety in their sex lives, as well as frequent sex, in order to be completely satisfied.

The Ability to Compartmentalize

It is essential to be able to separate sex from love, and to be able to value each separately in order to be a libertine without internal conflicts.

This is not to say that those who cannot separate sex from love must always be strictly monogamous, but neither do such people make good libertines. Polyamorous relationships, which entail the same commitment as traditional monogamous marriage, but have more than two partners, might work for those who desire some sexual variety, but are still uncomfortable with casual sex without emotional ties. Polyamory is a midway point between traditional monogamy and libertinism.

A Clear Choice

The libertine lifestyle is best entered into by conscious choice. Many people drift into promiscuous sex lives without any thought or consideration. Such people tend to be highly conflicted about their actions, believing one thing, but doing another. Some vacillate between sexual freedom and a more conventional lifestyle, which is a recipe for trouble.

Anticipate Consequences and Accept Responsibility for One’s Actions

This goes along with the difference between actively choosing this lifestyle and just drifting into it. In order to make an informed positive choice to engage in a sexually unconventional lifestyle, one needs to be completely aware of any possible consequences that may result, however remote, and be willing to take total responsibility for one’s actions. Libertinism is something one must enter into with their eyes wide open, which I cannot stress enough.


This goes along with taking responsibility for one’s actions. For libertinism to be an ethical and respectable choice, one must be totally honest. First, one must be honest with oneself. A libertine must fully accept their sexual nature and not be ashamed to admit it to others.

Second, one must tell any potential new lovers upfront that you are not monogamous and to give them the opportunity to either walk away or to make a fully informed choice to engage in a sexual relationship with you. The nature of the relationship must be clear to all parties at the very beginning in order to avoid trouble further down the road.

Third, one’s beliefs must be congruent with one’s actions. If you say one thing and do another, you are not a libertine. You are a cheater.


A successful libertine lives by the mantra “to thine own self be true”. One must be able to do what is right for them, without concern for one’s “reputation”, what others think, or what “everyone else” thinks or does.

Independence also involves respecting your partners’ autonomy and to avoid possessiveness and excessive jealousy, and by choosing partners who similarly respect your autonomy. Jealousy, when it occurs, must be handled in a rational manner, and treated like the negative emotion it is.

Out of the Box Thinker

Related to independence, it helps if a libertine is an “out of the box” thinker, to be a natural questioner in general, not just about sexual mores. The ability to rationally and objectively look at things from the outside in helps immensely in the libertine lifestyle.

Time and Other Responsibilities

Although one always makes time for what is important in their life, other responsibilities can affect the choice to be a libertine.

It is usually easier to be a libertine if one is legally unmarried and does not currently have ongoing daily responsibilities to a number of other people, such as a large family of underage children or taking care of elderly parents, for example. I was a single parent to one son, but I had grandparent help in raising him, which allowed me to pursue my chosen lifestyle to a large degree.

Many people are philosophically libertines, but do not have sufficient time to pursue such a lifestyle because of these other responsibilities. Usually, in such a case, they either pursue it on a very limited, part time basis or wait until their responsibilities lessen.

Life History/upbringing

Libertinism usually comes easier to those who were brought up in freethinking, liberal families that were not strongly religious, and that were free of sexual or other forms of abuse.

To sum up, libertinism isn’t for everyone. As with all choices in life, there are tradeoffs, but for those with the maturity, desire, and the courage to handle an unpopular lifestyle choice, the rewards can be many.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sexual World Records

Makes me tired just to read this stuff. Enjoy!

Most Lovers -- Male

Anonymous (b. c. 1900)—52,000

In his famous 10-year sex survey, Alfred Kinsey noted the case of a man whose frequency of coitus was 33.1 acts a week, over a period of 30 years—almost 52,000 in all. Other researchers have recorded examples of people who have engaged in sexual intercourse twice a day for 30 years.

Wilt Chamberlain (1936-2000)—20,000

In his autobiography A View from Above the legendary basketball star claimed to have intercourse with over 20,000 women in his lifetime.

King Ibn-Saud (1880-1953)—20,000

From the age of 11 until his death at 72, the Saudi Arabian monarch had sexual relations with three different women every night—except during battles.

John Curtis Holmes (1944-1988)—14,000

Having lost his virginity at age 12 to a 36-year-old friend of his mother, John early on began on a path of sexual indulgence. Through such bacchanalia it's estimated he copulated with more that 14,000 women in his life, both on and off screen.

