X Close

Polyamory is a luxury belief The elite scorn those who crave security

Is this the path to self-actualisation? (Challengers/YouTube)

Is this the path to self-actualisation? (Challengers/YouTube)


February 15, 2024   7 mins

What happens when the fantasy of getting everything you want collides with cold, hard reality? Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility attempts to answer that question by plotting the love lives of two young women: the cool-headed, pragmatic Elinor Dashwood, and her feverishly emotional younger sister, Marianne. Together, the pair embody the novel’s titular struggle: of practicality versus passion, decorum versus desire, the head versus the heart (or the hormones). More recently, a pair of memoirs released in the US has made it clear that Austen’s age-old conflict is still with us.

On the sense side, there is Rob Henderson’s Troubled: the story of the author’s turbulent childhood in America’s foster care system. Removed from a drug-addicted, criminally neglectful mother, Henderson ultimately escapes the delinquency to which many of his peers succumb, to become a highly educated member of the media class. On the sensibility side, there is Molly Roden Winter’s More — in which the author, a middle-aged writer and musician who lives in upscale Brooklyn, ruminates about the ups and downs (and ins and outs) of her open marriage.

More, which was released last month, was fortuitously timed — or, possibly, the catalyst — for a surge of public interest in polyamory. The question of what form romantic and sexual commitment should take, or if it should be taken at all, has been visited and revisited countless times through the years, often in rhythm with evolving questions about how women should live, and love. Freely, perhaps — but how so? And at what cost?

The polyamory discourse, including Roden Winter’s memoir, circles these questions in much the same way Austen’s Regency-era heroines do. When Elinor Dashwood cautions her younger sister that what is pleasurable and what is proper are not always one and the same, Marianne protests that of course they are: “for we always know when we are acting wrong, and with such a conviction I could have had no pleasure.” This vaguely hedonistic notion — that if it feels good, it must be good — is echoed in the conviction of contemporary polyamorists that having multiple partners is the path to not just sexual satisfaction but a more enlightened state of being: a commitment “to the journey of the truth of my own soul”, to quote one polycule participant from a much-discussed article in The Cut. One imagines these 30-something Brooklynites confronting some poor, monogamous schmuck with the same earnest indignation that Marianne aims at her stoic sister: “Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and honour and duty. Elinor, where is your heart?”

If 17-year-old Marianne Dashwood had lived in contemporary Brooklyn instead of late 18th-century England, perhaps her marriage to the older, honourable Colonel Brandon would have seemed like less of a compromise: perhaps she would have ended up like the heroine of More, bed-hopping her way across the boroughs in middle age, wondering why, if this is the path to self-actualisation, she feels so damned miserable all the time. “This is supposed to be about my fun, my pleasure, my freedom,” Molly laments, after a partner stealthily removes his condom and then ghosts her immediately after sex. “How have I arrived at this point?”

More may read like a portrait of a life ruled by sensibility in the Austenite sense, but this looks very different on a frustrated mom in her forties than it does on a flighty teenager — especially given that the sensibility in this case isn’t actually the author’s, but instead belongs to her husband, Stewart, who both wants to sleep with other women and gets off on the idea of his wife schtupping other men. As other reviewers have noted, the idea of More as a memoir of sexual fulfilment à la Eat, Pray, Love is belied by Molly’s obvious unhappiness in her open marriage, which she agrees to more out of duty than desire. Polyamory is a pile of lemons from which she relentlessly makes pitcher after pitcher of barely palatable lemonade. She doesn’t want this life so much as she wants to be the kind of person who wants it, which turns out about as well as you’d expect it to. “I feel like shit,” she eventually tells her therapist. “I thought freedom was supposed to be fun.”

“Polyamory is a pile of lemons from which she relentlessly makes pitcher after pitcher of barely palatable lemonade.”

Meanwhile, Henderson’s Trouble puts in a good word for sense, rather than pure sensibility. His story is one of an unruly youth for whom prudence, honour, and duty were not just social graces but a path to a better life. The irony, as Henderson notes, is that he had to join the military to get the structure and stability he needed; meanwhile, people who’ve benefited from these things all their lives tend to performatively dismiss their importance.

The current vogue for polyamory is a prime example of what Henderson has termed “luxury beliefs”: the phenomenon whereby wealthy, educated progressives talk a big game in favour of prison abolition or permissive sexual norms to signal their political bona fides, safe in the knowledge that they’ll never bear the costs of the ideas they promote. His classmates at Yale, for instance, would privately acknowledge that they themselves planned to get married, have kids, and practice monogamy — but only after loudly decrying the practice as old-fashioned, outdated, and unnecessary. “We now live in a culture where affluent, educated, and well-connected people validate and affirm the behaviours, decisions, and attitudes of marginalised and deprived kids that they would never accept for themselves or their own children,” he writes.

Prior to writing his book, Henderson was best known for his concept of luxury beliefs, and his tart critiques of America’s ruling class — from a guy who fought his way into their spaces but nevertheless dissents from their orthodoxies — have made him a thorn in the side of those who might have been otherwise sympathetic to him on the basis of identity alone. It’s not unusual to see progressives denouncing Henderson as the purveyor of a particularly noxious brand of old-school, bootstraps conservatism, while ignoring the fact that he is, by any definition, a marginalised person who has succeeded against enormous odds.

