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Opinion | The search for a new vision of sexual morality

When the Huberman profile appeared, some social media voices suggested there was tension over posting a takedown about a man juggling six girlfriends after celebrating juggling just a few months earlier. But in reality, the two cover stories are completely from the same mold. The implicit criticism of the neuroscientist is not just that he has sex with many different women, but that he does so in a deceitful and selfish way – rather than following the open, complex negotiation process that is ethically required to be that kind of person who has sex with six different people at the same time.

This idea of ​​sex as a process, in which the sexual act itself is embedded in a kind of “best practices” of dialogue and interaction, seems to be where social liberalism has settled for now, in its attempt to create a post- Hefnerian sex life to create culture. Therefore, the general fascination with polyamory, which manifests itself in so many trend pieces, books and essays that it is impossible to list them, is not just about limitlessness and shock value. It also reflects a desire to retain the permissive sexual ethic that men like Hefner used for their own exploitative ends, but to make it healthier and more therapeutic, more woman-friendly and egalitarian, safer and more structured.

Polyamory, in this sense, is offered not as an alternative to conservative monogamy, but rather as an alternative to more dangerous, irresponsible and deceptive forms of promiscuity – a responsible, spreadsheet-driven, therapeutic version of the sexual revolution in which transparency replaces cheating, and anything goes, as long as Negotiate permission carefully.

A look at some actual human relationships should cast doubt on how well this model really works. Whatever Huberman’s failings in honesty and communication, for example, he seems extremely well-versed in the kind of therapeutic language designed to tame libidinal excesses—suggesting that predators and con artists can exploit this system as well as any other. Or again, Molly Roden Winter’s memoir about a new mother with an open marriage, “More,” reads more like one Testimony of marital suffering as any kind of guide to living a good life.

But the depth of the problem in attempting to establish “safe” forms of liberation is already becoming clear in a third New York magazine Cover storythe most controversial of all: transgender cultural critic Andrea Long Chu’s recent essay “Freedom of Sex,” which advocates allowing procedures such as puberty blockers and mastectomies to children with gender dysphoria, regardless of what medical or psychological claims are made about it, where the desire to change gender comes from.

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