King Edward VII (1841-1910)—7,800

Rebelling against his strict childhood, he turned to indulging himself in women, food, drink, gambling, and sports. Though married, his wife turned a blind eye to his extramarital activities, which continued well into his sixties and found him implicated in several divorce cases. Its estimated he slept with about three different women a week for nearly half a century.

King George IV (1762-1830)—7,000

At the age of 17, this English monarch was said to have become "rather too fond of woman and wine." When not boozing it up he would enjoy himself in the embraces of numerous mistresses

Most Lovers - Female

Julia the Elder (39BC-14AD)—80,000

Daughter of Roman Emperor Augustus, Julia was beautiful, intelligent, highly educated, and witty. Everything a woman might want was hers, save one: sexual satisfaction. And this not ten men, nor a hundred, nor a thousand could provide. It was during her childhood that she embarked upon her amorous adventures. Her lovers soon numbered in the dozens, then hundreds, then beyond, said to encompass half the virile youths of Rome. Still not satiated, she began offering herself to every passing stranger, whatever his color, age, or appearance. With a band of lascivious Roman women she wandered through the streets, accosting passersby and sometimes dragging them into the nearest alleyway, where the transaction would be swiftly concluded. She persisted for many years, until exiled to the island of Pandateria.

Mlle. Dubois (c. 1770)—16,527

The renowned French actress made a catalog of her lovers over a 20-year period. The final count: 16,527 individuals, which works out to about three per day.

Valeria Messalina (22-48 AD)—8,000

The wife of Roman Emperor Claudius, Messalina used her venerable position to compel subordinates to fulfill her sexual desires. Her desire to indulge in the wildest of sexual excesses led her to frequently search out new licentious adventures. Once she converted a palace bedroom into a brothel, disrobed, gilded the nipples of her breasts, and invited the male public in to be entertained for the legally regulated fee. Another time she challenged a noted prostitute, insisting she could entertain more men in 24 hours than her rival. Pliny the Elder writes that Messalina won "for within the space of 24 hours she cohabited 25 times."

Brigitte Bardot (b. 1934)—4,980

At the age of 40, the French film star boasted in an interview that she "must have a man every night." Assuming that her need began at age 20, and subtracting an arbitrary 76 days a year for travel, illness, etc., that would mean Brigitte had a total of 4,980 nights of sexual activity—and that’s without considering daytime liaisons.

Ninon de Lenclos (17th century)—4,959

France's greatest sexologist during the 17th century, she set up a finishing school for she was once proposed by Cardinal Richelieu to spend a night with him in exchange for 50,000 crowns (worth about $20,000 in today's currency). She took the money, but sent a female friend in her place.


Most Copulations in a Single Session - Male

For the aptly titled flick The World's Luckiest Man (Vivid, 1997), porn actor Jon Dough was required to do it with 101 women. He managed 55 in one day, speedily moving from girl to girl (and act to act), climaxing between 5 to 6 times. Taking time off to recuperate, he did the remaining 46 two weeks later.

Most Copulations in a Single Session - Female

In April 1996, porn star Jasmin St Clair had sex 300 times with 51 different men.


Longest Lovemaking Session

When a reporter asked Mae West (1892-1980) how she went about writing her memoirs, the legendary sex star quipped, "I do all of my best work in bed." She wasn't kidding. In her autobiography she writes of how she and a sexual prodigy named Ted made love for 15 consecutive hours


Most Spouses -- Male

Fath-'Ali Shah of Persia (1771-1834)—1000 wives

The Nasikhu't Tavarikh, a great modern Persian historical work, fixes the number of his wives at over 1,000.

Most Spouses -- Female

Queen Kahina of the Berbers (c. 650?-702)—400 husbands

Chief of the Berbers in Northern Africa, Kahina relied on her cunning and indomitable will to withstand the Arab invasions of her homeland. In one account it is said she ruled over a mighty harem of men, servile and willing to accommodate her every wish.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Low-Down on the Libertine