By some coincidence of the seasonal publishing schedule, Henderson’s memoir has ended up being not just an ideological counterpart to Roden Winter’s but a competitor in the same genre, which makes for an interesting exercise in the revealed preferences of the publishing community and readers alike. Roden Winter, who had virtually no public presence before More made her an overnight sensation, has been criss-crossing the country on a multi-city book tour while her memoir climbs the New York Times bestseller list. Henderson, who has a six-figure following on X, tens of thousands of Substack subscribers, and an extensive publication history including bylines in the New York Times itself, reportedly approached multiple bookstores about hosting an event, only to be rebuffed.

Henderson describes this as political snobbery, pure and simple: “If you grow up poor and aren’t willing to pledge fealty to the right causes, these places don’t want you. If you grew up poor, remake your fortunes, and then speak truthfully about the factors that fuel success (hard work, determination, sacrifice) rather than the factors elites speak about (luck, systemic forces, privilege), then these places don’t want you,” he wrote, before drawing a pointed comparison between himself and Roden Winter. “Maybe if I were a polyamorous upper-middle-class author with 94 followers and wrote a memoir of having an open marriage I would have better luck. Right background, check; right boxes, check.”

But having read both books, I wonder if Henderson’s snubbing is a matter of pedigree and politics, or if it’s down to something more basic — the same thing that makes Marianne’s Sense and Sensibility storyline so much more exciting and compelling than her sister’s. Because in many ways, Trouble and More are meditations on the same issue, just from different angles and through different lenses. Both books consider the implications of a belief system which argues, among other things, that a fully actualised life must be lived in defiance of the traditional social strictures that sometimes place honour and duty above desire and passion. Henderson points to the benefits of climbing into that box, while Roden Winter disconsolately kicks at its confines. But they’re still talking about the same structure, the same expectations, and the same culture that suggests we stop at nothing to achieve authenticity, no matter the destabilising effects of that journey on everyone else.

On one hand, the freedom to love with wild abandon is also the freedom to make a trainwreck of your life; on the other, the rules that seek to protect us from harm and heartbreak can easily turn into a cage of decorum. This tension, between the yearnings of sensibility and the principles of sense, is not easily resolved; nor is the question of what sexually liberated women want, and whether what we want is good for us, which is why we continue to revisit it in memoir and novels, dramas and documentaries, political polemics and religious sermons. And yet everyone who tackles such tensions, from Jane Austen to Rob Henderson to Molly Roden Winter, tends to reach the same conclusion — or at least, to point their audience toward it. More may style itself as a memoir of self-discovery, and its author may even believe that it is, but those who read it are unlikely to conclude that an open marriage is the key to personal growth — or a good idea in general.

And what of Henderson’s book? It’s more straightforward, more prescriptive, and yes, more conservative, but its weakness is not in its message. It’s that the responsibility and restraint he advocates make a good soldier, a good student, and a good man — but not, as it turns out, a good story. Troubled lacks the shamelessness, the self-evisceration, the sordid drama that is the hallmark of so many compelling memoirs — and that More offers up in spades. Henderson’s trauma is in his past, and he holds both it and his audience at a remove; his memoir reads more like a TED talk than a diary entry.

Roden-Winter, on the other hand, straps her audience into the passenger seat of her life and then pilots the whole thing over a cliff, naked, screaming all the way down. And given the choice between two stories that beg more or less the same moral conclusions, of course people are going to want the one where someone gets to third base in a karaoke bar.

Rob Henderson will be discussing his new book at the UnHerd Club on 12 March. Book tickets here.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

394 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
4 months ago

I notice that all the pictures associated with the recent spate of articles on polyamory feature two men and one woman. Now, I cannot speak to any trends among modern sexual hipsters, but I can say that historically-speaking, polyandry has been far, far rarer than polygyny. The reality is that men are unlikely in the extreme to share their woman with another man; sexual jealousy, while not absent from the female portion of the species, is much more prevalent among the male half, and quite often precipitates violence, not just between the men involved but also targeting the woman. Theodore Dalrymple’s accounts of some of the female patients he saw during his tenure at an urban hospital and the violence they faced at the hands of their male partners, frequently for reasons of sexual jealousy, make for harrowing reading. As he puts it, more eloquently than I could:

All these enthusiasts believed that if sexual relations could be liberated from artificial social inhibitions and legal restrictions, something beautiful would emerge: a life in which no desire need be frustrated, a life in which human pettiness would melt away like snow in spring. Conflict and inequality between the sexes would likewise disappear, because everyone would get what he or she wanted, when and where he or she wanted it. The grounds for such petty bourgeois emotions as jealousy and envy would vanish: in a world of perfect fulfillment, each person would be as happy as the next.

The program of the sexual revolutionaries has more or less been carried out, especially in the lower reaches of society, but the results have been vastly different from those so foolishly anticipated. The revolution foundered on the rock of unacknowledged reality: that women are more vulnerable to abuse than men by virtue of their biology alone, and that the desire for the exclusive sexual possession of another has remained just as strong as ever. This desire is incompatible, of course, with the equally powerful desire—eternal in the human breast but hitherto controlled by social and legal inhibitions—for complete sexual freedom. Because of these biological and psychological realities, the harvest of the sexual revolution has not been a brave new world of human happiness but rather an enormous increase in violence between the sexes, for readily understandable reasons.

