Purple Magazine
— Purple 25YRS Anniversary issue

Open Love

by DANIEL PINCHBECK

Aberrant sexuality determined the result of the US election — and, potentially, the fate of the world, since our pussy-grabbing narcissist-in-chief can now fire 7,000 nuclear weapons at will. One of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides was married to the aptly named Anthony Weiner, former mayoral candidate in New York. Weiner’s career was destroyed by his weird sexting addiction, which he lied about compulsively. His wife, Huma Abedin, was an aide to Clinton. Her computer was impounded as part of an FBI investigation into Weiner. This led to a flurry of news stories near the end of the race, which undermined Clinton’s support. There was also mass hysteria over Pizzagate, a “fake news” story proposing that Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, ran a child sex-slave ring out of the basement of a pizzeria in Washington, D.C.

The endless sex scandals and lurid fantasies are symptoms of a deeper malady. But what is the root of the sickness? Why can’t we address it?

Our society’s fractured relationship to sexuality, love, and Eros is a crisis that literally threatens the continuity of our species. Once we understand that, we can step back into an objective, observant mode. We can try to figure out what is happening and what we can do about it.

We live in a culture that is hyper-sexualized on the one hand, yet still rooted in sexual repression on the other. Our enshrined ideal remains the monogamous couple and the nuclear family, but we know that humans are not monogamous by nature. As the fascinating Sex at Dawn, by Christopher Ryan and Calcida Jelinek, explores, our primate ancestors were wildly promiscuous. In our nomadic and tribal past, relationships were often fluid. In many cultures, multiple partners were the norm. Reviewing anthropological evidence, Ryan and Jelinek argue that monogamy and the nuclear family are recent inventions that protected patriarchal control and property rights.

We live in a patriarchal culture based on domination and competition. In this system, one of the main reasons that men — “alpha males” — seek to amass status and wealth is to secure sexual access. They often do this in corrupt and illicit ways, as the growth of the global sex trade reveals. In this culture, women are often anxious and feel in competition with each other. They depend on a man for support during the many years it takes to raise children. Neither gender is served by this situation. A healthy society would allow people — men as well as women — to satisfy their desires and fantasies without having to act in corrupt or exploitative ways, providing security and support for them.

For my part, I started questioning monogamy and made a turbulent switch to polyamory in middle age. When I became a psychedelic celebrity after publishing a few books, I suddenly had many more romantic and sexual opportunities. Speaking at festivals like Burning Man, I found myself immersed in an experimental counterculture that celebrated the pursuit of ecstasy and intoxication. I discovered the extent to which I had been suppressing my innate desires, feeling that I would never be able to fulfill them. My opportunity to have a variety of experiences was thrilling at first, but it became compulsive. At times, I acted in ways that I now regret. In retrospect, I see that I had a lot of old patterns and even childhood traumas I needed to address, but I didn’t know how.

In rural Portugal, I found a model that offers an alternative for the future: a community called Tamera, founded by German radicals in the ’70s. About 170 people live there today. The focus of the community is actually peace research. But they believe, quite sensibly, that we can only have peace on Earth once we have peace in love. This requires a new operating system for society.

Tamera is based on non-possessive relationships, which require high levels of authentic communication and social trust. They have developed different “social technologies” that keep people honest with each other and mediate jealousy and other emotions that arise. Every week, they gather in a circle called “The Forum.” Taking turns, people go into the center of the circle and express, act out, or dance their connections with other members of the community. Other community members offer “mirrors,” reflecting on their behavior. Children are raised cooperatively; many of them live together in a children’s house after the age of two. This liberates both parents, but particularly women. Most people in Tamera are in multi-partner relationships. In Tamera, sexuality is seen as not just an individual’s burden but as a shared community responsibility. This is a radical viewpoint.

We are witnessing the unfolding of the next phase of the Sexual Revolution, with profound implications for the future. Tamera may be cutting-edge, but our culture’s attitudes about sex are changing quickly. Open marriages have gone mainstream — The New York Times Magazine just ran a feature about them. Younger people are starting to address the hypocrisy and deceptions endemic to our inherited models. The first step is acknowledging that we have a problem, and then we must find the courage and clarity to change.

[Table of contents]

Purple 25YRS Anniversary issue

Table of contents

purple NEWS

purple 25 YEARS 25 COVERS

purple INTERVIEW

purple FASHION WOMEN

purple FASHION MEN

purple DOCUMENT

purple BEAUTY

purple ARCHITECTURE

purple LOVE

purple PHILOSOPHY

purple NIGHT

purple STORY

purple SEX

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