The Low-down on the Libertine

I am a baby boomer, born in the late 50s
I have an adult son
I don’t have any grandchildren and don’t particularly want any
I am not monogamous (well, duh!)
I was only legally married once and am now divorced
My favorite colors are dark green and black
I went to college, majored in music, but do not have a degree
I am a youngest child
I scored as an INTP on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
I am an ex law enforcement officer
My favorite all-time movie is Patton
I have long dark hair and green eyes
I am a cat person, presently with two cats
I have lived in five states
I am a direct descendant of a Confederate soldier
I have a New England accent
I despise phonies, self righteous people, and stupidity
I am a bibliophile
I like to write
I’ve been able to read since I was four years old
I’ve never been on a roller coaster
I’m a procrastinator
I don’t watch TV
When I did, my favorite show was Deep Space Nine
I am agnostic
I am a liberal libertarian libertine
I am a history buff
I am indifferent to sports
Fall is my favorite season
I hate hot weather
I had the highest IQ in my high school graduating class
My favorite cologne is Fahrenheit
I am 5-11
My favorite number is 3
My favorite NASCAR driver was Dale Earnhardt
I love the ocean
I don’t drink or smoke
I’m a junk food junkie
I’m good at research
My second favorite thing to do in bed is sleep
I like to drive fast
I am a private person
I like strawberry soda
I like to talk
I’m not good at math
I was afraid of tornadoes as a kid. I don’t like them much now
I like to eat out
I wear mainly black
My mother died when I was a teenager
J inspired me to write this

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Turkish Government Drops Plans to Outlaw Adultery

ANKARA (AFP) - Facing a popular outcry at home and stern warnings from Europe, the Turkish government discreetly stepped back from a plan to introduce a motion into a crucial penal reform bill to make adultery a crime punishable by prison.
(click here for the rest of the story):

The ironic thing about the proposed inclusion of an adultery clause into this penal reform bill is that the bill is intended as a long-overdue corrective to previous Turkish criminal law which was adopted in 1926 from fascist Italy. Wilhelm Reich theorized in 1936 that without the suppression of sexuality and the imposition of anti-sexual morality, you could not have an authoritarian government, because people would be free from shame, and would trust their own sense of right and wrong.

And that’s it in a nutshell. In a free society, a nation’s citizens are fully-fledged adults, capable of making their own decisions of what form their personal, private relationships will take and to accept the responsibility for their actions in regards to such relationships. An anti-adultery law would have the government acting inappropriately in a parental-type role.

Laws banning adultery have no place in this bill, which wouldn’t fit the progressive nature of the other clauses which comprise it:

Heavier penalties to the crimes of torture and child molestation; unless explicitly ordered by a judge or a prosecutor, it forbids degrading virginity tests, often conducted at will on women suspects; it bans child pornography, child abuse, the trade in human organs, environmental pollution and computer piracy.

It would seem that common sense will prevail yet again.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

New Jersey Governor Resigns Over Affair

TRENTON, N.J (Reuters) - New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who earlier this year said he opposed gay marriage, announced on Thursday he would resign and admitted having a homosexual affair

"Shamefully, I engaged in adult consensual affairs with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony," the married father of two said. "It was wrong, it was foolish, it was inexcusable."

Spare me, please! It's nobody's damned business who he had sex with and falling off the monogamy bandwagon is no reason to resign from office. That's his own private business and it's totally ludicrous for him to be announcing this to the world in a news conference.

McGreevey said that he'd been conflicted about his sexual orientation since childhood. Apparently, he tried to deny his true sexual orientation by entering into a conventional marriage and living a lie for years. What is shameful and inexcusable is the fact that he felt that he had to deny his true self all these years until he was backed into a wall and couldn't deny it any longer. His opposition to gay marriage is further indicative of his extreme attempts at denial.

Up until very recently, gays and lesbians have been expected to bury that integral part of themselves in order to be respected members of society. Those who are nonmonogamous, straight and gay, are still expected to do so, despite growing evidence that sexual preference is inborn and that human beings are not naturally monogamous. Perhaps it will be easier to maintain one's integrity when people are no longer expected to repress their basic natures by desperately trying to swim upstream while pretending Cinderella's shoe will fit nicely on every foot.

Quote: Commentary

''There are, in fact, men and women who have a strong and immediate sexual attraction to each other, often inexplicable, but sometimes instantly known to both of them.... I am convinced that the presence of such feelings, or the lack of them, is totally beyond the control of people, and equally beyond their understanding--something which should, by itself, be enough to exhibit the foolishness of those who want to condemn them.... There is no comprehending why a given man or woman is swept up in a tide of sexual passion for just one particular person, and quite unable to muster such feelings for another with whom he or she might be genuinely and deeply in love, who is recognized as a better person in all ways''
Richard Taylor, Having Love Affairs. Buffalo, Prometheus Books, 1982

I can attest to this one, as I’ve had this to happen countless times. It’s kind of like an immediate subconscious “recognition” when the chemistry is correct. And it’s an extremely intense, urgent feeling that’s rather hard to describe, though it’s unmistakable when it happens.