–Theodore Dalrymple, “Tough Love”, City Journal, https://www.city-journal.org/article/tough-love-3

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago

Interesting that you say that.

Years ago, in my 20’s, I tended bar and lived in an apartment complex a few blocks away.

One night, my neighbor, a divorcee with whom I had been flirting, came into my bar with a girlfriend. Long story short, the three of us spent a wild night together. Honestly, the fantasy is better than the reality. Just saying. Not sorry I did it necessarily and I did have a lot of fun, but left me feeling a little weird.

Then, years later, a girlfriend of mine, divorcee, mid 40’s, asked if I would be interested in swinging. Now this kinda surprised me. She was a pretty conservative mother of 2 girls she was very protective of. A dentist and a girl scout troop leader. Took me a moment to get over being stunned and then I got up, politely said “no”, and then left. Never spoke to her again.

Interestingly, when I first went to college, I came back to my dorm room one night and found my roommate, a point guard on the school team, laying in bed naked with two girls smoking a joint. So maybe this is more common than I would think but I agree it does seem more often to involve multiple women and one man.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Weirdly I’ve always known it to be the other way, two lads going for it with one girl. Only a few examples from drunken nights growing up (and I was never invited along) but I can’t recall any of my mates getting lucky with two women

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s no good if it happens through drink

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What did the men look like?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Skanks most likely.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Why? Can pretty girls not go out, let their hair down and enjoy themselves however they see fit?
Why do you look down on those who don’t follow your seemingly rather puritan values?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Because I don’t share an atheist system of belief as perhaps you do and certainly they must, I don’t see them as harmless indulgences. Their behavior is sinful and God will sort them out.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Which passage in the bible explicitly forbids threesomes or deems them to be sinful?
I’m also led to believe that there’s no passage that explicitly forbids sex before marriage either? It was a rule largely enforced by the Church as they were the ones often left holding the baby as it were in the days before the welfare state if the father did a runner, so it was a cost saving exercise rather than anything written

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“Which passage in the bible explicitly forbids threesomes or deems them to be sinful?“

Isn’t there something about not coveting your neighbour’s piece of ass? I’m sure that’s what I was told in Sunday School.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago

Is that a reference to donkeys?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

OMG!!! Being atheist isn’t a belief. If you know something for a fact you don’t need to believe.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It’s a vaunted self-certainty, not an established fact. The existence of a power greater than ourselves is both unproven and unfalsifiable, but far from the outlandish absurdity that militant atheists claim it out to be. The tendency to believe in Something is ancient, and inborn in most human beings.
Nice touch with “OMG” though.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I agree that most humans desperately need to believe in something. I just watched in horror a documentary about the Warren Jeffs Mormon cult in Texas. I’ve seen many other documentaries on cults all over the world. But then, of course, Islam and Catholicism are also cults. I’ll get backlash for that!!

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Rigid Scientism has cult-like aspects as well. Dismissing all faith or religious practice with a broad brush is an oversimplification, and a cheap shot that violates your own stated principle of non-judgmentalness.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I don’t see why it’s a cheap shot. However, I agree there are rigid atheists who are just the other side of the coin. I’m not that way and use homeopathy (unscientific) for example, to the horror of the fanatical atheists. I’m not interested in converting anyone. Whatever gets you through the night.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Amen to that.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

There are two ways that a man would look at a woman that gives it up often and easily and certainly one that is into group sex.

First, she is not someone you would ever want a long term relationship with for a lot of different reasons.

Second, because she is not someone that you would want a long term relationship with, and because she sees sex as just entertainment, then the only role she can play is as a f**k buddy at best.

Complicating matters is that if the type of women that you WOULD want a long term relationship with find out that you are with the second type then they are not going to want anything to do with YOU.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I’m inclined to agree. And trust is also involved. To trust someone you have to at least know that they are able to manage their emotions and impulses, and not simply do what seems a good idea at the time.

The only thing I would add is that sometimes we have to find out the hard way. I wouldn’t want to write someone off because of a few silly mistakes when they were young. It can take girls a few encounters to realise that they are just being used, and have the self respect to learn they don’t like being treated as an object.

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

She did ask about the Men, not the Girls…

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Certainly nothing to look at any of them, although one has got a huge chopper which is about his only redeeming feature.
They’re all settled down now though so you’ve probably missed the boat with them if that’s what you were after

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Is “a chopper” what I think it is? If so I would say he would need more than that to be attractive.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It’s exactly what you think it is. If he dangles it in a pint glass it touches the bottom. Quite impressive actually, though if I ended up in a ménage à trois with him I’d feel horribly inadequate.
Hi Jimmy if you’re reading!

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Do you not find it spoils the taste of your pint?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

It was usually late in the night by the time this particular party trick came out so I would have probably been too drunk to notice anyway

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yikes!!! However, it’s the quality, not the quantity.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

My missus says that, unfortunately for her she gets neither

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

That’s funny and honest. Poor wifey.

nadnadnerb
nadnadnerb
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I guess it’s not the Raleigh version.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I can honestly say that I have never ever seen that and I have seen a LOT, particularly when I was tending bar.

But then, women are generally more discreet than men are, so maybe.

But then, I dunno, no guy would talk about it because SOMEBODY would want to know if he touched the other guy.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

As far as I can remember it was normally something that came about last minute during the taxi home rather than being a planned goal earlier in the night.
Also I don’t remember any of the lads being embarrassed about any of that kind of thing, it was always just a funny story at the pub the next day. Maybe that’s a cultural difference between us and the Americans though I’m not sure

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

it was always just a funny story at the pub the next day

So there you are girls – now you all know what to do if you want to be reduced to a funny story at the pub told by a bunch of drunk blokes.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

You think the women don’t gossip about any men they end up taking home after a night out? You live a very sheltered life I think

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Actually I’m fully aware that some women are as bad at telling grubby stories about their exploits as some men are. None of us are saints, especially after a few drinks, but we could at least be discrete. And at least display a minimum amount of respect and self respect.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I agree. As a present-day society we need to respect ourselves and one another more on the sex front Making sex into a mere game is a huge overcorrection from the days of silence, shame, and ostracization (an reciprocal oversimplification, of course).
It’s not as if there was no cause for so-called sexual liberation or for the Women’s Movement. In about 1965, many American women (and others around the Western hemisphere) may have had to leave town in shame if they became pregnant, out of wedlock, by a man who wouldn’t step up to the plate as a father and husband. And almost no blame was likely to land on him, unless her relatives came with fists and weapons..
I know a woman who traveled to Mexico for a dangerous “back-alley” abortion in 1968, to reluctantly end a pregnancy that was the result of a rape. It wasn’t some easy choice of course. My Canadian great aunt died in the 1930s after a botched termination.
We should aim for a sensible middle ground; not just some formulaic averaging-out of two extremes, but acknowledging that there are (at least) two sides to most fraught issues.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

There are no two sides to abortion. Just one of the woman who is pregnant. The rest should mind their own business.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Even once the child is viable outside the womb and people stand ready to adopt?
No moral if not legal obligation to inform the husband?
No two sides within the woman’s own mind?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

You’ve lived a very sheltered life haven’t you?

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Doubt if many blokes would want to know if the two lucky gents ‘got it on’ during the proceedings. Anyway, that would require a degree of contortionist skills beyond most chaps if they were engaged in a classic ‘spit roast’ scenario.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago

Actually “did you touch it” was usually one of the first questions asked

Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Really? I have to say that on the only occasion I was offered such an encounter I declined. The friend in question, like yours, was prodigiously endowed and that would have been very off putting for a start.
I did once end up crashed out on my bed with my then girlfriend and her best friend after a night on the tiles. Asking the two lasses if they were both ‘up for it’ got me slapped on both sides of my face simultaneously!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago

Hahaha! The slap was worth it just for the story! I love the optimism in that situation too

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Leonel SIlva Rocha
Leonel SIlva Rocha
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Sorry for previous comment. You are right, of course. Discreet is the correct word. I cannot edit or delete the damned thing!
Done now…

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

as if sexual violence didn’t exist before the 60s?

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Nobody claimed that. Dalrymple talks of increase.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago

I think Roden-Winter is on a path to self destruction and self loathing. But, apparently, like an alcoholic or a drug addict, she keeps thinking that the next quick high is gonna solve her problems only to once again find themselves laid out in the gutter, feeling like crap, and hating themselves for having done it again.

You cannot fix what is broken inside by by quick hits of adrenaline.

You will certainly never find peace and ultimately we all seek peace with ourselves and our world. Creating chaos is not the way to get there.

There is this odd group of people out there that seem to think that having the freedom to do something means that you must do it. When, in fact, with freedom to choose comes the responsibility to choose wisely and to accept the consequences of your bad choices.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

No harm in trying things out, but to keep doing it when it you didn’t enjoy it sounds a bit strange (if the article is to be believed. If people want to go swinging and they genuinely enjoy themselves then have it, it’s no business of mine but it’s not for me

David B
David B
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I have read that swinging can reprise the limerence found early in a relationship, such that it reignites desire and bonding with ones long-term partner. I’m sure there’s other payoffs too, but it may not be quite as shallow a polyamory as that described in More.

It’s not for me either, though!

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago
Reply to  David B

Only a certain kind of person would use a word like “limerence”.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

A wonderful word. And well used. It describes a “crush” that may not be reciprocated; with all of the anxiety and excitement that might cause.
I imagine that committed couples who swing are either familiar with this, emotionally absent or not really that committed.

Paul T
Paul T
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Then give up. There’s no point being a damn fool about it”.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Quite so

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It’s everyone’s business. The cost of the sexual revolution has been the collapse of the family, declining fertility and the ever expansion of the state to play the role of father….And polyamory not about child rearing and socialization

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
4 months ago

Agreed, however technology and social media have had an enormous detrimental effect on relationships as well (The final nail in romances coffin)

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

“Declining fertility rates?” How has the sexual revolution done that?