I’m guessing that it’s at a very basic hormonal level. And perhaps this is the reason why I’ve only been rarely turned down, as if I don’t have this jolt of “recognition”, I don’t pursue the woman. I have an uncanny radar that draws me to those with high libidos and those of a similar libertine bent.

And I’ve also had the experience of being unable to generate any sexual desire for some people that I might respect, be compatible with in many ways, and genuinely love on some level. A few times, I’ve ignored my lack of arousal and gone ahead and had sex with such women anyway, but it never works. I’ve learned that such people are only meant to be platonic friends.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Book Review: The Ethical Slut

The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities

Dossie Easton and Catherine Lizst

Date: 01 December, 1998 — $11.87 — Book

product page


This book could have been just as easily entitled, "The Libertine Guide". Unlike most practical guides to nonmonogamous lifestyles, which focus on either polyamory or swinging, this book is an excellent introduction to the true libertine (or "slut", to use their terminology) lifestyle. Their motto, expressed early in the book is, "The best reason to have sex is no reason at all", is true to the spirit of libertinism. Their emphasis is on honesty and openness being essential to making this a valid, positive choice.

The authors cover a wide range of topics, including values and ethics conducive to being an ethical slut(libertine), exploring and exploding myths and outmoded beliefs about sexuality, different ways of being a libertine, definition of terms related to nonmonogamous reationships, useful how-to tips, health concerns, practical issues, handling jealousy, legal issues, being in love, exploring sexual beliefs and possibilities, among many other things.

This book is a must read for those interested in pursuing a responsible libertine lifestyle and also for those who seek to understand the libertine in their lives. Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Monogamy, Libertinism, and Character

Many times, I’ve run into the attitude that because I’ve chosen not to be monogamous, that I must have some sort of character defect; morally, ethically, and/or psychologically. One young lady, twenty years my junior, with all the arrogance typical of her age, told me that she found it “sad” that I’d apparently not found the kind of love that would make me want to settle down into an exclusive relationship. Her blithe assumptions implied that I’d never fallen in love, that I had some kind of character defect that made me incapable of love, and that all true love must be monogamous. She came to these conclusions without knowing a thing about me, other than the fact that I was a libertine.

For one thing, she’s not looking from my point of view. She is projecting how she would feel in my situation, again assuming how she sees things is the only valid way to feel. Of course, the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes and look objectively at other points of view and ways of living in this world comes with experience and maturity. Simply because hers is the majority viewpoint, doesn’t make it more valid than mine.

There was a film about the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Her significant other was not monogamous, and she decided she’d do the same, considering that what was good for the goose, was good for the gander. Yet they remained together, in good times and bad, and he was with her until the end of her life. The film mentioned how she found the concept of loyalty to be more important than that of monogamy.

There are some who promise to be sexually exclusive and enter into conventional marriages, yet break their vows again and again, with few compunctions. Yet unless they are discovered, they are seen as moral upright citizens of good character. I, on the other hand, am honest and upfront about myself and my lifestyle. I have also singlehandedly raised a child from infancy to adulthood and I managed that quite nicely without ever being monogamous. Tell me, does that sound like a person with an essential character defect? I think not.

Monday, September 6, 2004

Libertine Definitions

While googling the net for some blogging inspirations, I came upon a mammoth compendium of terms relating to intimate relationships of all kinds:

So, naturally, I clicked on the “L” section to see what they had to say about libertinism, which is one of the most extensive definitions I’ve ever seen. Many of the “see also” terms at the end of the entry for libertinism were new to me and I expect I’ll be spending more time at this site looking them all up! This could take quite some time going through this site, as there appeared to be thousands of terms defined.


A person who espouses or practices libertinism (q.v.).

Comment: The word "libertine" is often used pejoratively with a meaning roughly equivalent to "debauchee" or "voluptuary," a meaning which carries overtones of moral depravity. However, it is for some a gladly adopted label for a philosophical position and practice.
See also cooster, eleutherophilist, free agent, gslovertine.