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

By making sex recreational, it has separated sex and reproduction, sex and marriage and sex and children – and is a central reason for the age of first child advancing nearly 15 years (with all that entails in terms of unhappiness, mental health, infertility and difficult pregancies)…..and the massive increase in single parented/only-children…. If you could like chapter and verse I can recommend dozens of papers with all the numbers.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago

The bigger cause of the declining birth rates is the precarious financial position of the youth in my opinion. Whilst the pill has made accidents less likely, youngsters understandably usually put off having kids until they’re reasonably financially secure. However due to stagnant wages and ridiculous house prices that us happening later and later, which means most only have time to knock out one or two children before they turn 40.
Add in the extortionate costs of childcare and general lack of help for young families and it becomes obvious why the birth rate is at record lows.
Make housing cheaper so they can get on the ladder younger, and either make childcare cheaper or make it possible to survive on one salary as the older generations did and you may see the birth rate start to climb

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Higher birth rates are generally associated with poverty in what used to be described as third world countries. I suspect that in the west, the negative messages being imparted to young people about themselves and their impact on the climate and the world in general has been quite a deterrent to bringing children into the world. Motherhood has been presented as both a form of slavery and as selfishness. Muslims generally consider children to be gifts from God and Mohammed was the number 1 registered boys name in the U.K. in 2023. Muslim children are now being particularly valued in non-Muslim democratic countries as it is the route to political power and the changing of the law. A message being preached in many a U.K. mosque.

William Brand
William Brand
4 months ago

Social security was a major factor in preventing childbirth. People in developing countries have many children to guarantee old age security. When the state promises old age pensions birth rates drop. If social security goes bankrupt people will rush to breed. People in the West trust the state for that pension. If it fails, then watch the birthrate soar.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

Yes, I was taught that too, and that birth control was a decisive factor, but now I am beginning to believe it is far more complicated. It wasn’t until about 1940 that a substantial number of people lived to retirement age. Harry and Meghan were awarded a prize for only having two children and made much about it. I don’t understand why there has been such a push to reduce the birth rate and has been for at least seventy years (which may well have been a factor in the manufacture of the pill) whilst simultaneously increasing immigration. It is as if the nation is slowly committing suicide. It reminds me of Moctezuma handed Mexico over to Cortez because he believed Cortez to be a God whose coming was prophesied. Maybe when a nation has run out of drive, of motivation, of faith, of belief, it just lies down and dies allowing the vultures rich and easy pickings. Rishi Sunak is a vulture. There are packs of vultures who claim cultural privilege as a right and seek to enrich their group.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago

“It wasn’t until about 1940 that a substantial number of people lived to retirement age”.
That is a good point. People might need to work longer.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago

This is an absurd conspiratorial rant. One minute some of you guys are banging on about over population, the next the declining birth rate! Do you actually talk to any young people about their family plans?

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Off course. I talk to numerous people, young and old, from various different backgrounds which is why I am questioning my own indoctrination. Instead of accusing me of conspiracy theorising, you would do better studying some depth psychology and talking to the young and unguarded to find out what is going on behind the scenes.

William Brand
William Brand
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Women need to freeze their eggs at age 12 or 13. Pay for the house as double income no kids. Have the babies at 40 or 50. Send children to college at 60 or 70 Then die at a time when their children most need their inheritance and life insurance. My 1907 born parents skipped reproduction due to the depression and WWII and then they produced a 1948 boomer with silent generation traits. I got my inheritance at 29.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

You’re not the full ticket are you?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

I’d rather have my parents around than an inheritance. Is money that important to you you’d rather have their house than their company? If so I pity you

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I assume you are in the UK. I ask, because I remember when a significant portion of the Working Class were happy to live in Council Housing all their lives (including all my British relatives).

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Unfortunately the bulk of the council housing has long since been sold off and never replaced, so most youngsters now have to pay extortionate rents in private rentals if they’re unable to save the colossal deposit needed for a house.
I grew up in a council house, I think they should be built en masse for those priced out of owning a home. Surely it makes more sense to that rather than the government hand over billions each year to private landlords?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

It’s always been recreational.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago

Oh yes. That’s right. People weren’t unhappy before the sexual revolution….

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Ah there you go. You see it isn’t a case of unhappiness or not. It’s about relative degrees, trends. Suffering is part of the human condition. But women have got consistently less happy since the sexual revolution. Here’s one recent paper. I can give you a 100

https://law.yale.edu/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/Intellectual_Life/Stevenson_ParadoxDecliningFemaleHappiness_Dec08.pdf

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M
Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Even the Guardian gets in on this one (they presumably remembered they were supposed to be feminists in this issue) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/sep/13/happiness-of-girls-and-young-women-at-lowest-level-since-2009-shows-uk-poll

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I strongly suspect polyamory is for those who are bisexual. I doubt that those who are not would want to continue with it after the experimenting phase is over.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Or the greedy

William Brand
William Brand
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The rule for a 3 way is everyone must organism. the best way is a straight male, a lesbian woman and a bisexual female. Two bisexual females and straight male also work. Two incomes and one stay at home child tender. Two gay males do not work since girl not satisfied. Jealousy problems if 2 straight males.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

An organism you say?

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Organisms are overrated.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

You seem to know an awful lot about it, or claim to.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

He must have read the Guide.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I think recreational sex is a perfectly legitimate pastime. However, it does require considerable caution. Participants must endeavour to minimise the chances of pregnancy and disease. They must, of course, ensure their physical safety and be honest and open with those involved. Many people who enjoy casual sex do so. However, there are no shortage of people who can only do these thing full of booze or drugs.

“she keeps thinking that the next quick high is gonna solve her problems only to once again find themselves laid out in the gutter, feeling like crap,”

You should absolutely not be doing these if they are not fun. Roden-Winter needs to sort herself out.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 months ago

Re: Rosen-Winter – ya think? She’s doing something that devalues her being, making her depressed. If she were smart and introspective and not so needy she’d stop doing what she’s doing. She’s to be pitied.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

No, censored.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

You can censor a book or a film, but a person?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave Weeden

You’re right, censured.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

“Censured?”

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I’m wrong.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago

Might be too late for her.

James McKay
James McKay
4 months ago

I have always taken it that if you have to get drunk or high to do something it means you don’t really want to do it.

Martin M
Martin M
4 months ago
Reply to  James McKay

Really? That pretty much describes my whole life!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Agreed, I’d have never left the house. I probably didn’t need the drink or drugs to do half the things I did, but they definitely enhanced the experience

Pedro the Exile
Pedro the Exile
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Absolutely -and self discipline and the ability to refuse poor choices is ,for me,the ultimate freedom-not endless indulgence in whatever takes my fancy on any particular day.I have lived both alternatives and certainly the former has produced a more fulfilling life. Your addiction metaphor is spot on-however,each to their own.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

Sadly that’s now a rather dated version of freedom – involving autonomy and taking responsibility for your own actions and their consequences. The modern version is about freedom from responsibility.

Like you I’ve lived both. I think the former may work for those who are incapable of the latter.

mike otter
mike otter
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I think she should take drugs to make her feel better and ultimately get her a Darwin award.. start with di-hydro-codone and then move on to that strange green stuff the lefties like to see pumped into our cities.

mike otter
mike otter
4 months ago
Reply to  mike otter

hier kommt die Sonne… sie ist der hellste Stern von allen… DAAD

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

No matter how much Progressives would like to ‘rewrite’ human nature it’s virtually impossible to alter biology at least in the short run, given the thousands of years it’s been evolving. Most importantly, men seek to ‘spread their seed’ and will do so with those willing to take it; There’s nothing emotional about this urge. Woman do not have the same need as they can only get pregnant once at a time – and there’s a huge emotional component is that feat a lot driven by hormones. Now if a women wants to be ‘sperm receptacle’ that’s her business. The guys of course love it, crave it in fact, but she’s not doing herself any favors. It’s likely that women who seek this freedom even a have a screw lose – needy, insecure etc – however slight. Train wrecks are fascinating. To goggle at them is also human nature. It’s that simple.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

The women who seek this freedom have hormones as well. However, promiscuity is more complicated for women and is still frowned upon by society with its double standard. Women are sluts and whores but men are studs.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I really do not think it is that clear cut by any stretch.

No young man wants or needs a reputation for playing around. It is just trouble. It is trouble with the women he knows. It is trouble with other guys if they see him talking to a girl they are related to or friends with. It is just trouble.

And, as much as men like to talk about playing around, and certainly many do, most of them are more inclined to want to protect and provide for a single woman.The ones that do play around and get away with it are usually the men in that top 5% that almost all women want to chase. The rest of us…yeah…not so much. But hey, you all enable those guys.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, one woman in your life is enough to keep any man on his toes. Why anyone would subject themselves to trying to keep more than one happy is beyond me.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I’m not sure that many men see it as their task to keep women happy.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Oh Clare……that is the FIRST thing they think about.

Good grief. You really do not know men.

Good Lord, almost all male conversations where men are involved wi in relationships start with “How is so and so?”. That then leads to what you have been doing for her lately.

Nothing in this world will frustrate a man more than not being able to figure out how to keep the woman in his life happy. It will eat at him until he figures it out.

It’s why we tell women to “Just tell me what you want.”. We want you to give us a path to get there. Few things make us angrier than when a woman says “You should know.” or “I should not have to tell you.” or God forbid you all go into silent mode, say nothing and leave us guessing. THAT will make us angry because there is not path, there is no way to know how to make her happy. Your left floundering and guessing.

Then, when nothing works, we give up because we have no way to know how to win.

All most men want is to be appreciated. In fact, most men would almost prefer appreciation and respect above being loved.

That is most men. You do not want to run into or be involved with the other kind. There are fewer of them, but those are the ones that are dangerous.

Ugh…..it should just be so frigging obvious.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Even as generalizations your remarks seem a little off the mark to me. I talk to fellow men both in and “in-between” marriages/long term relationships and, yes, “how is she” gets asked, but long follow-up discussions don’t tend to happen unless there is major news or things are going badly.
The type of man who remains utterly consumed with keeping his darling happy year after year sounds like an idealization from a rom com or chick-lit novel to me. The degree to which you frame it as the man’s whole world, that is. I accept that such all-in romantic providers as you and your circle of pals exist, and I’m glad, but I doubt its typical.
True that most men have an elemental need to be respected, perhaps admired–but love is the sine qua non in my book.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Unlike some others, I found your picture mainly accurate. This overwhelming desire to make a woman happy is almost the male tragedy. If appreciation isn’t shown, or love leads to disrespect then most men either up their game or eventually withdraw emotionally. It’s simply too painful.