1. Defiance in thought, word, or deed of the prevailing sexual mores (q.v.).

2. Sexual activity as such -- that is, without unwelcome admixtures such as the violation of another's freedom -- conducted in rejection of what others think is proper as expressed in laws, social mores, or codes of religious purity; licentious sexual behavior. The pejorative tag is "liberty without virtue," although that tag falsely implies that all people who practice libertinism in this sense lack virtue.

3. The view that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is okay.

4. The view that one is morally free to engage in sexual activity without incurring marital obligation, whether first or afterwards, with as many willing people as one wishes.

5. Polygamy (q.v.) or the approval of polygamy, as viewed from a stance that adheres to monogamy-only (q.v.).

6. The theological position that a human being who has been reborn spiritually can no longer incur guilt with the body, for instance, by engaging in sexual relations outside of monogamous marriage.

Comment: Among the Christian sects or elements thereof that have held to libertinism of one sort or another or that have been accused of doing so are the Nicolaitans (1st-2nd Century), the Borborians (2nd-5th Centuries), the Carpocratians (2nd-4th Century), the Brethren of the Free Spirit (13th Century), the Beghards and Beguines (late Middle Ages), and the Quintinists (16th Century).

Not to be confused with libertarianism (q.v.).
See also antinomianism, Casanova complex, Catherine the Great complex, Don Juanism, eleutherophilism, free love, libertine, Messalina complex, metasex, moral equivalence, new morality, pansexualism, polyeros, promiscuity, public character of sex, relationship freedom, serial philandering, sexual autonomy, sexual liberation, sexual revolution, sexual varietism, slut, spiritual husband, spiritual marriage, spiritual wife, universal permanent availability, zipless f***.

Concerning the first definition of “libertine”, I would most definitely say that identifying myself as a libertine is a “gladly adopted label for a philosophical position and practice.” And as far as the definition of “libertinism” goes, I’d say only the first four definitions apply to me, though I was aware of the religious sense of the word.

Though I've always known I was naturally non-monogamous, neither polyamorous nor swinger were totally accurate ways to define myself. When I discovered the word "libertine", however, this category fit. I'm supposing that if I were religious that the religious sense of libertinism might fit, too.

Sunday, September 5, 2004

The Right to Sexual Privacy

While surfing the net the other night for quotes about sex, I came upon these two and decided they deserved closer scrutiny.

We should teach general ethics to both men and women, but sexual relationships themselves must not be policed. Sex, like the city streets, would be risk-free only in totalitarian regime
--Camille Paglia

For something so personal and intimate as one’s sexual relationships, after being taught general ethics, people ought to be left to determine their personal sexual ethics on their own, in a way that works best for them. To regulate, legislate, and pontificate on what consenting adults do in private is to treat them as if they were children, without the capability to take responsibility for their own actions.

To allow consenting adults to fully own their sexuality does not mean there won’t be any possible negative consequences. But as responsible adults, it should be our decision to weigh the pros and cons of our lifestyle choices and be willing to live with whatever consequences that may result from such choices. The only sexual choice that is risk-free is lifelong abstinence/virginity, which would be an unworkable and unacceptable tradeoff for most of us. Nearly everything in the world comes with some risk; it’s just part of life.

My thinking tends to be libertarian. That is, I oppose intrusions of the state into the private realm - as in abortion, sodomy, prostitution, pornography, drug use, or suicide, all of which I would strongly defend as matters of free choice in a representative democracy.
--Camille Paglia

That is one big difference between life in a totalitarian regime and one in a democracy. In a totalitarian regime, it is assumed that citizens are not capable of making responsible choices on how to live their lives, and so, most aspects of life, are regulated, choices made for them, as if they were children. Ideally, in a democracy, it is assumed that citizens are competent adults, capable of running their private lives with minimal government supervision and are responsible for the choices they make. As long as what we do does not infringe upon the rights of others, we should be allowed to decide what is right for ourselves, even if it is different from what the majority might choose. Most importantly, we have the right to be wrong and to live with and learn from our mistakes…or even to keep on making what others might consider to be mistakes, if that’s what makes us happy.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that liberal, libertarian, and libertine, all stem from the root word liberty.

Friday, September 3, 2004

Domestic Disturbances

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been eagerly reading several of Bob’s ( posts about his career in law enforcement. This got me thinking about my own erstwhile job in the same field. What follows is from my own experience and is relevant to the themed nature of this blog.

Police officers are frequently called to the scene of domestic disturbances, which have one of the highest potentials for violence. One big reason for this is that emotions tend to run high in such instances, which causes reason to go out the window. Alcohol use by those involved only fuels the volatile nature of these calls.

Many times, the catalyst igniting these disturbances is sexual infidelity, real or imagined, on the part of one of the spouses. And frequently, the mayhem factor is greatest when the “cheating” is only imagined, as it stems from the irrationality of paranoia.

One thing that sometimes happens, is that, consciously or unconsciously, some officers handling such calls can't deal objectively with it, believing deep down that strong, harsh reactions to perceived infidelity are normal and appropriate ways to respond. While most don't actually come out and tell the man (typically the aggressor) that he’s done the right thing by assaulting his wife, some subtly express that they understand how he feels and how they are unwillingly enforcing the law in this instance.

A reason for this is that some officers themselves have acted in similar ways in their own personal lives. Domestic abuse among police officers is not an uncommon thing, unfortunately. I worked with one officer who was insanely jealous of his wife, beating up a couple of men in separate instances, whom he believed were his wife’s lovers. His jealousy controlled him and it eventually cost him both his job and his wife, who moved to the other side of the country to get away from him.

What is the solution? It’s not a simple question, so I’ll offer no simple answers. But perhaps one helpful thing would be to teach people from childhood that aggression of any sort, be it physical, verbal, or emotional, is not an appropriate way to express jealousy and to teach more rational and useful ways of acknowledging and handling it when it occurs. Some might say this would be useless and such jealous reactions are “innate”. Perhaps some level of jealousy is inevitable, but many other negative human emotions are also just as natural, yet we do attempt to control and mitigate them.

And maybe some ideas about love, romance, and marriage need to be re-examined. Whether one is in a monogamous marriage or is non monogamous, people should remember that when they enter into an ongoing intimate relationship that they do not own their partner(s), mind, body, and soul, but that our significant other(s) are merely sharing their lives with us, and that the basis for any form of relationship is formed when we respect that person’s autonomy and individuality. Just as we teach our children not to hold a pet too tightly so as not to squeeze the life out of it, we should teach people to do the same in their intimate relationships.

Just my two cents.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Quotes About Sex

Here's a sample of quotes I found about sex while surfing the net. Enjoy!

Love your neighbor, but don't get caught.
-- Unknown

Sow your wild oats on Saturday night -- Then on Sunday pray for crop failure. --Unknown

When I'm good I'm very, very good but when I'm bad I'm better.
--Mae West

Happiness is watching the TV at your girlfriend's house during a power failure.
--Bob Hope

You know of course that the Tasmanians, who never committed adultery, are now extinct.
--Somerset Maugham

A nymphomaniac is a women as obsessed with sex as the average man.
--Mignon McLaughlin

I believe that sex is a beautiful thing between two people. Between five, it's fantastic.
--Woody Allen

"What's the three words you never want to hear while making love? Honey, I'm home."
--Ken Hammond

I am always looking for meaningful one night stands.
--Dudley Moore

It isn't premarital sex if you have no intention of
getting married.
--Matt Barry

Leaving sex to the clergy is like letting your dog
vacation at the taxidermist.
--Camille Paglia

A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
-- Unknown

I believe that trust is more important that monogamy
-- Savage Garden

While monogamy may be a great thing for families, it clearly is not for intellectuals
--the inventor of the birth control pill

Chastity: the most unnatural of the sexual perversions.
--Aldous Huxley

I've been too fucking busy and vice versa.
--Dorothy Parker

She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.
--Raymond Chandler

Older women are best because they always think they may be doing it for the last time.
--Ian Fleming

It's not the men in my life that counts - it's the life in my men.
--Mae West

It doesn't matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses.
--Mrs Patrick Campbell

Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin - it's the triumphant twang of a bedspring.
--S. J. Perelman

Is sex dirty? Only if it's done right.
--Woody Allen

When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned. Do not have sex with the authorities.
--Matt Groening

I don't see why I have to make one man miserable when I can make so many men happy.
--Ellyn Mustard

Ducking for apples -- change one letter and it's the story of my life.
--Dorothy Parker

Sex between a man and a woman can be great, provided you get between the right man and the right woman.
--Woody Allen

How many husbands have I had? You mean, apart from my own?
--Zsa Zsa Gabor

It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge. --Voltaire

Sex on television can't hurt you unless you fall off.

Promiscuous, adj. Someone who gets more sex than you.
--Author unidentified