I should add though that this is not all men at all times.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

You seem to be suffering from a lack of communication skills.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

You live in a very different world to me, I’ve never once asked (or been asked) “what have you done for her lately” Your caricature of “most men” sounds more theoretical than anything grounded from real life experience, either that or the lads I’ve always lived and worked with operate in very different social circles

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Really heavy sarcasm.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think most of us men would say it’s a fairly impossible task some days

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

This doesn’t apply in cities where not everyone knows each other.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That kind of freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. Kris Kristofferson put the words to music.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

I’ve always thought that line sounds rather Zen.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It sounds a touch cynical to me without the following line (in Joplin’s version): “Nothin’, don’t mean nothin’, honey, if it ain’t free”.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think that’s a bit dated. Even the word “stud” is now only ever used in the context in which you have just used it. F—-boy is more current, chad is sometimes used and neither is flattering. Men who simply use women for sex are generally frowned on. They are seen as exploitative. Meantime, criticising women for any of their behaviour is largely taboo in mainstream society. That latter is changing too though with an internet male counter culture now calling women out for high body counts or exploitative attitudes towards men.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

What exactly is a sexually exploitive attitude by women towards men?

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Assuming that all men really, really want to be studs is a good example. We tend to be more various and nuanced in our thoughts and feelings.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Some are some aren’t

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

If you look back, you’ll see I said “exploitative” rather than “sexually exploitative”. And what they claim is that some women, whether on only fans or the dating scene, or even in long term relationships, are simply using men for material gain. They also tend to see the marriage/divorce cycle as exploitative and a really bad risk for men.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Frowned upon by who? Having a reputation never seemed to be a barrier for any bloke I knew. Even the ones who’d been caught cheating multiple times never seemed to have too much trouble talking their way in with another woman. There’s definitely a difference the way being promiscuous is looked upon for men and women

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’m wondering what generation you are from. Modern women cheat pretty easily, and their friends can generally be relied on to provide cover. They receive little criticism.

But it’s always been the case that if a man cheats he is to blame – but if a woman cheats he is also to blame for not meeting her needs (for love, attention or material comfort).

As a footnote, new research is showing that the reverse of the stereotype is true – women cheat for sex, men because they feel unloved.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I don’t think it’s either or. Six of one and half a dozen of the other. In my 45 years experience as a single woman I can say that I have yet to meet a married man who declined to have sex. with me ( wait for the misogynistic backlash to that!!)

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Selection bias may have been at work. Did they make the approach, or otherwise make it clear they were available? If so they are a self selecting group rather than a random sample.
Were the men typical? Were they happily married? Did their wives respect them?
And you have kind of made my point since you clearly have no more qualms about sleeping with married men than some men have about sleeping with married women.
No backlash from me – I’m in no position to cast the first stone – and my point is that the old double standard has pretty much disappeared. Or do you think your behaviour should not be disapproved of?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

For the most part, the men would not say they were married.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Probably not representative then. Presumably they had already removed their rings so as not to give the game away.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I’ve always turned it down (not with you obviously as far as I’m aware) I’m not going to lie though it was very tempting to go for it but I’m glad I didn’t

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Cheating is different from playing the field. I know loads of lads who cheated, and their mates would always cover for them if they could

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Well you can thank Judeo-Christianity for that!
Monotheistic Semitic cults such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam have an awful lot to answer for it must be said.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Indeed.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago

The sacral understanding of the individual, human rights, norms against killing strangers, the banning of infanticide, care of the elderly……Yep there is a great deal there.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

As is being so amply demonstrated in the GAZA GHETTO right now, it must be said.

POSTED AT 08.46 GMT. 16 Feb. and immediately SIN BINNED.
Is Gaza now a prohibited word?

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

This is simply not true. The standard now is sexual freedom to the nth degree – simply look at dominant discourse on the BBC. It is ‘traditionalism’ and marriage that are demonized. It’s almost like you got out of a Time Machine Clare

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

What’s not true? I don’t know what you’re responding to.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

Do you not find that quite common on here. That people just don’t seem to realise that things have changed since they were growing up. As if we are caught in a permanent reenactment of the past.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Now if a women wants to be ‘sperm receptacle’ that’s her business. The guys of course love it, crave it in fact

I don’t think that’s the case for most men. Easy women get slept with a lot because they are easy – not because men prefer them or particularly love used goods. Even where the s-x is casual, we all like to feel a bit special rather than simply convenient. Not all men are that cynical.

john zac
john zac
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

“There is this odd group of people out there that seem to think that having the freedom to do something means that you must do it. ”
I think they’re called Americans

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

But isn’t it just the old menage au trois?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Ménage à trois.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Yes, I know that, but I don’t know how to get the thingy on top!

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Too much information Clare!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

That’s funny, David and I tend to agree! I’m just stirring the pot even though it happens to be true. Unherd’s update should have included lines from the comments to the answers because I’m assuming which comment I’m responding to. It gets confusing don’t you think?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Hold the key down for a second and the accent options (if any) should pop up!

Thanks to CARDOG WILLIAMS in my case!!!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Which key?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

The alphabet one.
Press e for example these are the options: ëéèêēėę .QED.?

BTW. THE COMMENTS SYSTEM IS STILL DREADFUL.

NOT ONLY DOES IT NOT TAKE YOU DIRECT TO THE COMMENT BUT ONLY TO THE ARTICLE.;
THEN YOU HAVE TO TRAWL THROUGH NEARLY 300 COMMENTS WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF THE COLOURED CARTOUCHES!

ALL IN ALL A COMPLETE SHAMBLES.

Betsy Warrior
Betsy Warrior
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

But polyamory is a completely different thing for men and women. The historical background for women is: the s**t vs the playboy; the tramp vs the Great Seducer (ala Strauss-Kahn); the w***e vs the giglio and so forth. But we’re not even considering the pregnancies, the abortions, the menstruations, the pelvic inflammatory diseases and std’s, the worries of such and so on. I’ve heard of many women being persuaded by their partners into multiple partner relationships (to mention two; Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgen) and they hated it; felt confused, abused, degraded and dehumanized, while the men felt adventurous, exhilarated and macho.

Ian_S
Ian_S
4 months ago

Duplicate

Ian_S
Ian_S
4 months ago

Another duplicate

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
4 months ago

Good lord people care so much about what others think of their Instagram lives… Forget all that and do what’s best for you and yours (often the “normal” thing).

Ian_S
Ian_S
4 months ago

Well let’s see. If being mon*gamous and straight is now recast as not just a bit boring but harmfully cisheteronormative and oppressive, you need to find your oppressed victimhood. So sleeping around, calling it polyamory and therefore claiming you’re an oppressed minority, seems a good move. Only, you need to suffer and find reasons why it’s actually no fun at all, but an identity that is tragically leading your life into a genoci**lly victimised suic**al spiral, if you’re to really break free of the suspicion you’re still actually a vile, hate-filled, privileged, s*xual supremacist. And as Roden-Winter (definitely well-roden) has discovered, you’ll then get not only get a leg over, but also a leg up — into the upper echelons of taste — and pink haired people will think you’re cool now.

Max Price
Max Price
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Finding the victimhood shouldn’t be hard. Three people can’t marry, next of Kin, social ostracism, housing prejudice etc etc etc. it’s going to be a whole thing, yawn.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Yes, Justin Welby will soon be changing my the marriage service yet again, to be more “inclusive “.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I would say Justin was a disgrace to the Anglican church but it’s the Anglican church after all.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

You’re right, it would be so much better if they’d just go noncing like their Catholic counterparts

Rob N
Rob N
4 months ago

Clearly polygyny is more common and more sensible. 4 women and 1 man and all know who the kids ‘belong’ to. 4 men and 1 woman confusion and disaster; and considerably fewer children. So Darwinistically a big no no.

Yet on a sexual enjoyment basis I can see how a night of polyandry might be more fun for the singleton woman than polygyny for the single male. Women being more sensual and having more erogenous areas.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

What? All the kids “belong” to the one man or the one woman. You refer to Darwin but seem to maintain Aristotelian ideas of procreation.

Rob N
Rob N
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Thought I was clear but seems not. If there are 4 women and 1 man then everyone will know who is the mother and father. 1 woman and 4 men and father unknown.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Have you ever heard of 4 men and one woman outside of gang rape?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Yes actually, it used to be called a ‘gang bang’ by the soldiery, and sometimes even involved ‘spit roasting’, or so I am told.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

Women being more sensual and having more erogenous areas.

Or at least being far more willing to claim so, in a rather bizarre form of boasting, one up a ship and put down of the opposite sex.

Harry Phillips
Harry Phillips
4 months ago

Another weird idea sneaks into the mainstream.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Harry Phillips

Yes and ushered by media elites like the author but just here veiled as anti-elitist diatribe.

alan bennett
alan bennett
4 months ago

Those progressive middle claas polyamourists are heading for a fall, they espouse the open borders, they support the Muslimisation of the West, people like them will be the first victims of the moral! cleansing they will carry out.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  alan bennett

Why do you think it’s confined to progressives or the middle class? Look at horndog hypocrites Roger Stone and Jerry Falwell Jr. and their group-sex dalliances along with their wives. (Don’t look, it’s just an expression).
And don’t these things happen plenty among the working and barely-working classes these days? Note part of Right-Wing Hippie’s quote from Dalrymple here: “The program of the sexual revolutionaries has more or less been carried out, especially in the lower reaches of society, but the results have been vastly different from those so foolishly anticipated”.
Or perhaps you’re fine with polyamory as long as it’s not among the Progressive Hypereducated Muslim-Adjacent Global Elite?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  alan bennett

Some muslim cultures practise polygyny and it’s very much halal.
So what you’ve actually done is impose your own hardline conservative beliefs onto what you assumed would be an even more hardline belief system and shown yourself to be not only ignorant but also more authoritarian than you had assumed islam to be!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Care to tell us about your own forays into the world of polyamorous love?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What about the goat thing with them?

Glynis Roache
Glynis Roache
4 months ago

An interesting piece that, in contrasting two recent novels, seems to support a couple of guidelines that I was given many years ago during my own small foray into the world of creative writing :
    ‘Happiness doesn’t tell well’.
(Hence the success of ‘misery memoirs?)
  ‘A hero, even though he succeeds overall, always has to lose something of significance’.
    ‘Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’, it seems.
   

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

What a revolting caption photograph.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

Is it or are you just revolted by your own reaction to it?
How can it feel so right when it looks so wrong?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It looks like two adolescent vampires undergoing ‘training.’

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

You’re easily revolted, Charles!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Indeed, and there is much to be revolted about.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
4 months ago

She appears to have a broad tolerance for the disgusting. Makes her very modern.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope